As my daughter’s first birthday quickly draws near, I wanted to finally write down her birth story. I personally loved reading birth stories while pregnant and I wanted to write down our experience since I’m afraid I’ll forget some of the details as time goes on. It’s funny in some ways it feels like just yesterday she was coming into this world and in other ways it feels like a lifetime ago. We’ve come such a long way! Without further ado here goes:
Our due date (4/8) came and went with zero signs of baby. Our doctor did an ultrasound and said everything looked good so she was comfortable waiting till 41 maybe even 42 weeks before talking about induction. Being a first time mom I wasn’t too surprised that I went over my due date but I still hoped to go into labor on my own. We did everything we could to try to move things along naturally but this child was not going anywhere! From labor tincture (which didn’t work on me in the slightest) to spicy foods etc, etc, we tried every remedy in the book to no avail. At our appointment at 41 weeks and 3 days we decided to schedule an induction for Thursday April 21 (which put us at 41 weeks and 6 days) while still hoping that babyG (as we affectionately called our little one since we didn’t know the gender) would come on his/her own.
Needless to say, the night before the induction I was a nervous wreck! I still secretly hoped that I’d somehow go into labor on my own during the night and that would be that. Alas, that didn’t happen and we woke up bright and early to head to the hospital. While my pregnancy could be described as slow and steady, the labor turned out to be something more along the lines of fast and furious.
We went in at about 6:30 am, I was already between 2-3 cm and our doctor broke my waters at around 7:30 and started Pitocin at the lowest dosage of 2 mL. It took less than 30 minutes for this combination to jump start my body into high gear. I started to feel contractions and though I tried to “rest through them” as if I was in early labor they were getting intense pretty fast. They increased the Pitocin to a dosage of 4mL and by 8:30 or so I was in really intense pain. I had been warned that contractions induced with Pitocin are much more intense than natural ones and for me that was absolutely the case. The pain was intense to say the least.
However, I’m glad I remembered that you can ask them to turn down the Pitocin to see if labor will naturally progress on its own (although I was hoping for a break from contractions! Which were now coming every minute or two and hurt like a mother!!) They turned off the Pitocin and though I was still in pain with steady contractions I decided to ask to labor in the jetted tub. They needed to check my dilation before I went in the tub and I was at 6 cm at around 10 o’clock. I felt good knowing I’d progressed so I decided to hold off on the epidural and see how the tub felt. They told me to tell them when I felt pressure since you can’t give birth in the tub and off I went.
For me, the best laboring position was hunched over on my hands and knees while rocking my hips. One of the benefits for me of not getting an epidural was having the freedom to move around as needed throughout my labor. I think this definitely helped me manage the pain since I could move into any position that felt good for my body. By the way, once the Pitocin started to wear off and my natural contractions came they were MUCH more manageable. It was truly a world of difference. I’m thrilled that for me at that point my body took over and I didn’t need any more Pitocin (that stuff was the devil for me! ha).
I also have to add that the natural childbirth class my husband and I took was so incredibly helpful to me during the labor process. I remember snickering and giggling while we worked on our “breathing and relaxation techniques” and rolling my eyes while our instructor told us to envision waves crashing in and out and other ways to manage pain on my own. Well, wouldn’t you know it, apparently envisioning waves really CAN be effective because that is exactly what I envisioned during my labor. I worked through each contraction on my hands and knees while gently rocking my hips and in between I quickly sat back and relaxed (ha as much as you can relax during labor that is!) in the tub, closed my eyes and pictured myself on a beautiful beach.
I honestly couldn’t believe it worked either but as the peak of my contraction would overtake my body, I just kept thinking about that wave passing and the pain going away and luckily for me it worked. I was also super focused and almost felt like I was having an out of body experience. Though I heard everyone around me it was like I was in another world and breathed through each contraction and prayed for each “wave” to pass. When it did it was a fabulous feeling! In between contractions the tub felt glorious and I cherished every break. I did feel like they were coming often but as the Pitocin continued to wear off they seemed to be getting shorter, I even commented to my husband that labor must be slowing down.
Our doula showed up as I was laboring in the tub and after about 40ish minutes I felt pressure. Since I had been told to notify staff the moment I felt some pressure I quickly told my husband and within seconds they had me in the wheelchair back to our room, they checked me and lo and behold I was at 9.5 cm. Needless to say there was definitely no time for an epidural now lol! This is where things got really intense, really fast. A few more minutes and next thing I know I’m on the bed and ready to push, I was so disoriented I couldn’t believe it was time! Let me back up here, we had been told that the induction process would easily take between 12-24 hours, especially as a first time mom. No one imagined it would progress as fast as it did. Our doula barely made it in time! We’d checked into the hospital at around 6:30, started the induction process at around 7:30 (with me feeling the effects by 8:30) and by 10:45ish I was just about ready to push. Needless to say I was shocked!
The pushing phase of labor was intense but also the most satisfying. Knowing that with each push you’re getting that much closer to meeting your baby is the best motivation! After 27 minutes of pushing, (and lots of amazing encouragement from Patryk, our doula and the hospital staff which helped keep me as calm and focused as possible during pushing) our baby was here and much to our surprise and delight it’s a girl!! The surprise of finding out our daughter’s gender at birth was truly the best feeling in the world. All throughout pregnancy I wondered and to now know, it was just phenomenal and the best surprise in the world. Amelia Magdalena, 8 lbs 1 oz, 19 inches was born on April 21st at 11:22 am less than 4 hours from breaking of waters to baby in our arms! It was crazy surreal and I still can’t believe it happened so fast! Guess baby girl wanted to make a dramatic entrance! She was in perfect health and that extra time in the womb made her lungs extra strong which she demonstrated upon birth lol
The entire thing was the most intense yet wonderful experience of my life. As they laid my daughter on my chest I was still in shock that this was MY baby that had just come out of ME. What the what!? lol Eventually, the shock wore off a bit and I couldn’t take my eyes off our little girl. After two previous miscarriages, I had spent my pregnancy in a near constant state of anxiousness, hoping and praying that the baby growing inside me would make it Earth side safe and sound. In that moment, I remember glancing back at my husband and at Amelia and letting it sink in that she was finally here, safe and sound just as I’d prayed for and we were now officially a family of three. It’s a moment I’ll never forget that’s for sure.
I think taking the natural childbirth class and knowing what to expect from an induction and birth was very helpful for both my husband and I. We were as prepared as you can be when having your first child but I believe that all those hours in class, talking about all the different scenarios really prepared us for both the beauty that is birth and also its unexpected nature. Sure, we had a “birth plan” but we were aware that things could always go awry and to simply focus on the end goal of having a healthy baby and mama at the end of it all.
The techniques I learned helped me manage the pain and my speedy labor was absolutely a factor in helping me have a medication-free birth. I truly believe there is no right or wrong way to give birth and I’m incredibly grateful that our experience was a positive one. Though I never thought I’d give birth at nearly 42 weeks I’m glad everything went well and most importantly that our daughter was born without complications. The experience I had also gave me so much appreciation for women’s bodies. We truly are amazing and pregnancy and childbirth are absolute blessings.