[Birthing Stories] My Empowering Night & Day Birth Story

After fourteen months of upsetting and beating myself up from the birth of our first born I finally gained an understanding that each and every birth is unique and beautiful, and is one’s own. Until then, I wasn’t comfortable sharing about the birth of our first born because of the choices I made prior to and during labor.

If anyone one would have told me the following birth stories were going to be night and day to one another prior to our second pregnancy I would have laughed under my breath while thinking they are crazy. I couldn’t get past myself until I had that pivotal ‘ah ha’ moment that changed my perspective.

I realized nothing had to be the same and that I can and will make this second pregnancy everything I wanted it to be. Yes, I had a decision and I was sure to make it different. This is my journey.

While pregnant with our son in 2011, I had a pretty horrible diet. We ate out two to three times a week, I drank soda and coffee like it was going out of style, and I had a very difficult time hydrating myself with water. Around seventeen weeks I started retaining water on my ankles and legs after walking for any decent period of time (which lasted the remainder of the pregnancy.) I did not make the mistake of ‘eating for two’ but eating fast food was bad enough.

During this pregnancy I did not exercise, I made sure to walk daily- just not enough to increase my heart rate and not a significant distance.

As the pregnancy progressed I managed to set myself up for my own failure. I read and prepared for labor using the Bradley Method, but my husband had very little time to read and prepare. I recall all too well being 35 weeks pregnant and being more than ready to have our son.

I was beyond miserable! As the time progressed at 37 weeks pregnant I remember going into my appointment thinking ‘I must be at least 2cm dilated and about to have this baby.” Little did I realize the duration of first time pregnancies extended well beyond that ideal ’40 week’ mark.

My mom carried both my sister and I twelve days over but I was certain genetics would not affect me and when our baby would come. The days and weeks drew on and on… soon 38, 39, 40, 41 weeks passed and there were still no signs of labor. At this point one of my midwives and I set the date to be induced two days prior to 42 weeks.

I had no knowledge about the increased risks of pitocin or how it would affect my body (other than it seemed the baby would be here sooner than waiting on my cervix.) Looking back this was one of my many errors.

The days progressed and the 29th was only a few days away, and I began to have contractions. They started out really faint on Saturday and over the next two days became more intense and closer together. I was certain this was it and I could not make myself sleep.

I put myself on a liquid only diet because I feared pooping while in labor. I was way too anxious and I anticipated the contractions to add up more rapidly, not take their time. I went in on Monday once they were drawing closer together, but the contractions had a weird pattern (2 really close and then 6-10 minutes between each pair.) As previously mentioned, I had no sleep.

By the time I realized I needed sleep it was too late and the contractions were too strong to sleep through. After talking with and being checked by my midwife I decided to go over to the hospital so I could get some sleep medicine to rest up for labor (I was 3cm and 90% effaced.)

After 4.5 hours of sleep I was discharged from the hospital because I was not progressing any. After getting the sleep medicine from the pharmacy, getting some food and returning home my contractions were getting back at me and within an hour or two we were back at the hospital with contractions adding up.

When admitted this time they stopped my contractions and gave me some sleep medicine (again) to hold off until the morning (the set date to be induced.) They told me to be up around 6:30 to shower and be prepared for my long day of labor. It was 9:30 (give or take a few) that pitocin was finally administered.

Around 11:45 my water finally broke and we were then waiting on the anesthesiologist to receive an epideral I did not want (originally) but due to lack of sleep I thought I was too tired to labor.

We also found out at this time that Jeremiah was in the posterior position so I laid on my left side while having contractions to try and get him to turn naturally, luckily this worked. I did not forgive myself for getting an epideral until many months later of feeling like a failure for not having the birth I wanted.

After hours of slow progression my midwife stretched my cervix to full dilation and then it was time to see how the we progressed when pushing. After trying for about thirty minutes, I took a nice break… It was about 4:00 or 4:30 that evening when I began to push at the coaching of my midwife, husband and mom.

It was around 6:50 that my midwife decided it was time to take me off of the epideral to see if I progressed better naturally and she sent for the doctor on call to come in to see what needed to happen to progress labor. Upon their arrival I began to feel the contractions and the need to push, the doctor informed me they needed to use forceps and to do an episiotomy. At this point I told them thats fine but I had to keep pushing. Our son was born at 7:49pm weighing 8lb 15oz and 20 3/4in.

I had a third degree tear and we wanted delayed cord clamping so while waiting on it to stop pulsating they had to administer some more pitocin to get my placenta released from uterine wall to deliver it faster so they could stitch me up. I had a very long recovery which lasted the whole 6 weeks postpartum, trying to recover from a 3rd degree tear was not fun! I do not recall a ton from those first weeks other than taking pain meds, nursing our newborn, and barely being able to walk.

There are many things I learned from the birth of Jeremiah. The beginning of which was to learn my body and trust it! I set out to study what I can do to make it the best body possible and how to maintain optimal health. Once giving birth to Jeremiah, I fought vaginitis for eight months.

It was every other week if not every week my midwife was seeing me because of the infections my body was failing to fighting off. In those eight months I began to exercise (4months postpartum), change my diet, and cut out a major impact to my health-caffeine and sugar drinks. It was not until conception of our second child that the infections stopped.

With my newly found knowledge and resources, I knew exercise was completely safe during pregnancy and was in fact encouraged. This changed everything! I was not going to stop at anything to make sure this second pregnancy was everything I wanted it to be! I was determined and encouraged by the birth of Jeremiah to make the change in myself to ensure a different pregnancy and delivery.

After all, this is my body, I have the ultimate say on what impacts or influences it. I clearly was in for a positive journey and wanted to see how much I could change from last time. The birth of Jeremiah completely changed my life and inspired me to become a midwife one day.

I am determined, I am stubborn, and I am strong. When I become aware of facts and are convicted in them- there is no stopping me from accomplishing my goals. I become focused and will not lose sight.

I was shaken eight months postpartum from a dream (more of a nightmare) in such said dream, I dreamt that I gave birth naturally to a 14lb 9oz baby girl, her name was Prophecy Grace. Once this dream came to an end, I woke up and clearly I thought we were pregnant.

A week later the soreness began in my breasts and I knew we were pregnant, luckily for me my hormones changing pushed the infections away. In the meanwhile I was persistent to continue to exercise and eat healthy, as I was determined to have the best health possible.

It wasn’t until a few months later we announced our surprise pregnancy to friends and family. I was told and encouraged by family to stop exercising because it could (somehow) cause harm to the baby. The goal weight gain I set for myself was 15-20lbs, according to my pre-pregnancy BMI I few pounds overweight.

As I became more comfortable with my workout routines I increased the load. I made sure not to overdo it and to listen to my body. If I had any discomfort at all, I would slow it down or take it back some. I would go to the gym four to five times a week, each time burning about 600-700 calories each time.

I had a very difficult time eating 2,000 calories a day (because of eating healthy) let alone adding the burnt calories to my diet. Around six months pregnant I had to increase my protein intake because dizziness began and was persistent. When at my 39 week check up my midwife discovered that this baby was also in the posterior position.

I’m so glad we discovered it at this point, because it gave me ample time to do exercises and stretching to try and turn the baby prior to labor.

One and a half days prior to my 40 week check up contractions began. My bag was packed for a long labor including three different snack foods, sandwiches for my husband and I, massage lotion, essential lavender oil, tiger balm and of course my own clothes so I could remain comfortable if I choose to wear any.

I headed to my appointment and my contractions were about 4-6 minutes apart, they weren’t very strong but this was improvement from last time! It was rather encouraging being in inactive labor and not ten days over my EDD and by no means miserable. When checked I was only 2-3cm and 70% effaced.

This is where pregnancy hormones came in and I pretty much broke down because I was scared of labor ending up just like last time and I questioned if I did everything possible to turn baby to proper positioning and to prepare my body for labor.

After all, I had done so much during this pregnancy with preparing my body by exercising, eating healthy, and I was now an educated woman making informed decisions. My midwife knew all of this and told me to come back before the office closed in hopes that I would progress more before then.

As I went home to relax my contractions slowed down some and returning before four seemed silly. But I did exactly that. Upon returning my midwife told me there was no progress…however, if I wanted her to she could strip my membranes and see how that progressed things. She stretched me to 4cm and then did so per my request. Within one hour of having this done my contractions had completely stopped.

My impatience began to creep in and I thought I should walk and get some exercises in to start the contractions again, but upon my midwives’ wisdom I relaxed the whole evening and stayed close to the hospital. I was also given a prescription for Ambien so I could get some good sleep before going into labor.

Around 10:00 p.m. my contractions started back up but were 10-15 minutes apart. We returned home around 12:30 after eating a nice steak dinner with my Grandma and spending some time with friends. Around 12:50 I took the Ambien in hopes to get some good sleep. Within the 1 hour I woke up with contractions that were really strong four or five times.

At this time I started my contraction time on my phone and tried to soothe the pain by switching to all the positions I could think of… none of which helped. The contractions were about 4-6 minutes apart and 45 seconds to 1 minute long; they were really strong and nothing I tried was helping. So after one pretty long contraction I decided to jump into the shower and turn the heat up all the way while massaging my belly through the contraction.

When it lasted 2 minutes and 14 seconds I knew it was time to give her a call. Sure enough, that contraction ended the less than two minutes apart phase and time was of the essence. I got dressed and woke my husband up… it took him almost thirty minutes to get ready (granted he was tilling the garden the whole day before, so he was extremely sore.)

Not only did he seemingly take his time to get dressed and collect himself but he drove the speed limit almost the whole way to the hospital. It wasn’t until I started to feel the need to push that he ran two or three stop lights and got me to the ER. {In the process of him driving and my contractions, I somehow managed to call my mom, sister, and the ER to tell them I was on my way and needed to get to L&D ASAP upon arrival (in between contractions.) }

We entered the ER and told them my name and “labor and delivery now”, they called for a nurse to push me in a wheel chair… This was not a great plan! Me sit!!?! Are you kidding me??? So I politely told him I don’t think I could sit (in between contractions and that he needed to wait.)

He made me sit (their policy) and took his time strolling up to the third floor. Upon entering the birthing suite at 4:40 a.m. the ER nurse then informed me that I “needed to quiet myself down because there were mothers and babies sleeping.”

All I could say was “I’ll try my best…” We got to my room and I was told to get out of the wheel chair and go leave a urine sample. #1- I could hardly sit down seven minutes ago #2- It hurt to sit so how was I supposed to leave urine when I couldn’t sit on toilet? #3- I really needed to push and I wasn’t going to somehow magically stop.

I started to strip down my clothes so I could push this baby out and urine wasn’t on my mind but I tried none the less. I got up and began pushing while instructing my nurse to get my midwife now. She told me she had to check me and I needed to lay down on the bed before she could call for my midwife.

I agreed after talking and pushing through two contractions. Somehow, I managed to lay down still encouraging the nurse to get my midwife- still informing her that I was pushing and needed her immediately. She checked and I was fully dilated. At this point I have NEVER seen a L&D nurse move so fast.

She darted across the room, called for immediate help, and threw the gown, gloves and cap on in a matter of seconds. When no one was coming and I was still pushing she called again over their headsets.

Within two or three minutes two nurses came rolling in with my midwife behind them. When my midwife asked how I was progressing and informed I was fully ready, she gloved up and sat down to begin. I was already pushing and within a matter of two or three minutes my baby was crowning.

I listened to my midwife and took my time pushing so to prevent/help with tearing. I got to feel my water break, I got to feel my baby crown and fully come out. All while directing my husband to take pictures, but it happened to fast we didn’t get pictures. After pushing for five minutes altogether my baby girl was in my lap.

Apparently the nurses tried to IV me while the baby was crowning but my midwife told them to just let me be, that I would be fine without. We were admitted to the hospital at 4:40, by 4:50 I was in my room, by 4:55(ish) my midwife was coming in, and by 5:02 my baby girl was in my lap. Holy cow! My thoughts were did this really happen?

I was so ecstatic and I was (and still am) in complete awe of what really happened. While waiting for the cord to stop pulsating sat and chatted about everything. My midwife stayed in the room for the first hour while I nursed our newborn four times and she filled out her paperwork.

We delayed their routine at the hospital and I bathed her four hours after her birth and didn’t get her measurements until two hours after her birth. She weighed 7lb 4oz and was 18 1/2in. Her brother sure did ready the path with his large build!

I was/am so blessed to have the midwives I did each time. They are such amazing women and beyond supportive! (Written by  Desireé Leake)

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