One my all time favorite things to read or hear about are birth stories. They are all so unique and gloriously different and full of hope. Before I posted Zoë’s birth story, I wanted to get Eli’s out there to get some context for how things went the second time around.
After having Braxton-Hicks contractions each night for a week and having them dissolve into nothing, our waiting family gave us a night to ourselves. Lo and behold, without people watching me for every sign of labor, those contractions started back up around 6:00pm. And they didn’t stop. I got in the tub at about 8:00 to see if I could make them go away or if this was finally the real deal. After sitting in the tub for about 15 minutes, I decided this was it. Finally, after a 41 week and 5 day pregnancy I was in labor! And, that labor seemed to be progressing quickly!
I moved out of the tub and to the excercise ball, rolling my hips and trying to “lean” into the pain. I had my husband squeeze the back of my hips to try to relieve the pressure. I tried to distract myself by watching the Olympics. My contractions continued to progress, becoming closer together and more intense. When I was having trouble talking through them and my contractions became 4 minutes a part (about 11), my husband put a call into our midwives. They had my husband put the phone on speaker and listened to me go through a contraction, trying to determine if I should go in or not. The decision was made to go in.
Once we packed up the car with my bag and snacks for the staff, we headed to the birthing center. Once we started driving my contractions started to slow down a bit. My husband remarked that it was odd how I could converse with him just fine during the break in my contractions, despite how in pain I seemed during them.
Upon arriving at the birthing center, my contractions started to pick back up again. We went into the room and began to practice those labor coping techniques again. Things were progressing quickly and I got into the tub to labor. That’s when things took a turn. About 2 minutes into laboring in the water, I began to feel like I was going to throw up. And I was excited. I had researched unmedicated birth a lot and a common theme had been people vomiting when they were in transition. I couldn’t believe of quickly things were progressing! After throwing up, I got out of the tub to get my progress checked for the first time. It was not great news. Eli was head down and at zero station, my cervix was dialated to 2 centimeters. And I was vomiting with every contraction.
This is where things start to get a little blurry. We opted to start IV fluids and my husband and I tried to get some rest in between contractions. I remember constantly trying to go to the bathroom and being too weak to get off the toilet. Nothing has really humbled me quite like all the reproductive stuff my husband has visually witnessed. I continued to get sick, so much so that I began to vomit up blood. After several hours, we checked my progress again. My contractions were starting to slow down and labor seemed to be headed towards a stall. I was at a 3, but not progressing how the midwives would like. My husband and midwives started to discuss the next step. I was offered two options: take an ambien to try to get some rest and sleep or head to the hospital to get an epidural. We opted to leave and get the epidural. My husband told me that once we made the decision to go to the hospital, that I begged him to take the pain away every time I had a contraction and that waiting to get transferred to the hospital took about 2 hours.
Upon arrival at the hospital, I was a mess. A massive, teary mess. They immediately got pain meds in me while I waited for an epidural. I had the sweetest nurse talk me through getting my epidural. Big accolades to the anesthesiologist that managed to get that needle into my spine despite the intense shaking. Once I got my epidural everything got so much better. I finally stopped throwing up and got some rest. My husband was able to look less terrified and also get some rest. The doctors and I chatted and we discussed a game plan. We opted to try pitocin and see if my body would open up. After a couple hours of pitocin, I managed to get up to 4 centimeters. I had to stay flat on my back or else Eli’s heart rate went a little nuts. We discussed options with the doctor yet again. After looking at how strong Eli had been throughout the whole pregnancy, we opted to up the pitocin and see if we could get things moving.
After extra pitocin and 2 hours of waiting, there was still no change in my cervix and I had been in labor for 28 hours. We made the decision to go forward with a cesarean. My husband was sent to go get scrubbed up and I was led to the operating room. Once again, massive, teary mess! I began sobbing once we got into the operating room. While waiting for my husband and being prepped for surgery, I kept asking every person that came by me if I was going to be ok, if they had done this before, if anyone had died during their cesarean. I was losing my mind. When Mr. Seashell finally got in the room I was able to be much much calmer. They started my cesarean and I didn’t feel a thing. It was this sleepy, hazy time where they presented me with a baby (at 9:16) and then swept him away and I started throwing up again; happy, but utterly exhausted.
Eli and I got to know each other right away in the recovery room, snuggled up and feeding my new baby boy, I felt an immediate surge of energy and love. It’s interesting, when other people hear about Eli’s birth, they remark that it was traumatic. I don’t feel that way though, Eli’s birth is just Eli’s birth and I just feel grateful to be apart of it.