Every woman likes a good birth story, right? I know I do. I love hearing about other women's experiences and how everything went when it came down to the big event- D Day- or, Delivery Day. I also had such a wonderful experience this time around, that I wanted to share some things I did that might help you gear up for the big day if and when you find yourself expecting again.
First off, this pregnancy was different for me. It wasn't necessarily a "bad different", it was just, well, "different". It kept throwing me curve balls, and I had to stay on top of my game! First off, I was diagnosed at 26 weeks with Gestational Diabetes. I was borderline, so I didn't have to do much other than alter my diet a little and throw some walking in there to keep my numbers under control, so that was good. It was just rather annoying having to stick myself four times a day and make sure I ate the right thing, all the time. All of that made for a healthier pregnancy, though. I only gained 25 pounds, and I have already lost 20 of those said pounds, in just five days. So that was the silver lining in the Gestational Diabetes Cloud.
Also, around week 32 or so, I began experiencing symptoms of Pre-Eclampsia. One of my friends suggested that it was due to a kidney infection, as we both knew I had been eating a lot of protein, and lack of protein is one of the main causes of pre-eclampsia. I had been spilling protein in my urine, and there was also bacteria, which is indicative of a kidney infection. My blood pressure was going up, and I was having daily headaches. I took her advice and started a regime of baking soda capsules alternated with Uva Ursi tea and pills. Within a week, all symptoms subsided. I was so glad, as I did not want to be put on bed rest or go into labor early. Always research your natural options when faced with a medical problem!
I experienced swelling like I never have before, since about week 20. In fact, I am still a little swollen, and I can't wait until that part of pregnancy is finally gone. I can finally see my ankles again! I really don't know why I swelled so much, age, maybe? It was more of an annoyance than anything. Also, for the first time ever, I experienced pregnancy induced carpal tunnel in my wrists and hands. They constantly fell asleep, and the tingling was so annoying. Once again, not life threatening- just annoying.
Looking back, all I can say is, it's a good thing women are the ones who carry the babies! I don't think men could handle it! All that to say, this pregnancy was...different. I felt pretty good, besides the basic complaints and what I mentioned. In fact, I wasn't in all that much of a hurry to go into labor- my last two labor and deliveries were terrible. So terrible, that the memories were always kind of in the back of my head. Because of this, I wasn't in a huge hurry to go through it all again.
However, the big day always arrives. On Friday, January 11, I had been having contractions the entire day. SO much so, that I decided to start timing them. They were every five minutes, lasting one minute a piece. Mentally, though, I wasn't ready to have her. My midwife had told me she was going to be gone the entire day on the 12th, and I really wanted her to be the one to deliver. Also, my husband had no one to fill in for him on Sunday, the 13th, so I really wanted to make it through that day, as well. I kept telling my kids- "I want to have her on Monday. Monday is the day." Who knew that the mental part of it could be so strong?! My contractions finally tapered off, and I went to bed, still pregnant. I breathed a sigh of relief.
I had been doing some things to prepare for the big day, and I was really hoping they would make my labor easier. One thing I had been doing was eating six dates a day. Eating six dates a day has been shown to help shorten women's labors. Here is an article explaining the logistics.
Another thing I had been doing was evening primrose oil. I wait until week 37, and in about a week, it softens me up quite a bit.
My midwife had told me at week 37 that when I felt like I was going into labor, castor oil with eggs would help it along. I was very skeptical. First off, I had taken castor oil with a couple others, and while it did help with labor, it had awful, awful side effects. Plus, it was nasty. NO way I wanted to go that route again. I kind of just put it in the back of my mind.
Well, Friday and Saturday I had regular contractions. They never intensified, though, so I knew it wasn't the 'real thing'. Sometimes my body will go a whole week with prodomal labor before I finally go into labor.
Monday morning I had a midwife appointment. I was a couple days away from being 39 weeks, and she knew I had been having regular contractions, so she swept my membranes. I was over halfway effaced and between a 2-3 dilated. It gave me hope that maybe the big event was right around the corner! Any time I have had my membranes swept, it has put me into labor. So, I went home and waited. And waited. And nothing happened. I had a couple little contractions, and that was about it. I was pretty bummed. And then my daughters brought me the castor oil. They convinced me that I needed to take it. This was about 1 or 2 pm. I knew I didn't want to take it in a shake- that's what had given me the horrible side effects with previous pregnancies. And then I remembered what my midwife had said about the eggs. I grumpily started whisking eggs while my daughters cheered me on. I poured 2 tablespoons of castor oil into the eggs, and scrambled them. It actually wasn't bad. I was surprised and shocked that I couldn't really taste the oil. I used plenty of salt and pepper, and besides being a little oily, it wasn't awful. Well, little did I know what those eggs would do!
Within two hours, I was having contractions every two minutes. I waited for the digestive problems to start, and they never did. (Coincidentally, I never had side effects from the oil. I guess when you combine it with the eggs, it doesn't cause gastro problems, but something in the oil works with your hormones and helps put you in labor- but only if your body is ready for it. If you aren't ready for labor, it won't work.) From about 4 until 6, I debated texting my midwife. Should I go in? Shouldn't I? I have never gone to the hospital and NOT been admitted. It's always been the real deal, and I wanted to keep my streak going! Well, I finally texted and she said, "Yes, come in. I will meet you there." So, we did.
She met me there and checked me. I was between a 3-4, and about the same amount effaced. I was still having contractions every few minutes, though, and they could see that on the monitor. She told me that if I wanted, if I got to a definite four, she would break my water. I said, yes, definitely. I was ready! I walked for a half hour, and that was all it took. We had gotten to the hospital at 7:30 pm. By the time they monitored me, I walked for a half hour, and she was ready to break my water, it was 9 pm. Baby was in optimal position. Her back was lined up with my stomach, and she was not posterior. I really believe chiropractic visits, Spinning Babies, and prayers are what lined her up correctly! I am prone to posterior babies, and that's why I have had such awful deliveries with the last two children before her.
I was going to get up and walk around after they broke my water, but as soon as she did, the contractions changed. Like, it started getting real. I didn't even have time to change into my cute socks I had for labor, or the really pretty gown I had bought to labor in. I had to focus on the contractions and the task ahead of me. The nurse quietly stayed by my side and kept an eye on the monitor, and also tried making sure I was comfortable. (as comfortable as I could get in that situation) They did put an i.v. into me, just because it's pretty much standard nowadays in the hospital, in case you need it. I wasn't hooked up to anything, though, and they pretty much used it to draw blood with, and that's about it. I had no pitocin, no pain meds, nothing. And the contractions were very manageable. I told the nurse that I knew it was about transition time. From the time they broke my water, my body was shaking. The nurse said it was because I was going so quickly. She had to keep moving the heart monitor down, because Baby was descending so quickly into the birth canal. My midwife came in as I was going through transition. Transition only lasted about five minutes, and it was the only time during the process that I felt like I was done, and I couldn't handle it. Still, I only moaned slightly. I am usually pretty quiet during my labors. I had three horrendous contractions right on top of each other, and then I knew it was time. I told her I had to push, and I instinctively got up on my hands and knees. Her head was slightly turned into my hip, and when I did this, it lined her up perfectly. I did two pushes by myself on my hands and knees, and then my midwife asked if I wanted to flip over. She said it was up to me. I said, sure. I flipped over, and with one mighty push, Kelly moved almost all the way down. I asked one of the nurses how many more pushes. She said, "Oh, maybe three?" She was pretty close. It took four. In four pushes, my beautiful Kelly was out, and placed on my stomach. The first thing my husband and I noticed was all her hair.
She had a ton of hair! All of the acid reflux that I had been having suddenly made sense! Also, she was a screamer. She did not like being messed with! She let everyone know that her delivery was fast, and rough, and she was not happy! After her cord stopped pulsing, I was able to start skin to skin and nursing her. It took a couple tries because she was screaming her head off, but she finally calmed down and latched on. She nursed on and off for the next two hours, and anytime one of the nurses checked her heart or temp, she would scream bloody murder. My midwife did all her stuff on me while Kelly was skin to skin on me. I had made it without drugs. No pit, no meds, no tearing, no cut. My body was still shaking, just because I had never gone from a 4 to pushing in an hour and a half!
My midwife and nurses kept calling me a "Rock star." I think it's rare when women do it naturally anymore, and it's even more rare when they it naturally without screaming their heads off.
Since delivery, it's been my easiest recovery. I don't know if it's the dates that have helped, (they certainly helped me have a fast delivery, that's for sure!) or if it's because I ate healthier with her, or if it was the short labor and pushing stage, but it's been great. One thing that has helped tremendously has been this Balm. It feels wonderful, and has sped up the healing process. Other than that, I haven't needed much else. I have been trying to stay in bed or on the couch, and just nurse my beautiful baby. She was such a great nurser that my milk was already coming in by the time I left the hospital that Wednesday. I have no complaints with how anything went, and this is definitely a labor and delivery that won't leave bad memories in my mind! I wanted to give you some of the tips that helped me this time around. Maybe it was just the fact that it was my 7th baby, I don't know. I know all the prayers helped. You all have been wonderful with your prayers and concern. I could definitely feel it.
If you have a blog, and a birth story of your own, I would love to read it! Just leave a link to it on our Facebook page. I hope you enjoyed mine. God is good, and I am so grateful for yet another of his blessings.
8 pounds, 2 ounces
19 inches long