Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Birth Story Part 2: New Baby Boy

For the first part of my son's story, see Birth Story Part 1: Unexpected Challenges.

Thursday, July 16th

We were scheduled for induction at noon, but as is typical the hospital was busy and we weren't able to get in until 3:30. We dropped our sweet daughter off at Nana's house and headed to the hospital. The most stressful part of the whole experience for me was being away from her for so long. We had never both left her overnight before and we haven't done it since. Doing so is a big deal for us - we don't have our kids babysat very often at all! So needless to say, I really was hoping this whole process would go quickly to minimize time away from her.

We didn't get things started until about 5:30 or 6, because the intake process just takes a while and then they had to do a non-stress test and quick ultrasound to make sure everything was still looking good and Baby was still head-down.

Around 6 we started with the Foley bulb, which puts pressure on your cervix to help dilate. We went this route because it's not a drug and there was a chance it would kick-start labor all on its own and we would be able to avoid or minimize Pitocin. (You may remember from my birth story with our first that I can't have an epidural because of my scoliosis. I had heard that Pitocin can cause especially painful contractions, so it was my goal to minimize the amount of medication needed for that reason as well as simply because less medication is better for the baby.)

Some contractions started immediately after inserting the Foley bulb, but they petered out after an hour or so and we both went to sleep, resting up for the hard work that Friday would surely bring.

Friday, July 17th

Around 2am I woke up and was 4cm dilated. The Foley bulb had done its work. I was having some contractions that were somewhat regular, so the midwife decided to let things proceed for a little while without intervention to see if labor would continue to progress on its own. We tried to help it along with me being up on my feet, on the birthing ball, or in the shower, but no real progress was made when the midwife came back around 7am. At that point since my contractions had slowed we were ready to start a little bit of Pitocin. My nurse and midwife very wisely suggested that I wait until after breakfast to start Pitocin, since I wouldn't be able to eat after we got that going. I had a full breakfast, and started Pitocin at 8am.

They very slowly increased the Pitocin during the day, but I did not respond to it until late in the afternoon when things finally started to pick up and the contractions became unpleasantly painful. It was a long, boring day full of impatience as we were facing another night away from our daughter. At 7pm I was 5-6cm and we decided it was a good time to break my water. We had been holding off on this for as long as possible, but it seemed that at this point it would really help us move things along and we were both very ready to make progress.

Breaking the water did the trick. I was instantly in very intense labor, and in transition very soon after. This part is somewhat a blur in my memory, but towards the end things got a little scary. The contractions were coming very fast even though the Pitocin had been turned off. From the monitor they could see that our Little Man wasn't tolerating the contractions well - his heart rate would drop with each one. The nurse would have me move from position to position mid-contraction in an attempt to make Baby happy, which was very difficult.

I only had to push for 15 minutes, and although those final hours of labor were very intense, Little Man was born healthy at 11:07pm - 6lbs, 4oz, 18 inches, and adorable!

The Hospital Stay

For being born at 36 weeks, our little one did amazingly! He was a great size - bigger than his sister was even though she was full term. He struggled for the first couple hours to keep up his temperature and he had some moisture in his lungs, and he didn't catch on to nursing until the second day. But he never had to visit the NICU, and he passed all his tests perfectly.

We had to stay a few extra days to treat jaundice, which is very typical for a baby at 36 weeks. Since I was perfectly fine, we were transferred to Peds for a few nights, which I did not like. The food is so much better on Mother/Baby, and the staff there treats you like you're healthy, instead of like your baby is sick. But he did so well, and was such a trooper through it all. He hardly cried, even during the day he spent under the Billy lights. We were so blessed to have such a healthy outcome for everyone!


I obviously did not have the birth experience I wanted this time around, but I did have a good, healthy experience with a good outcome. I had complications and medical decisions to make in the moment, but I never felt out of control or forced to do anything. I firmly believe that confidence and information are the only two things necessary to have a healthy, minimal-intervention birth. You are in control, wherever you are giving birth. At the end of the day, I made the choices I needed to make to have a healthy little boy and to take care of my own health as well.

I am an advocate of natural childbirth, but the birth experience is just that... an experience. It's far from the whole picture. The experience was not what I envisioned, and that is sad, but having a baby is not about an experience. The miracle of parenthood is not about a day spent delivering a baby. The miracle is that God creates life, protects mother and baby, and entrusts a child to us as parents. And that miracle can be celebrated and enjoyed no matter how one's birthing experience goes.

I have enjoyed my son every day since he entered our life (eight months before his birth). He is a wonderful blessing and a perfect addition to our family.

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