The birth of my sweet son was not what I expected. It’s not what I dreamed of and envisioned when I pictured my first child’s birth day. But it was still an absolutely amazing day; one that I will not forget. I’ve been holding onto the memories and every second of that day for 14 months now. I’ve procrastinated putting it into words because it’s not I wanted or what I hoped for. But as I finally force myself to sit down and record Jackson’s story, I am learning to really, fully love my story. I want to use my experience to help others achieve the birth they long for.
For years I researched natural birth and the benefits of going into labor on your own and birthing a child with no medication. I just knew I’d do whatever it took to make that my story. When I found out I was pregnant, my husband was all aboard and wanted to support me. We were adamant against induction and my doctor was completely supportive of it.
As my due date approached, I felt absolutely amazing. I was doing anything I could to get labor going. I didn’t care if it was a myth, if someone thought it may naturally induce labor, I was trying it. I ate a whole pineapple a day. I walked. I did squats. I bounced on the exercise ball. I was taking evening primrose oil pills. I was trying everything haha. We had an ultrasound and a BPP done at 40+3 and everything looked perfect. I was having contractions but I had no idea. I couldn’t feel anything. As we talked with the doctor, we began scheduling out the next couple of weeks. My husband was finishing up his business degree and had finals the next Monday. My mom lived 8 hours away and was afraid she wouldn’t make it. Something inside of me decided to schedule an induction at 40+6. In my heart, I was praying that I would go into active labor before I checked into that hospital. As the induction time got closer, I kept thinking I would cancel and let my body do the work. I never did. As I walked through the hospital hallways, I remember thinking how great I felt. No way was I 41 weeks pregnant! It was like a dream. I felt so blessed and thankful for such an amazing journey that was about to move onto the next stage.
The nurses began my induction at 7 pm on Thursday night. We started with cervadil to soften my cervix and get things going. When the nurse checked me before inserting the cervadil, I wasn’t even half a centimeter dilated and I was just barely effaced. They hooked me up to the monitor and I was still having regular contractions a few minutes apart, yet I still couldn’t feel them. In my head, I thought, “Wow, my body isn’t doing anything to keep up with the contractions! Good thing I’m here!” Of course I was just tyring to reassure myself. As the night went on, I began to feel the contractions in my back. The pain was rough, but still bearable. We had some essential oils that Peter rubbed on my back and he tried to help ease the pain. I couldn’t get comfortable or sleep, but I was okay. The nurses checked me a couple of more times throughout the night, but I was not any more dilated even as the night went on.
At 5:30 AM the next morning, April 28th, the nurses started Pitocin. The pain almost instantly became unbearable. My contractions were about a minute apart so I had a little bit of time to rest in between. Because I was on Pitocin, I had to stayed hooked up to the IV and therefore couldn’t walk around. I was so, so uncomfortable.. At 8:30 AM, I was still around just a centimeter dilated. The doctor wasn’t concerned, but I was in such terrible back pain and each contraction was getting worse and closer together. I went back and forth about an epidural. I did not want to get one and knew I’d be so disappointed in myself if I did so. My husband was getting stressed because there was nothing he could do could help me. When I finally made it to 3 cm, a little after 10 AM, I couldn’t take it anymore. I remember telling my husband that if I knew when it would stop, I’d be able to get through it, but of course we didn’t know. I also told him I didn’t want to have any more babies haha! My contractions were less than 30 seconds apart. The back labor was absolutely terrible. We waited over an hour for the anesthesiologist. I was still just over 3 cm when I got the epidural. It was so, so hard to sit still through the pain for him to administer the epidural. My nurse was fantastic at helping me get through it. The anesthesiologist said that he gave me the lowest dosage. I could still feel the contractions in my lower back and I could move my legs and feet, but the unbearable pain was finally gone and I felt so much better.
As much as I didn’t want get the dreaded epidural, my body was able to relax and do what it needed to do. After the epidural kicked in, the nurse had me lay down to get some rest. Since I could still feel everything, I didn’t rest, but I was able to update everyone who was texting me! When she checked me not even 45 minutes later, I went from 3 cm to 10 in less than an hour! She said she could see Jacksons head and it was time to “practice” pushing. I was shocked! As we prepared ourselves, and the whole delivery team got set up – and ALL privacy went out the door – I felt ready. The nurse was prepared and ready but said to hold off as my doctor was at lunch. I knew in my head if I felt the baby trying to come out, I was pushing him out, doctor there or not haha.
Once the doctor finally made it into the room, I began “real” pushing. The nurses were having me push in timed increments as they watched the monitors, but I would really try to follow my body as it contracted. I felt the baby getting lower with each contraction. It was truly amazing! The doctor realized quickly that Jackson was sideways. His arm was sticking out, above his head as he was coming out. The doctor decided it was best to do an episiotomy so the baby’s arm and head wouldn’t cause him to be stuck. It just took a few more pushes and Jackson was born! He was perfectly healthy and beautiful, and covered in vernix. The first thing I said as the doctor held him up was, “Look at all that vernix!!” I was so excited that he was covered in it. Dr. McIntire looked at me like I was crazy! My nurses immediately put him on my bare chest.
All of the pain, the regrets of scheduling an induction, and the exhaustion was so worth it at that very moment. A beautiful, healthy baby boy was in my arms and I was healthy and doing great. Jackson stayed on me for almost two hours as we bonded and nursed. I was dying to know how much he weighed so I let the nurse take him to measure him. He weighed 7lb 5 oz and was 20.5 in long. I remember thinking how perfect he was in every way!
I love to tell my story. I love to tell the world how our bodies can do it. I don’t want to force my body to be ready again, I want to give myself more time to let my baby come when he is ready to come. But I am so, so thankful to have a story and to have a beautiful day to remember and to share!