Disclaimer: If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, maybe you should reconsider reading this. Unless, of course, you want to hear a less-than-perfect birth story to fuel your fear of labor. Then, by all means, read on.
Grace Aline came into the world on April 1 at 10:05 am. She was 6 lbs 12 oz, 20 inches long and literally the most beautiful thing I have ever seen – though I could be biased because I made her. This entrance, however, was not easy on either of us.
March 31 at 4:30 am I had my first contraction. I wasn’t sure if I was experiencing contractions until a few hours in when I Googled “what does a contraction feel like.” Let me tell you what it feels like – the worst menstrual cramp of your life + someone is wringing out your uterus like a wet dish towel. Throughout the day I worked, rested, drank electrolytes and baked brownies, and by 5:30 pm I was no longer able to focus on much of anything. All the while Chris was counting my contractions on his contraction counting phone app and waiting for 3-1-1 (contractions 3 mins long, 1 min apart for 1 hour). This is when we were to call the midwife.
The contractions were never this close, but my water broke at 1:30 am, while I was on the couch. I ran to the bathroom like a raving lunatic screaming that the amniotic fluid is everywhere! Chris assured me that it was not everywhere – just all over me – and called the midwife. We decided to go to the birthing center at this time – to which I rode in the passengers seat backwards, on my knees, hugging the seat and writhing in pain. Very illegal – in case you were wondering. Upon arrival at the birthing center I remember very little except that I was 9 cm dilated. So I thought – Yeah! I’m going to push out a baby in less than an hour! HA! What false expectations. Two hours of pushing later there was no baby, really not even any progress and meconium on the bed.
What I also remember at the birthing center was the loving support of the midwife, Chance, and the nurse who was coaching me, breathing with me and speaking words of encouragement – even when I said I couldn’t do it. The midwife shift change happened just as the meconium was discovered and my favorite midwife, Laura, was the new midwife and encouraged us to consider a transfer for Grace’s safety. So off to the hospital we went (I should mention the hospital is across the street). Chris drove, Laura was in the passengers seat (with three pairs of my underwear that Chris threw in the car in a state of panic) and I was in the back seat on all fours with my head in the car seat screaming. It’s actually fairly hilarious when I think back on it.
At the hospital I was blessed with the most amazing labor and delivery nurse – Yarka. Additionally, my blessings kept coming with an incredible Doula and friend, Lauren, AND my midwife who both stayed for the whole delivery. All three of these women, in conjunction with my husband, spoke words of love and encouragement to me, gave me strength to continue and helped decipher the less-than-caring words of the a-hole doctor who delivered Grace.
The hospital was a total blur, but I can tell you this much – while an epidural was offered and encouraged by the doctor I didn’t take it. The thought of getting a HUGE needle in my back, in conjunction with all the side effects of an epidural for both me and Grace were MUCH more terrifying than continuing on with no drugs. Plus, then I wouldn’t have gotten the self-dubbed title of badass mama. So after 2.5 hours of pushing at the hospital and no baby, but significant progress, we decided on a local anesthetic and a vacuum to assist in getting Grace out. In case your not familiar with the vacuum, it’s not an electric suction. Instead, it’s a little suction cup that goes on the baby’s head to help guide her out. I still had to do all the pushing work.
So after 5 hours of pushing, 2 catheters, 13 hours with little-to-no food, a hospital transfer and a vacuum – Grace FINALLY came out. Granted, she was covered in poop and had a very pointy head – due to the vacuum – but she was still beautiful. All in all, I’m happy we were transferred to the hospital for several reasons – the biggest being that she would not have been able to come out without a vacuum. Also, the postpartum care I received from the nurses was incredibly helpful, as I had significant tearing and could hardly get out of bed. But, will I go to the Midwifery again for baby #2 (which will be several years down the road)? You bet!