warning: I don't think I get too graphic, but this is the story of Jack's birth. You were warned.
After an amazing pregnancy, John and I were more than ready to meet our little one. He, however, had made himself comfortable and wasn't very interested in coming out to meet us. Here's the story of our journey to meet our baby...
Throughout the pregnancy, I did a lot of research and a lot of "soul searching." I wanted to plan the perfect birth. Looking back, I know how crazy that sounds; but I guess I wanted to make sure that I did everything I could to prepare for the baby's safe arrival. I also really wanted to work on preparing myself emotionally. I felt like massive amounts of information (both scientific and anecdotal) would somehow make up for my lack of experience in the birthing arena. Now I know that it's about as effective as studying the driver's manual for your behind the wheel test. In any event, I devoured book after book, read birth stories all day long, and talked to Mommies who'd been there, done that. By the end of our pregnancy, I was as ready as I was going to be.
March 13th, our estimated due date, came and went, and still the baby was inside. Even though I knew that the baby probably wouldn't come on his “due date,” I was a little emotional that day. I felt a little disappointed that the baby wasn't here, yet. We remained patient, going in for weekly (and then daily) ultrasounds and biophysical profiles to make sure the baby was still doing well. We talked with the doctor about the “what ifs” – how long would we be able to wait before we had to evict him? What would that mean? What were the options? We all agreed that we would give the baby as much time as possible to come out on his own; but if he wasn't out at 42 weeks, we would have to help him along. After preparing for a natural, normal birth, I was very apprehensive about being induced. In fact, it was really my biggest fear throughout the whole pregnancy. With all the reading and preparing I had done, I had really sort of glossed over the induction & c-section stuff, hoping that I wouldn't need to know about it, anyway.
I tried to remain positive and asked the baby every day to come out on his own. But, when our due date came and went, I did what I could to try to avoid induction. John and I walked every day, trying to get things moving. I drank raspberry leaf tea, took evening primrose oil, ate spicy foods and did jumping jacks. I also had acupuncture and massage, to no avail – although it did feel marvelous!
On March 22nd, at 41 weeks, our doctor stripped my membranes. I was dilated to 3 cm and about 60% effaced. By the time we got home I felt crampy and started having a few irregular contractions. John and I went for a long walk that night to try to get things to progress. The contractions were coming every 8-9 minutes and seemed to be getting more intense. We called our doula, Sara, at about 10:30 p.m. She told me to take a shower and try to get some sleep. The contractions stopped a few hours later.
Back to the doctor on March 25th for a BPP. The baby still looked good, but my amniotic fluid was getting low. Doctor stripped my membranes again, and we (tearfully) made a plan to check in at the hospital the next morning at 8:00 a.m. At this point, I felt like I had failed. After so many months and months of preparing for a normal birth, here we were talking about cervadil and pitocin. I was scared of being induced, so sure that it was an automatic route to a c-section. So I cried for a few minutes and let those feelings out and then focused on the positive: we would soon have our baby in our arms!
That night felt like the night before Christmas. It was so hard to fall asleep. I had so many emotions swirling around inside. I turned on our music from prenatal yoga class and did some guided relaxation. Finally, I fell asleep. At about 1:00 a.m., I woke up to a pretty intense contraction. My heart just about leaped out of my chest when I felt another one come less than 15 minutes later. This had happened a few times before, but some how this felt different. And the contractions kept coming and getting more regular. I tried to go back to sleep, and I think I got a few more hours in before the contractions wouldn't let me sleep any more. I called the hospital at 7 am to see if they still wanted us to check in for induction at 8, or if we could labor at home. Of course they told us to come in... But at that point, I was fine with it. I knew I was in labor and I felt encouraged that the baby had finally gotten the message, and was trying to come on his own. We called Sara and asked her to meet us at the hospital...