She just turned 2 and those are the words that describe her. She can be very opinionated and passionate in the things she wants. While it can be rough as a parent, I’m SO grateful for her strong spirit. I’m excited to see her develop and grow and I only hope I can positively guide her in the path she’s been given.
My baby turned 2 a couple days ago and I cannot believe where the time has gone. She is most likely the last baby I’ll be pregnant with. The last baby I’ll nurse. The last baby I’ll wrap up in a blanket. The last baby I’ll wear. And it’ makes me SAD!
Here is my birth story:
One year ago today I was in labor and gave birth to our beautiful daughter at 6:23pm, on 11/17/12, weighing 7lbs 15oz, and 20.5″ long.
Flagstaff Medical Center had recently started allowing VBAC’s again in July 2012 and there hadn’t been too many VBAC’s between then and my birth. I was an excellent candidate, having 2 previous VBAC’s without complication, but they were still following the repeat c-section rules of scheduling by 41 weeks that had been imposed on them. I wasn’t too happy with that, but after interviewing many providers in Phoenix and finally in Flagstaff, they were my best option. We talked and they were fine with doing NST’s if we did get to the 41 week mark. As bad as this may sound, they were very supportive and on board with my plan. I also knew there may be more rules for me delivering at a hospital so new to providing VBAC’s to their patients, but I also knew I would have a successful delivery, and if I could add towards the hospitals number of positive VBAC’s for future mamas, I was ok with that. So I transferred my care from a local NP/CNM at 34 weeks (it’s never too late!!).
My last OB appointment at North Country Health Care was on November 16th at 39.3 weeks. We drove the hour and forty-five minutes north to Flagstaff with everyone in tow (kids, my mom, Jay). I had my typical prodromal labor throughout my pregnancy, building up as I went, but this time I wasn’t dilating like I had with my previous pregnancies. Was I really going to get to the point of needing NST’s and scheduling a repeat after all this?
Without being pushy, she asked if I wanted my membranes stripped, “Uh, I don’t care. It never worked before, I doubt it will work this time. She’s never going to come out, we might as well just schedule that section…” I was 3cm, so she went ahead and did the strip and told me I needed the trifecta: spicy food, sex, and walking. So we left the appointment and headed to the Flagstaff mall around 11:00a waiting for a local Mexican food restaurant to open. I was experiencing nothing! After 20 minutes, I decided we just needed to go home, so we loaded up and I drove back while everyone else slept. I had my typical contractions I’d get from every trip from the position I was sitting in and I just cried. These weren’t real, they were just my ‘angry uterus’ acting up.
We got home around 1:00p and Jay headed out to work about 2:30p. An hour after that I wanted to be alone. Thankfully my mom was in town and I was able to lock my door to do my own thing. I also started to lose my plug but figured it was just from the membrane stripping and nothing special. I piddled around, not doing much, having contractions, but nothing worth timing. We ate dinner around 6:30p, put the boys to bed and I retreated back to my room.
Between 7:30p to 11:30p I caught up on my Hulu and bounced on the ball. I was still having contractions and losing my plug, but NO regularity. I was super emotional and feeling discouraged, I didn’t think it was real labor. I finally went to bed, but kept being woken up from the contractions. I knew if I wasn’t truly in labor I wouldn’t be waking up like this but I was still in denial. I finally got up to pee around 1:15a, having a few contractions and more discharge. Nope, just a side effect from the stripping, she’s never coming out!
I sent Jay a text with an update as to what was going on and he told me to contact Melody, my midwife/doula. (We hired her so she could monitor me at home and transfer to the hospital as my doula. This saved us a TON of trips) So what do I do? I send her a TEXT! I tell all my birth clients to NEVER text me in the middle of the night, I won’t hear it, they must call! Few minutes later I realized what I did and gave her a call, “Hey it’s Jen, this is what’s happening. It’s nothing, but Jay wanted me to let you know anyway…ugh” – “I’m getting my stuff and will be over in about 30 minutes”. Both she and Jay got to the house at 1:45a and Melody checked me. I was a stretchy 4cm. Looking back, I should have just gone with what I knew and not gone to the hospital, but everyone was worried about the distance and the fact that this was my 4th delivery. (for the future folks, my labors are 24 hrs, we have time).
I started waking up the boys and I’ll never forget what William did. “What?!” He started getting up and gathering his things (they each had a backpack and goody bag), and I needed him to get on his boots
“I just can’t”
“You can’t what?”
“I just can’t do this, I’m freaking out!” as he flails his arms around…
We get on the road at 2:00a and I still had no regular consistency to my contractions. I call the hospital to let us know we are on our way. When we did our tour, they told us to use one entrance for normal business hours and another for after hours. Of course I had no clue where to go. They told us to park at the top of the parking structure and they’d be out to meet us. We made it there at 3:00a, just an hour after leaving, which was odd since Jay was not speeding at all and then took his sweet time navigating through Flagstaff.
Once inside, they hooked me up to the monitors to see what my contractions looked like and to make sure Little Miss was doing well. I met the on-call doctors, doctors I had met in the office before, and we went over my wants/needs.
The anesthesiologist came in as a routine and he was pretty grumpy. The policy was to allow laboring mothers to eat and drink as much as they wanted, even VBAC’s, but he didn’t seem too thrilled about this rule. I could tell he was “old school”, so I just smiled and said ok. The doctor that was on-call also “recommended” I not eat and she tried to convince me otherwise for quite some time. I again politely declined and let her know I knew the risks. She didn’t bother me after that. Sometime after 6:00a we gave the boys their Big Brother bags that contained special shirts, and I ordered the famous breakfast burrito from the cafeteria and loved every minute of it. The nurse even came in at one point asking if I had made sure to order a cinnamon roll “they are amazing! You have to get one”
By 9:00a, I sent my mom and the boys off to the hotel to get some rest. I wanted the boys there for delivery (William was very interested in everything), but they didn’t need to hang out for the boring stuff. Since Jay had only had a minimal amount of sleep Friday morning, Melody sent him into the rooms insanely large closet with the fold out bed. She and I chatted for a majority of the time, I updated friends with my slow, but normal, progress. Noon rolled around and I decided to utilize the bathtub for a little bit. One minute I’m talking to Melody and the next thing I know I’m waking up. I figured I had just gone to sleep for a quick 10 minute nap… nope, about 30 minutes or so. Nice!
When I got out, I had progressed to 6cm and was 90%. Melody and I hung out some more and I was starting to feel bad for her. I wanted her to rest and eat, but she refused saying that wasn’t her job.
My contractions started intensifying, but still nothing I couldn’t handle, so I had Jay get up and shower. After this, my sense of time gets a little fuzzy. The doctor I had been seeing the most and was hoping would be at my delivery came in about 3:00p to check me, I was at 7cm, and we discussed breaking my water around 6:00p. Both she and Melody agreed that I would probably deliver really fast afterwards if we did this (my water never breaks on it’s own and I usually deliver VERY fast after it’s broken). Until then she encouraged me to move around, get in the tub, eat, drink, whatever I felt I needed to do. With my contractions getting stronger and stronger, I got back on the ball with Jay and Melody alternating massage and counter pressure. Jay and I walked the halls, but that just bored me, so we went back to my room.
I sent a message to a group of friends that read:
At some point, maybe around 5 (??), I started telling Jay and Melody that they needed to call my mom, that I needed the boys there, I didn’t want them to miss it. I knew I was heading into the serious part of transition and wanted to get in the bath just one last time to try and clear my mind and relax. I was still in the tub when my mom and the boys got there, and Steven was very insistent on feeding me ice chips, the only thing I wanted at that point.
I’m guessing I got out of the tub around 5:45p. It was really difficult for me since my contractions were back to back without relief, the nurse and Melody were very helpful with getting me to the bed.
I was shaking pretty bad when Dr. Ray came in to check on me. She asked me again if I wanted my water broken and knowing how my previous delivery was with Steven, I wanted it done. I knew it would be quick with the way these contractions were coming along. She broke my water at approximately 6:10pm, checked my dilation…. 7cm! Are you kidding?! I was in this much pain and still only at a 7?! I arrived at the hospital with William and Steven at 8cm, this was nuts. I broke down and Dr. Ray told me to get on my hands and knees to help with pain relief. Almost immediately I remember telling whoever was listening that I needed to push. I remember the nurse saying, “Jen, if you need to push you just go on ahe… ok, you’re pushing…”
I had Melody telling me to slow down my breathing because I was going to cause myself to hyperventilate, Jay on my other side telling me I was doing a great job, my two nurses and Dr. Ray also encouraging me. All the while I felt competently paralyzed. I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t move. I wanted off my hands and knees, I wanted all the lights on, I wanted to SEE what was going on. Two contractions and 4 pushes later on my hands and knees, in a panic, I delivered little Emily at 6:23pm. Dr. Ray was telling me to grab my baby. How was I supposed to do that?! I couldn’t move and she was slimy. Someone, I’m guessing Dr. Ray and the nurse (since Melody didn’t have gloves) placed Emily under me for me to hold her. Waiting for the cord to stop pulsating, I finally said I wanted to flip over. But not only did I want to flip over, I wanted them to take Emily to the warmer. I was traumatizing her, I was in shock, I wasn’t ok to hold her.
We did the normal routine after that, the nurse encouraged me to take Emily back and she nursed for about 40 minutes. The boys got to say hi to their new little sister, Melody left, and Jay headed out to take my mom and the boys back to the hotel and to get me food. My nurse got me up and into the shower, the best shower of your life(!), and I started feeling a bit better about holding Emily.
I am still pretty bummed that I wasn’t able to find a birth photographer like I was with Steven, but I’m so grateful for the snapshots Melody and my mom were able to grab.
After nearly a year am I finally starting to accept my birth, write about it, and look at the photos. I know so many having hospital deliveries would love to deliver the way I did, I had an ideal birth for many, but it wasn’t MY ideal birth. Looking back I probably had a few things going on emotionally that I thought I had over come. I also over prepared for this birth. With my previous labors, I dealt with my contractions very well, I listened to my body, I was able to focus. This time, I was so focused on making hypnobabies work, that I felt as if I was failing when it wasn’t working. I should have kept to my normal routine and kept it simple.
Find what works for you. Try and learn different coping mechanisms. Mourn your birth if you need to, but don’t forget to enjoy your new baby and the now. Recognize the amazing job you just did regardless of the outcome and give yourself a hug! You just created and delivered a life, a human being!!