Friday, October 15, 2010

Our Story: Jaxon and Mama

Many of you have asked about my birth story. Well here it goes. I write like a nurse, so beware if you don't prefer to hear the gory details.

Don and I prepared for many months in advance to have a natural, hypnobirth labor and delivery. We took the class, read the books, listened to the CDs, and practiced the hypnosis and verbage. I agree with 90% of their model, so we thought it was a great way to prepare. Little did we know that things would be so abrupt. I truly believe in natural birthing and natural pregnancies. The last thing I wanted was a c section or an induction unless absolutely medically necessary. Many of you may not agree with me, but that is my preference. I believe birth is a rite of passage and that it is a beautiful experience that should be enjoyed and not fretted.

As I approached 40 weeks, I was getting a wee bit tired of being pregnant. The mental aspect was getting the best of me. I definitely was ready to go into labor. Apparently Jaxon was way too comfortable though. I don't know how ripe my cervix was. I was taking Evening Primrose Oil, having sex on a more than regular basis, doing nipple stimulation, pumping with a breast pump, tried Castor Oil a few times (only induced vomiting), and walked until I had a stress fracture in my heel. Nothing was happening.

Then came 41 weeks. My Bishop score was a total of 3. Nothing great. I was definitely not ready to go into labor. We had to start at least talking about an induction. I also started getting bi-weekly NST's, BPP's and AFI's. I talked all of the details over with my midwives. All of the above testing for Jaxon was more than perfect. He was simply comfy and growing still. I continued to try all of the above remedies for cervical ripening. No contractions, though.

I had my next appointment at 41 weeks and 6 days. We decided to strip my membranes on this visit, despite my Bishop score. My cervix was very ripe, though. At least all those remedies were doing something. That visit was on Tuesday. I did not have a single contractions all the way through Tuesday evening or Wednesday. I was getting a wee bit frustrated with my body at this time. I also had doubts that anything was going to go the way we planned - as if birth is ever planned!

Thursday rolled around and I had some mild cramping, but nothing that I had not already experienced and had went away. I went walking, took more primrose oil and decided to try Castor Oil one last time. I made a peanut butter, chocolate and vanilla milkshake with 2 oz of castor oil. That actually disguised the taste enough for me to get it down. Again, nothing happened though. I went for another walk, kept well hydrated, cleaned somethings in the house and went about my day like normal. The cramping did not end this time though, but they also did not turn into contractions.

Around 8:30pm, I finally started feeling cramping that became more regular. I made lasagna and put it in the oven at 8:30 and decided to call Don and tell him what was going on. I talked to him while he drove home and told him that I think I might actually go into labor. I called the midwife to update her and she recommended a walk, some wine and some Benadryl to sleep. In my experience, this is typical for a first time labor. I called Don and told him that I would like to take a walk while the lasagna finishes and then try to get some sleep.

He walked in the door at 9:15pm and my water broke at 9:20 with a huge gush of green fluid. I called the midwife back and updated her and told her that contractions had now started and were 2-3 min apart. She recommended that we come to the birth center because we live 45 min away and that we would probably have to go to the hospital for the meconium. Don and I turned off the oven, threw the lasagna in the microwave, grabbed my shoes, he changed and rolled out of the apartment. I left wearing multiple pads, sweats, and sat on a huge towel. My fluid continued to gush, making quite the yucky mess. My contractions all of a sudden were 2 min apart and were continuing to get stronger.

We arrived to the birth center at 10:45pm. She checked me and I was 3-4 cm with a good fetal HR. My contractions remained 2 min apart. We all three drove to the hospital just down the road. I checked myself in while Don fought with NY parking. I paced in the hallway doing my hypnobirth breathing while the nurses stood looking at me. I felt a little weird in that moment. I'm pretty sure no one knew what they were doing in triage, considering I was a direct admit.

I finally got a room, got hooked to the monitor and had a hep lock placed. My contractions were still 2 min apart. The midwife checked me and I was 5-6 cm and that was around midnight. Don started video taping. I was doing hypnobreathing and bouncing on the birthing ball. The whole time, my contractions were all in my back and I had continuous pressure. Don was pushing on my hips and the midwife was doing the hypnobirthing scripts. Everything seemed to be moving right along.

Then it hit, the contractions fell into this overzealous pattern of mayheim. They were less than a minute apart. The pressure intensified and I lost all control of my body. The hypnobirthing philosophy went out the window and I just tried to maintain any respectable composure. I told the midwife that I felt alot of pressure, so she checked me again. I was still 5-6 cm though. I thought I might go insane at this point. I was in tears because my contractions were about 45 sec apart lasting about 1.5 min. My uterus was making up for the past 42 weeks! I had no time to even catch my breath in between contractions. I told Don I wanted an epidural. She and Don both asked me multiple times if that is what I really wanted. I had no idea what I wanted, but I wanted the insanity to end. Fortunately, the anesthesia team was in with another patient at the time. So I continued to breath, focus on the "opening rose", and listen to Don.

While all this was going on in my head, my labor continued in this crazy pattern. I told the midwife once again that I felt pressure. I was unable to hold back the urge to push. This was only 45 min from the last check she had done. She agreed to check me again because Jaxon's heartrate kept dropping. Something was going on...but no one knew what. She did check me and I was complete and +1.

This meant I could push. The relief was coming. I forgot about the epidural and began to push my heart out. The greatest feeling of relief I had had since 9:20pm. I pushed a total of 2 times before the lovely hospital attending came in "to save the day"! She decided she would not let me push because his heartrate was too low. He was already at +2 after only 2 pushes. She made me sit with her hands inside of me doing fetal scalp stim through about 5 contractions. I finally lost it and told her she needed to move along. Finally, the MD that covers the midwifes arrived. He was the greatest doctor on the earth that night. He had the other attending leave because all she wanted to do was cut me. He told me to push. We got up into the bed and used the squat bar. I pushed a few times and then we had to lay back down to get the heartrate. He told me I had 2 more pushes and then he would use the vacuum because Jaxon's HR was in the 70's for quite a while. I agreed. We pushed, but couldn't get him out. He set me up for the vacuum and prepared for should dystocia. Don was on one side and Andrea (CNM) was on the other. The contractions came and so did the most intense burning sensation that anyone could ever imagine. The pop came and his head was out. Only one more hurdle to over come now....the shoulders.

Well, I had a big child so these shoulders were some work, but they came on out. He laid him on my chest and we sat there for a couple of seconds before he had to be suctioned for the meconium. One of the greatest moments of my life came in those few seconds. Yes, the pain had ended, but I had accomplished something. I had given birth to a beautiful baby boy (that might I add was very healthy)!

I had no idea that my labor would only last 5 hours and be almost a precipitous delivery with a hyperstimming uterus. I had no idea that we would completely forget about the scrips, CDs, breathing baby down and all of the other hypnobirthing stuff. I had no idea that I would only have back labor. I had idea that he would not tolerate being abruptly brought into this world. I had no idea that I would have 3rd degree vaginal tearing that would require vaginal packing and 12 different sutures.

I do know that I am so grateful to have a healthy baby boy. I also know that I am very proud of delivering without an epidural or any other medications, even though I did ask for it. I do know that the next time, I will live a lot closer to whereever I give birth or will give birth at home.

We stayed in the hospital for 24 hours. We came home on Friday after eating a meal in Brooklyn. We got home and now the fun has really begun...


  1. Thank you for sharing this-So inspiring and refreshing to see a fellow labor and delivery nurse who has a similar mindset. I am so proud of you and am impressed with what a STRONG mama you were. Thank you for sharing the was very moving to read!! Congratulations you two! He is beautiful!!

  2. In midwifery school we were taught that some of the risk factors for intrapartum complications included things like redheads (believe it or not - for PPH), friends, and professionals/co-workers (L&D nurse). All things considered, it went pretty well!

    Honestly though, my heart hurts any time a mama (& daddy) envision the perfect birthing center birth and for some reason or other end up in the hospital. Your acceptance and flexibility are two strong qualities you possess that helped you through your difficult labor and delivery and which I'm sure will help you to be a fantastic mommy.