Towards the end of my pregnancy I found myself feeling ALL the emotions. As I neared my scheduled induction date I also found myself reading every birth story I possibly could. Knowing that I was going to be induced, I was under the impression that the way that I had wanted our birth to go, might not actually have worked out. I found solace in other people’s stories and I enjoyed reading about other peoples experiences, as I know that everyone’s is different. Since I found comfort in reading about others experiences, I thought I would share mine too.
First a little backstory: my pregnancy was considered high risk from the start. Back in 2015 I had gotten a blood clot (DVT) from my birth control. As scary of an experience as that was, one of the things that had stuck with me was that my doctor at the time told me whenever I decided to have children I would be considered high-risk because of my previous DVT. Of course this devastated me, especially not knowing exactly what that meant. So when I found out I was pregnant towards the end of 2018 I knew that when I went to see the doctor this was likely going to be the case. I had intention to see the midwives at The Women’s Clinic here in Fort Collins, but after having my first appointment they let me know that I had to see a doctor because of my previous DVT and that I was indeed, a high risk pregnancy. Luckily the midwives recommended one specific doctor very highly, and said that he was very good about honoring what you wanted and was also very pro natural birth. My next appointment I met with this doctor, and I instantly loved him!
After meeting with my doctor he put me on an injection called Lovanox. This is a pregnancy safe blood thinner, and I injected myself every evening my entire pregnancy because of my previous DVT. Being pregnant, your likelihood to clot is much higher and with my previous medical history, these injections were a must. With that, in the third trimester of my pregnancy my doctor explained that once I hit 37 weeks, which is technically full term, that for my safety and well-being it would be best if we got the baby out prior to 40 weeks. If I had gone into labor naturally, my options when it came to pain management (epidural) would have been much more limited due to me being on blood thinners. So I knew early in my third trimester that she was going to be coming out a little bit early. This was totally fine with me, because as you know if you’ve been pregnant, once your towards the end you are large and uncomfortable. And as much as I enjoyed being pregnant (I really did love it), I didn’t mind the thought of the pregnant one less week.
Wednesday, July 17 was our scheduled induction day. We were to go in at 7:30 PM to start the process. My doctor and I had discussed what the plan was for being induced. And I knew going in that the likelihood I was going to need an epidural was high. Not that there’s anything wrong with using the pain medications that are available to us in this day and age, but I had really wanted to try to give birth naturally even with being medically induced. I went through the hypnobirthing method with classes by Peaceful Mama Birthing (see previous post) and it only enhanced and affirmed what I knew I wanted for my birth experience.
So Ricky and I, anxious as ever, drove to the hospital that evening knowing that hours later everything was going to be different. By 8 PM I was already in my hospital bed and my doctor was starting the process. He first checked me to see if I was dilated, and at that point I was only a fingertip, which is maybe 1 cm at best. That was definitely disappointing for me, as I had been doing everything I could to naturally prepare my body, including long walks, spicy foods, sex, and also doing labor inducing acupuncture starting at week 34 of my pregnancy. Nevertheless, I did my best to stay positive, and know that everything would work out how it was supposed to.
My doctor then started the process by giving me Cytotech, which is a medication that helps to soften the cervix and promotes your body to start having contractions. After putting the Cytotech inside of me he then inserted a medical balloon. This was to help put extra pressure on my cervix and make sure the medication was doing what it was supposed to. He then inserted a second balloon inside the first one, again for extra pressure. My doctor had been very upfront with me, that the way that he handles inductions can sometimes seem a bit aggressive. But he also told me, if we’re coming in to have you induced, why prolong everything? And that made sense to me to try to get the baby out as quickly as possible, we were in the same page. Hours and hours of laboring sounded dreadful so I was grateful for this “aggressive” way to help her get out of there faster. After having the balloons inserted I then tried my best to relax. At midnight is when the doses of Pitocin started. Pitocin is a medication that starts contractions. It’s hard and fast and within 45 minutes I was having contractions every 2 to 4 minutes. The goal with Pitocin is to tell your body it’s time to have a baby. And with everything else going on with my body, believe me, it was working! Contractions are no freaking joke, and it’s no wonder why so many women take advantage of the fact that an epidural helps to relieve some of that pain. But alas, I was determined to make it without it and I went through the night having my contractions and barely sleeping.
Side note: I sweat through 3 different nightgowns I had brought with me for our hospital stay. I wanted to have “options” to wear just because, but it turned out I needed those options because of how much sweat was involved in laboring. Like I said before, laboring and contractions are no joke!
My doctor came back in the morning around 6:45am and took out the balloons. He checked my cervix and I was at 7cm. For those that don’t know, you need to be at 10cm to start pushing. He was impressed that I was at 7cm, and the nurses seemed to be too. As much pain as I was in with contractions that seemed like a success. Inductions usually take at least 24 hours and it takes a while to go from not having your cervix open to opening THAT much. I told the Dr. I needed to use the restroom (other side note: those balloons make you feel like you have to poo, so that’s how I felt all night long while having contractions, no fun at all lol). After using the restroom the Dr. wanted to check me again (this was about 20 minutes after the first time he checked me in the am) and I had gone from 7cm to 9-10cm within 20 minutes. All of the sudden he was like, you ready to have a baby? Your body has responded great, let’s do this. And I was like wait, what? I thought it was still going to be a while but he assured me my body had responded to everything we had done, it was time, she was ready to come out!
The next 20 minutes were kind of a blur. Our doula encouraged me to change positions as I had only found one position I was “comfortable” in throughout the night. Changing positions was a big win and helped me get through those last contractions that are so freaking painful (see photo below).
I utilized the peanut (a special type of birthing ball) and that helped as well.
The doctor got all his stuff ready, including bringing down the large “transformer” light, the nurses got ready too, and then they started coaching me of when to push. Can I just tell you, pushing has got to be the hardest part of the birth process. There is so much pressure down there it feels like as hard as you’re pushing, there’s no way you can push harder. Sure enough, you can.
At one point the doctor told me to put my head down by my lady bits so I could feel the top of her head, full head of hair and all. He told me I just needed a few more solid pushes and she would be out. Total I had just about 45 minutes of pushing, and then all of the sudden that last push, felt like an out of body experience. All of the sudden she was on my abdomen and worked her way up to my chest. Did you know that babies are capable of crawling up to your chest when they are fresh out of the womb? It’s the only time they will crawl until they actually start crawling several months later. Crazy right?! A fun fact I learned in hypnobirthing class!
I wish I could explain to you the feeling of when they put your baby on you for the first time. Its so surreal but I will try my best to describe it. It felt like a dream. All of the sudden there she was, my little angel who had been inside me for the last nine months was here, on my chest, she was a living, breathing human. I was so overwhelmed with emotion I somehow did not cry but instead just stared at her thinking how in the world did I do I just do that, and how is it that she’s so new and perfect.
At PVH they do something called “magic hour” and once they have checked the vitals of mom and baby to make sure everything is good they let you have the room with just you, your partner, and the baby. I can’t tell you how incredible that hour was, holding her, crying with Ricky, kissing her, just taking it all in, it’s so so special.
The next few days at the hospital were kind of a blur but I’m glad we did everything the way we did. You’re able to stay two days, two nights, as long as everything goes smoothly and we did opt to stay both nights. I’m glad we did because having constant medical care by professionals who specialize in mamas and babies was such a blessing. I was able to meet with a lactation specialist to make sure we established a good latch right away (we did, thank goodness), Ricky met with a car seat technician to make sure our car seat was properly installed, we got to order room service at any time and not even have to think about food, oh and speaking of food, they have something called the “first parents dinner” and you can get surf and turf, and it’s delicious and it doesn’t cost anything extra, it’s just included in your food bill for the hospital.
Overall I have to say that my birth experience was exactly what I had wanted. I was able to have her naturally, even with all the medical things they did to me. If you made it this far, thanks for reading about my experience. If you’re an expecting mama, I hope you find it helpful but let me just say: everyone’s story is different. Do not compare what my experience was to what you experience. At the end of the day what matters most is that you deliver a happy and healthy baby, whether he/she comes out from a c-section, natural birth, epidural, water birth, anything in between. I think when I say that whatever you experience, even if it’s traumatic, any mom will agree that you would do it 100x over again because of what you get at the end of it. There’s truly nothing like it.
I’ve included some photos that our doula took and I’m forever grateful for.
Love, light, and safe delivery,