Jackson’s Birth Story – Part 2- Labor & Delivery

This is Part 2 of 2… If you are interested in reading Part 1, click here.

This was the first pregnancy that I experienced many new things. One of those was prodromal labor. It is also called false labor, however, I believe there is nothing false about it as it still can make changes to your cervix and prepare your body for birth. I started experience prodromal labor for about 4 days a week before our baby was born. For 4 days in a row, EVERY evening at around 10pm I would start getting cramping contractions. They were legit contractions and different from Braxton Hicks (BH). BH contractions for me always just felt like tightening of my whole uterus. It was uncomfortable but with a change of position or drinking water, they would go away. Real labor contractions for me have always felt like really bad menstrual cramping that comes on slow, peaks then fades away. Sometimes the pain would radiate to my lower back as well. Anyway, these contractions I experienced for the 4 nights in a row were real. Every night I would start timing them only to see them be all over the place, never getting stronger and never getting closer together. Eventually I would fall asleep and wake up feeling fine in the morning.

It is very hard to deal with prodromal labor. You think “this is it!” only to be let down. It is very emotionally and physically tiring. I am lucky to have wonderful mamas who I was able to turn to online and get some support and words of encouragement. The rest of the week after having prodromal labor, I felt awesome. No contractions or other signs of labor. My due date came arrived. I began getting lots of pressure and tons of twinges and pinches in my cervix. I was excited as I remember the same feelings before I went into labor with Braydon. I continued to feel these pains the next day when I was 40 weeks and 1 day.

That night, May 14, I started getting some mild contractions again. However, once again, they weren’t regular and I was able to fall asleep by 11:30pm.

Then, at 1 am, I woke up having a cramping contraction. It was strong enough to wake me, but not the worse pain. I got up to pee and went back to bed. As I lay in bed, I was trying to fall back to sleep. But I kept getting contractions and it was hard to sleep. I tried drinking water and moving around to see if they would subside. They did not… So I decided I would start timing them on a contraction app on my phone before waking up Kyle. The last thing I wanted to do was jump the gun. As I timed them, they would be anywhere from 2 1/2 – 8 minutes apart. They would last about 50-60 seconds. As they continued, I could feel pressure in my pelvis so I started doing pelvic rocks and squats. I was not comfortable laying in bed during them so I figured I would work with them and see if it would make them more consistent.

At around 4 am, I was still awake having them. I went pee again and this time I noticed when I wiped that I was beginning to lose my mucus plug! I was very excited about this as I knew this meant my cervix was changing and getting ready. After this I went downstairs to get myself more water. I also decided I would wake Kyle up and give him a heads up that I *might* be in early labor. I continued having contractions so I bounced and swayed on my birthing ball during them. They were now around 4-6 minutes apart, still lasting 50-60 seconds. They still weren’t any stronger though, so I decided to let Kyle sleep and that I would try to sleep as well. If this was it, I wanted to try to get more sleep considering I had only about an hour and a half of sleep so far.

However, I was not able to sleep. They continued at about 4-6 minutes apart. I would have to stop and breathe through them also. At this point, I was definitely convinced that this could very well be it and that I was in labor. Every time I peed, I was still losing plug too.

It was now 5 am, on May 15. I decided to wake Kyle again before he got up to get ready to go to work. I told him that the contractions were now 5-6 min apart and about a minute long each. I knew my midwives wanted me to call once they were 5-1-1 or 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 min for 1 hour. I didn’t know if I should call yet since some were closer to 6 minutes apart. I told him I think he should stay home for a bit before leaving in case things changed. I sent my mom a text giving her a heads up as well that I might be in labor, I wanted to be sure I told her before she headed to work as well as she would be the one to watch Shayne and Braydon. I decided to take a shower as I know sometimes the warmth might slow things or stop them if it wasn’t actual labor. I figured this would be the test to decide if I would call the midwife!

I took a shower and had 3 contractions during my shower. My shower was 15 minutes, so I knew they had to be 5 minutes apart. I had to breathe through them as well. After the shower, I had to pee again and noticed this time the plug was no longer clear but now tinged with pink blood. This told me, I should call the midwife and see what they say.

I timed a few more contractions and they were indeed now 5 minutes apart for 1 minute. It had been about an hour. So I called the on call midwife. I explained everything from when it all started at 1 am. I also explained if they felt I needed to come in that it would take about 40 minutes for my mom to get to my house PLUS at least an hour for us to get to the hospital. She told me to have my mom come over and call when my mom got to my house and we would see how things were progressing at that point. I called my mom and told her she got to take the day off work and to come over. Luckily, it was before she would left for work so that meant we wouldn’t be waiting too long for her to get to our house. During this time, I got dressed and finished packing my hospital bag.

When my mom arrived, I called the midwife before we left. Contractions were still 5 minutes apart for 1 minute. They didn’t seem any stronger, but I was still being stopped in my tracks during them not able to concentrate on anything else. I also was continuing to lose bloody plug. She told me to go ahead and leave to get to the hospital. So we got ready to leave. Braydon and Shayne were still sleeping, but I heard a stir from Shayne and he was waking up just at we were about to leave. It was about 7:40am. I went up and told him that mommy was going to go to the hospital with daddy so mommy can have the baby! He was very excited and even more excited when I said Nana was here to watch him and Braydon. I gave him a big hug and kiss and said I would see him soon and he would get to meet his new brother or sister.

Kyle and I headed out to the car and left. We didn’t know what to expect on the drive. It was morning rush hour and it could be a good drive or a bad one. We decided to stay off the main highway though as it had been quicker in the past for us when we would go to my doctor appointments. We set off, I put on my favorite Foo Fighters CD singing in between contractions and hoping the drive wouldn’t be too long. The last thing I wanted was to deliver a baby in the car. The drive when SO well. I continued having contractions. They weren’t any stronger but it seemed worse because I was buckled into a seat and couldn’t move around. They were also radiating around to my back which sucked. About halfway to the hospital, the on call midwife called to check on how the drive was going. I thought this was so sweet. I was once again reassured that I chose the right place to deliver our baby. I never would have expected them to call to see how I was doing. I told her we were halfway to the hospital and that contractions were still going. She said that Beth, one of the other midwives, was heading in to the hospital and would be waiting for us to get there.

The rest of the drive went very smooth as well. We pulled up to the main entrance of the hospital. They had complimentary valet so that was nice that we could go right in and up to labor and delivery. When we walked in, the nurses were expecting us. The nurse joked and asked what brought me in. It was nice to laugh. They brought us to the room I would be laboring and delivering in. It was a nice bright room. It was a very good size too and had a birthing tub. I was excited to try to use water as a comfort measure this time! I noticed though, that I hadn’t had a contraction since we arrived and it had been about 10 minutes. I got nervous thinking maybe I did jump the gun and that I would end up getting sent home. The nurse took some info from me and asked if she could do an exam and see where I was. This was the first cervical exam I would be having this whole pregnancy, so I was curious to see too. I got on the bed and she checked. She told me I was just about completely thinned out and 6 cm dilated but she could stretch me to 7 cm! I was so shocked to hear I was already so far along, especially considering the contractions were so bearable. So the nurse said, “oh ya, so you’re not going anywhere. We will have a baby here soon!”

I was beyond excited. I changed into what I would be laboring in. This time even though I was still birthing in a hospital, I didn’t want to feel like a sick patient wearing a huge hospital gown. I brought a birthing skirt that was handmade according to my size in the color of my choosing. I also decided I would just wear a nursing sports bra with it. This way I could move around and not feel restricted or have to mess with a hospital gown falling down because they are always so big.

birth1

The nurses pretty much left me to do my own thing. I had them bring me a birthing ball to use for comfort during contractions. I didn’t feel like I needed water yet, so held off on using the tub.

At 10am, after a few contractions on the birthing ball, the midwife came in to see how things were going. My contractions were still only about 5 min apart and not intense. She asked if she could check me, I agreed as I knew we would possibly have to do something to get things moving a bit. I was still the same and my bag of waters was still bulging. She asked how I felt about artificially rupturing my waters. Honestly, it was something I didn’t want to consider until it was really necessary. With my first birth, there were tons of interventions, rupturing the bag of waters was one of them, and interventions always mean csection to me. HOWEVER, this time was different. I went into labor on my own and I was already 7cm. I knew breaking the water would bring baby’s head down fully which would get contractions more intense and bring our baby earth side. I agreed considering the circumstances. It went very well. The water was clear and she was able to help ease the baby’s head down gently. He was in perfect position she said and that it wouldn’t be much longer.

breathing through a contraction

breathing through a contraction

Contractions didn’t pick up right away but they were starting to get a bit more intense and I did notice they were starting to get closer together. I also noticed that I was getting a lot more pressure now. I still felt good though and I was handling them very well. Kyle was great support. He let me lean on him, hang on him, he “slow danced” with me while I swayed through contractions. It was so wonderful and peaceful. He helped me stay loose and not tense. I labored like this for about an hour.

A little after 11am, contractions were definitely more intense. I was getting more vocal with my moans and breathing. I decided to labor hunched over on the back of the bed. I knew laying down or being on my back was NOT how I wanted to labor or push baby out. I knew to use gravity to my advantage so kneeling on the bed would be enough to use gravity but also give me a way to rest in between contractions. After the first couple contractions on the bed, I told Kyle that I was starting to get the “pushy” feeling. After another contraction, the nurse came in to check on me and I told her about the feeling. She asked if it was new or if I had been feeling it. I said that I know I will be having to push soon. So right away she left to get the midwife.

when things got intense!

when things got intense!

As soon as she left, another strong contraction came over me. My body started pushing on its own this time and I told Kyle to get them. He hesitated a bit because he knew the nurse had just left to get the midwife. By now the contractions were about a minute apart so the next one, I yelled “GET THEM IN HERE NOW!!!!!”

THIS WAS IT!!!

The midwife came in, I told her that I cannot resist pushing. She checked and could see baby’s head. She told me to go ahead and start pushing how I felt I needed to as she got gowned up and the nurses rushed around to get ready to have a baby. The way I was pushing, I was still hunched over the back of the bed, kneeling on my knees. I felt this was the best way and I honestly don’t think I couldn’t have moved from that position! Contractions were pretty much right on top of each other and I really couldn’t tell when one stopped and another started. All I could feel was intense pressure and the urge to push. Baby was not stopping and was ready to come out. This time I felt the baby crowning and the “ring of fire”. With my last birth, I did not feel this. One big push and the head was out. She asked if I could slow down a second because she noticed the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. Luckily, she was able to loosen it and said I could continue pushing. A couple more big pushed and the baby was out.

right after he came out, but before they took him to get oxygen

right after he came out, but before they took him to get oxygen

It is crazy how once the baby is out, there is no more pain. I quickly turned around and sat on the bed to see my baby. I look and saw it was a boy! ANOTHER BOY! Unfortunately, though, he was a bit blue and even though he was whimpering, they wanted to check him right away because of the fact the cord was wrapped twice plus he was holding onto it as he came out. We did not get to delay cutting the cord much because of this as well. Just goes to show how things do come up and plans change. Of course, the health of our baby boy came first. They walked him over to the warmer and Kyle went with as I waited to deliver the placenta. I was able to watch and see that they did have to give him a little oxygen and then he suddenly showed off how great his lungs were. I remember, I didn’t feel scared. I knew he was fine. They weighed him and told us he was 8 lbs even (my biggest baby) and 21 inches long. He arrived at 11:26am on 5/15/15!

One little push and I delivered the placenta. Then the nurse brought my sweet little boy to me. He was still a little pale but was doing just fine. We immediately did skin to skin and I offered the breast. He wasn’t into nursing right away as he was still a little congested from amniotic fluid in his throat which eventually we got out. As soon as that cleared out, he was super eager to nurse. I was so surprised as how well he latched on right away and went to town. Especially for only being about 30 minutes old.

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Welcome Jackson Cash!

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I am now 3 days postpartum as I finish up his birth story. I am still basking in the new baby warmth, smell, snuggles and the high of having another successful drug free VBAC. I cannot help but feel so strong and empowered. I am so happy and wouldn’t change a thing about Jackson’s birth… well maybe it would have been nice to try out that lovely birthing tub 😉 But it was another amazing birth. I am so surprised at how quickly it went and how well myself and my body handled it. I honestly enjoy giving birth vaginally and naturally without drugs. And although having my VBACs have been extremely healing for me, I still cannot help but have regrets and thoughts about my first birth, which was a csection. I wish I educated myself as much as I am now. I wish I would have chosen a better practice for my care. And I wish I was patient. Waiting for my last two babies to come when they were ready really was the best thing I could do. I am glad I allowed my body to go into labor on it’s own even if I went past my EDD. I hope sharing my 3 birth stories will only give hope to other moms in similar situations.

All images ©2014-2015 NaturallyAwesomeMama All Rights Reserved

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Baby #3 Birth Story – Part 1- Pregnancy

We always hear that no two pregnancies are the same. This has totally been true for me. I have had 3 pregnancies and all were different in their own ways. My third and most recent pregnancy, however, was by far my most emotional, trying and difficult pregnancy. It always seemed as though once I started feeling good, I was hit with something to change that.

We found out we were expecting our third baby in September 2014. I began suspecting I was pregnant rather early on, around 4-5 weeks, because I was getting early symptoms similar to my second pregnancy. These were fatigue, sore breasts and random nausea. Sure enough, we bought some tests and they were positive right away. I have to say, it was somewhat unexpected. We knew we wanted to try and conceive our third child in 2014 but had planned to really try in the Fall. However, it happened much sooner than we expected. We have a history of having a harder time conceiving in the past so we honestly didn’t think it would be “so easy” this time. I had mixed emotions at first. A week prior to finding out, I had reached a milestone in my weight loss journey and reached 50 pounds lost and although, I knew I was healthier and felt good. It still hit me that I would now be gaining weight! But eventually, I got over it and we were super excited.

Once I reached the 8 week mark is when morning sickness hit. I was lucky enough to not vomit as much as I did with my first two pregnancies, but the nausea was unbearable. I was nauseas if I didn’t eat and if I did eat. I was nauseas from the moment I woke up in the morning until I went to bed at night. Sometimes I even woke up in the middle of the night running to the bathroom. It was not fun. I had no appetite for anything and literally felt like I had to force myself to eat just to fuel my body.

We had our first appointment at 11-12 weeks. We decided on yet a new practice that was an hour away but it consisted of one OB and 5 midwives. They were the best in the area and practiced evidence based care. Even though I had one successful VBAC under my belt, I will always be considered a VBAC and it is hard to find truly supportive practitioners. If you look back at my last birth, I still had to fight a bit to achieve my VBAC. I did not want to have to go through that again. Our meeting with the doctor went so well. He was so supportive and definitely didn’t give me any red flags. He gave us our due date of May 8 and then did an ultrasound. This was the first time we would see and hear our baby! The ultrasound measurements showed a estimated due date of May 13. So since this was more than 3 days off from the May 8 one, the doctor decided to change it to be May 13. He said, this will only give us more time to let baby come on its own! Not to mention, as long as myself and baby were fine, I could go to 42 weeks.

Baby looked and sounded great on ultrasound. It is always so exciting seeing this tiny human being bouncing and dancing around. We decided we would keep the due date a secret. With my first two pregnancies, we shared the due date and it really caused me more stress. For some reason other people think the due date is an expiration date and they don’t always think about how they say things or how a woman feels about reaching her due date and going past it. So this time around, we shared a due month. I found I really enjoyed going about it this way as even I forgot what week I was in most the time.

Baby's 1st picture!

Baby’s 1st picture!

Once I hit about 18 weeks, the nausea was finally gone. I was still on monthly prenatal appointments and things were going very well. At 19 weeks, we had our second trimester ultrasound. This would potentially be when we could find out the gender of our baby. But of course, we like to wait and we chose not to find out again. The baby looked great. We even got a picture of baby giving us a thumbs up telling me “everything was just fine in here!”. 🙂 Baby measured on track with the May 13 estimated due date (EDD).

Baby's thumbs up!

Baby’s thumbs up!

During my second trimester, baby was growing rapidly and often times this brings on those lovely round ligament pains and Braxton Hicks (BH) contractions. I felt BH with my second pregnancy but never really experienced round ligament pains. I would get some sensations of pulling here and there but NOTHING compared to this pregnancy! This pregnancy, they would stop me dead in my tracks. It felt like a jolt of electricity would run through my abdomen if I made a certain movement. Some were so surprising that I would be nervous to move for about ten minutes after feeling one.
Two months later was now time for the lovely Gestational Diabetes (GD) test. I know a lot of my naturally minded friends choose to opt out of this test. However, I personally choose to do it because of having a family history of diabetes. To me drinking one drink that I would not normally consume and getting a blood draw is worth it to make sure myself and my baby are fine. Luckily enough, I passed with flying colors and had no signs of GD, same as with my previous pregnancies. This test also marked the beginning of the last stretch, the third trimester!
FINALLY, I was actually feeling great. Although most women start losing energy and getting more and more uncomfortable at this point, I was the total opposite. The first two trimesters for me were difficult. I was tired and nauseas all the time. But the third trimester was awesome. I had tons of energy and I almost felt normal besides having a basketball for a belly. That was until I hit the 9 month mark. My kids and I were driving home after a day of running errands and we were in a minor car accident. Another driver rear ended us. Thankfully, no one was hurt. There was damage to our new van but that was fixable. Because I was so pregnant and I started having backpain and contractions immediately following, paramedics did check me out. But everything was fine. However, it did affect me more than I thought. I became very anxious in the car and I didn’t drive for a couple weeks. I have always been the one to drive, even if Kyle was with us but this whole incident changed that. Not only did that cause me a lot of stress, the stress of dealing with getting the van repaired, multiple phone calls from insurance companies and getting replacement car seats for the boys put a lot of unnecessary stress on me. I like to feel prepared and get things done. So having only a few weeks before baby could possibly arrive, made all this more stressful on me. It was definitely not how I wanted to spend my last weeks of pregnancy.
At my next appointment following the accident, it was brought to my attention that my blood pressure had sky rocketed. I have always had a healthy blood pressure, in fact, it has always been a bit low if anything, even during pregnancy. But they were getting readings of 160/100+. I felt fine and it was actually surprising to me. However, with it being my last weeks of pregnancy, there is always a possibility of pre-eclampsia. I figured it was probably the stress I was under as I showed no other signs or symptoms of pre-e. There was also the possibility of it just being pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH). Either way, both can cause issues with the baby, the placenta and myself so they began monitoring me twice a week instead of once a week. I also was to begin taking a natural supplement (another reason why I love this practice, they are more naturally minded) called Natural Calm. It is a magnesium supplement that can help with stress, anxiety, headaches and blood pressure. I was asked to monitor my blood pressure at home and get lab work done that included a full panel and 24 hour urine test (not fun!). The labwork was to check to see if pre-e was a possibility with checking certain levels, especially protein and creatinine. My first round of lab work came back beautifully. My urine did come back with some protein but my level was still low enough to not cause a need for concern. I continued with twice weekly visits and another 2 weeks of the bloodwork/ 24 hour urine testing to monitor the protein levels. Every week, my blood pressure was still high at the office and I was getting elevated readings at home but not nearly as high as in the office. Also my labwork only got better each week. So I was hopeful that things would be fine.
By my 39 week appointment, I still felt my anxiety of being in the car played a role in my blood pressure readings at my appointments. On a good day, not during rush hour, we have about an hour drive to the office that is mostly on the high way. I honestly could feel my blood pressure increase during the drive. I would feel a little off and my ears would get warm. And sure enough, my blood pressure would always be high. They would always take a second reading after I had been there a while and it would go down to the 130/90 range. So it would get better but still not perfect. However, I decided to diffuse lavender essential oil in the car on the way to my appointment. I used lavender when I was in early labor with Braydon and I remember how calm and relaxed I was. I figured there was no hurt in trying. When I got to my appointment, the midwife told me my urine protein levels were in normal range and my blood pressure was back to being my normal reading, which was low! I also had an NST scheduled that day just to be safe and baby looked beautiful on it! All great news. I couldn’t help but wonder if the essential oil actually helped me relax in the car. The whole week when I would check my blood pressure at home, it was also back to normal as well.
I went in for my 40 week appointment, the day before my EDD. Once again, I diffused lavender in the car and my blood pressure was great. I am finally told I no longer have to do anymore of the labwork and 24 hour urine tests! THANK GOODNESS!!!!! I finally felt like I can stop worrying and enjoy the end of my pregnancy. I am thankful that the doctor and midwives were proactive in monitoring myself and my baby. And even more thankful that they didn’t jump the gun. I know so many mothers who found themselves in similar situations only to be sent to the hospital after a couple high blood pressure readings and some protein in urine who end up being induced or with a csection. I know every situation is different and that sometimes these things NEED to be done. But in most cases, like mine, just having these two symptoms shouldn’t be cause for concern unless they get worse after monitoring. I am glad that I trusted my instincts and knew things were fine. I stayed positive and took care of myself.
For the 4 days prior to my 40 week appointment, I experienced what I believe to be prodromal labor. Every evening at the same time, I would begin to get contractions. They would come anywhere from every 2-11 minutes lasting around 50-60 seconds. Eventually, they would stop and I would be able to fall asleep for the night, only waking in the morning feeling nothing! I will admit it has been a little discouraging, especially because some of them are pretty painful and intense. It is also both emotionally and physically exhausting. However, I am staying positive and telling myself that my body is preparing. My body is getting ready to birth my baby and I am happy to feel the progress.

Yes, pregnancy is actually TEN months people! Not 9 months. At least for most of us! ;-)

Yes, pregnancy is actually TEN months people! Not 9 months. At least for most of us! 😉

Now, I sit here at 40 weeks and 1 day (or 1 day past my EDD). I am feeling really good. I am excited to meet our new family member very soon. I do believe in letting baby decide when to come and that baby will come when s/he is truly ready. Fortunately, my midwives and OB feel the same and have not mentioned the words csection or induction. My last couple appointments end with “well, now we wait!”. It really helps having supportive care providers. Our due dates are really an estimate but I would be lying if I didn’t wish our baby would have arrived by now. I technically went past my EDD with my first, however, I was induced and ended up in a csection due to not having a supportive and patient doctor. Our second child arrived nice and early ON HIS EDD. I keep reminding myself even subsequent pregnancies can go past the 40 week mark just as first time mothers can deliver their babies a week “early”. I know baby is doing well and I am still feeling great. I still have tons of energy. Our house is extremely clean, I have been able to prepare and freeze some snacks and meals for after baby arrives, laundry is caught up, everyone’s bedding is washed and fresh, baby’s cosleeper is set up, I have a drawer in my room and the kid’s room ready and stocked for the baby, boys have had their yearly check ups, hospital bag packed and double checked. The only thing not ready is the infant seat in the car. Maybe I need to get Kyle on that!