I am a former zookeeper turned stay-at-home mama and married to the coolest guy around. I’m on a mission to live as crunchy a lifestyle as possible, support other mams, be the best mommy and wife I can be, and save the earth…all while blogging about it!
I have the sweetest and spunkiest three year old daughter and we have the best time together. Although it feels like forever ago, I wanted to share our birth story with you today!
On the night of August 17, I was doing my normal nightly pregnancy reading and just happened to read about how near the end of your pregnancy, it can become really difficult to “hold it” if you have go pee and sometimes you wet yourself without even realizing it. (Nice thoughts to fall asleep to, right?) At around 3:45AM I woke up and had to pee (not uncommon), but I was so tired, I delayed it for a few minutes while I worked up the gusto to heave my way out of bed and head to the bathroom. While I was laying there, I felt a little pop and heard what can only be described as a squeal down below, but I was WAY TOO TIRED to think anything of it. When I stood up out of bed, I peed myself…or so I thought. I headed to the bathroom and cleaned up and headed back to bed. Somewhere way in the back of my brained, blocked by extreme sleepiness, the thought briefly crossed my mind that MAYBE that is what it felt like to have your water break, but I pushed it out of my mind because I was just at the doctor the day before, my due date was 10 days away and I was pretty sure this baby would be overdue, not early, AND it was my day to win the family pool and I never win anything, so it couldn’t be. About 15 minutes later, this whole situation repeated itself and I still didn’t think anything of it. (I actually remember thinking to myself, I guess I won’t be leaving the house today if this peeing nonesense keeps up, how embarassing!) After cleaing up again, I crawl back in bed, but this time I wasn’t quiet and I accidentally woke my husband up. He asked me what was going on and I told him I was peeing myself. He said, “uhhhh, are you sure your water didn’t break?” I insisted it was just pee and he insisted that we get up and get ready to go to the hospital. I told him I was too tired and I would just lie back down and see if it happened again. The SECOND my head hit the pillow I had what was definitely NOT a Braxton-Hicks contraction and had to confess that I thought he was right, so we got up and got ready. As I was getting ready, the contractions got harder, the fluid flowed a little more and started changing colors, and I knew in that moment that we were going to the hospital and we would NOT be coming home without a baby!
We arrived at the hospital around 5am and I walked with my legs crossed all the way to the Labor & Delivery floor, hoping my water would not just gush all over the floor. The triage nurse checked me to make sure it was not urine and it most definitely was not, so they admitted me immediately. My cranky nurse checked me and I was 3cm dilated, but that didn’t seem like much since the day before at my doctor’s office, I was 2cm dilated. After we got settled, we started calling our family and friends and letting them know I was in labor. The contractions were manageable, just mildly uncomfortable at this point, but were completely trumped by the gushing between my legs that accompanied each contraction. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY warned me about this part. Nobody told me that once your water breaks, it gushes out for the REST of your labor. I kind of thought it was just one big gush and then you were done with that part! It was SO awkward and uncomfortable each time it happened and I was definitely more upset by this than any pain that came with my contractions! Who knew?!
At the shift change, around 9:00AM, my cranky nurse went home and this amazing nurse named Darlene entered my life. My contractions were definitely coming on stronger at this point and I was 4cm dilated. With each one I am found it harder and harder to relax. I was doing my breathing that I had learned in pre-natal yoga and it helped significantly but I was starting to have back labor and not sure how much more of THAT I could take. NO amount of breathing really helps with that. With each contraction, I turned to my side and held on to the railing of the bed while Hubby pressed his hand as hard as he could in to my lower back to counteract the pain while I breathed through it. I highly recommend this if you have back labor! It helped a ton! With each contraction, I just imagined the baby moving further and further down and getting closer and closer to making her appearance, that with each feeling of pain we were making progress together. This all helped a lot but I was getting nervous about how much energy it was taking to get through each contraction. It was my goal to make it halfway (to 5cm) before I got an epidural. I wasn’t trying to be a hero by any means, I just wanted to see how much my body could handle and experience naturally before the unknown of how my body would react to an epidural. Another misconception I had about labor was that once you get an epidural, your entire body is basically numb from the waist down and that I wouldn’t feel a thing! Darlene came in and gave me some kind of fluid that put some space in between my contractions to give me a little relief since I was progressing normally and gave me 2 options for pain. One was the epidural and one was some pain medication that could not be given if I was more than 6cm dilated. I chose the epidural, but it turns out I was already 6cm anyway, so I couldn’t have gotten that pain shot! I had surpassed my goal so I was happy, but I was really nervous about actually getting the epidural. I was scared of becoming paralyzed or getting those awful headaches some people get, or having back pains for the rest of my life or whatever else I heard horror stories about. I was nervous that I would have a contraction right when the anesthesiologist was administering it and I would move and whatever problem occurred would be my fault. I was worried that it wouldn’t work at all and I would have gotten my hopes up for nothing. I was just nervous.
Tom the anesthesiologist arrived around 9:30AM and Darlene suggested I go to the bathroom before he got to my room. As I got up, with my rear end hanging out and me holidng a trampoline sized pad in between my legs to prevent the gushing from landing on the floor, Tom walked in my room and I was suddenly super embarassed! All modesty truly does go out the window during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. The contraction I had while sitting on the toilet, was by far the most comfortable. Something about that positon took pressure off of all the right places. While I considered just staying in there and laboring the rest of the time on the comfy toilet (who ever thought I’d say those words?), Darlene convinced me that an epidural would be much more pleasant. She was SO RIGHT! I DID have a contraction when Tom was about to insert the needle in to my back for the epidural, but I stopped him in time and he waited until I got through it and then administered it. Suddenly, the contractions were magically, almost instantly painless. It was incredible! I could still feel them but they weren’t painful, just pressure! I was so relieved that the pain was gone but even more so that I could still FEEL! It gave me confidence that I would be able to participate in my labor and delivery and not just be numb to everything. Unfortunately, I could still feel some unpleasant, gross tugging feeling when Darlene put in the dreaded urinary catheter.
At 10:15AM Darlene noticed that my contractions had slowed down a little bit, which is common when receiving an epidural, so she started me on a little bit of pitocin which got me right back on pace with my original progression. The contractions continued and pressure began to build a bit but it didn’t hurt, I just noticed the intensity of the pressure increasing. I liked feeling it. I liked knowing what was going on. I could still feel the baby kicking on occasion and she was still doing great on the monitor. By 11:45AM, I was 8cm dilated. I continued to rest and eat delicious ice chips in between contractions. As the pressure got stronger during the contractions, I had to do some breathing again just so I could keep myself from feeling the urge to push. I started feeling pressure in my hips so Hubby started massaging my hips and thighs during each contraction and it felt so much better.
At 1:00PM Darlene checked me and told me I was almost at 10cm and that almost all of my cervix was effaced but there was one side that had some effacing left to do, so she switched my position in the hopes that baby would lean that way and put pressure on the remaining side during a contraction to finish it off. She kept checking me on and off for about an hour and finally realized that what she felt and thought was my cervix not completely effaced was actually part of the aminiotic sack stuck up in there. So her and another nurse who she conulted for a second opinion, literally pulled out all of the pieces. Although this was not painful, I felt a sensation that can only be described as stringy pieces of a broken water balloon being pulled out of me. It was ABSOLUTELY disgusting and I can only imagine what it looked like. They said it doesn’t always happen but it isn’t a bad thing, they got it all out and I was good to go. Gross gross gross. All modesty out the window. Yep.
By 2:00PM I was completely dilated and effaced but baby was still at 0 station and they didn’t want me to start pushing until baby was at +2 or +3 station (past my pelvic bone), otherwise, I would be doing all the work of pushing just to get her down and then I wouldn’t have any energy left to push her OUT. The pressure in that area was really building and it wasn’t neccesarily comfortable, but I didn’t feel like I HAD to push until about a half an hour later. We did about 4 sets of 3 pushes, but it took me 2 sets to get my pushes right. Not because I couldn’t feel it, because I absolutley could and it was wonderful, but because all this time, during contractions, and yoga poses, I was breathing in through my nose and then out through my mouth slowly as I dealt with the most difficult parts, so that’s what my body and mind were used to doing. But apparently when you push a baby out, you’re supposed take a deep breath in through your nose and hold it while pushing and then let it out and repeat. I couldn’t seem to hold my breath because I felt like when I did, I was pushing with my face instead and that wasn’t going to accomplish anything. My husband coached me through some good pushes though by telling me to hold my breath and if it felt like I wanted to let it out, I should “swallow my breath.” That totally helped and I pushed baby down until her head crowned and Darlene called my doctor. I always heard this part hurt the worst, but I couldn’t feel the “ring of fire,” and by her head just sitting there it stretched everything out so that things didn’t tear which I was very thankful for. The doctor arrived, Hubby held my left leg, Darlene held my right leg, and I held on for dear life underneath my legs like I was doing the biggest ab crunch of my life with each push. We did 3 sets of 3 pushes and I could feel some stretching, but pushing felt incredible. It was like all the pressure just disappeared whenever I pushed, it was such a relief. By the second to the last push, I could feel her completely come out and the doctor said she had baby’s shoulders. I did one more push. It was the hardest push I did and felt the most awkward compared to the rest, but it was the last one and she came! And the relief that I felt at that moment that she was all the way out was the most intense, exhilirating, indescribably amazing feeling I have ever felt in my life. That combined with me knowing that it was done and that my baby girl was OK brought tears to my eyes!
At 3:23PM, the doctor put my baby girl on my chest and we just stared at each other while her Papa cut her umbilical cord. I didn’t have to have an episiotomy and only had two small tears with a few stitches. While the doctor did that, I laid there amazed at how much easier it was than I had imagined and “prepared” myself for. Before birth, I had a baby gender test so I knew it would be a girl anyway but nothing could prepare me for the love I had when I first saw her. I remembered every detail, I didn’t have that thing where you forget everything the moment you lay eyes on your baby.
They cleaned off my baby girl and got all of her vitals. She weighed 7 pounds, 8.5 ounces and was 19.5 inches long and was in perfect health, an 8-9 on the Apgar scale and a 0.1 on the bilirubin meter. Her blood sugar was perfect despite the fact that I allegedly had gestational diabetes (I later found out I was incorrectly diagnosed with that.) She latched on right away and nursed like a little champ. We got to go home the next afternoon and the weeks that followed were filled with cuddling and napping mixed in with sleepless nights until we got our routine down. For me, it’s been a beautiful journey as a mama ever since and now that little girl is VERY excited to be a big sister in January and I get to do it all over again!
Briton Alo says
Reminds me of my first and second deliveries! Thanks for sharing your story!
Cara W says
What a beautiful story! I enjoyed reading it! Thank you for sharing 😉
Maryn Goolsby Favors says
This is such a beautiful story – thank you so much for sharing! This is probably the protesterone talking (we're TTC) but I'm definitely crying a little tiny bit… did not plan on that this Friday morning 🙂 Very belated congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby!
And now baby number two is on the way. At least you will know what you are doing this time!
Such a beautiful story! I love reading pregnancy stories, because it makes me feel a little bit more prepared for when I give birth someday!
Great story! I'm with you–the water breaking experience is SO weird, and I definitely wasn't expecting it (even though I knew it was happening as I was induced). Your daughter is absolutely beautiful, and congrats on baby #2!
Taneja's Bride says
Aw, congratulations on your sweetheart! So cool that you were once a zookeeper! <3 I love zoos and babies! <3
Jenny B says
My baby was just slightly bigger than yours. 7lb9oz and 20 inches. I also did NOT expect to be gushing everywhere too.. and the whole having to hold your giant pad or waddle ridiculously is SO demeaning.
Erica Brooks says
Awww. She is beautiful. What a great birth story.
Lani Derrick says
What a beautiful story. I'll admit that no one told me about the water breaking part either and it was a little weird. Mine didn't break until I was at a 9!
Love the birth story <3
Julianne Jayson says
what a cutie 🙂
Angelic Sinova says
I really like reading birth stories! What a cutie <3
Shannon Hall says
I definitely did not know about the water flow before now. That sounds crazy! Your little one is adorable!
Holly Poole says
Such a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂 Seems as though everything went according to plan for you and that is so awesome!
Miranda Myrabev says
Oh wow I have read enough birth stories and I know everyone is different but they neglected to me a few important bits like water flow, thanks for sharing and good luck with the next one
Pauline Cabrera says
They say you will always remember your own birth story. Congrats!
congratulations heather! the little one is so precious and beautiful!!!
Karissa Ancell says
Thanks for sharing your birth story. When I had my daughter the nurse when we got there was cranky, the nurse for delivery was great and the nurse over night was cranky so I'm glad the good one was there for the actual delivery.
Tammi Johnson-Young says
Thank you for sharing such a personal story. I almost had my last in the car! Each birth is very different and unique. Your little one is beautiful!
This was a beautiful story – I've never had kids but I enjoy reading these. Thank you for sharing!
I always love birth story photos. The first meeting photos are my favorite. When mom and baby finally see each other and cuddle.
Claire C. says
awww I love birth stories! So beautiful!
I love reading birth stories! And I'm a huge fan of documenting them, because it's so easy for the details to escape you! 🙂
Congrats!! She is beautiful!
What an amazing and beautiful story! I love reading birth stories especially since I have not had my own children i always get a glimpse of what to expect!
Breanna Sheffield says
I love reading birth stories. With each one I read I learn things to take in to account and document when I finally do have my own.
Lindsay Living Vegan says
Aww, I loved reading this. CONGRATS to Heather and her family on such a beautiful baby girl 🙂
Rebekah Clarke says
Beautiful birth story, thank you so much for sharing! Both times for me my water broke with zero contractions and I totally know what you mean – I thought one gush and then done.. nope… tried to explain it to my husband and how it just felt like I was constantly peeing myself… so gross!! lol
Deidre Miller says
I love reading birth stories! SO great. Congratulations.
Laura Elizabeth says
What a sweet story. Congrats to you and your family, Heather! She's such a little beauty.
Thanks for sharing my story on your page and thanks for all of these comments! 🙂 It was an honor and I loved being able to share it with all of you! 🙂
Nickely Challenged says
Congratulations! Love the story. I am not a mother, but I will live vicariously through you.
Laurie Barrie says
What a beautiful gift! And all that black hair! She's perfectly beautiful! Congratulations, I bet your 3 year old adores her! 🙂
Jess Loves This Life says
Such sweet photos!! Love birth stories!