Birth

Hospital Unmedicated Birth Story: Part 2

BIRTHING BABY SAGE (PART 2)

Part 2 of our birth story. If you haven’t read Part 1, you can find it here:

The Blurry Moments
I know I held her because I remember the midwife passing her up through my legs after giving birth. Mike says it was probably about five minutes but no longer than 10 that we got to hold her. In contrast, when my son was born I held him from the very beginning and carried him from the living room to the bedroom still connected to the placenta and we all got into bed where we snuggled for quite a while before he had any of his newborn checks. So for me, these 5 to 10 minutes felt so brief and like I was cheated out of something with my daughter.

right after vaginal birth in hospital

I remember waiting a few minutes to cut her cord and laying her on my chest expecting her to root and start breast-feeding. She didn’t. I remember thinking her energy seemed low although she had let out a good wailing cry at birth. My son was like a ninja warrior climbing up my body to my chest to eat immediately. Sister showed no interest in eating. I didn’t have much time to think about it, though, because immediately the twenty-some pediatric doctors had rushed into the room and right away a number of them needed my attention.

I thought I would freak out over having so many people in the room when I was naked with my rear in the air pushing out a child, especially since our first birth was so intimate and in the comfort of our own home. Turns out, I didn’t care. They were only in there for the last couple of minutes, thankfully. Like I shared in my first post, our birth progressed pretty quickly and I didn’t spend much time laboring. I do remember hearing the nurse call for the pediatric team and indicating that I was a level 3 pediatric need. I didn’t know at the time what a level 3 meant, but now I know it means that she needed immediate attention and the pediatric team would be rushing into our room for evaluation.

RELATED: Birth It Up: Natural Birth

can your placenta get stuck after delivering baby

Simultaneous Stressors

As I was holding my daughter for those few minutes, two things happened seemingly simultaneously. First – as I knew, the placenta still needed to be delivered. (Seriously, why isn’t this talked about more? For those of you who haven’t given birth, after you get the baby out, you then also have to deliver a large organ your body made during pregnancy. Crazy. Cool, but crazy.) As I was trying to push out the placenta, it seem like we were getting nowhere. Quickly the midwife told me that it was going to require some further intervention and she let me know that it would probably be more painful than giving birth and offered me some medication. I had no medication in either of my births. But for this part, I went with it because I trusted her advice. (In the moments before the medicine kicked in, it was already more painful than birth.) Pushing was not getting anything done and so a nurse came and suited up and they told me to let them know when the medicine kicked in. According to Mike, it didn’t take long before I gleefully told them I wasn’t sure if it had kicked in or not and that confirmed to them that it had. This nurse then went elbow deep inside of me to try to locate and remove my placenta. The problem was that my cervix was closing (as they do after you deliver) and we were working against the clock.

Now like I said, there were two things happening simultaneously. There was this – the placenta ordeal, and then there was the flooding of medical questions and directives. I had taken medication for the first time at this point and I had just given birth and someone was elbow deep trying to pull my placenta outside of my body. Over walks a doctor who is telling me that she needs to take a baby right away into the NICU. She cited a prenatal recommendation from a doctor that we have never heard of. In contrast, our last prenatal appointment with the cardiologist indicated that they did not believe we would need to spend time in the NICU for her heart. Everything looked strong enough for them to do all of her evaluations in the room with me and discharge at normal time. I actually remember walking into labor and delivery before giving birth and giving a sigh of relief that we weren’t going to be spending time in the NICU. So when this small but strong-willed woman was standing at my bedside (as someone else was ripping my placenta out of my body), she had a lot to say about what needed to happen with our baby. Her language was so strong that she made me believe my child might die right before my eyes in that room if we didn’t transfer her right away. Perhaps she wasn’t that dramatic, but at the time that is exactly how it felt. The thing is, Sage would have a eventually ended up in the NICU, but because of another high risk, not because of her heart. I’m still a little bitter at that doctor if we’re honest. Yes- She was doing her job and I respect that, but our interaction was anything but positive. I felt so defeated and like everything was stripped out of my hands.

In the long run, Sage would have gone to the NICU for her low blood sugar and then for the high bilirubin levels in her blood. That is what she was actually treated for in the NICU. Nothing about her heart was unsteady and requiring intervention or monitoring during our stay. From the very start her oxygen levels were strong, her heart rate was where it needed to be, and her echo sonogram came back just as we had expected it to from our meetings prior to her delivery. I may never know why that doctor believed that I had all of my information wrong, but I guess it doesn’t really matter in the long run.

what happens in newborn check during hospital birth

The Postpartum Dream

When I envisioned the days after my birth, I saw us snuggled on our couch or in our bed. I envisioned us going home in the wheelchair that has a place on the back for the carseat. I had prepared the house in a way that I wouldn’t need to go up or downstairs for a couple of weeks so I could give my body rest and recovery. I’m all about postpartum care for women. I think it’s so important for women to have space to slow down and let their bodies recover after birth. A lot of people say and it’s so true that when you’re pregnant you get doted on and cared for- people open doors and do things for you and then it seems like in an instant after you have your baby, the attention fully shifts. They dote on the baby. It’s like you’re supposed to just go straight back to normal after birthing a child out of your body.

Maybe people don’t stop to think about the tears and the pains and the mental, emotional, and physical processing and restoration that needs to happen. Our culture specifically has a long way to go when it comes to appropriate postpartum care. There’s a lot we could learn from other cultures. This time, I was so prepared to advocate for myself and make the postpartum recovery a priority. However, when your baby is on a different floor and down the hall in the hospital and you have to decide between being with her or staying alone in your room, you throw out the ideals.

Related: The Ultimate Breastfeeding Course or The Ultimate Exclusive Pumping Course

can dad go to the nicu right after baby is born

I remember going into my room and I definitely took some time to clean up and relax and pump for the first time to get the little bit of colostrum out. It wasn’t long at all, though, before I was wanting to rush into the NICU to be by her side. The first few times Mike and I went together and I went in the wheelchair but the NICU at OSU was very small and navigating a wheelchair through there was very difficult. I would end up getting up to walk at some point anyways and so by probably the second day I gave up on the wheelchair. Sometimes the walk felt so long because my body was still cramping and recovering and I felt exhausted, but I was determined to get to that room and spend as much possible time is I could by her bedside. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have tears or any other injuries to recover from aside from the general process of giving birth.

Remembering that walk down those halls takes me to a different chapter. One that I’m not ready to ride out and re-visit quite yet. One that will take revisiting notes jotted down from a sleepless and blurry mind and pictures that seem like distant memories. But that is for another post and another day. For now I share my gratitude that even though the second chapter of bringing our baby girl into the world did not feel as empowering as the first, I would do it all again to snuggle her in my arms on this lazy rainy Sunday and from that postpartum bed I committed to being a champion for her and her health and her growth and I am committed to that forever.

Are you currently pregnant and wondering what postpartum will be like for you? Let me help you get prepared. Snag this Postpartum Plan Checklist to get you prepared for this new season.

Birth

Hospital Unmedicated Birth Story: Part 1

BIRTHING BABY SAGE (PART 1)

Like a number of mornings before, I woke up remembering sporadic contractions throughout the night. Nothing strong enough to keep me awake and nothing to trigger me to stop and time them, but I knew they had happened. At this point, a little over 39 weeks into my pregnancy, I was feeling ready to meet our baby girl. I had intentionally had special days with my toddler, I had a date with my husband, I had laid out clothes and blankets and decor for our girl.

Little did he/we know, this would be our last time snuggling on the couch with only 1 child!

I decided it would be a good day to pull out some of the “go into labor tricks.” You know, I ate my dates a little more often. I had a little closed-door time with hubby. I cranked the music up with my toddler and we had a dance party. In retrospect, I love what a fun morning it was.

how to prepare your toddler for a new sibling

As many of you know, Emerson (our 2 year old) is not the biggest fan of going to sleep. Most days, we still drive him around after lunch to get him to fall asleep so that we can all have some quiet time and avoid the evil possession that seems to come after days with missed naps. As I got in the van to take our drive, I decided to drive the route to the hospital. We hadn’t made that drive recently and with construction constantly changing in Columbus, I wanted to make sure that we had the best route down for when we needed it. Granted, I was in labor for almost 21 hours with Emerson… I knew it could either be long again or it might be shockingly short. We drove the route and as we were returning home, I noticed my contractions increasing and becoming more frequent. At about 12:30, I started timing them. They were about 11 minutes apart and so in normal fashion we came home and I laid my sleeping toddler down for a nap and tried to get some rest myself.

It wasn’t long before the contractions increased in frequency- getting to about 7 minutes apart. I was so unsure of them, though, because the intensity didn’t seem to be increasing. I did, however, let my mom know to come our direction after work in case she needed to stay with Emerson. About an hour later, I told her to hurry here, because we were going to just get checked out at triage. I told Mike to double check the hospital bag and add any last-minute toiletries and items and have it ready by the door. Honestly, though, I still thought we had at least a day or so, but because of her heart condition I didn’t want to risk delivering on the road or in a place where she couldn’t have immediate care, so we were playing it on the safe side.

how long can you labor at home before going to the hospital

We got to the hospital and checked in at 4:30pm. The midwife checked me out and said I was dilated to 4 (I had been at 3 for about a week) and that my contractions were frequent, but she could tell they weren’t so intense that they were stopping me. I was still walking and talking and laughing. All of the midwives knew my wishes were to not be stuck laboring in the hospital for hours on end and knew I wanted things as natural as could be. She gave me the option of settling into a room or going back home to labor for a few more hours. Because I was still feeling pretty good, we decided to drive back home and planned to labor in the shower or bed at home. On the walk out, I noticed my contractions getting stronger, but continued on to the van. We got out of the parking garage and started driving home. By the time we got to High St (just a few blocks away) I was telling Mike he needed to turn around and I knew then that it was go time.

Things Got Real the Second Time
Walking through the hospital the second time was much different from the first. The first time I paused through some contractions, the second time I was doubling down in the hallway on what felt like one of the longest walks of my entire life. At 6pm we were back in triage on the monitors and since the last time (from 4:30-6) I had gone from 4cm to 8cm dilated. That transition happened in no time. We moved to a birthing room and I prepared for the hours ahead. I wanted to labor in the tub, but they didn’t feel there was time for that. Fine, then I wanted to labor in the hot shower, they said we would move there after getting things prepared. I found myself on a birthing ball with my head and hands buried into the bed. Contraction after contraction came and while they gained in intensity, I thought we were still pretty early. I utilized the breathing and visualization techniques I had acquired from spending weeks with a pre and postnatal trainer (Strong Body Strong Mama). We had focused heavily on deep belly breathing and each time I worked to expand my belly, I could feel the contractions loosen and lighten in pain. When I started to get tense, the team reminded me of two things: 1. breathe. 2. loosen my shoulders.

RELATED: Birth It Up- Natural Birth Prep

birth story at OSU with the OSU midwives

Give Me The Water
I remember my midwife asking if I wanted to change positions. I wanted to get in the hot shower and she told me I would first need to stand. (This took me back to my first birth when I remember my midwife asking me if I wanted to change positions and I said I physically couldn’t. That time, I didn’t.) This time, I did all I could to stand up against the bed and as I did, I experienced the gushing of my water breaking. (Kind of a cool thing. I didn’t feel it with my first as it broke while I was in the birthing tub.) She told me I was close and she didn’t think I would labor much longer… but… what is close and what is much longer? With my first labor being so long, I didn’t want to let myself believe I could truly be within minutes instead of hours. I wanted to be mentally prepared for hours more, but at this point I found myself up on the bed on all fours telling her I felt like I needed to push. I said this aloud, but said that I was certain it couldn’t be time yet and honestly, I probably just needed to poop. For those of you who haven’t been there yourself, the urge to push a baby out is strikingly similar to the urge to poop. There, I said it.

I was told to follow my urge to push. First push and much to my surprise, I was told they could see her head crowning. The midwife told me, if I could, to hold the second push a little longer. I focused on this and pushed a second time- and there she was. My 6 pound 12 oz little girl came out in two pushes. After pushing for around an hour with Emerson, this was a much appreciated surprise.

Still connected by her cord (delay that clamping until the blood is done flowing!) she was passed through my legs as I somehow moved to my back to sit and hold her. The birth was quick. It was (relatively— come on now, we are talking birth) easy. It was beautiful. It was empowering.

giving birth on hands and feet birthing position

12:30pm- Started measuring contractions
4:30pm- Checked into triage (for the first time)
6:00pm- Checked into triage (for the second time)
8:10pm- Ms. Sage was born into the world!

The moments and circumstances following her arrival weren’t as blissful. The emotions took a quick dive and what followed felt like a storm. However, that is for another day and another post. This day and this post is celebrating the incredible work a body can do, the way no two births are the same, and the sweet sweet moment our girl entered the world.

To see Birthing Baby Sage Part 2 you can continue here:

Are you currently pregnant and wondering what postpartum will be like for you? Let me help you get prepared. Snag this Postpartum Plan Checklist to get you prepared for this new season.