This post has been almost eight months in the making and I’m finally feeling ready to share my birth story. Just like pregnancy, every single person has a different experience. Some good, some bad and some a little of both! Even though my pregnancy was tough with morning sickness and heartburn, overall I was lucky to have no complications and a healthy baby growing inside of me. Max was so comfortable and cozy that he came the day after his due date even though I swore he was going to come early! There was a lot of acupuncture, pre-natal massages and walking to help encourage his exit strategy!
The morning of June 3rd, I woke up feeling some leaking and thought it was possibly my mucus plug. My doula (I’ll get back to why I love her so much) recommended I cough and squat in order to tell the difference between the mucus plug verse the water bag. After that fun experiment, I realized it wasn’t my bag and tried my best to go about my day. I tried to nap, watch Netflix, hydrate and eat. By 3 PM I was starting to have more intense contractions that were coming closer together. I wanted to stay home as long as possible as I knew once I arrived at the hospital, I probably wouldn’t be leaving. My doula advised us to head to the hospital once you know the drive will be miserable. Well around 5 PM my contractions intensified even more and it was time to pull the plug (no pun intended) and head to the hospital. Thank goodness the drive was only 15 minutes away because I was in a ton of pain.
Every hospital is different but Texas Children’s Women Pavilion has you first arrive to the triage floor to confirm labor before being brought to the labor and delivery floor. The triage nurse confirmed my contractions were intense and close together (yes, thanks for that confirmation) and conducted a vaginal exam. I thought my water had broken before but man was I wrong. Upon exam she accidentally broke it and ALL the water came flooding out. My husband was a bundle of nerves and excitement even though he was trying to hide it from me.
After being examined by the senior resident, I found out I was 4 centimeters dilated which I was happy about because the week before I was barely 1. In high school, I had Harrington rod fusion surgery in my spine for scoliosis. I was unsure if an epidural would work but luckily the anesthesiologist on call was able to get it in after two tries. I began to feel much more comfortable. Around 1 AM, I felt the pain coming back in my back pretty severely and the doctor came back in to give me an extra boost of medicine. It was spotty but worked better than nothing at all. The pain was also intensified because the resident was pretty adamant to starting me on pitocin. I was hesitant to be given this medication as I was progressing, just at a slower pace than the doctor wanted. This was the beginning of my anxiety where I felt like I wasn’t being heard. My doula wasn’t able to speak up in front of the resident but did confirm that I was in the right to feel like I was being pushed.
Around 3 AM, the resident examined me and said I was effaced at a 3 and it was time to start pushing. I pushed for three and a half hours which is about 2.5 hours LONGER than the average first-time mom. When my OBGYN came to check on me, he confirmed that I was actually effaced at a 1 and started pushing too early. AWESOME. The head was getting stuck under my pelvis as I was pushing which was making it even harder. This is also when my lack of mobility due to my scoliosis surgery really came into play. I was having such a hard time pushing but never gave up or asked for a break. My contractions were every minute if not shorter so there was little time to breathe. My demands were a cold towel and ice chips but otherwise, it was determination to push (literally) through. The resident was giving me a perineum massage while I was pushing to help soften the area which helped.
Around 6:30 AM my baby’s head was out and my doula asked if I wanted to touch his head. It was a WILD experience having the ability to feel him before he came out to the world. My doctor had to complete an episiotomy as the baby’s’ heart rate started to decline and he needed to get the baby out quickly. My doctor pulled the baby out and goes “what is it?” It was the MOST magical and amazing moment to be able to scream at the same time, “it’s a BOY!” The pure joy I felt was unlike anything I have ever experienced.
The magic unfortunately quickly faded for me and got pretty scary. Let me preface by saying what happened to me is extremely rare and is not what most women experience. I knew after I gave birth, the placenta would be delivered next. Instead of the normal process, my doctor had to pull my placenta out and as he did, he realized it was attached to my uterus. When he pulled, my uterus inverted (this almost never happens) and my doctor very quickly had to get my uterus back inside before my next contraction. I was bleeding pretty heavily and he had to pack my uterus in order to control the bleeding. It was a matter of minutes but I felt scared and in a panic as the room was silent. I kept asking if I was okay over and over again and only my doula responded with “you’re okay right now.” Finally, a nurse responded “you’re talking so that’s a good sign” which only made me more scared. My husband who is normally the life of a party was silent and unable to comfort me.
During this chaos I asked my doctor to tell me what happened and his response was “I’ve been talking to you the whole time.” This is when I completely broke down into tears. I felt scared, sick and exhausted and still had no idea what happened to me. Our plan was to have our parents stay put until after the baby arrived but all I wanted at that moment were them. They met us in the recovery room and my mom and I cried together as she told me I would be okay. I finally got the okay around noon that my bleeding had slow downed and I did not need a blood transfusion. This whole time Max was laying on my chest, being an angel. I was so grateful that even though I was in pain, he was okay.
With all of that said, I have never been more proud of myself. My doctor gave me a huge compliment the next day that very few people would have been able to push for as long as I did. I am on the smaller side so people assume I am fragile but that is far from the truth. When I am determined, nothing will get in my way and you better believe that means meeting my baby!
Experience with my doula, Jessica Gonzalez:
To summarize, Jessica was a MASSIVE comfort for both myself and my husband. My husband as the smart man that he is, was supportive of me wanting to use a doula but I’m sure in the back of his mind he thought it was a waste of money. The day I went into labor, I was able to ask her questions, send pictures, and get advice without having to go to the hospital just to be sent back home. When my delivery went from ordinary to traumatic, she was the only calming presence for me in the room. She validated my feelings that day and afterward as I had no scale to measure what I went through. I was able to contact her after my delivery to get advice as well as comfort. Stay tuned for a full interview with my doula.
- Don’t pack your entire closet to the hospital. Not only is it a pain for your partner to carry but you really don’t need much.
- Bring your medication with you. The hospital should be able to fill it but there was one day where I needed to take my own medication as the hospital wasn’t able to get it.
- Limit the number of visitors. We only had family and my best friend come visit. It’s a time for you and your new family to bond. Keep the visitors for future dates when you NEED the help.
- If you’re planning on breastfeeding, pack your breastfeeding pillow and leave it in the car. I preferred this one much more than the Boppy.
- Take every single thing with you from the hospital room. That includes blankets, dermaspray, mesh underwear, diapers for the baby and you!