While I don't necessarily feel completely qualified to write blog posts on birth (it's not for lack of education, but because there are just plenty of other people who could do a MUCH better job), I am learning how to do it. I figured the natural place to start would be the birth of my only child (so far). We'll call him, Jellybean Jr. I'm not a medical professional, nor am I in any way trying to tell women what they should do. This is just my story. And my son's story.
My husband and I had decided long before we were expecting our son that we wanted to use midwives. We were excited about using the nearby birth center and our sweet midwives became more like family as the pregnancy went on. I was healthy, low-risk, and had an overall completely uneventful pregnancy. My due date was April 6th (the day after Easter). I was sure of the dates. So, when April 6th came and went, I was ok, but I knew it would be soon.
I remember sitting in a Good Friday service at church and every now and then feeling a tightening of my belly, but it never went anywhere. My mom came to stay with us after Easter, so there was no being still. She kept me moving. I was both grateful and completely resentful of this. We went to the park every single day (the trail was over 2 miles, which is a LOT for a woman past her due date!) and the day it was raining, we went to the grocery store instead. That was a bad idea, by the way. It was a stormy spring and a tornado literally went right over the building. She had me huddled in between toilet paper packages.
The days kept coming and going and I was becoming more and more restless. We were having regular non-stress tests and ultrasounds to make sure Jellybean Jr. was doing ok, which he was. They tried sweeping my membranes and could hardly reach.
Finally, while on the phone with my midwife, it was suggested that my mom go home for a few days and see if that helps. I remember being on my knees by my bed weeping while I was talking to my midwife. I have no idea why I was crying. No, actually I do. I was over 42 weeks pregnant!
So, she went home, but nothing changed. We went in on a Wednesday (42 weeks 2 days) for yet another NST. This time, during the ultrasound it was determined that my fluid levels were getting a little low. To be fair, I did not drink as much water as I should have been, so that's on me. The midwife there (different birthing center because they were the only ones with an ultrasound available) suggested it was time to talk induction.
I knew it was coming. I just knew it in my gut. Still, it took some time to process and let go of that birth center birth we had imagined and planned for. Thankfully, the drive to the hospital we were using was a good 30 minutes. We had time to talk it out, remind each other that we were grateful for these options, and grieve. It may sound silly that it was something we had to grieve, but when you've worked so hard toward something and have to adjust your plans, there is a certain degree of loss.
We showed up at the hospital and got settled in a room. My midwives followed. Thankfully, they have a great relationship with the doctors, nurses, and staff at this particular hospital, so their roles didn't change much.
They started me off with a Foley Bulb aka a cervical balloon. And yes, it is just what it sounds like. Take a moment to think about that....
Ok, ready to move on? So, yes, the Foley bulb basically helps things get moving in the direction they should without the use of medication. I was going for a pain-med-free birth, and by golly, I was going to achieve it! The bulb was weird and awkward and was supposed to just fall out....supposed to...
Mine, of course, got stuck. So, THAT was fun.
Anyway, they got it out, no problem (this was the next morning, I believe). I guess I was I having contractions, but since I have really bad cramps monthly anyway, I didn't really know if they were real contractions or not.
In the morning, they started me on Pitocin. Pitocin is a synthetic version of oxytocin, which is the hormone your body produces which makes the uterus contract (labor). I wasn't thrilled to be needing it, but it was what it was.
They started me on it slowly and gradually bumped it up. By lunch time, the contractions were getting pretty difficult, but between contractions I was still laughing and making jokes (like popping up from behind the birth ball on the bed and making goofy faces for the camera).
But the laughter and jokes soon ended as contractions started piling up on top of one another. But, that's for another blog post ;)
I love birth. And I love country music. No rhyme or reason. I'm not here to apologize for the seemingly opposite passions. All I know is I'm inspired by both and I've got some big dreams.