So, I had pushed my induction date as far as I possibly could. June 10. Eight days past my due date and just 6 days before my mandatory travels began. I kept on giving the baby the benefit of the doubt; I thought for sure if I gave her the maximum time, she would come on her own. I was wrong. As the day drew nearer, I prepared myself for the fact that I would have to be induced – Something that I was hoping to avoid from day one. I came to accept it for what it was. I was at peace with it.
And so, at 7am on Monday, June 10, I found my sister Derolene and myself checking into Orem Community Hospital. I was feeling really chill and very excited. They started the pitocin at 7:45 on low, and I began feeling surges at 8:00. They increased it every half hour. It felt like quite a long time that my sister and I were just sitting there, hanging out. We watched some YouTube videos and some Arrested Development and just chatted.
The Doula Arrives
My doula Laurel arrived around 9:00. She brought mango flavored coconut water and I (surprisingly) loved it. The surges weren’t much to brag about but I listened to some relaxation tracks and affirmations, partly because I didn’t know what else to do. I was kinda bored…until around 10:00. By then my surges were 2-3 minutes apart, pitocin was at maximum dose, and I was definitely feeling it.
At 11:35, we think my water started leaking. Now is when I really began putting Laurel and Derolene to work. All I wanted to do was kneel. Laurel lowered the bottom half of the bed (had no idea that was possible, did you??) so that I could kneel on the bed and rest my upper body on a stack of pillows on the bed. I just buried my face in that stack of pillows, breathing deep. At about the same time, the pitocin surges were getting so hard that I needed counter pressure. Laurel and Derolene pushing all their weight onto each side of my hips did wonders. Derolene later told me she was worried this would hurt me, but Laurel assured her, “she hasn’t hit us yet, so trust me, it feels good.” Each time I felt a surge coming on, I said, “surge” or “contraction” to alert them it was time to counter. Eventually, talking was not my favorite option so I just waved my hand in the air as my signal and they came to my rescue.
Checking the Cervix
Around 1:30 I was starting to get tired of ALLA THIS. They checked me for the first time. The nurse didn’t say anything, but I remember looking at Laurel’s face. I dared ask her, “do I want to know?” I could see in her eyes she was carefully calculating what to tell me. “You’re progressing. It’s not a 3, and it’s not a 10.” Considering I started out dilated at a 3, I was a tiny bit discouraged. But really, I knew that progress was all we needed. “Dilation could change in a matter of minutes.” I reminded myself. Plus I had no choice but to keep going, and so I did. (My sister recorded the details in a notebook –AWESOME!!!— and at that point I was at a 5).
Transition: Baby is almost here!
Soon I started to feel myself losing control more and more often. I started to think, ‘I don’t know how much longer I can do this’, and was constantly praying, ‘please. please. please let her come soon.’ A little light went off in my brain, because usually when you get to that point of “I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE”, that means you are literally right there. So that gave me some hope. And I was right.
Some awesome things started to happen. Ok, in the moment it was not awesome. I felt horrible. But in hindsight, it was awesome. Especially because I didn’t experience these things with Crue. And why spare you the details? You came for a birth story, didn’t you? I’ll tell you something about birth. It’s a miracle and all and it is amazing, but let’s not sugar coat it, there is nothing pretty about signs of dilation and transition.
1 – The body begins to expel everything in preparation for birth.
What this actually means: I began crapping myself. I felt trapped on the toilet due to diarrhea because, as I told Laurel, “I don’t want to get on the bed and keep crapping myself!”
2 – Then, out the other end. What this actually means: I said, “I’m going to throw up” and magically a barf bag appeared. I just dry heaved a bunch since I hadn’t eaten anything for a while.
Eventually, I felt that I was done with all of that, plus Laurel started saying I should come back out of the bathroom. ‘Okay, okay. fine.’ I thought. Sometimes I think if it was allowed, I could birth a baby sitting on a toilet. That might sound crazy but ask any mom who’s given birth (naturally, I think?) Sitting on the john feels fantastic. When I stood up, Laurel said, “don’t freak out, but I’m just warning you, there’s a lot of blood.” —Enter transition/dilation sign #3. What this actually means: Well. Like I said, there was a lot of blood. I knew in the back of my head that these were all great signs, but I needed reassurance. I said, “that’s good though, right?” Laurel assured me that yes, in this moment, crapping yourself, dry heaving, and bleeding were all good signs.
Turning off the Pitocin: RELIEF!
When I got back to the bed I asked if they could turn the pitocin down because it was getting ridiculous and clearly I was progressing. They surprised us all by turning it completely off at 2pm. What a relief! I can’t tell you what a difference that made. Within 15 minutes I felt labor become WAY. WAY. WAY. more manageable. So I suppose in the end I did get a glimpse of labor without pitocin. Understatement of the year: I’ll gladly go THAT route next time, if granted.
Breathing Baby Down and Out
Around 3:00 I was kinda blurry but I noticed more nurses coming in and I heard one call on a phone and say, “we’re getting close in room 123.” Which was all encouraging. The monitors were not catching much because of the baby moving around and me moving around. They had to move me from kneeling position to my back in order to place a fetal monitor on the baby’s head. Then I laid on my side while Laurel held one leg up. It was 3:15 when I first started pushing. It was awesome. There was no ‘pushing and counting to 10’ business. No one told me to push, but I knew everything was game at that point. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel the urge to push very often. I just breathed her down (loudly, and at times losing control—- I felt like I sounded like the birthing lady you see in movies. But then I watch the video and it wasn’t that bad. …) Every now and then I thought, ‘I should probably push…” so I did. All of 10 minutes and about 5 pushes later, the doctor said, “one push and you’ll have a baby.” I pushed and BAM- There was her head!
It felt great to have her head out and I kinda felt like chillaxing at that second. I felt “done”. Hakuna Matata! But they told me to push to get the rest of her out, so I was like, “ooookay.” Another push or 2 and there she was! The cord was wrapped around her neck once, and she was quite purple and quiet. Surprisingly, I wasn’t alarmed. The doctor laid her on the bed as he unwrapped the cord and I just began shaking uncontrollably as I stroked her head and said, “oh my sweetie!” I saw her open her mouth and kinda move her head around so I thought she was alright. The doctor suctioned her nose and when she didn’t cry or cough, he was like, “ooooookay…” and quickly had my sister cut the cord and the took her right over to a table where the respiratory guy was and they forced air into her lungs for 20 seconds.
Meeting Baby; The Breast Crawl
Then came her beautiful cry. At which point I began bawling as well. All the emotions from the past 3 months especially all came together at once. I had gone through a lot with her in my belly and we had just done another hard thing together. Finally she was here and the relief was inexplicable. I remember telling Laurel and Derolene “thank you” over and over and then, “I’m so happy” about a billion times. When the baby was stabilized, they brought her over to me for skin to skin. Then one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen happened. I don’t remember Crue doing it and I hadn’t heard about it before, so I had no idea what she was doing, but I guess they kinda placed her on my abdomen, and she literally, I kid you not, began CRAWLING up me. She was so strong. I was so surprised, I said, “baby where are you going?” She was like a ravenous little animal crawling to find food. And that’s totally what she was doing. It dawned on me about the same time that Laurel told me to nurse her. She immediately latched on perfectly. I think it’s some newborn reflex? The “breast crawl” maybe? It was the coolest thing ever! I was in awe of how perfect she was. I held her and she nursed for an hour! It was crazy. When she was done, they gave her her shot and the eye drops. It was all a miracle. I think it goes without saying, but she is beautiful and we are in love!
Madelyn Kai Lafferty
8 lbs 3 oz
Born at 3:24 pm