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01 May, 2014

Maggie's Birth Story

Having struggled with high blood pressure again this pregnancy, I was going twice a week to the midwife for check ups and monitoring.  As we entered April, my due date month, I had to re-evaluate my birth plan.  My original plan was to have spontaneous labor, labor at home for a bit, and then head to the hospital for a possible water birth.  But the high blood pressure lowers the chances for these things - there is greater risk for stroke or seizure so laboring and birthing in the tub becomes dangerous.  I ended up relying greatly on the advice of the midwives.  When I saw 3 different ones in a week and they all said, "it was time" I knew a another induction was immanent.  Thankfully, having been through one before, we knew more of what to expect and what questions to ask, should the need arise.   

Read Evie's birth story part 1 and part 2 

Monday, April 7, 2014 -  

The Monday before I had a pregnancy massage and scheduled one "just incase" for this Monday.  I was really hoping to have the baby spontaneously before this day.  I woke up disappointed that Monday that I had/got to go to my appointment.  But something wasn't right.  My stomach was really upset and my body was extremely swollen.

Immediately following my massage I had my every 3-4 day check up with the midwife.  My regular midwife, Beverly, was on Spring Break with her family and I was scheduled to see the more senior midwife, Kim, in the practice. She is no nonsense.

When the lab tech called me back to do my urine sample, weight, blood pressure, etc I knew something wasn't right.  I could just feel it.  I was exhausted beyond belief.  My stomach was gassy.  I was just D-O-N-E.

When the lab tech read my blood pressure numbers I almost breathed a sigh of relief. I knew this midwife wasn't going to let me go home.  At least I prayed.

I was escorted to my exam room.  Sure enough the midwife came in, took one look at me, read my BP, and did an internal exam -- 3cm and 50% effaced.  She said, "I need to send you to the hospital for observation for a few hours to check on your blood pressure.  You have two choices:  stay and have your water broken or come back tomorrow for an ultrasound and likely another trip to the hospital for observation and/or induction."

I chose to get the party started.  My Dad had driven me to my appointment that morning since I wasn't feeling well.  I called Eric and my mom and we set our delivery day plan into motion.  My dad took me home to get my hospital bag and lunch and then we went to pick up my mom since Eric wouldn't be home for at least another hour.

When my mom and I walked in to the L&D ward I wasn't sure what to expect.  Last time I went in for observation they put me in a special observation room.  But this time they checked me into a labor and delivery room.  When the nurse came to check me in she said "Kim called over your orders. It says observation and maybe an induction, but we know Kim. You'll be having this baby by tomorrow at the latest"  Hence the delivery room....

I completed my two hours of observation.  I just needed to wait for the on call midwife or OB to come in and review my orders from Kim and compare them to my test results.

Around 3pm my OB made it in to talk birth plan and to write my induction orders.  He had reviewed my test results.  Everything looked good enough.  That was the problem.  They were good enough that he couldn't order an induction but not good enough to go home.  So I had to stay at the hospital.  The good news, he said, was that doctors can order inductions starting at 39 weeks without having a strong reason.  I happened to turn 39 weeks (according to the midwife's calculation, and I wasn't about to argue) that night at midnight.  The OB agreed to induce me as long as I didn't have the baby until after midnight.


Kim had said, or at least alluded that we'd just break my water and go from there.  The OB, however, said he doesn't like to break water without contractions.  He said once you break the water the clock starts ticking and you can't buy more time.  He said he'd like to start with pitocin to get contractions going and then break my water.

However, the last thing I wanted was pitocin.  Basically my birth plan was "Avoid Pitocin"  Thankfully Eric spoke up.

Eric told the OB that with Evie, all I needed was Cervidil to jump start contractions and my water broke on it's own.  The OB said that's not the norm, but it wasn't uncommon so it wasn't his routine plan of action.  But since it had worked for me in the past, he'd try it again.  He agreed to start Cervidil around 8pm, giving me 4 hours before my midnight do-not-deliver time frame.

We had some time before the induction would start. My mom and sister came to visit for a while.  They brought me Chick-fil-a sundaes! YUM!

At 7pm the nurses came in to do my 1 hour pre-Cervidil monitoring.  By by 7:40 they came back in and said the doctor had read my chart from Evie's delivery.  He said I had responded so well to Cervidil with Evie that he was afraid I'd deliver before midnight if we'd stuck to the original plan of starting at 8pm.  He moved the start time to midnight.

At this point I had no reason to stay in the hospital bed. I had a nice dinner. I took a shower. I put on my own clothes.  Eric and I watched the NCAA basketball finals.

 A nurse popped it to get my IV port set up.  Being GBS+ I had to have a penicillin drip through the whole labor/delivery.  And as a preventative measure incase I did have a seizure.

At 11:20pm I was given my 10 minute warning. I had to go to the bathroom and do anything I needed to do.  At 11:30 she came in to do the 30 minute baseline monitoring again.  And at midnight on the dot she came in to insert the Cervidil.  I had to lay in bed perfectly flat for a solid hour.

Throughout the night I dozed off and on.  I had really irregular contractions.  I'd have a few close together and then twenty minutes where I could sleep.  I remember around 5 or 6am getting up to go to the bathroom and asking if I could stay off the monitors for a while so I could walk around.  I was getting uncomfortable.

At 7am on April 8th, I was awake for the day.  

The nurse shift changed.  I was SO excited to see that my favorite nurse was back.  A good delivery nurse makes all the difference.  I quickly got up and went to the bathroom. I needed to go number two and I knew delivery was near that I should probably go and clear my system. If I waited I'd probably deliver the baby on the toilet. Ahem...moving along.

My mom and sister stopped by.  I ate breakfast.  And  around 9:45am the midwife on call, Ashley, stopped by.   We talked about my birth plan and they started to prep the room for delivery.

At 10:30 The midwife came in and broke my water.  Almost immediately labor intensified.

At 11:00am  we kicked my mom out.  Real labor had begun.  I was having regular contractions and they were getting harder and closer together.  Eric went to get me a popsicle.  Partially to help me slow down to breathe and partially just to help me cool off.  I was sitting up letting gravity do it's work along with the contractions, but soon after I needed to throw up.  And did I.  Everything I'd eaten since the night before came up.  But the gassy stomach ache I'd had since the day before was finally gone.  My phone-a-friend doula-in-training, Anne, suggested I stay sitting up, again, to let gravity do it's thing, but I just couldn't. I had the post-puke shakes and sweats.

I laid mostly flat on my back.  I had a cold rag on my forehead and chest.  I entered myself into a meditative state. I focused on nothing but my breathing during contractions, and really relaxing my body and mind during the breaks.

At this point I didn't allow myself to look at the clock.  I didn't want to know how fast or how slowly things were going.  I just laid in the bed breathing.   I could feel the baby rotating into position.  Her little butt was sticking straight up.  It was comic relief as the nurses would laugh when they'd see it poking up during contractions.  According to Eric's text records it was about 11:40-12:10 as he was texting my mom that my contractions were now 3 minutes apart and lasting 60-90 seconds each.

Eric sat next to me on the yoga ball holding my hand.  During each contraction he'd remind me to keep my body relaxed and to allow the baby to move down.  And to visualize the end result. In order to keep himself sane, Eric was playing Sudoku on his phone between contractions.

Things were really starting to intensify.  To the point where I wasn't sure I could go on much longer.  I asked the nurse to give me the run down of my pain management choices, like at what point I could take the IV pain meds and at what point I could get an epidural.  But her reassurance that I was doing great and was getting close helped me power through the last little bit.  Something in the back of my mind reminded me what our Bradley instructor said, "If you're ready to ask for drugs, you're probably close to transition and you've done the hardest part already"  So I stuck it out and stayed in my meditative state.  I meditated on the Hail Mary and I pictured myself laying on the beach listening to the ocean.  Pretending I could hear the rhythm of the waves crashing really helped me keep the rhythm of my breathing.

Around 12:30 I had to pee. And Anne text Eric suggesting I take a shower to help relieve some of the pain.  It took Eric and a nurse to help me get to the toilet because the contractions were coming so hard. There was no way I was getting in the shower.

I sat on the toilet and no sooner did I finish my business but I felt the baby drop and knew she was ready to go.  I had a super hard contraction and it took everything in my power not to push.  By the sound of my groan the nurse knew it was time.

She helped me get back to the bed and told Eric his job was to keep me from pushing. She called the midwife, Ashley, who calmly came in to get suited up.  Ashley checked me again, but I was only at 8-9cm.  She had me breathe through a few more contractions without pushing to allow things to open up on their own.

At 9cm I was given the green light to start pushing.  Ashley massaged things open to 10cm and right after 1pm it was go time!!!

Eric and the nurse held my legs and I started pushing.  I have never felt so primitive in my life. I let out the most primal, from-the-depth-of-my-being groans.  I didn't realize it but I was arching my back as a pain defense mechanism with each contraction.  I pushed 3-4 times like that and the nurse reminded me to round my back like a "C" and push into the contractions.  2 pushes later she was crowning.  Another 2 pushes later and she was out!

Ashley scooped her up, declared her perfect and put her directly on my chest.  She was perfect. Perfectly pink with a head full of short brown hair.

Maggie was so calm.  She laid on my chest for the next hour.  Eric cut the cord. I delivered the placenta, which took no time and was much easier than last time. And the midwife stitched me up (just a first degree tear).  During this time Eric started calling family and friends to let them know our girl was here.

Before Maggie even had her first exams and little wipe down, my mom was there!  My mom stayed and helped me get cleaned up and transferred to the recovery room.

Not only had I been awake for the entire labor and delivery, but I remembered it!  And I didn't have any pain medicine. Not even a Tylenol.  It was amazing -- I don't remember much of Evie's labor, but as each step of Maggie's labor progressed new flashbacks of Evie's labor came forth.  Images that I'd never recalled before.  Our minds are crazy, powerful things.

After having a completely drug free labor and delivery, I can't imagine it any other way.  Sure it hurt like hell, but there was something incredibly beautiful about working with your body to bring this incredible little person into the world.

As Eric kept reminding me throughout labor, "You were made for this"

I was on cloud nine.  Our sweet girl is here!!!  7 pounds, 14 ounces and 20.5 inches long

Later that evening my parents brought Evie by to meet her baby sister. But that is a story for another day.


  1. So glad everything went well. She's adorable! My induction is scheduled for Monday. Going it goes as smoothly as yours.

  2. How exciting!!! I will be thinking about you :) Can't wait to see pictures!

  3. Such a great story! You're a strong mama and got awesome pics during the whole thing, too!

  4. SO happy it was such a good experience! I'm glad you were spared the pitocin! Reading this reminded me a lot of my experience having Cate. There is nothing in the world like giving a completely natural birth. It's truly miraculous. You all look so happy in your pictures and Maggie looks like a content little doll baby. Can't wait to meet her!

  5. Life is pretty incredible. So glad you had such a positive experience. Also, I really like you. It makes me sad that I so enjoyed the last time I saw you, but it's been so long!

  6. Okay. Evie = adorable. Maggie = totally precious. But the pictures of Eric in your hospital bed = priceless.


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