Wednesday, November 6, 2013

6 lbs. 14 oz. {A Termie Birth Tale}


As opposed to 1 lb. 15 oz. {A Preemie Birth Tale}.

Monday night {July 29th, 2013} I joked with Niall as we were getting into bed. "What if I woke you up in the middle of the night and told you my water broke?"

He grinned. "I'd be knackered {translation: Irish for really really tired}, but very excited."

We laughed it off and went to sleep.

Sure enough, I woke up at 2:30 a.m, needing to use the bathroom, and feeling slightly damper than usual {if this is TMI, I apologize... but shouldn't you expect that from a birth story? Warning: it might get worse}.

"If my water has broken," I thought to myself, "than it is really only a slight leak, and I should just go back to bed and see what happens. No sense in waking people up or driving to the hospital for nothing."

Sleepy, but a little excited, I lumbered my big ole 39 weeks pregnant body back to bed.


The cramping started almost immediately. Try as I might to fall back asleep, efforts were in vain. At 2:45 I got out of bed again, convinced I needed to go to the bathroom again. This time getting up I was greeted by a whooshing gush of fluid. I grinned.

"Niall," I gently shook him. "Guess what? My water really did break!" Both a little giddy, he hopped into the shower while I phoned the hospital. I knew they would want me to come in right away (they did), but I was in no rush to get there, and hoped to be as far along as possible before admittance.

I woke up my mom (who conveniently was staying with us for just such an occurrence), rocked on my birth ball, and ate a bowl of cereal while Niall showered. I knew they wouldn't let me eat once I got to the hospital, so it was my little act of rebellion (which I regretted an hour later... but we'll get to that in a minute).

By the time Niall was ready, I was already panting, attempting relaxation measures, and having to concentrate during contractions. It all happened so fast folks! I got into the shower, enjoying the hot water on my aching back. Apparently back labor is my body's style... I had it with both S and W, though neither baby was posterior. As soon as I got out and dressed, we high tailed it to the hospital.

By the end of the ten minute car ride, I was more than a little uncomfortable. In triage, I gritted my teeth through each contraction, annoyed that they wanted me to lay on my back for half an hour so they could get good readings of my contractions. Really?!? I could tell them how close my contractions were! I'm not sure what keeping me on my back accomplished, other than furthering my agony.

Finally they concluded that I was definitely in labor and should be admitted. Ha.


In the delivery room, Niall kindly took a rolling pin to my back. I read this in a birth book somewhere, and it was incredible! It gave me the most relief, and kept Niall from getting to worn out by applying pressure with his hands. My contractions were one on top of the other, with maybe 30 seconds- 1 minute in between. This is when the severe nausea hit and I wished I hadn't downed the bowl of Crispix.

I tried to change positions to find greater comfort, but as soon as I started to move, another would come upon me, and the pain was so much worse while in motion. I always ended up back where I started: birth ball on top of the bed, me leaning into it, rolling pin spinning furiously over my lower back.

I felt a serious need to empty my bladder, but this presented a problem. Walking to the toilet took forever, and when I finally got there my body was unable to relax enough to go before another contraction hit. The nurses scolded me about not giving birth on the toilet, and helped me back to bed.

By this time I started begging for the epidural. "PLEASE" I pleaded tearfully, "give me the drugs!" Inwardly I repented of my silly natural birth ideals.

"I'm sorry honey, but you are past that point. This baby is going to be here really soon."

Moments later I was pushing. It lasted only 25 minutes. Thankfully it only felt like 25 minutes. Oh boy did I scream. My face went purple. I didn't moan in a low voice like I was supposed to. I just out and out screamed.

Then he was here. They placed W on my chest. Instead of feeling that amazing and incredible bonding moment I'd dreamed of, it just felt really surreal. The whole experience had been so quick, intense, painful, and blurry that I couldn't believe it had actually happened.


I've heard time and time again that once pushing is done and you have baby in your arms, the agony is over.

But oh no, my agony was only beginning. Apparently I had torn inside of the birth canal {funny enough, I didn't even know this happened... I thought tearing was external}. Because I hadn't had an epidural, I jumped and writhed with pain as my doc tried to stitch me up. The repair took an entire hour. One hour of pressure and poking and prodding agony.

My doctor felt terrible. At several stages she considered transferring me to the OR for better lighting and anesthetics to finish the repair. In the end, we didn't go. "Oh Rachel, I wish you had had an epidural, just because it would have made this so much easier." Ah well.

I'm thankful that my doctor delivered W, because I know and like her, and I know she was trying her best to make the fix as quick and painless as possible. If it had been any other doctor, I don't know if I could have been as forgiving.

It took me about three hours to decided that vaginal deliveries are preferable to c-sections. Even now I occasionally think that I might actually prefer a C next time around. While the recovery is infinitely more difficult, and major surgery with its accompanying risks are nothing to sneeze at, the sheer intensity of my birth experience was traumatizing and overwhelming.

From my water breaking to W entering the world, the entire experience fit into a space of four hours. Yikes! I'd always wished for a quick labor, and boy oh boy did I get it. Women have said that a short labor doesn't mean easy... and I get that now.


Probably every woman thinks her labor experience was the worst in the history of womankind. I don't know if it was the speed, or the awful repair, or the uncomfortable setting (maybe a combination of the three?) but I'm not "over" it yet. At this point if I had to give birth again, I would opt for drugs (even though theoretically I believe its better to do without).

I don't want to be a negative voice to women facing birth, hoping to go natural, or aiming for a vbac. I do believe that you can have a great experience. It seems that plenty of women I've read about and spoken with have done so. I just didn't.

I'm discouraged by the lack of birthing options women have in my area- only one hospital delivers, and only two practices of docs deliver there. No midwives are employed, and there are no local birthing centers. It's either home or hospital. With my high risk history, home just isn't an option for me.

Pardon the part birth story, part rant nature of this post. I am, generally speaking, not an overly negative person. I loved every minute of the third trimester, and adore the newborn days, sleep-deprived as they may be. I would sign up for both experiences 8 more times in a heartbeat.

Mentally and emotionally, I'm just struggling to wade through this birth experience and put it behind me. I know that I really want to have more children. I just don't want to give birth ever again. I do however want to be pregnant again someday. Is there any way to do one without the other? Ha ha.

It goes without saying that I LOVE this little boy. He has my heart, and I am ever so grateful to be his mama. I am also SO thankful that the Lord blessed us with a full term babe this time around!


Is there anyone out there who can relate? I'm really not interested in advice or statistics... just other ladies who know the feeling and can commiserate. 

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