Let me start off by saying my hopes and dreams for this birth. I was induced with Autumn and "kind of" induced with Kaelyn (I labored on my own, had pitocin for 5 minutes before she reacted poorly and they stopped it). I really, really wanted to try a natural birth. Meaning, no epidural. Am I crazy? Probably. Haha. But I wanted to try. Women do it all the time. I hear amazing things (and horror stories as well) about birthing without drugs. If this was going to be our last pregnancy, I wanted to go out with a bang. I loaded my iPod with Josh Groban music and practice relaxing/focusing on my breathing. I was prepared!!! So now that you know what my "plans" were for this birth, let's continue onto the pregnancy...
We're gonna jump ahead to 35 weeks of pregnancy... I chose not to share a lot of information on facebook about this pregnancy for certain reasons. Being now that she's here, I don't mind sharing with you about this incredible journey and the difficult decisions I had to make.
35 weeks was an abnormal milestone for both Autumn and Kaelyn. We found out that I had low amniotic fluid with Autumn at 35 weeks and that Kaelyn wasn't growing properly at 35 weeks as well. So, of course, when the 35 week mark came, I was a nervous wreck. Thinking of a million scenarios of what could be wrong with Edyn. Praying, praying, praying, that nothing was actually wrong! Needless to say, I was literally in and out of my 35 week checkup in less than 15 minutes. It was a shock for me. A healthy baby. Nothing wrong. Uterus was measuring right on. Her head was down. Nothing out of the ordinary. Even Jordan was surprised at how soon I called him after my Dr appointment. He thought for sure something was going to be wrong as well. I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and thought, for sure, "this was the pregnancy that I had hoped for!", or so I thought...
Two weeks later I had some spotting. Not a huge deal. I wasn't super concerned, especially since I was considered full term at that time. However, I figured that the Dr should know, just in case. I actually saw the Nurse Practioner that day and mentioned that I had some spotting. She suggested to check and see if I was dilated at all or to see if I have had any damage or tears up there. Everything was normal looking, but she couldn't feel if I was really dilated or not. I do know that my cervix is positioned very high and a lot of women have a hard time telling (early on) if I'm dilated or not. She tried pushing Edyn down from the top of my uterus to see if she could tell that way and was unsuccessful. She then mentioned that Edyn might even be breech! :-/ Definitely something I did NOT want to hear!!! I immediately starting having an internal panic attack because I knew what the outcome of a breech baby (this late in the pregnancy) was going to be... C-Section... I was able to have a quick ultrasound to confirm, yes, she was breech. What a little stinker! Two weeks prior she was head down! Do I remember her flipping? No. She must have done it in my sleep or slowly flipped throughout the day without me noticing. Either way, I was not looking forward to my next conversation with the NP...
The NP came back into the room and immediately told me that she was super bummed that her suspicions were confirmed. Also that St. Mary's also does not deliver breech babies (which I kind of figured). So I was given 2 options. I could have an external cephalic version (click the link if you would like to learn more about it) or I could schedule a C-Section. I honestly laughed and told her neither. Ha! But I had to choose. I opted to go home and talk it over with Jordan. This was a Friday morning and I had until Monday morning to decide. I left in tears. This is not what I had hoped for. I kind of knew about ECVs, but didn't know much more than the horror stories I've heard from a couple of my friends. I feared C-Sections. I know technology is amazing and women have them all the time, but I did not want to choose this for myself. I wanted to avoid it unless it was an emergency. I do not handle surgery very well. Not to mention having an incision that I could possibly SEE with my own eyes. Yeah, that just screams "I'm gonna pass out"!
I went home and immediately plugged myself into the computer. Trying to find out as much research as possible about ECVs. What I came across was not appealing to me what-so-ever. I was not comfortable with anything that I was seeing. Not to mention watching a video of the actual procedure made me want to vomit! Again, I was in tears. I was not prepared for this. Never in a million years did I think that any of my babies would be breech. I was breech for my mom and she had a C-Section when delivering me. She survived :-) Speaking of my mom, I was able to call her that afternoon and talk to her as well. My mom, being a nurse, was not comfortable with the ECV and even my dad chimed in and said "absolutely not!" I even mentally wrote out pros and cons of having an ECV done or scheduling a C-Section. Again, neither of them appealed to me, but I had to choose. Jordan was able to make the decision easy for me and said "if I wasn't comfortable with an ECV, then why move forward with it?" So we agreed. Scheduled C-Section it was, under 1 condition... If she flipped on her own before then. I was canceling the C-Section!
So now we had to wait until Monday to schedule. The surgery scheduler apparently leaves early on Friday afternoons (who wouldn't?) and so I had all weekend to be a nervous wreck. Monday morning came and we scheduled the C-Section for the following Tuesday, April 9th at 7:30am. So I would be 39 weeks pregnant at that time. They didn't want to go any earlier than 39 weeks and no later than 40 weeks. Why? I honestly don't really remember anymore. I just know that's what they said. Here's where I go into panic mode again. I was late with both Autumn and Kaelyn. So mentally, I prepared myself for going late again with Edyn. Now that we had the scheduled C-Section, I was "losing" a week of pregnancy, or, losing a week of getting the house ready and food preparations ready (I planned on making frozen meals for our family). I struggled a lot with comments from friends and family about our decision. There was a reason why I kept this off of facebook too. I know a lot of people have their own opinions about situations like this, but in all honesty, it was between Jordan and myself. What I felt was right for Edyn and my body. We didn't need other people to convince us right from wrong. Because there is not right or wrong in a situation like this. Unfortunately there were people with strong opinions and tried to sway me one way or another. It was so frustrating in an already stressful situation! I still feel that our decision was best suited for us (even though we didn't have to follow through).
Now let me back track a second... During my research on ECVs, I came across this amazing website. Spinningbabies.com. This website is super informative and even has several natural ways on flipping your baby in the comfort of your home. I was up for ANYTHING!!! So I tried it. Couldn't hurt, right? I did the inversion exercise, cold pack on top/warm pad on bottom, praying, talking to her, trying to CONVINCE her. ANYTHING!!!! I've even had over 7 people recommend this website to me as well (after I told them my situation). So you know it's good when other people (and midwives) are recommending this site.
A couple of days before my 39 week checkup I noticed that Edyn felt differently. Just something about the way she was moving felt differently. I tried not to get my hopes up. I didn't want to set myself up for disappointment. So I patiently waited for my next Dr appointment.
Sure enough, my suspicions were confirmed... Edyn had FLIPPED!!!! Pretty sure all those silly exercises (and praying) I was doing paid off! One of the first things that came out of my mouth was "cancel my C-Section!!!" Haha. I wanted that GONE!!!!!! I was so incredibly happy, I could barely contain myself. I don't think I could call people fast enough to tell them the news! Pretty sure I was in tears (happy tears) when I called Jordan as well. He was a little bummed that his "vacation" was being pushed, but he completely understood why I didn't want to proceed with the C-Section ;-) So now came the waiting game...
My due date came and went. Just as I had expected. At my 40 week checkup, we scheduled for an induction (which would be at 41 weeks). Again, not ideal for me. But way better than a C-Section. My Dr was also super hopeful that I would labor on my own. So she scheduled me for a Non-Stress Test the next day (so I'm 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant at this point). No big deal. I've had them probably 1000 times before with the older girls.
That evening I start having stronger contractions. I've been having off and on Braxton Hicks for months at that point. Some were stronger than others. These actually prevented me from sleeping for a while. So I texted a few people to warn them in case I went into labor that night. Of course, nothing happened that night...
The next morning (Thursday the 18th) is like any other morning. I'm awake and downstairs eating my breakfast by 5am because I can't sleep; due to the carpal tunnel pain I have from swelling in my arms/hands. Just before 6am I start feeling those contractions again. I'm trying not to get excited because, let's face it, I've had them off and on for a while. I take note of the time each one of them starts. By the time Jordan wakes up (6:30ish), I've had a few around 10-15 minutes apart. I mention something to Jordan and we decide that he should just go to work because, again, it could be nothing. I should also mention he has a 45 minute drive to work this particular day. So we really didn't want to jump to any conclusions if we didn't have to. An hour later the contractions haven't stopped. The girls are starting to wake up and I notice that the more I'm up and moving around, the closer and stronger they get. At this point they're around 10 minutes apart when I'm sitting and 7 minutes apart when I'm up and moving around. Let's face it, by this time, I'm 99.9% sure I'm in labor. I already had a babysitter coming over at this point because I had a NST scheduled for 9am at the hospital. So it worked out perfectly anyways. I texted Jordan before I called my Dr office to let him know that I was pretty sure I was in labor. He decides to come home and go with me to my NST in case I was really in labor. I tried calling my Dr office, but I was put on hold for too long and figured, since I'm going to the hospital anyways, I might as well just point out while I'm there that I could be in labor.
We get to the hospital, contractions still going strong. I can't talk through them, but I can comprehend what's going on around me during them. There was a mix up at the front desk. Apparently my NST was not scheduled with them (who knows what happened), but I told them I figured I was in labor anyways, so they put me in Triage to monitor me for a while. I was checked in at 9:30am and was told that I was dilated 1-2cm and 80% effaced (I was 50% effaced the day before). After about an hour I sneezed and thought that my water may have broke. So they sent someone in to check. My water actually had not broke at this time (they figured it was the lube they had used to see if I was dilated). But since I had been there for an hour, they checked to see if I had made any progress to determine if I should stay or go home. Sure enough, I had. I was dilated to 4cm!!! Before I went to my labor and delivery room, they had someone come in and do a quick ultrasound because Edyn was breech not 3 weeks prior. Sure enough, still head down (that'a girl). So off to my room I went!
One of the biggest things I had always wanted to do while in labor was use the jacuzzi tub. And guess what? I was able to use it!!! Totally worth it :-D The jets were dumb and we couldn't figure out how to put them on low instead of "so fricken high - let's soak the entire bathroom". Haha. But it was nice to just sit in warm water with my Josh Groban playing in my ear and letting my body labor naturally. At this point, I was pretty certain I was going all natural! Until they stuck me in the bed :-( Apparently they won't let you in the jacuzzi for longer than an hour. Lame. But again, totally worth it.
I was doing pretty good laboring on my back (sigh), but then Edyn had other plans. She stuck her butt right under my right rib cage. Making it very hard for me to take deep breaths. Then she starting moving during each contraction. I'm not talking about a little arm movement here or there. I'm talking full-blown "you're squishing me" movements! It was so ridiculously painful on top of the painful contractions I was already having! I was honestly, doing SO well breathing and relaxing during each contraction. Quite proud of myself if I may add. Haha. I'm horrible with any pain what-so-ever. So around 2:30pm when I was told that I was only dilated to 5-6cm, I had had enough. I decided it was time for the epidural. What's nice was my epidural was in within 15 minutes of deciding that I wanted it. They were definitely on top of things, maybe a little too much. LOL. It's amazing how each epidural I had had was different. With Autumn I felt a little contractions in a tiny part of my uterus. With Kaelyn I felt nothing (which I actually didn't like) and with Edyn I felt the whole left side of just my uterus. The contractions were actually still pretty painful, but they were nothing compared to what I was just going through. And in all honesty, I didn't mind one bit. I enjoy the fact that I can still feel what's going on with my body.
Around 3:30pm - I was laying on my side and I needed a drink of water. So I grabbed a sip but started choking on it. Drinking while laying down is no easy task. But in the process of coughing, my water had actually broke. There was no doubt about it this time. When I told my nurse she laughed and said from the monitor she either thought I was puking or that my water had broke. Haha. The things those nurses have seen ;-)
4:45pm - I started feeling a lot of pressure down below. I called my nurse in to let her know and it seemed like she was taking her sweet time coming in. Jordan and I joked around saying that we didn't need our Dr to deliver this time around. We've done it twice already and could probably do it all on our own. Haha. I even suggested that Jordan stand on one side of the room and I would fire Edyn out so he could catch her for me ;-) Anyways, I told my nurse that I felt like they were pushing contractions. She was skeptical, but checked to see how far I was dilated just in case. Sure enough, I was fully dilated!!! Edyn wasn't quite all the way down yet. So we decided to let my body labor her down some more until I was feeling tons of pressure during each contraction.
5:20pm - We decide that it's time to start pushing. The Dr's and nurse start setting things up. I am sat up in an upright postion. My legs are ready to go, but then I start feeling funny. I get this massive wave of nausea come over me. Then everything starts going fuzzy and then a ringing in my ears so loud I can really hear anybody talking. Seriously? I'm about to pass out just minutes before I start pushing?!?! So I let them know... "I feel like I'm gonna pass out!" Everyone looks like a "deer in the headlights" look. I start taking really slow, deep breaths to see if I can calm myself down. Sure enough, I was able to get out of it without passing out. Phew!
5:25pm - Time to start pushing! Jordan mentioned to me later that he took a peek while everyone was setting up and my "parts" were all exposed. He said that it looked like Edyn was ready to come out! Haha. Watch out world! She's coming full force!!! First push and I'm getting praise like I just won the lottery. Apparently she was sliding down just nicely. 2 more pushes and my contraction is over. So then we wait for the next contraction. We wait, and wait, and wait. Nothing. The nurse couldn't find her heartbeat either. Not because she was having any issues. Only because her heart was directly beneath my pubic bone at this point. The whole time I'm laughing at jokes and talking like any other day. The Dr and everyone else thinks it's funny that I was able to do that while Edyn's head was already halfway out and holding. I was even able to see that she has hair at this point. Amazing! The Dr then suggests that I try pushing without a contraction. Since Edyn did fine during the last one and it was obvious that I wasn't getting another contraction anytime soon. Four more pushes and out comes our little baby girl.
5:35pm - This was the first birth where I was able to really see what happens while our baby is being born. The transition from purple/blue to pink with just one breath... Honestly cannot find the words to describe how simply amazing that is. It's beautiful and simply breath-taking. Watching our baby that started off as 2 separate cells, grown for 9 months inside me, take her first breath...Watching her cry as she continues to take those breaths. All I can do is praise God for this precious miracle. Then thank Him for the 2 precious miracles I already have at home. It's amazing... How a mother is capable of so much love for each child. I wasn't sure it was even possible. It sounds silly, really, but I could feel an empty space in my heart just fill up when I looked at Edyn for the first time. A space I didn't even know was there until I held her in my arms. God is so good!
I will say this... I was not a fan of the Resident that was assisting my Dr during the birth. I'm not sure how many births he had done prior to this one, but I felt like he was probably pretty new. No, he didn't drop Edyn after she came out. Haha. But he did have to have the Dr do step by step of how to hold her while she was coming out. Then he somehow had twisted her while putting her on my belly and her cord started wrapping around her neck. Definitely a sight I did not want to or need to see. I was trying to help get her cord up over her head before they put her all the way down on my belly. It was pretty stuck and I seriously contemplated ripping it off with my teeth. You may laugh, but that thought did cross my mind. Nobody was getting that cord off her neck fast enough!!! Jordan said that he almost looked like he fumbled around with her before he put her on my belly as well. Ugh. So nervous racking! Needless to say, nothing serious happened with her. Just a little scary looking and definitely was not even remotely serious.
This was by far the easiest birth of all 3 of my girls. Even though I was not able to do "all natural" like I had hoped, I am still proud of myself for how far I was able to go unassisted. Not to mention letting my body labor on its own was a better experience than being induced. Totally worth it and so glad I was able to experience it! Not to mention, I didn't tear one bit during the pushing! Not even 10 minutes after Edyn was born I told everyone that I could do it over again. That's how good I felt! And that's how great I feel now. Edyn isn't even 2 weeks old yet and I feel amazing!!! I'm not 100%. I'm still taking it easy. But I've been doing haircuts for the past week and somewhat keeping up on laundry/housework. It's great! I would totally do it over again (wink wink, Jordan)! :-)