Sunday, May 18, 2014

Caleb's Birth Story

If you are looking for a short, modest story of his birth here it is:

I went into labor on Thursday, May 8 and gave birth on Saturday, May 10 to a health baby boy.

If you are looking for a long, TMI story here it is. For posterities sake. You have been forewarned:

On Monday, May 5th I had my 40 week Midwife appointment. While there they tried to strip my membranes, but I was only dilated to a 1 and 70% so she couldn't get a good strip. After that, she checked his heart rate and it was running a little lower than normal (110) so they decided to send me over to the hospital to do an NST and AFI (for the third time). Everything came back normal, but while on the monitors I started having contractions. They weren't painful, but I could definitely feel them while seeing them on the computer screen for the first time. The nurse came in to give me my paperwork and said that she would probably be seeing me again soon...

Fast forward to that night around 2am I was woken up by some pretty painful contractions. I decided to get out of bed and go sleep on the couch so that I could time them and not wake up Brad. They started about every 10 minutes apart and got closer and closer together until Brad woke up at 6 to go to the work. I told him what was happening but we thought he probably should go to work until I really need him to come home...I thought I was having a baby that day! Around 7am I laid down to try and get some sleep and I did. I woke up around 9 totally bugged because the contractions had backed off! 

I kept having on and off contractions during the days and then would sleep perfectly through the night until Thursday morning. I was so frustrated that nothing was happening so I called my midwife and asked her to strip my membranes again. I went in that afternoon and she said I was still only 1 cm dilated, but I was 80%. Immediately after leaving the office I started having pretty consistent contractions around 10 minutes apart. They were getting stronger by the hour and when Brad got home from school at 8 we decided to go grab some food because I figured it would be our last time to go out together with just the two of us. We invited my cousin Megan and her husband Parker to go get some burgers so they came along. They had no idea what was going on but the contractions were getting so strong that I couldn't hide it from them. 

We got home around 10, watched an episode of Chuck, and then Brad decided he wanted to go get some sleep before life got crazy. I wanted him to sleep, but I did NOT want to labor alone through the night so we called Teresa to come spend the night with me. It was our plan to labor at home for as long as possible before heading to the hospital. I laid on the couch while she laid on the other timing my contractions. Throughout the night they would get progressively closer together (around 6 min apart) and then span out to 10 and then back again. I tried to sleep as much as I could between the contractions, but I was having such bad back labor, that the second they would start I would stand up, lean over a chair, and breathe through it. When they would pass I would fall back on the couch and sleep until the next one came. 

At around 6 the contractions picked up to around 3-4 minutes so we woke Brad up and got our things ready to go to the hospital. Teresa kept saying "you've got to be at least a 5 or a 6 by now," and I was feeling the same way. Brad called our Doula (check out her page, she's AWESOME!) on the way and told her to meet us at the hospital. When we got there I put on the monitors and the nurse checked me. I was STILL 1+cm and 80% effaced! I couldn't believe it. After laboring for 12 hours I had not progressed at all! Talk about super discouraging. They kept me on the monitors for an hour and then she came back in to check me again. I still had no progressed (go figure) and my contractions had died down to every 8 minutes so she said I could either be admitted and given pitocin or I could go home and labor there. I still wanted to do this all natural so we sent our doula on her way, packed up and went home.

We got home and the next contraction that came I was crying so hard that I threw everything up. I just remember leaning over a pot, Brad rubbing my back, and me feeling like I was going to die. Little did I know this was just the beginning:). The rest of the day we spent at home trying to sleep while still having contractions varying from 6-10 minutes all day. Every time one would start I would scream, "Brad!!" and he would run up, rub my back and breathe with me. Brad went to a physics lab that afternoon and while he was gone they spaced to about 15 minutes for an hour so I was finally able to get some sleep in between contractions. When he got home we decided to go for a walk to see if maybe that would help. They definitely got closer and stronger, but when we got home they spaced out again. Teresa suggested sitting on the birthing ball for a while so I tried that. This was around 4pm. Brad looked at me while on the ball and asked what I was planning to do. He said that if I couldn't take it anymore we could go in and get the pitocinn to see if it would work. I immediately broke down again. I was so discouraged, but I still wanted to do it natural! Plus, getting pitocin too early in labor can result in a failed induction and a subsequent C-section. No thank you. So I continued to labor...

Around 8 the contractions picked up again to about 3 minutes apart and I started throwing up. A ton. We thought that maybe I was going through transition so Brad got everything together super fast and we drove to the hospital. I laid the front seat down and was on my hands and knees just trying to focus through each one. I have never seen Brad drive so fast on the freeway. We got there and they immediately got me hooked up to the monitors and the nurse came in to check me. I looked up at her and said, "If I am only 2 cm I might punch you." She looked at me and then slowly backed her head away and said, "sorry, 2 and 80%." Excuse me?!!? 24+ hours of labor and literally NO progress. Not fun.

So there I was. Completely discouraged, and totally out of my mental game. I could literally feel my body  breaking down from total exhaustion. The nurse left our room and I looked at Brad and told him, "I am ready. Give me all the drugs. I don't even feel bad." Before this I had felt like I was letting myself down and not being strong. But I knew that there is a time and place for modern medicine and I needed it. Bad. Brad was completely supportive. When the nurse came back to the room we told her we were ready to get admitted and given Pitocin. She told us they couldn't do an induction at night time, but she could give me a shot of morphine to help me go home and sleep a little bit. I gladly accepted and was given the morphine and sent home for a second time. We had already called our Doula so she met us at home. She was so supportive the whole time and I felt so bad for making her drive down for our 2 false alarms!

On the way home I called my midwife and told her I was ready to come in in the morning and start the induction process but she told me that they can't do an induction on Saturday due to hospital policy. She said she could set me up for one on Monday morning. That was something I did NOT want to hear, but the morphine had kicked in so I didn't have much fight in me. When we got home I was able to fall asleep from about 12:30 to 3:30.  I would still wake up during the contractions, but the Morphine had taken the edge off so I didn't have to breath through them. Around 3:30 when the drugs started wearing off they came back really strong. Brad would wake up with each one, put his hand on my shoulder and breath with me until they were over, then roll over and try to fall asleep before the next one. At 6 I woke him up and told him I HAD to go back to the hospital. I didn't care if they had to give me shots of morphine all weekend, I refused to labor any longer. 

We got to the hospital around 6:30 with no hope that I had progressed at all, but when the nurse checked me I was 3 and 90. Not too impressive, but at least something!!! She asked us if we wanted to go natural and Brad said "we were, but that plan is out the window, she wants everything." Luckily we were blessed with a nurse with a lot of sympathy because after phoning our midwife she agreed to admit us as long as I agreed to get pitocin. Gladly.

We got settled into our room around 9, I got my IV, and we waited on the pitocin and epidural. The nurse offered me some Fentanyl so I could sleep so they gave me some. I slept for about an hour. When I woke up Brad was eating a breakfast burrito from the cafeteria so I begged him to give me some. I was starving! I ate some of it and then we went and walked around before I got the epidural. I thought I was gonna be in bed the rest of the day so I wanted to move a little before. While walking the halls I had a couple good contractions and I was D.O.N.E. I wanted that epidural. Stat. They came in at 11:30 to give me the pitocin and epidural. The contractions instantly picked up to about 3 min apart and I couldn't feel a thing!!!! That stuff was heaven sent. 

The plan was to try and nap during the afternoon but my midwife came in about 20 minutes later and when she broke my water she noticed that he was sunny side up. They think that that was the reason I was having contractions and not going into labor. His head was engaged in my pelvis and my cervix was really posterior so the contractions weren't pushing his head against my cervix to get it to dilate like it should. The solution was to lay me on my side and put a peanut ball in between my legs. This supposedly opens the pelvis and allows his body to turn around. 30 minutes later the nurse came in and checked me again and I was at a 6 and 100! I was finally in active labor! She asked me if I was feeling any pressure and I told her I was so she gave me some oxygen and told me to try and relax. 15 minutes after she left his heart rate started going down during contractions and I started to freak out. Brad went and got the nurse and she came in to check me again and I was complete!!! We were all shocked! I told Brad to tell our Doula because she hadn't come down yet...things were moving way faster than we thought they would!

The nurse went to go call the midwife and they prepped the room for delivery. When the midwife got there she wanted to wait for the resident midwife to get there before I started pushing but I was worried about his heart rate and so I told her I didn't want to wait. She figured it would take me an hour to push so I started. I pushed for about 5 contractions until his head was crowning. The resident finally got there and got her gown on. In between the 6th and 7th contraction his heart rate dropped really low so they asked if they could give me an episiotomy to help get him out. I told her to do anything to help get him out. She cut me and his head popped out the next push and his shoulders on the next. Only 16 minutes of pushing and he was finally born! 

They put him on my chest immediately and cut the cord before weighing him and wiping him down. We did skin to skin right after and I was able to nurse him right away. It's hard to describe the feelings I felt when I first held him. It was just an overwhelming jumble of relief, peace, love, and happiness. He was safe and in my arms after almost 50 hours of labor. My little baby boy:)

As I look back at the whole experience I am in awe at the miracle of birth. Even though it was NOTHING like we had expected or planned for, everything turned out perfect. I do not regret any of it. I always knew that my mental game was strong, but this pushed me to a new limit. A lot of people say that if only I had known he was posterior at the beginning things would have been so different, but I am grateful for the whole experience and wouldn't change a thing. Brad was so wonderful throughout it all and I am amazed at how much just his presence helped keep me calm and feel safe. I definitely could not have done it without him. 

We are so grateful for Caleb and the change he has made in our home. There is nothing like waking up to a tiny little baby every morning...I am in love! 


  1. Way to go Rachel! Such an ordeal and we were all so relieved when he finally came! I thought for sure you were going to have a C-section. Epidurals are such a saving grace. You can always try another time for a natural birth, Caleb has now paved the way! Can't wait to meet him! He is so cute!

  2. Hey Rachel I am Em's best friend she grew up with. I have known Brad for along time. :) I have loved seeing Teresa's pictures on Facebook of you and Brad's insanely cute little baby. Congratulations to you both! I love reading birth stories so much and loved yours. I have four kids and the labor and delivery is something I look forward to so much because it's such an amazing experience. Congratulations again you guys!

  3. Oh man you're a strong momma! I had a similar experience with my first daughter's birth which was around 40 hours long - it's amazing what the body can do! Good work and he's so handsome!

  4. You are amazing. Motherhood is the greatest and as you know comes with unplanned detours. You and Brad are so lovely. Caleb is blessed to have you both as parents!!!

  5. Congratulations! False labor is awful, especially when it really isn't false. That's what the last few weeks are like for me -- ups and downs and timing and giving up and stripping membranes, blah. I just hope Camille doesn't read this and wuss out! Baby Caleb is adorable.