Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Adelaide's Birth Story

I have always LOVED birth stories and hearing other experiences in birth so I am going to share mine.

Around 39 weeks (it's a long story;)) I started having contractions every day around 1pm. They would last a good hour being 5-8 minutes apart and then go away. Because it happened every day I started to get frustrated because it never went anywhere. Especially after 40 weeks I began to think that my body was never going to go into labor. I went to see my midwife twice a week to get my membranes swept for two weeks and still nothing would progress. At my last appointment (6 days before she was born) I was 3cm and 70% effaced. 

Fast forward a week and I was 40 and 5. I was feeling physically really strong, but mentally I was exhausted. It was Friday the 29th and I woke up with some pretty heavy bleeding. I had gotten my membranes swept the day before for the 4th time so I didn't really think anything of it.  I also have heard it is normal to have bloody show before you go into labor so I started getting excited. I bled mildly the whole day and then around 5pm I passed a couple medium sized clots. This had me a little nervous (especially since I had had placenta previa earlier on in my pregnancy) so I texted my BIL (who is an OBGYN) and sister and asked if this was normal. He immediately called and told me to drop everything and head straight to the hospital. I was at my parents house at the time hanging with Annie because my parents were out of town so I left Caleb with her, called my midwife, and called Brad and told him to meet me at John Muir in Walnut Creek. They checked me in and immediately hooked me up to the monitor and watched my bleeding. Everything looked great with Adelaide and they said that my bleeding was pretty normal so they sent me home. 

On Sunday I was 41 weeks so they had me go back to the hospital for another NST. Again, everything looked great so they sent me home. Que emotional meltdown. Sorry Brad. I was feeling so much emotional build up for nothing to happen and it just got to me. My midwife was talking about inducing me Tuesday morning and I was feeling a lot of pressure to get my body to go into labor by myself before then. I REALLY wanted to have a natural childbirth and I knew that with pitocin it would be a lot harder so induction seemed like the wrong way to start. I got desperate. I decided that the next thing to try (I had tried A LOT of things) was Castor Oil. 

Monday morning, August 1, I drove down to CVS in the morning and bought the dreaded oil. Having every employee search for the product throughout the store was quite humiliating, but so worth it. I waited on drinking it because I wanted to go to the gym one last time. #priorities I had done BodyPump and Combat the morning I went into labor with Caleb so I decided to try that again. After the gym I met my mom, Annie, and Jacob at Costco and while waiting in the parking lot chugged down my 2 TBLS of Castor Oil follow by orange juice. It was WAY less disgusting than I thought it would be. We walked around Costco, had lunch, and then headed home for nap time. Around 2 (my normal "contraction" time) my contractions started again. I tried to lay down for a nap but the excitement and pain kept me awake. Caleb woke up from his nap and we watched shows while I bounced on the ball and timed my contractions. They usually stopped after about an hour or two, but this time they kept coming! Brad got home from school around 5:30, we had dinner, put Caleb to bed and went on a walk. While on the walk I had to stop and breathe through each contraction so I figured something was finally happening! They were about 4-5 minutes apart and super consistent. We got home and at 10pm I called the on-call Dr. and he told me to go in to the hospital. I had no idea how fast or short my labor would be because Caleb's was so abnormal so I just wanted to get to the hospital.

We arrived around 10:30, they got us set up in our room, checked us in, and checked me. I was still only 3cm dilated so the nurse told me I really needed to keep my contractions going in order to show them I was progressing. I was over 41 weeks so they weren't going to let me leave, but if I didn't progress on my own enough they wanted to start Pitocin. By 11 O'clock I was walking the halls trying to get my contractions closer together and stronger. Brad was starving so after bringing in our bags he ran to Safeway to grab us some food. I walked for about 2 hours, ate a sandwich, and by 1am was exhausted. I knew that I would need my strength so I decided to lay down and try to rest. My contractions spaced out to about every 10-15 minutes when I laid down so the nurse came at 2am and told me that she was going to check me at 3am and she really wanted to see that I was dilating. I know the nurse was just trying to get me to progress, but I started to get annoyed. Brad was exhausted as well so I let him sleep as much as I could and I paced the room for an hour. Around this time I started to feel really nauseous and after a particularly hard contraction I threw everything up. This continued my WHOLE labor. About every 30 minutes I would get a huge wave of nausea and lose everything. I tried my best to drink, but it was hard to stay hydrated. 

At 3am the nurse came in and checked me and I had only dilated 1 cm in 4 hours. So annoying! She tried to get me to cave to Pitocin but I told her I really wanted to wait for my midwife to come in the morning and break my water. I was hopping that that would move things along. She said she was happy to hold off but only if I kept trying to keep my contractions up. Ie keep walking. So that's what I did. For another 2 hours. By 5:30 I couldn't stand it anymore and I sat in the rocking chair and instantly went to sleep. The nurse came in and told me to get in bed and try to rest because when my midwife came I would need my energy when things got harder. 

My nurse switched shifts at 7am and our new nurse came in to check on us.  I could instantly tell that she was awesome. I was 5cm and 90% effaced. We told her my birth plan and she was super supportive and I knew she was going to be a good fit for us. Lauren (my midwife) came in around 8am and went in to break my bag but she couldn't do it! Adelaide's head was so engaged in my bag of water that it had stretched tight and she couldn't get a good hold to break it. She tried 3 different times with 2 different instruments and nothing worked. I was super discouraged. Both the nurse and Lauren then started talking about Pitocin. They explained that I really needed to get my contractions stronger and closer together in order for my cervix to dilate and go into active labor. The plan was to only give me a tiny amount and see if my body took to it and they would adjust accordingly. The nurse asked me what my big fear of Pitocin was and I explained that supposedly they make your contractions stronger and closer together. She laughed and said "honey, thats labor! It hurts! Wether you have Pitocin or not!" They then stepped out of the room so Brad and I could talk it out and we decided that Pitocin was probably the best idea. I was exhausted from being up all night and knew I only had so much steam left to keep going.

Around 9am my nurse gave me a big bag of saline (to help with my dehydration) and then hooked up the Pitocin. Within 2 minutes my contractions went from being 4-5 minutes apart to 2 minutes apart and lasted over a minute. It was like going from 0 to 200 mile per hour. Each contraction was so painful. The best position for me was kneeling on the bed with my arms and head draped over the front. The nurse stayed in the room the whole time and helped with my breathing and positive talk while Brad blew on my face (I was sweating profusely) and rubbed my back in between each contraction. The one thing that gave me a ton of comfort was a throw up bag they had given me. Each contraction I would crinkle and un-crinkle the bag to help me focus on something. Totally crazy, but it totally worked. Brad tried to take it away during one contraction and I swapped his hand away and yelled "DONT!" I remember thinking during this time...props to EVERY woman who has done natural childbirth....IT HURTS!

After about 40 minutes of this I began to lose it. I was tensing up with each contraction and my mental game was completely gone. After one particularly bad contraction I looked up at Brad and told him I was done. I wanted the epidural. He kinda just looked at me shocked and the nurse stepped in. She told me that every one asks for the epidural when they are 8cm. She was more than happy to check me and see where I was at, but I shouldn't make a decision before then. She checked me and sure enough I was 8cm and her head was a +1 station! Then she gave me the greatest pep talk of all time. She told me that the worst was behind me and that she thought I was handling it really well. Because of Adelaide's placement in my pelvis she didn't think it would be much longer. Brad agreed with her and so I kept going. I thought they were crazy for thinking I was "handling it well" because inside it felt like I was being torn in half. Brad then called the two people (my brother and our birth photographer) that were supposed to be at my birth and told them to come quick, but neither of them made it to the birth:(.

After 2 more contractions I felt a ton of pressure and knew that I was ready to start pushing. I immediately laid down on my side and my water broke. Shiz got real. The nurse called my midwife and told her to hurry over. They made me do the "he he he hoooo" breathing straight outta the movies. All I remember was trying to focus on the nurse and follow her breathing because all I wanted to do was push. We did that for about 4 contractions and FINALLY Lauren showed up. Longest 10 minutes of my life. She threw her gown on and started coaching my pushing.  Being on my side felt the best so I stayed there to push. I pushed for 3 good contractions and then she had me do little pushes in-between to help lower her head. The "ring of fire" that everyone talks about was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I'm sure it is because my babies have such small heads, but pushing was my favorite part of the whole process. It was so real and intense...the only word I can think to describe it is "animalistic". This includes the noises that were coming out of my mouth. I pushed as hard as I could on the next contraction and all the sudden she was on my chest. Brad and I just sat there silently filled with love and awe.

All the clean up started happening while I sat there and held my brand new baby. Brad was able to cut the cord and then I delivered the placenta. Unfortunately I started hemorrhaging pretty badly soon thereafter. Lauren tried to stop the bleeding by giving me a couple shots in my thigh and a suppository (tmi?) but nothing worked so she called the doctor. He came in with an anesthesiologist who started prepping me for surgery to do a D&C to make the bleeding stop. I was very ready to be done with pain by this point so it was NOT fun to have a nurse press down on my stomach while the Dr. stuck his hands inside my uterus to feel for clotting. Thankfully, while the Dr. was checking me my bleeding slowed down so I didn't have to be put under. The whole process lasted about 20 minutes but everyone was really calm so I wasn't nervous. They said I lost about 1 liter of blood so I was on close watch the first 12 hours after birth.

Delivering on my side turned out to be a blessing because I only tore a tiny bit! They gave me 1 stitch and I was good to go!

Adelaide nursed for about 1 hour before they took her away and weighed and measured her. I love that John Muir values skin to skin and they let me hold her uninterrupted for almost 2 hours after birth. It was such a beautiful time for Brad and I to be with our daughter and fall in love.


I told Brad right after birth that that was the hardest thing I have ever done. He laughed and said, "Really?! That was awesome! I loved it!" He loved being able to be present and feel needed during the birth. I loved having him there to strengthen me. I definitely could NOT have done the whole thing without him. He was by my side the whole time and gave me the words of encouragement when I needed them. He was really good at taking advice and being involved in the process. It's amazing how much more you fall in love when you go through hard things together.

Recovery from birth has been better than I ever expected. I was able to get up and walk around right after and my body just feels great. I haven't had to deal with stitches and I have completely stopped bleeding just one week out! With a toddler at home, this makes life a lot easier. One thing I have also learned is that the human body is amazing! It can do miraculous things! I loved that I was able to push my own strength physically and mentally and feel the natural challenge of childbirth. I know it isn't for everyone, but I loved it! I am sold!

We are so glad that Adelaide joined us when she did and is a healthy, strong baby. We are a happy family!



  1. I know I heard this whole story in real life but I loved reading it again. So glad you were able to do it naturally like you wanted and that she is here and healthy!

  2. So happy that she is finally here! You are so strong and she is perfect!

  3. It was fun to read it again with more details!