Labor & Delivery
The absolute most exhilarating, unique experience of your life. Literally every emotion felt in such a short span of time.
Your final appointments:
At approximately 36 weeks along, you will start seeing your healthcare provider (OB or midwife) once a week. If you're anything like me, this was super exciting to find out what they were going to say, or find out if I was dilated....It simultaneously felt like the longest few weeks of my life. At these appointments, your vitals will be taken, your belly will continue to be measured, baby's heart beat checked with doppler, your baby's position checked (head down or not) and at anywhere between 37-40 weeks they will begin to check your cervix. This is your opportunity to ask questions and talk about anything causing you anxiety (write it down prior to seeing your practitioner, because forgetting to ask things can just cause you more anxiety). You will talk about if you want a birth plan and what that looks like, and what it may look like if things don't follow that plan ( I'll talk about birth plans below). Your healthcare provider will check your baby's position by just feeling your abdomen- if they cannot tell, they will send you for an ultrasound to be sure. Oh, the cervix checks...I remember being so afraid it was going to hurt, and many of my friends have asked me that same question, so you're not alone being a little anxious for it! When they check your cervix, they insert a gloved finger into your vagina and touch your cervix to feel for a)effacement, b) dilation, ((c) you might hear them talk about station, but that doesn't come into play until you're fully effaced and dilated) Just like a pap, you undress just your bottom half and they provide you with a sheet to cover up- the doc is not sitting at the bottom of the bed staring into your vag haha- they ask you to put your feet together and drop your knees to the side (while remaining covered up) and they insert their finger(s) to feel. Effacement is measured in percentage (%) and is the process of the cervix becoming shorter, thinner, and softer (essentially allowing for baby's head to drop down lower into the pelvis). Your cervix prior to labor is 2-3 cm long and firm, so 50% effaced means that it is softer and 1 cm long and 100% effaced would mean that there is no cervix left. At your appointments, your doc may tell you this percentage and if your cervix is soft or not- any progress is progress! Once you are effaced, your cervix begins to open- this is dilation which is measured in 0-10 cm. I know this is a lot of info, but to summarize...Your OB/midwife will touch your cervix with their finger(s) to see how soft and short it is, then they will stick their finger in the cervical opening to see how many cm it is open, if any. This can be uncomfortable, even a little bit painful but it does not last long. You might have some cramping after, and that is totally normal. After 38 weeks, during this check, if you are at least 1 cm dilated your healthcare professional may ask you if you would like to try the membrane sweep to get things going. This is entirely optional and if you don't feel ready then just say no....never let yourself feel pressured into doing something you aren't comfortable with...the baby will come out eventually whether you do this or not- and it may work for you and it may not. It is also up to your health care professional's discretion whether or not to perform it and some are more conservative with this approach than others (as in some will start doing it at 37 weeks and some not until 40 weeks). I wish I could describe what the cervical check feels like, but there really isn't anything you can compare it to other than a little bit more aggressive pap- if you have had an IUD inserted before, it is similar to that crampy feeling.
**With both of my girls, my belly circumference measured large so I was sent for extra ultrasounds at 37 weeks. (Do not freak out and spiral if you measure big or small- they are being cautious, it is not uncommon and you get an opportunity to see your babe again). If you are to have a third trimester ultrasound, they are checking for amniotic fluid levels, baby's position, baby's size based on head, abdomen and limb measurements, placenta health and always a recheck of babe's developing organs. (As I measured big, they wanted to make sure I didn't have too much amniotic fluid- both of my ultrasounds came back normal and my girls ended up being average size)
So what is a membrane sweep? (you may also hear membrane stripping, same same)
It is a maneuver to induce labor if you are full term and already somewhat dilated. Your healthcare provider will put a gloved finger into your vagina and then into the cervix (just like when they have checked your progress), then make a gentle circular, or “sweeping,” movement with the finger to separate the amniotic sac from the sides of the uterus near the cervix. You will most likely have cramping and spotting/light bleeding after- they will provide you with a pad to wear home. For my first pregnancy, it worked like a hot damn and labor started within hours and with my second it gave me some light contractions and braxton hicks later that evening, but I went in for an induction that next day anyways ( I was dilated to 4 cm at time of induction, so I would say it worked). This can be pretty uncomfortable, but again it is short lived (max a few minutes). I would also compare it to an IUD insertion. Your doc or midwife will instruct you to breathe through it and relax (ha ha), but it is good practice to think about staying calm and focusing on your breath- if you find it to be too much, just ask them to stop- your body, your experience and this is not a mandatory procedure. If it doesn't work the first time, they can perform it again at subsequent appointments if you would like.
Symptoms at the end of your pregnancy:
- increase in vaginal discharge
- pelvic pressure (the good ol' waddle)...pelvic pain can be normal as well as baby's head drops down into it
- edema to hands and feet...also vag, yeah it's a good time not to be able to see it haha...extra blood flow ladies- always check with your practitioner if you notice a drastic increase in this swelling
- itchy belly, itchy legs (apply that lotion!!)
- aches and pains especially lower back
- leg cramps (eat your bananas- seriously...they do help)
- exhaustion, shortness of breath...extra weight, less room for those lungs
- urinary frequency...extra pressure on that bladder
- braxton hicks (will talk about later)
- diarrhea...no, you're not going to be running to the bathroom all day, but it's totally normal to have the runs on and off in the end...don't worry, you won't be pooping your pants during labor, it lets up at the very end
It is such a fantastic idea to sit down with your partner and talk about your expectations, what is important to you and what you need from them. This is a good stress/anxiety reliever, but you have to keep in mind that this is an unpredictable scenario and you cannot control all of the factors. What you can control is your outlook and response. You want your partner to be on the same page so that they can advocate for you if you are unable to. With Halle's birth, my contractions were close together start to finish and I wasn't able to speak due to exhaustion and pain- Brent was an amazing advocate and knew exactly what I needed and expected of him. Pick your music, decide what you are comfortable with for pain management, what you would like to wear, if you want to spend time in the tub or shower, and who cuts the umbilical cord (it's your birth plan, go wild), but in the end you have to keep in mind that your goal is always a healthy baby.
During pregnancy, mucus accumulates in the cervix, forming a plug that stops bacteria from entering the uterus. The discharge can be clear, pink, a little bloody, or brownish in color. The mucus can come out in one thick string or in smaller segments. You might notice it on the toilet paper after you wipe, or you may not see it or notice it at all. The mucus plug is lost when your cervix begins to open...but, big but....it can actually reaccumulate. Losing your mucus plug can mean labor is imminent and contractions will begin, or it can be weeks later. If your mucus plug is lost early (before 37 weeks), it is a good idea to let your practitioner know, but if contractions don't start it most likely will regenerate. Always talk to your health care professional if you have concerns or questions!
Oh the lovely guessing game of "is this labor"? The last few weeks of pregnancy feel like a ...... I know you've heard it before, but when it is real labor you will know...it's true. Braxton Hicks contractions are tightening and squeezing of the muscles of your uterus . They are not true labor contractions and do not cause your cervix to dilate. They can start as early as your second trimester (more common to start earlier in subsequent pregnancies), are totally normal, and are just your body getting ready for the real thing. How they differ from "real" contractions is: they usually aren’t painful (can be uncomfortable, but not painful), don’t have a regular pattern, don’t get closer together, don’t last longer as they go on, don’t get stronger over time, may stop when you change activities or positions, and are felt only in your belly. You may notice more braxton hicks contractions when you are more active, baby is more active, your bladder is full, or you are dehydrated- this is totally normal. Stay hydrated, try changing your position, put your feet up and rest and don't hold your bladder for crazy amounts of time you fellow nurses haha. I had braxton hicks throughout both of my pregnancies starting in the second trimesters, and they were very manageable and identifiable. I have also had friends that went to full term without any....luck of the draw I guess.
I think that you can read all the books and blogs, and do all the classes, but in the end your body will probably not follow a book and your experience may not be the same as your fav blogger...if it does/is.... amazing, if not, that is totally normal. I had two very different experiences with contractions and progression. My first daughter was sunny side up which is not ideal- this is the dreaded back labor position. My contractions started intense from the get go and were 3-5 minutes apart....I thought wow, this is going to go quickly...well I was wrong, so wrong haha. Halle had to drop and turn, so this took some time (and pain). I stayed at 4 cm for hours, at least 8 with intense contractions 3-5 minutes apart. Her labor was around 20 hours total. Lainey (my second child) was an induction and contractions started easy, spread out, short and progressed just like in the books until delivery after 8 hours from induction. You will know that they are real contractions, because they will stop you in your tracks. Your belly will get tight, and it will feel like an intense cramp low down in your pelvis. You may also feel lower back pain. As they progress and get closer together, you will be able to feel them coming on and prepare for it. Generally, they start inconsistent in duration, and time between them...starting shorter in duration and anywhere between 5-30 minutes in between each. They will get more consistent, but how long that takes will be different for everyone and every pregnancy. With your contractions, even early on when they are super tolerable, try different positions and see what is your most comfortable, calming position to manage them in- this will help you naturally find this position later on when they're more intense. It is also a great idea to focus on your breathing early on so that it becomes a habit with subsequent more intense contractions....it is fairly common to tense up and hold your breath when you're in pain, but it doesn't help with progression. The more you are able to relax and breathe into the contractions you are actually helping your body progress and dilate. As they get closer together and last longer, your position of comfort might change...involve your support person and try out different positions. With my first daughter, I could not stay still and had to keep walking, lower back pressure from my partner helped a lot, the tub wasn't helpful because I was not comfortable staying still but standing in the shower swaying with hot water on my lower back was super helpful, and in the end hands and knees was always the most comfortable position (and actually is a pretty ideal position to push in too if you have back labor). With my second delivery, standing, walking and side lying were the most comfortable positions to contract in...I got an epidural so the shower wasn't an option, but with the epidural it definitely wasn't necessary haha! I will tell you...YOU DO NOT GET A HERO COOKIE FOR FEELING THE PAIN...read it again...The more you can relax, stay positive and breathe is going to benefit you. If you are like me, stubborn and feel like you need to prove to yourself that you can do it...you will do it. This is your birth, and it is such an amazing experience no matter how your baby comes into the world, so do not feel guilty if you need more pain management, if it ends in C-section or it doesn't look how you expected it to....you will not love your baby less, you are not less of a mother, and that baby will not love you any less. I know I didn't give you much info here on the progression of contractions through stages of labor, but I will talk about that below.
When to go to hospital:
A simple rule for when to go to the hospital for labor is the 5-1-1 rule. You may be in active labor if your contractions happen at least every 5 minutes, last for 1 minute each, and have been happening consistently for at least 1 hour. If you are unsure, or don't feel comfortable laboring at home...go in, get checked and worst case scenario they will give you something for pain and send you home to get some rest with further instruction on when to come in again.
How to time your contractions: Have your support person time the duration of each contraction and then also time from the BEGINNING of one contraction to the BEGINNING of the next contraction. Make sure they are writing down the time as well so that you know how long they have been consistent.
Midwife vs OB:
I had a great experience with both disciplines. I had to go with an OB for my second delivery because I was considered high risk as my first delivery involved shoulder dystocia and a hemorrhage. I would say that if we do have a third (if I can convince my hubby), I will personally go with an OB again because the delivery felt very calm and controlled. My midwife delivery ended in a code blue for my baby and the OB taking over my care anyways due to emergency surgery and hemorrhage- this was a rare scenario and my midwife didn't do anything wrong, but it was nice to have the obstetrics team present in case of emergency.
-You can deliver at home or in hospital (I delivered in hospital)
-Follow you right from the beginning of pregnancy until the end
-They are at your bedside throughout, and call upon a second midwife at time of delivery
-If all goes smoothly, you don't have to stay on the postpartum unit
-They come to your house postpartum to check on you, then see you in their clinic
-A little more personal
-A little more conservative with induction
-Advocate for a natural labor...if you opt for an epidural, a nurse has to take over caring for that part
-Won't out in and IV unless you need it
-Start seeing you at ~20 weeks
-A nurse will be at your bedside your entire labor, and will call for the OB when it is time for delivery (Your OB will pop in to check on your randomly, but the nurse is your bff and they are amazing)
-A different OB than the one caring for you might end up delivering your babe as they only work certain days at the hospital vs clinic
-If things go sideways, they are in their element and have all of the resources- they will do your c-section if it is necessary
-Nothing changes if you need more pain management (same health care team you have already gotten comfortable with)
-More open to and quicker to jump to medical interventions (of course advocate for yourself and make known what you are comfortable with keeping in mind healthy baby is the goal)
-Have an IV from the get go
I was given the option for induction due to the trauma and shoulder dystocia risk from my first delivery. I did opt for the induction and absolutely had the most beautiful experience. I know that you hear often that inductions can be more difficult and intense, but I'm here to tell you that you do not need to be afraid. Every experience is different, and if you are told that an induction is what is best for you and baby, it is not the end of the world...it can be a positive experience. I was already 4 cm dilated when I went in for my induction at 38 weeks, so they opted to break my water- this is the start of an induction. They will then give you at least an hour to labor and see if things progress, and if not then they will go to next steps to get things going. There are many different ways to be induced depending on your dilation at the time. If you are not dilated, they will attempt to Ripen your cervix. Sometimes synthetic prostaglandins, which are typically placed inside the vagina, are used to thin or soften (ripen) the cervix. After prostaglandin use, your contractions and your baby's heart rate will be monitored. In other cases, a small tube (catheter) with an inflatable balloon on the end is inserted into the cervix. Filling the balloon with saline and resting it against the inside of the cervix helps ripen the cervix. Once you have begun to dilate, they will rupture the amniotic sac. With this technique, also known as an amniotomy, your health care provider makes a small opening in the amniotic sac with a plastic hook. You might feel a warm gush of fluid when the sac opens, also known as your water breaking. An amniotomy is done only if the cervix is partially dilated and thinned and the baby's head is deep in the pelvis. Your baby's heart rate will be monitored before and after the procedure. Your health care provider will examine the amniotic fluid for traces of fecal waste (meconium). If you don't continue to progress/dilate, they will then use an intravenous medication. In the hospital, your health care provider might intravenously give you a synthetic version of oxytocin (Pitocin) — a hormone that causes the uterus to contract. Oxytocin is more effective at speeding up (augmenting) labor that has already begun than it is as a cervical ripening agent. Your contractions and your baby's heart rate will be continuously monitored. (Labor induction - Mayo Clinic)
Pain management options:
Non-medical- walking, movement, shower (hot water is key), tub, massage, hip pressure from support person, positive affirmation, visualization, bouncing on birthing ball, music, breathing...I think the main takeaway from using these techniques I can give you is to have your partner on the same page and practice at home. Advocate for yourself and involve them as much as you need. Doulas are wonderful, and also a great option.
Medical- Epidural, spinal block, opioids, nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
To read in detail on each: (5 Medication Options to Relieve Labor Pain (thebump.com))
I cannot personally speak to this experience so I don't want to spit a bunch of info at you that I actually cannot confirm. This article is great!
Labor is broken into 3 stages (Labor and Childbirth: What To Expect & Complications (webmd.com))-
Stage 1: latent, active, transition...Latent is longest and least intense, you are beginning to dilate (0-6 cm). Active is when you begin dilating more rapidly and contractions become much more intense and regular (6-9 cm). Transition is (the worst) when your cervix becomes fully dilated and it's just about time to push- contractions are SO intense, more frequent (like every 2-4 minutes), and last 60-90 seconds-it is not uncommon to become very nauseous at this point and even throw up- I puked numerous times with Halle (no pain meds), and with Lainey I had an epidural and although didn't feel the pain I still got a wave of nausea and had the nurse give me meds for it as I was on the verge of puking.
Stage 2: Pushing- your healthcare provider will instruct you to push with your contractions and count down for you...your partner will most likely be involved as well. They will tell you to bare down like you are going to poop, and that really is the most effective way to get babe out...focus on deep breaths and using your exhale to push-don't forget to breathe haha. You will push out the head and then they will suction out babe's nose and mouth, wait for the next contraction for you to push out the shoulders and body...it's wild and honestly pushing is probably the best part...for some reason it seems to be a bit of a pain relief- maybe it's the adrenaline. As soon as the babe is out, they will place them on your chest, eventually clamp the cord and your partner may cut it if you choose.
Stage 3: The placenta push...yes you have to push out the placenta, but it is right after babe and it isn't painful. It is a weird gush feeling, but it is over with quickly. They then assess your vagina for any tearing and make any repairs as necessary. They will monitor you for bleeding and may push on your abdomen to try and get rid of any large clots or leftover placenta (they thoroughly assess the placenta to make sure it is intact) that may be preventing your uterus to contract down.
In summary, getting to 6 cm can take a long time and may take a long time for contractions to get consistent. Some women even have some contractions, then they stop all together and don't start again for days. I tell ya, the last few weeks of pregnancy it is just like a guessing game of is this labor or not. When things get consistent, you will definitely know it is the real deal because it'll stop you in your tracks. From 6-9 cm usually isn't as long but it is definitely more intense...this is when most women ask for the epidural- contractions will generally last 45-60 seconds and be anywhere from 3-5 minutes apart consistently- it's no joke. Transition occurs when you become fully dilated and is when you start to feel that pressure in your butt like you might have to poop- let them know when you feel this sensation. Contractions will last 60-90 seconds and be about 2-4 minutes apart). Pushing feels like sweet relief and you'll get coached through it. Tearing can occur when babe is coming down through the birth canal...if it does they will stitch you up while the epidural is in place and if you don't have one they can inject lidocaine (a numbing agent) prior to. They will be dissolvable stiches and will not need to be manually removed.
Skin to skin and delayed cord clamping:
First off, ah you did it and your babe is on your chest for the first time! Seriously the best thing in the entire world and a moment you will absolutely never forget...take it in...get someone to take pictures and look into your partners eyes because you will never forget that way they look at you and their baby for the first time. You may have heard that skin to skin is the new standard and great for baby...its correct and this is why:
"The manner in which a new baby is welcomed into the world during the first hours after birth may have short- and long-term consequences. There is good evidence that normal, term newborns who are placed skin to skin with their mothers immediately after birth make the transition from fetal to newborn life with greater respiratory, temperature, and glucose stability and significantly less crying indicating decreased stress. Mothers who hold their newborns skin to skin after birth have increased maternal behaviors, show more confidence in caring for their babies and breastfeed for longer durations. Being skin to skin with mother protects the newborn from the well-documented negative effects of separation, supports optimal brain development and facilitates attachment, which promotes the infant's self-regulation over time. Normal babies are born with the instinctive skill and motivation to breastfeed and are able to find the breast and self-attach without assistance when skin-to-skin. When the newborn is placed skin to skin with the mother, nine observable behaviors can be seen that lead to the first breastfeeding, usually within the first hour after birth. Hospital protocols can be modified to support uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth for both vaginal and cesarean births. The first hour of life outside the womb is a special time when a baby meets his or her parents for the first time and a family is formed. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and should not be interrupted unless the baby or mother is unstable and requires medical resuscitation. It is a "sacred" time that should be honored, cherished and protected whenever possible." (Uninterrupted Skin-to-Skin Contact Immediately After Birth (medscape.com))
Delayed cord clamping:
"Delayed cord clamping (anytime beyond 60 seconds after delivery) has benefits to the baby. This is because delayed cord clamping allows more blood to transfer from the placenta to the infant, which increases the baby’s red blood cells and iron stores, and reduces the risk of anemia." (Delayed cord clamping – Pregnancy Info)
Vit k and erythromycin eye ointment:
These are optional interventions done right after baby is born. They require your consent and your healthcare professional will speak to you about them in your final appointments. You can read more here: (as a healthcare professional, I do recommend the Vit K shot, but do your research and speak with your doc/midwife)
Halle: (I want to say that I don't share this birth story to scare you...what I want you to take from it is that you are in amazing hands and whatever needs to be done to keep you and baby safe will be done. If your birth plan doesn't go accordingly, it will be okay and the world will still stand still when you look into your baby's eyes for the first time)
20+ hours of labor that felt like active labor from the start (she was sunny side up/spine to spine with me, so had to turn and drop prior to delivery and she was a little stubborn in the process)
I had a membrane sweep at 39+3 weeks (I was 2 cm dilated at the time of sweep) and started having contractions within the hour
I stayed at 4 cm for at least 8 hours...started laboring around 10 am- midwife came and checked me at my house around 4 pm and because I was only 4 cm she left and I labored at home until 8pm when I thought I should go in (even though contractions pretty much stayed the same)
I was measured at 6 cm when I got into hospital which is just enough to be admitted (considered active labor). The midwife does things a little bit differently as far as monitoring once settled in a room. She checked the baby's heart rate via doppler as she saw fit, and then when it came to pushing, her second midwife checked the baby's heart rate with contractions (still with doppler) making sure it wasn't dropping
I was real loud, moaning... like probably scared every woman in the hospital haha
I walked and walked, spent time on my hands and knees and spent the majority of time in the HOT shower with my husband crouched over holding the nozzle on my lower back...I also found that him rubbing my lower back was super helpful (I thought that I wouldn't want to be touched when in that amount of pain, but psychologically it was super helpful to have him right there with me, encouraging me)
Finally got to 9.5cm around midnight, but I had a lip on my cervix she had to manually sweep out of the way- I can tell you this was probably the worst part- we had to try a few times because I screamed at her to stop- they tried to give me laughing gas and I threw it across the room (I was the worst patient haha)
At 10 cm I started puking my guts out
Finally got to push....for 3 hours (my weater hadn't broken yet, so she broke it while pushing to try and speed things up) and once her head finally came out, her shoulders were stuck
A "baby code green" was called which just means the NICU code team rushes in, in case of emergency
The midwife stayed calm, had me flip me over onto my hands and knees and reefed Halle out by her arm...very luckily, Halle took a second but perked up and pinked up right away not requiring the code team (somehow I didn't tear). She was born at 0507 am weighing 7 lb14 oz. Although the scene was hectic all around me, I will never forget the moment she was placed on my chest, looking into her eyes for the first time, and looking at Brent and seeing the love in his eyes- this moment is engrained on my heart...not the rest of it
I on the other hand started hemorrhaging immediately, and at the time they weren't sure why, so the code team that was present gave me an intramuscular dose of oxytocin (I didn't have an IV yet) to help my uterus contract down and slow the bleeding
Well, that didn't work so the midwife gave me another intramuscular injection of the same
She proceeded to have me deliver the placenta which is supposed to calm out real easy...well it didn't...I pushed and pushed and the midwives were literally putting their body weight onto my abdomen to try and get it out...It was super painful, like trying to deliver another baby, which is not supposed to be the case
She ended up having to cut the placenta out, and it was intact, so she wasn't sure what was going on- in hindsight, she should have called an OB to the bedside at this point but decided to send me to postpartum to be monitored
I continued to hemorrhage so she placed an IV and started and oxytocin drip to continue to help my uterus contract down and slow the bleeding
An OB took over care for me on postpartum, but she was busy all morning so I was in the hands of the nurses and residents/fellows
The postpartum team taking care of me was absolutely amazing (I cannot say enough good about them...the nurses were just the best and such great advocates)
My nurse was instructed to increase the oxytocin infusion as needed to help my uterus contract down...we very quickly maxed out the dose and I was contracting like crazy, had lower back pain, was still hemorrhaging, and my fundus was all over the place
My nurse had to change my bedding a few times, and I could tell she was worried. She had the docs assess me a few times and she had the charge nurse assist with my care
I think about 3 different docs came in and assessed me, not sure if it was clots or what was going on
Finally the OB came in, palpated my abdomen and instantly told me something wasn't right and there was definitely something left behind in my uterus...She had the charge nurse grab laughing gas and was going to attempt to manually remove it...she apologized profusely as she said it would be super painful, but by this time it was at least 6 hours after delivery and my cervix was closed again- she wasn't able to do it at the bedside, she looked at me and my nurses and said we are going to the OR stat (I ended up having an extra placenta the size of a grapefruit- super rare, and it was attached to Halle’s placenta by vessels)
The nurses prepped me for the OR and I cried...Brent had just went home to check on the dogs (my mom was luckily at my side), and grab us some lunch...he ended up falling asleep at home for a few hours, and then running out to get food so we couldn't get ahold of him
I remember being so out of it, like my hand in front of my face was blurry (my hgb was 63, if you're a healthcare professional, you know this isn't ideal), and I remember seeing my mom holding Halle and just tears streaming down her face...Brent walked in right as they were wheeling me to the OR
In the OR, they did a spinal (meaning, you cannot feel anything from the waist/point which they inject at down), put in another large bore IV, and they ended up using fentanyl for pain and midazolam for sedation/comfort
I remember waking up in recovery and my blood pressure was 60s/30s and I could not keep my eyes open, or move my legs...such a crazy feeling
Finally I was taken back to postpartum and reunited with my new baby, Brent and my mom
I was given a blood transfusion, the spinal wore off and I could move my legs again and slowly my vitals stabilized ( I had to stay 2 nights in hospital because of everything, but my hgb came up to 78 I believe it was, and we got to go home)
Halle breastfed like a champ and never had any health issues (thank goodness)
I have to say that, all that I went through I never once felt unsafe...I had the best care and I will forever be grateful for Dr. Lam for saving my life and the midwife for saving Halles
This go around I was considered high risk, so I opted to go with the OB that saved my life the first time around. She knew my story, and actually says she'll never forget it haha but the main thing was that she understood my anxiety and trauma. It is funny, because I actually wasn't afraid to hemorrhage again, but I was absolutely terrified that they baby would get stuck and the outcome would be different
She opted for a 37 week ultrasound to check baby's size, and based off of ultrasound she was weighing around 7.5 lb. Seeing as Halle wasn't all that big and she got stuck, they gave me the options of elective c-section, induction or just going for it naturally
I chose the induction route as I still thought I wanted to give the vaginal route a go, but I didn't want to risk going full term and having a big stuck baby
I had a membrane sweep at my last appointment with my cervix check at a day shy of 38 weeks. I was already 2-3 cm at this time and having lots of braxton hicks, and maybe random contractions that weren't very painful
We scheduled the induction for the next day. After the sweep, I walked stairs in my house and was getting random contractions here and there, but nothing steady, consistent or overly painful. I was able to get a good sleep that night
The next morning around 10, the hospital called and told me to head to the hospital in the next few hours. We said goodbye to our toddler (I definitely cried, so many emotions seeing your eldest as an only child for the last time (take a picture)), and made it to the hospital around noon
We got settled in our room, and a nurse came in and explained everything and placed an IV
At around 1 pm, the OB came in and checked me (I was 4cm, which was crazy to me because with Halle I was in excruciating pain at 4 cm, but with Lainey I didn't even know I was contracting or dilating), and she broke my water- this was not a painful procedure at all, but just a weird feeling with the gush of fluid...it continued to gush little bits here and there throughout labor with my movement
After breaking my waters, they told me that they would give me at least an hour to see if things got going. Luckily, I started contracting naturally and they did not need to use a pitocin drip to ramp up contractions
Things definitely picked up, but were gradual and definitely more manageable than with Halle. I was worried that I was going to have another 20+ hour labor, so at 7 cm opted for the epidural (because my waters were broken, they try not to check you more than every 3 hours due to infection risk)
The epidural was dreamy...it took a little while to impact both sides, so I kept feeling contractions on one side until I laid on my other side for a bit (the epidural is placed in your epidural space around your spinal cord, so it actually has to leak/flow to both sides to be effective- your nurse will have you move side to side- they are so so great)
I was able to relax, and Brent and I were doing crosswords to pass the time...it felt like I was a fraud because it was such a different labor experience than with Halle
I definitely felt more pressure in my butt (yes, still felt when it was time to push with the epidural) and I felt like I was going to throw up- the nurse gave me a med to help which was fantastic because it kicked the nausea right away
The resident and nurse checked me just before 9, and it was go time- I was probably 10 cm for at least an hour, but they didn't want to keep checking me due to infection risk
They set up the room and the nurse had me try one push just to see, and her head started coming out so she promptly stopped me and called the OB in stat
The OB arrived and I pushed Lainey out in 3 minutes- about 3-4 pushes...such a wildly different experience than Halle, and again no tearing. When they placed her on my chest at 9:05 pm, all was just so calm and Brent and I looked at each other and at her and it was just such a beautiful moment again- she actually wiggled her way to my breast and started breastfeeding right away- they did delayed cord clamping, had Brent cut the cord, and they let her stay skin to skin and breastfeeding for almost an hour before taking her to do weight and everything- it was pure bliss. She weighed 7 lb 3 oz.
And lo and behold the placenta came out easy peasy, like I didn't even feel it
I did bleed more than they would have liked, so they gave my some oxytocin in my IV and the OB and resident left the room
I did keep bleeding more than ideal, so the nurses called the OB and resident back, and they reefed on my belly a bit, got a massive clot out, put a medication in rectally (not even sure what it was called) and gave another dose of oxytocin via the IV. The nurse later did an in and out catheter to make sure a full bladder wasn't causing the issue as well
In the end the bleeding slowed down, they stopped the epidural infusion shortly after delivery and removed it prior to heading to postpartum
We stayed on postpartum for the night and got to head home the next afternoon- so amazing!
It is okay to be sad about your birth plan not going as expected. That does not change your love, or how loved you are...you can mourn your dreams. Talk about it with your partner, with your outlets and know that you are not alone. Focus on the positives and that sweet baby in your arms because hey, hey, hey you did it! You're a parent! Also, if you had the most beautiful experience do not feel guilty about it. I think so many people are quick to share their horror stories, but never share their positive stories because they don't want to boast or give people false expectations in case it doesn't go that way. Personally, I think we need to change the conversation and focus on the positive stories and help our friends go into it with less anxiety. Pump their tires, and make sure they know that they can do hard things and this is going to be the greatest moment of their life no matter how the story goes. Congratulations all, and know that I am always here.
All my love,
Coming up on the next post ---> Hospital stay- what to expect immediately postpartum with your body and your baby...and what to expect going home