It's been a while blog people. But I am up super early on Lyla's first birthday to finally sit down and write out her birth story in full (and to cry about how big she is getting. One whole year together.). There will be references to dilation, vaginas, pressure, pee, etc. If you aren't in for all that... don't read on. You've been warned.
December 9, 2015
I was two days overdue and working from home. Fielding phone calls and answering emails from my bed while trying to get up and walk the curb as much as possible. Taking lunch breaks to Home Depot to walk up and down every aisle like an insane person. But nothing. Just tightness and no contractions. So I went to my midwives at around 3 pm and they swept my membranes. OUCH. holy mother of ouch. I then went to the chiropractor for an adjustment, left at 4:45 and as I was walking to the car got my first mild contractions (like period cramps with a side of pizzaz). I stopped at NUHU to get a HUGE Mongolian grill bowl since I though this could be the real thing. I took my tums (an aside: my heartburn for the last 5 months at this point could be brought on by water. real fun.), and drove home having little crampy contractions on the way. LB got home, we ate while I rolled my hips on the ball. By about 8 or so, I got into the tub and Sam came into the bathroom and sat with me. We played my favorite Rosie Thomas Christmas music and lit a candle, I ate pineapple, and timed contractions. I could still talk through most of them, but they were 5 minutes apart consistently. By about 10, we texted the doula to let her know that things were getting started and she wrote back:
"GO TO BED AND SLEEP."
And I did.
In 30 minute increments while Friends was playing on my TV in the bedroom.
December 10, 2015
By about 3am, there was no more sleeping or talking through contractions, and I was really visualizing through each contraction (waves "helped"). By 3:30, I had woken LB up and had him come sit in the bathroom with me while I got into the tub. We timed contractions and... woof. Three minutes apart. We texted the doula to head over to the house. About 15 minutes later, she said, "Just go to the hospital. See you there."
During the car ride there, LB had to pull over on 6th AVE a few times for contractions (I really did not like sitting down... laying down on my side was the most comfortable). I kept looking back to the car seat and our hospital bag unable to believe that the next time I was in this car, we would have our sweet baby girl with us. We arrived at the hospital shortly after 4 am, meet up with our doula, and it took us a while to walk up to L&D with me stopping for each contraction... every 3 minutes. AND THEY NEVER SLOWED DOWN. OYE.
Once we got up there and I got changed into a gown, a sweet nurse checked me. I was 100% effaced and dilated to a...2. Le sigh. But because she could tell I was in active labor and was doing it unmedicated (and they were slow that night/day), she said, "Why don't we just get you into a room and get settled so you can walk some laps?" Sounded great to me. At least we weren't being sent home.
From about 5 am until 9 am, it was a blur of laps around the L&D floor with our doula, LB napping, in and out of the tub (that I could lay flat in!), and getting our essential oils and music going. It was a hippie birth paradise up in there. At 9, I was squatting on my knees during a contraction on a leather (thank God) bench, and I was said, "Oh sorry. I peed." My doula finished coaching me through the contraction and then quietly called a nurse over: "Her water broke." It definitely was not a gush like some romantic comedy birth, but rather a slow trickle of uncontrollable pee. News spread, and we were admitted.
Sam showed up at around 11 am, and I hung on her, LB, and my doula when I wasn't in the tub. Lots of swaying. I would only sit on the ball when I had to be monitored... which was awesomely only every 2-3 hours or so. I was checked at around 11 and was only at a 4, but I was a laboring goddess: low moaning, repeating my mantra in my head ("I can do anything for 90 seconds"- Thanks Priscilla), and using my essential oils to bring on contractions and for energy (Thanks Vanessa). I was eating nibbles when I could, but don't remember drinking a lot. Which is what made the next phase of my birth so straight up awful.
I was in the tub with Sam sitting next to me at around noon, when I started to scream, "MY ASS. MY BUTT. MY ASS!!!!!!!!!!" Transition was here ladies. (If you are a dude still reading this, you are incredible and I love you). I had been laboring so beautifully and then I hit the damn wall. I was no longer driving the bus. I was getting run the fuck over. I lost all of my strategies, and my shit (I actually didn't poop my whole labor, but I lost my damn mind). I had no breaks in contractions. Zero. Thanks to dehydration, it was one long wave that last two straight hours and I begged for the epidural. Begged like a crack addict. LB and I cried in the bathroom while I was in the tub hysterical over not being able to do this naturally- it was all I wanted besides a healthy baby. No needles... PLEASE. No one tried to talk me out of getting one directly, but both my doula and LB reminded me what my goal was. I did not give a shit at that point. DRUGS. NOW. I CANNOT DO THIS. I screamed.
My midwife came in WHO I LOVE MORE THAN LIFE and said, "Listen to me. If we do this and get an IV started and get you the epidural, you have to promise me that you are not going to judge yourself. You cannot do that. You have to really want to go down that road." I, through tears, assured her that yes. I wanted it. I wanted a damn break. She checked me and I was at an 8.5... not enough for me to do this a minute longer without a break. Hell no. I laid on my side in the bed and as the nurse was explaining the forms that I had to sign for the IV and such, through closed eyes, it came. My first break from a contraction in two plus hours. Right before I put pen to paper to change my whole birth plan, I got my break.
"I. Can. Do. It." I whispered.
"Huh?" she replied.
"Get out." I said.
It was about 2:30pm or so.
I continued to lay on my side with a GIANT peanut ball between my legs for another hour or so... I have no idea. I was in another world and sort of nodding off while reciting parts of Elf back to myself when a contraction (that was like a freight train of pressure each time at this point) would subside. By 4pm, I was at a 9.5, and said that I felt like I had to poop. My midwife told me to go ahead and bear down a little bit, when I did, my secondary bag of waters broke and they saw meconium in my waters. Slowly, quickly, I have no idea how fast, the room started to fill up with people from the NICU team. The monitors were placed on my belly and it was time to push. The first couple of pushes felt so damn good. I was making jokes during my contraction breaks. Good jokes too I am sure of it.
Then we hit that ring of fire. Baby girl was out to her forehead and her head FULL OF HAIR was in full display. Our midwife made LB look and he later told me that he was glad he did because he could appreciation how much PRESSURE was happening down there (bowling ball through a hallway folks). The burning was unreal. At some point we were warned that if baby bug didn't cry right away, the midwife would cut the cord and she would be rushed to a table until she was cleared out of meconium. She would then be put on my chest immediately. I was terrified. I pushed for another 4-5 rounds of contractions, and finally my midwife said to me:
"If you don't get her out on this next push, I am going to have to do an episiotomy. Her heart rate is dropping from the meconium. I do not want to. So stop screaming, grunt the shit out of it, and give it all you got."
I gave myself about 15 hemorrhoids in that last push, but my contraction was my shortest one all freaking day. My midwife looked at me, nodded, turned around, got the scalpel, I turned my head and squinted my eyes closed. One quick swipe later all of our sweet babe came out.
At 4:59 pm on December 10, 2015, our gorgeous, smart, loving, wonderful, 8 pound 4 ounce baby girl, Lyla Marie was brought earthside.