No matter how much you plan and prepare for childbirth, the whole process is really out of your hands once the time comes. That’s not to say you shouldn’t prepare…especially as a first time mom, but just understand that sometimes your perfect plan goes out the window. THIS is when you begin to see how strong you have to be as a mother. Meet Strong Momma, Kate, a first time mom who planned and prepared for an all natural childbirth…the result was much different than expected. This is her story:
“The decision to start a family did not come without a lot of thought. We came to a point in our marriage where we felt we had been through enough, seen enough and with the grace of God made it through still loving each other that we were ready for kids.
It happened a lot faster than we anticipated but we were so excited when it did. I took about 6 tests to make sure it was real and told my husband that afternoon after preparing a sweet picture for him. We were so excited and hardly knew what to say or do and we praised God for the chance to be parents. The pregnancy went very well. I didn’t really change that much. My husband said the most disappointing part for him was that I didn’t have any awesome cravings and I simply went from eating extremely healthy all the time to eating extremely healthy most of the time with a few normal meals mixed in and some 30 min drives to get frozen custard. I was very active during the whole pregnancy, teaching cardio and spin classes and training clients until the day we went to the hospital.
No one could’ve prepared me for what happened at our 37 week appointment. I know many new parents get much worse news than what we did but it was still a shock to my “plan”.
I was such an advocate for “Natural Birth”! I took the classes, read the books and positive birth stories, practiced labor positions and did my exercises. I knew my body was meant to do it!
The midwife expressed concern over the baby’s size and did an ultrasound to check on him. He was in the 10th percentile according to his weight estimate and while this was a little concerning we were told not to worry too much and we would just have another check done the following week. A week later we saw the Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist and they were even more concerned. The baby had not grown in a week and there was fear that he was not getting the nutrients needed to develop further in the womb. The doctor who told us the news is one of the top in the nation and well respected among his peers. Both he and the midwives recommended that we start induction immediately. My heart flooded with emotions! I was scared something was more wrong with our boy, I was terrified of induction because my fear was that it would escalate to a C-section, and I was also so excited to meet him!
So, we canceled everything, tearfully went home and got ready to go to the Hospital. A photographer came to take pictures of my belly last minute and our friends came over to pray for us, bring us dinner, clean our house, and help us pack.
We were scared that everything wasn’t ok but knew that God would take care of us and His plan was better than ours. We held on to this truth throughout the induction. We were admitted into a labor and delivery room at about 9:30pm on April 2, 2014.
They started with Cervidil to induce labor. Contractions started within 30min and we coped with them with music, massage, and baths. We were really able to use everything we learned in our Bradley classes to help me cope. There was about a minute in between contractions, time for me to rest and get ready for the next. The contractions were intense and lasted for 12 hours but because this was the first hard stretch we were able to cope and hung in there. I cried out to God often and my husband massaged my lower back. We really felt like I was making progress with all the consistent and extremely painful contractions. Following a restless night and 12 hrs of intense induction they started the pitocin to try to keep things going…it had no effect on my body and we both slept while I was on it. No progress was made and it was clear that my body was simply not ready to give birth. Unfortunately, not giving birth was not an option because we needed the baby to be in an environment where he could thrive.
Next, they tried a Cook’s Balloon which mechanically dialates the cervix to 3 or 4cm. This caused so, so much unnatural pain for which I got some pain medicine…it did its job and we were hopefully on our way to having a baby. Unfortunately, pitocin failed to keep things going once again and we slept through the night with no further change or contractions. Discouraged and tired of being in the hospital we prayed for God to sustain us. All the while we were reassured by how the baby was taking the induction. He was resilient, his heartbeat stayed steady no matter what we did and the because of this, the medical team was happy to let us keep trying different things rather than take him out.
At this point I had resolved that an “all-natural” childbirth was no longer my main desire, but rather a vaginal delivery instead of a C-section. I was so tired! We could feel the tension with each healthcare professional that accessed us.
On Saturday morning we were incredibly blessed to have one of the best midwives on staff come on call. She had been briefed on our current situation and empathized with us. I was weary and was starting to get scared of what they were going to have to do. Thankfully She eased our frustrations and fears and assured us our baby would be here “on her watch!” I stayed on pitocin, was still at 3-4cm with about 90% effacement and the baby was very, very low. The midwife thought it would be safe at this point to break my water and keep up the pitocin. So, that afternoon/evening we rested, showered and ate. We discussed what would happen if I asked for an epidural and we decided I would try to make it an hour before i asked for it. They put me back on pitocin around 10pm, broke water around 1am, and extreme contractions started immediately. It was like going from 0-100 in 30 seconds. Little did we know the nurse already had the pitocin jacked up to a 16/20 and wasn’t willing to turn it down. Had we been in a better mental state we would have talked with the midwife about this because contractions were 15 seconds apart and not spacing out. I barely had time to catch my breath before another contraction took over me! My entire body was shaking and i couldn’t relax because there was no break from the pain. I asked about 30 min in for the epidural. My husband wanted me to wait and see if contractions would space out, but there was no end in sight. I got the epidural between 3:30 and 4am and fell asleep on my side. Looking back and talking to the nurses afterwards they were very scared for me that a c-section was my end because contractions weren’t super regular.
They woke me up to turn me over at 7:30am and the midwife checked for progress, not expecting much.
To everyone’s surprise I was fully dilated and baby was coming! We had both been sleeping and were barely able to call parents to let them know things were happening.
They prepped the room and I started pushing at 7:40am.
Our Beautiful baby boy was born at 7:50am on April 6, 2014 after
3.5 days of induction interventions,
18 hrs contractions,
36hrs on pitocin and n
10 minutes of pushing
He was 6lbs 1oz and 17 3/4in long.
The NICU team was supposed to come take him to the NICU but The midwife wanted Me to be able to nurse him and hold him so she waited to call for them until the last second. He didn’t even need to go because he was perfectly healthy above 6lbs!! Another big blessing.
So, I decided early in my pregnancy instead of keeping a calendar of events or trying to keep track of everything in a baby book that I would write my baby letters for every month until he turned 2. I would make a book later with all the letters and a photo for each month (still working on that) 😁
This is my first letter to him detailing some of the struggles we had during his first month at home.
You are one month old and as I write this we are in the NICU. We brought you to the hospital because you weren’t growing as fast as the Pediatricians wanted you to. I think there are several issues like your tongue and lip ties, the fact that your stomach is tiny, and the fact that you have severe reflux.
Before we came here I was instructed to give you an extra ounce of milk on top of our breastfeeds and you would just projectile throw up after every time. I rented a scale and kept track of how much you were taking in. We had your tongue and lip ties revised and after the surgery you seemed to gain weight and it didn’t hurt me as much when we fed but you still couldn’t keep down milk. After 4 weeks of this struggle with you and everyone thinking something was wrong we were admitted to the hospital. I felt like a failure and like I couldn’t provide what you needed.
I think we were trying to give you too much milk and we weren’t feeding you frequently enough due to the amount of milk you were throwing up.
I’m trying my hardest to stay strong for you…I’m sleeping in the chair right next to your crib and most of the night I get to hold you while you sleep. They are giving you bottles of my milk to know how much milk you are getting. Feeding you every 2hrs to see if you can hold down your milk a little better. So far it seems to be working even though you still throw up sometimes it’s not as much as it used to be.
We are seeing an amazing doctor here who encourages breastfeeding and lots of skin to skin contact which we have been doing with you. He overruled all of the nutritionists and residents telling me to supplement with formula which I knew wasn’t really going to fix the real problem. We now know that nothing is physically wrong with you inside and we just have to figure out the right timing of our feedings. Hopefully I will get to nurse you again soon! I will be working with several Lactation Consultants to ensure we are doing everything right!
I love you H and we are doing the best we know how to do to make you healthy!
We love you and can’t wait to watch you grow!
Update: we ended up feeding you every 2hrs even through the night until you were about 3 months old and then we started spacing out the nighttime feedings. It was tough but I would do it again in a heartbeat for you. Breastfeeding made it so easy without having to use bottles, although I was pumping after every feed to make sure you got enough milk. ~ Love Mommy”