My birth story is coming a little late (5 months late to be exact). I’ve noticed most women love telling their birth stories. In a way I think it’s our war story. It feels as if we’ve been through a battle. And once the painful labor is over – victory is ours! No matter the story, it’s a miracle and a blessing to welcome a child into this world. Like a lot of other women I wanted to have a natural birth. I even planned out how this would happen. Check out my birth plan. Well turns out our little lady liked being in my belly and she was not ready to come out. Although I tried every tip out there to induce labor, she stayed put. At 42 weeks pregnant I had to be induced. When I went to the hospital Monday morning they said I was maybe a fingertip dilated. Talk about disappointment! At this point I broke down in tears and I think the nurses/doctors didn’t know how to respond. I had this expectation that my labor would be quick and easy. I’m not sure why! All the women in my family had relatively easy labors, lasting anywhere from 1-6 hours. So I just assumed I’d have the same experience, boy was I wrong.
Tip #1 – Ask Questions
As soon as I got to the hospital they wanted to give me an IV. This was something I wanted to avoid because I wanted to be able to walk around freely and eat/drink during labor. Many doctors don’t like this idea, but check out this new research on eating/drinking during labor. I knew that I would be in the hospital for a while before Izzy came. Thankfully my husband stood up for me and we had a good conversation about it with the doctors. They agreed that I didn’t really need an IV until I was in active labor. They placed an IV in my vein, but it wasn’t connected to fluids until later.
Next, the doctors gave me cytotec. After 4 hours I started walking around to help things move along. I was thankful that the doctors gave me time and allowed me to try to get things started naturally. Again it’s okay to ask questions and voice your desires! By 9 pm I was 3 cm dilated, but not really progressing. At that point my contractions were getting stronger and were a few minutes apart. The doctors said it would be at least another 12 hours of labor. Although I didn’t want pitocin, I agreed to it. I also decided I wanted an epidural. Crazy how you imagine what you want and then when you are in it, you quickly change your mind! I couldn’t imagine another 12 hours of this pain and plus I wanted to get some rest.
After an hour of poking, the doctors finally got an epidural placed. Unfortunately, because of my scoliosis surgery the epidural didn’t work. I don’t understand the technical parts of it, but my husband seemed to understand what the anesthesiologist said. Basically, next time don’t even try an epidural because it won’t work. Finally the doctors started pitocin around 11:30 and within an hour I dilated from 4 cm to 7 cm. The doctors were surprised it happened this quickly and they started to get the baby station ready. After that things became a blur and I went into full warrior mode! At 4:02 and after an hour of pushing our sweet baby Izzy was born.
Tip #2 – The Magical Hour
I recommend this video to any pregnant mommy. If you can’t watch the video, I suggest reading about the magical hour (here is a article written by a neonatologist). Essentially doctors are finding that holding a baby skin to skin in the first hour after birth helps establish breastfeeding and stabilize a baby’s vitals. I did this with our baby girl and loved it. They did have to take her for 5 minutes when she was first born because she didn’t cry right away, but after she did they almost immediately brought her back. I truly believe this helped establish breastfeeding. I understand this is not possible for every birth, but if it is possible I highly recommend it.
Tip #3 – Call your insurance! It could save you $$
I know it can be frustrating trying to get your insurance company on the phone, but trust me it’s so worth it. Many insurances are now providing benefits to promote and encourage breastfeeding. We were able to get our Medela Pump In Style Advanced completely covered through our insurance. Other women have told me they can get at least a portion of their pump covered. We also took a childbirth class while I was pregnant. If we attended 75% of the sessions and had our instructor complete a form we got completely reimbursed for the class. Again, this means extra paperwork, but it’s worth it. A friend also told me that you can claim breastfeeding items on your taxes. Check out how to do this.
Lastly, a little disclaimer. I am not a trained medical professional. I am a mother. I love researching topics that interest me (babies, health, etc.) and sharing what I find with my friends. Any statement, advice, or suggestions I make are my own. Please consult your doctor before considering or trying any of these suggestions 🙂
Thanks for reading my birth story! What was the most important thing you learned through pregnancy and childbirth?
Every good and perfect gift comes from above. James 1:17