"Redemption. This was my redemption labor. My first go around at the whole birth thing was ROUGH. SO.VERY.ROUGH. It was brutal in every sense of the definition. My water broke and contractions started with fury instantly. I had 24 hours of active labor w/ contractions never more than 3 minutes apart. I was stuck in transition for well over 9 hours, where I asked myself over and over again if a natural birth was really what I wanted; it was, and with a supportive husband, best friend, and a Midwife (Brooke) that is the universe’s gift to pregnant women, I preserved. I ended up pushing for 3 hours before that sweet little boy made his entrance. At that point, none of it mattered anymore. I had everything I had ever wanted in my arms – the most precious little bundle named Milo Scott. The delivery left me paralyzed from the knees down for about 6 months due to nerve damage from pushing. Every second was worth it. EVERY SECOND. But my midwife and I were convinced this labor would be different. And it was. So different and so beautiful.
As most expectant parents, my husband and I were through the roof when we found out I was pregnant with my second. I love being pregnant and I couldn’t wait to tell Brooke we were ready for round #2! From the beginning she reassured me - Milo’s labor paved the way. This labor would be different. And boy was it different!
Milo was a due date baby so I thought I would have Teddy on or before that magical date. Well that day came and went and I was still very much pregnant! I had an appointment on Tuesday, 3 days after my due date for a Non Stress Test (NST). The NST went great but I had high blood pressure on all three readings. That appointment was with a different midwife at the office so later in the day, I wasn’t surprised to get a follow up text from Brooke. She looked over the BP readings and while she knew I had a pretty intervention free mindset, she gently recommended we strip my membranes to try to get things moving as if my BP stayed high, we would be forced into an induction early next week at the latest. I thought, Ok then – membrane stripping it is. I have full trust in anything Brooke recommends and knew this was something I needed to do even if I was scared it would result in premature rupture of my membranes and a much more painful labor. I went into the office the next morning for the stripping. I hadn’t been checked prior to this and found out I was at 5cm – if only you could see the giddy on my face! That took 12 LONG hours to get to with Milo. Things were looking up!
I rested most of the day and tried to do what I could to stimulate labor without exhausting myself. By evening I figured it wasn’t the night. I put our son to bed, came downstairs, and decided to bounce on my birthing ball to help with my restless legs while watching a movie (Taken 3). I instantly began noticing contractions but was sure they would fizzle out. After about 30 minutes of them, I decided contractions were for the birds and I was going to lie down to stop them ;). I wasn’t ready! HAH! When I went to lay down I noticed they weren’t going away. I went upstairs to take a shower in case this really was the real deal (though I was SURE it was not) and to pack a hospital bag. The contractions continued. I then decided to take a bath as they were starting to hurt. I downloaded a contraction timer and it showed they were 3:30-4 minutes apart! Goodness. I am in labor. It was about 1:30 am at this point and I had started noticing them around 11pm. I asked my husband to make me a slushie (my standby pregnancy craving and bath must-have), texted our birth photographer and called our midwife. We wanted to labor at home as long as possible so she said to keep doing what we are doing and to call if anything significant changes. I called my Dad and told him I was pretty sure I was in labor and we’d be leaving to go to the hospital in the next couple hours probably. He said to call back when I wanted him there. Ten minutes later I called him and said get on over here – I don’t want to have to wait for you once we decide to leave ;). He laughed and came right on over so that someone was here to watch our son while we were at the hospital. I continued to work through the contractions, riding the wave, moaning deeply, and trying to remind myself that each one had a purpose, each one was bringing me closer to the end. Around 3am we called our midwife again and let her know contractions were about 1.5 min apart and that we were going to head in soon. I wanted no part in laboring through contractions in the car! Thankfully we are only a few minutes away from the hospital. I had a contraction outside while waiting for my husband to pack up the car and I swear I could have woken up the entire neighborhood with my moaning.
We got to the hospital around 4am and labor was in full swing. I didn’t want a wheelchair so I literally ran up to the birthing floor, only taking a second to stop if I had a contraction. When I walked in, I was greeted by so many familiar faces – many of my friends work in Labor and Delivery and Brooke had let them know I was on my way. It was so comforting knowing they would be cheering me on as well. They set us up in a room and I half-jokingly let them know to start compiling all the hot packs from each suite as I was pretty sure I was going to use every last one on the floor. Hot packs were the only thing that gave me relief during my previous labor and I seemed to only deem them acceptable the first few seconds they were opened ;). Brooke and her trainee, Judy, came into the room soon after we got there. Judy checked my dilation and said I was at a 4-5. I about died. No progress? Negative progress? No way. I didn’t think I could get through it. Brooke saw my look of desperation and checked me herself – I was nearly at an 8 she said. Sweet baby Jesus. Thank goodness. I’ve got this I thought. I can get through this. I am in transition!
With each contraction I plastered two hot packs on my belly, breathed as deep as I could, let out a deep moan, and did my best to ride the wave of the contraction. I envisioned seeing our sweet little boy and focused on the fact that each contraction was bringing him closer to my arms. As contractions got stronger I’m pretty sure my moans got more and more primal – that’s the beauty of birth. It is so raw – nothing is held back. The hot packs made me so hot so I requested a large fan in the room and the A/C cranked. Little did I realize that I was creating an arctic tundra in there for everyone else – the nurses and my Midwife were wrapped in blankets! As contractions got stronger, my husband joined me in the hospital bed to rub my back, massage my hips, and tried to encourage me. His tender touch kept me calm. At this point I was in extreme pain – I kept questioning if I could do it. I remember staring into my Brooke’s eyes and telling her how much it hurt, how hard it was, that I felt defeated. She encouraged me the entire time, reminding me to breathe deep, helping me switch positions, encouraging me to ride the wave. She would rub my feet and calves. At one point Brooke recommended that I go for a walk to get me to the next step and that it should help drop Teddy a bit. This was daunting. So daunting. I got up though and went for a little run/dance in the hallway. I tried to go say hi to the nurses at the front desk and gave them a little wave and thanked them for all they do. I think I lasted 2 or 3 contractions and couldn’t take it anymore and ran to the bed – my little safe haven. I tried laboring on my knees but it didn’t help reduce the pain. I remember putting my hands over my face and tears falling from my eyes. I was overwhelmed with the pain but at the same time focused. I knew I could do it, I just had to get there. Brooke strongly encouraged me to have my water broken and that she was confident it would get me to the next stage. I was right at a 9. We were so close! I agreed.
Having my water broken was the oddest feeling – like someone popped a water balloon inside me. It also took contractions to the next level. Brooke mentioned that meconium was in my water and that I should see if I felt like pushing. They called the on-call pediatrician to come into the room in case he didn’t cry upon birth due to meconium aspiration. I didn’t feel the urge to push at all like I had in my previous labor. All I could feel was one continuous contraction. I could tell by her gentle urging of me to push however that she meant I didn’t really have an option – I had to get him out. I saw her suit up. Suit up!? Already!? The warmer was on?! I realized at that point it was really time – he was close and she didn’t think pushing would take long. It was all so surreal to me. I began pushing and it hurt so badly – so badly. And then I heard the encouragement – tackle this like you tackle everything in life. Full-force. Give it everything you have, Alex. Everything. It resonated and I PUSHED. Within ten minutes sweet Teddy made his entrance, cried a beautiful strong cry, and I helped pull him to my chest. At 6:42am Theodore George was born. 9lbs, 6oz, and 21 inches. I can’t put into words how magical the moment was. It was beautiful. It was perfect. It was worth every agonizing second of pain. The high following the birth was also like no other. I was on top of the world (I still am!) and felt like I could run a marathon afterward. The pain was gone, my baby was in my arms, and everyone was happy and healthy. "