The Birth Stories of Reagan Renae and Liam David
My daughter Reagan was born on February 4th 2009. I was 23 years old, and not very educated at ALL on natural birth. All I knew is that I wanted to give birth without drugs, but knew that pain meds could be an option. I had been contracting irregularly for a few weeks, and even at my appointment on my due date (Feb 1st) I was contracting, but they were “too inconsistent” to be considered early labor. I was also not dilated and not effaced at all. Not a fun appointment!
About 10pm on the 3rd, just as I was rolling over to go to sleep, I felt something “pop.” I immediately just knew what it was, and as I jumped off the bed my water just gushed out. I yelled at my husband to get up and grab me a bunch of towels and the bathroom trash can. I sat on the trash can so water wouldn’t continue pooling on to the carpet! Once we got over the initial shock of what had just happened, we headed to the car. It was then that I started feeling a tad bit of pressure and a little pain with some contractions. I didn’t time them, because we had been advised by our doctor to
immediately go to the hospital should my water break. So, that’s what we did.
I was admitted about 11pm, and 0 cm dilated. Or maybe I was 1. I can’t remember. Either way, it was hardly anything. The rest is a little foggy to me, partly because it was in the middle of the night and I was already exhausted, and partly because I asked for something to take the edge off and was given Demerol. At one point, I was offered pitocin to help speed up labor – I had gone several hours with no progress. Once the pit kicked in, I asked for an epidural (I do remember thinking, “wow, these kinda hurt! And they’re only gonna get harder!!”). After I got my epidural I fell asleep – HARD. I don’t remember nurses coming to check on me, but my husband remembers them coming in often and turning up the dosage on the pitocin.
Fast forward to Wednesday the 4th, sometime late afternoon. I had finally made it to pushing stage. Hurray!! The nurses had me roll to my side to push, but after several hours of trying, my little girl’s heart rate just kept plummeting. I do remember being able to feel the very tip of her head, but something was stuck and not allowing her to fully descend. My OB, who is not fond of cesareans, called for an emergency c/s, and at 5:13pm my sunshine was born! She was so bruised when she came out, I’m sure it was from the constant pushing but her being stuck somewhere so she couldn’t completely descend. Her little head was all coney too, I imagine from just the very tip trying to come out. My recovery was terrible. I was so full of drugs and pain killers that I vaguely remember my entire labor & delivery experience. I immediately knew that should I ever decide to have another child, I would DEFINITELY be going about it a different way. I never wanted to go through that kind of trauma again.
In April of 2011 we found out we were expecting again! This one was a tad bit of a surprise – we weren’t trying and we were practicing NFP. I had already been researching natural birth and parenting and VBAC and all that other good stuff, so I was already pretty informed. I did toss around the idea of a home birth, but I was really just too nervous, already having had a c/s. I wanted to be close to medical care should anything go wrong, so I decided on nurse midwives who deliver in a hospital here in San Antonio. I felt it gave me the best of both worlds. My due date was set at January 5th, 2012, and later on in the pregnancy we found out we were expecting a little boy – an absolute direct answer to prayer! His name would be Liam David. J
I began having early labor contractions on December 29th, a Thursday. I did have an appointment that morning, but the contractions hadn’t quite kicked in yet. (I was 1cm and I think 50% effaced). They would come and go, sometimes they would last a couple hours and then go away by the time I woke up the next morning. I knew we’d be having a baby within the next week for sure. On the 31st, we went out to my in-laws for New Years Eve. That night the contractions were stronger and lasted about 2 hours. I called my midwife and she said it sounded like early labor for sure, and that we’d have a baby if not tonight, by the next night she was sure! That was Saturday night. The contractions continued throughout the night, but when I woke up Sunday morning, the contractions were gone!! I was soooo bummed, and so tired from the contractions that I pretty much napped the rest of the day. Sunday late afternoon we headed home to get my older two stepdaughters ready to go back to their mother’s house. As we were driving home I really felt like the baby might come that night, so I had my mother in law pick up our 3 year old, just in case. When my husband left to go drop off the older two, I cleaned my house from top to bottom (I did NOT want to sit in a hospital for 24-48 hours thinking about how messy my house was!). The contractions had picked back up again, about the same as they were the night before. Around 9:45pm I called my midwife because they had gotten pretty strong. At that point they were stopping me in my tracks. The midwife listened to me talk to her and said I was probably still good to stay home a little longer and to call her when they became unbearable. I think I may have called her about an hour later and she said to go ahead and come in. As we headed to the hospital, we definitely weren’t in a huge hurry, we stopped by a gas station for some red bull (for hubby!) and snacks (for both of us) and I quickly threw on some mascara (hey…I remember how awful I looked in those post-birth photos from my daughter!). We got there a little after midnight I think and were admitted promptly.
Lauren, my midwife, came in to see me. She was my favorite midwife, so I was so glad she was on-call. She checked me, and I was only 3cm (all those contractions and ONLY 2 more cm?!). She gave me the option of sleeping for a few hours there at the hospital, or going home and coming back later. I decided to sleep for a few hours, and she would check me in about 4 hours (it was almost 2am by this point).
At approximately 6:30 I was checked, and was a 4. Lauren suggested breaking my water since it was bulging but had not yet broke. She said my labor would probably progress pretty quickly and easily if we did that. After a little discussion with David, we decided to go ahead with it.
And OH the pain of those contractions!! I was still very determined not to have meds, and David backed me up the entire time. He kept reminding me that I could do it, that I WANTED to do it, and that if I did give up (I had looked at him at one point and said I didn’t think that I could go through with it) and ask for pain meds, he knew I would feel guilty about it later. He was such an awesome support. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. The best part of the natural labor was that I wasn’t confined to my bed. This hospital DID require that I be on continuous fetal monitoring (which I didn’t mind TOO much because I LOVE falling asleep to my babies’ heartbeats!) but I could unplug it and walk to the bathroom if I wanted (I took LOTS of long bathroom breaks…shhh!) I remember trying to sit on the exercise ball they had provided me, but it hurt too much, so pretty much all I could do was kneel by my bed or lean over on my bed.
I remember at one point the contractions just kept coming – it just felt like one giant contraction. I was lying in bed and each time the contraction came I would just push my arms against the bed rails and breathe through it. (DON’T ever do that – my arms were sore for 3 days after that!!) I think I was in transition then, and believe it or not, my body just kind of shut down and I was able to sleep a little. Not a deep sleep, because I was aware of all the contractions I was having, and subtly aware of David placing some music by my head and a cool rag on my forehead, but I just sort of zoned out and closed my eyes. It was soooo nice and relaxing. I think that was my favorite part of labor. But then of course came the contractions where I thought little Liam was going to jump right out of me! It happened several times in a row, so the new on-call midwife (Amy, my OTHER favorite) came to check me. I was about 9 and a half, but I was determined to start pushing, so she sort of helped stretch me open a little until I was right at 10 and we started pushing. I think I pushed two or three times, and Liam David was born at 9:43 am – 3 hours after breaking my water, and 100% drug free!
I got to immediately hold my sweet boy – I LOVED it!! He was wide awake and knew exactly who me and his daddy were. It was so amazing being able to feel every single bit of delivery. Yes it hurt, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I did end up with two tears, and the stitching hurt so bad I asked if I could just deliver another baby instead! My recovery went very smoothly (a thousand times better than abdominal surgery!!), and at almost 6 months my little boy is still nursing like a champ.
I am extremely thankful for all my friends and family who supported my decision to VBAC and who offered advice and facts and encouragement. And most of all, my husband – with as worried as he gets, he let me go ahead with what I felt was right and was behind me every step of the way. I could NOT have done this without the huge team of support backing me up. It is something I will NEVER forget. J