Lola's Birth Story
DISCLAIMER: Every birth story is different. This is just MY story and how my process went. KEEP A LOOKOUT FOR TIPS IN THE PASSAGE.
The Due Date…
We woke up on December 9th excited for the possibility that we might get to meet our Lola later that day! No butterfly was left out of belly range as we drove to the OB appointment. To our disappointment, we were told I was not one bit dilated and my placenta was still providing what she needed so there was no need to induce. Lola Bean was cozy and staying put.
By this time, I had been on bedrest with SPD (Symphysis pubis dysfunction) for exactly 2 months and was just seconds away from losing my friggin mind. I thought for sure that I wasn’t going to make it a second longer lugging around this large baby without breaking in half. Little did I know, I had many more days to go.
One Week Later…
December 16 : Desperation
Braxton Hicks contractions were alive and well and I was feeling optimistic that my OB would let us know I had progressed. We left the appointment with the unfortunate news that I was STILL not dilated what-so-ever and they still did not advise that I get induced. Up to my ears in defeat, I went home desperate as ever and willing to try anything to get this kid out of me, which leads me to my first tip of this chapter.
Let’s talk about “old-wives-tales”. I attempted every trick in the book to get Lola to take center stage. The only trick left unattempted was drinking Castor Oil. I was not sure about this tip, as I noticed its many mixed reviews. Some noted that it was intense and could cause stomach cramps, while others stated it did nothing for them at all. Nevertheless, I was just desperate enough to give it a go. I only took 1 tablespoon (half the amount called for) and blended it into a large fruit-loaded smoothie. About 2 hours later, the promised contractions began their fireworks show. None of the reviews explained just how terrible those “cramps” really were. As someone with a pretty high pain threshold, I was shocked at how much pain this natural remedy caused, and equally appalled that the reviews left out way more detail than they should have! My back, my uterus, my stomach, everything was completely cramped up and before I knew it the contractions were coming on 5-10 minutes apart. I was sure that this was the end-all be-all!
Rushing to the hospital, I was crawling in the passenger seat from the inside out. Upon arrival, we were led to the labor and delivery wing where we were quickly reprimanded for trying the Castor Oil trick. The nurse told us that so many pregnant women come in with terrible pain after trying it… I was honestly so embarrassed to be one of them. Here’s the thing about Castor Oil - you HAVE to FIRST be dilated for the contractions that it causes to be helpful. Otherwise, you are causing yourself to go into what they call “false labor”. That’s basically pain with no reward!!! After a few hours of screaming in pain, the doctor came in and checked my progression only to tell us that, after all the contractions, I was STILL NOT DILATED. Needless to say, we drove home wondering how we could possibly get through the rest of the night in that condition. I think preceded to labor for two whole days at home. Probably the worst thing that I have ever endured.
December 18 : Last day as a Party of 2
It was 6:00 AM when we finally decided to head back to the hospital. I had been laboring since 1:00 AM but was too nervous to go back in out of fear we’d be sent back home again. As my doctor checked my cervix, I expected to be told I showed no progression. To our immense relief, he announced I was now 95% effaced! Not quite ready to be admitted but it was definitely more progress than I had seen in the past 10 days! They sent me home with an Ambien in hopes my body would relax and I would get some “passed out” sleep before most likely returning the next day. He knew there was no way I’d be able to sleep through the contractions without it. I had never been on Ambien before and had no idea just how lethal it was! Half an hour after taking it I remembered NOTHING!!! I didn’t remember the car ride or even getting home into bed! I honestly don’t recommend taking it as a regular sleeping aid it is MUCH too strong for everyday use.
I awoke from my deep slumber about 4-5 hours after getting home. That was more sleep than we had experienced in the past few days combined! The rest of the day was a blur. I spent it either in a bath or the shower. I remember sitting in the shower watching the water drip from my fingertips - zoning out in the moments that I WASN’T contracting. 3…2…1… I knew when a contraction was about to happen whenever I felt a back-labor cramp slither across my sacrum. Those deep-belly breathing exercises could kiss my ass in those moments. Literally, nothing prepares you for that kind of pain. Especially friggin DAYS worth of it. Laboring at home BLOWS. Period. That night, we went to bed around 10 PM waking up every 10-15 minutes fighting the contractions.
December 19th: IT’s GO Time!
Around 1AM, we decided enough was enough and headed back to the hospital. They admitted me to the delivery room around 2:30 and gave me the epidural around an hour later. The epidural was unfortunately only working on my left side so I spent most of the day flipping from one side to the other trying to get it to even out. Around 6AM, the doctor came in to check my cervix and ended up breaking my water in the process. IT WAS REALLY HAPPENING! It was then that it really kicked in that we would meet Lola very soon! Being that I was still only 3cm dilated by this point, we would have to wait just a bit longer.
[Photo of Johnny drawing on my feet to calm me down haha. I was having a literal anxiety attack that I couldn't feel anything in only one leg that I wanted him to bring some kind of stimulation to the bottom of my foot. It worked if you find yourself in a similar situation!]
The next few hours were spent trying to relax and wait. I found my relaxation in a few ways:
1) Listening to water sounds on YouTube
2) Wearing my sleeping mask (this one is my favorite)
3) Having Johnny read meditation cards to me. Mine were bible verses that were collected by me and my mom. I felt it was a sentimental addition to the process because my mom had bible verse cards when she was having me! Whenever I felt I was getting anxious, I just had Johnny read them to me and I would fall asleep. I highly recommend it!
Around 3:30 I was officially 9.5cm dilated. It…was…TIME. Needless to say, I was intensely shaking with fear, but also incredibly ready to get this stubborn girl out of my body. By 4:00 my legs were in their ready stirrup position, which made me nervous considering my original plan was to try and birth her on my side due to my SPD. However, the doctor did not feel comfortable delivering on my side due to the epidural only really working on one side of my body. (This, unfortunately, pretty much started my SPD recovery from square one all over again, but I will get to that in a later post.)
The nurse challenged me to have her out by 5:30 to give me a goal and the pushing process began. It was a very different experience than what I expected, it wasn’t like in the movies! Johnny wasn’t in scrubs, I wasn’t grabbing him by his shirt threatening his life, there wasn’t any rushing around…I was completely focused. Something happens inside you that says “it is time to fight like a woman” and you go into this warrior mode. I pushed for about 30-40 minutes before needing to take a break to projectile vomit. Not many people talk about the intense nausea that can come with pushing! The way that Lola was positioned inside made it very difficult to breath in my pushing position so we took multiple small breaks for oxygen. Lola’s head was stuck in the canal and I began to feel defeated and exhausted until I heard a sound that I will never forget. The beeps of the baby heart monitor began to slow down…way down. The doctor made eye contact of concern with me and the energy in the room changed. He asked the nurse to turn down the volume and told me to relax through my next contract and not push. I looked up at Johnny, he grabbed my hand, and we both knew in that moment I was about to go to war for our daughter’s life. The nurse handed me one side of a bed sheet while she held the other and asked me to play tug of war with her. I was confused but asked no questions. I tugged along each contraction with the strength that only comes from God. She was said to be the strongest nurse but the fear of a mama bear for her child out tugged her strength by far and almost sent her to the ground.
With one last tug, I felt her leave my body and I immediately felt such relief. Johnny says she made eye contact with him as I was pushing her out. I think that is just crazy cool. They plopped her onto me and she was so heavy!! She was so late and “overcooked” that there was no vernix, her skin was dry and red, she didn’t cry, and she was completely alert. She looked up at me with those big, golden-brown eyes and stuck her tongue out at me (something she did in every sonogram). I stuck my tongue out back at her and that was our first encounter haha.
5:15…I was ahead of schedule (insert strong arm emoji). 8 pounds 12 ounces 21 inches long. My Lola Rose was finally in my arms.
Stay tuned for hospital story…