Since I am about to have my fifth baby in 59 days (who's counting :), I decided to post my birth stories from my previous births. They are detailed and leave nothing to the imagination, so you are forewarned.
First son Jonathan... (2003)
I was in the Navy and single at the time. I had a lovely friend and doula who was there to support me since my family and friends were so far away and I was relatively new to the area. I remember feeling like I was the "girl who cried labor" because I swear I was in labor with him on and off for weeks before the real deal kicked in. I was also dilated to a 3 and 80% effaced for weeks so I was sure when I felt anything, "this was it!" It was not. Ugh. For probably around 2 weeks, I went to the hospital about 3 times and was sent home. After all that I figured I was never going to have him and came to terms that he would forever live in my stomach and that would be ok...lol. About 6 days before my due date, I decided that I was going to go to the store and do a big food run (which I had been avoiding due to the sheer enormity of it and the snow (this was Rhode Island) and two flights of stairs to my apt), I figured he was never coming out so what could it hurt. It was also the night of the full moon and no one told me babies liked moons. :D Anyways, I remember being at the store and feeling a little tired and weak and I had a HUGE cart full of stuff. This 80 year old tiny feeble lady took one look at me and ask me if she could help me to the check stand and out to my car! And she did! That's when I thought, "sheesh, how bad do I look"? lol.. Well I made it home and it took about 3 hours and 100 or so trips up and down the stairs and to my car but thankfully it was cold out so I took a lot of long breaks inside the house and the cold kept the groceries good. It then took about another hour or so to put everything away and by then I somehow acquired a second wind and was ravishingly hungry. I had just purchased a 16 pack box of corn dogs and started to heat up two and take them to the couch and eat them while watching a movie. This went on and on until I went back to the freezer for more corn dogs and found the box empty! I was shocked to say the least as I hadn't realized how much I was eating. It was late by then and I had to work the next day, so I decided to call it a night and head to bed. About 3-4 hours into sleep I was seriously regretting those darn corn dogs and tried to talk my stomach into some kind of truce but to no avail. I got up to try to use the bathroom and nothing happened, though it felt like I really needed to go. Then I noticed some blood and mucous and thought that was odd and maybe I should call someone. But instead I waddled on out to the couch to watch more tv and try to get comfy as my couch was a lot better for my body than my bed at that time. That's when I noticed the pain was coming in waves about every 5 or so minutes but it really did feel like I had to poop :D I hmmmed and hawwwed about it for awhile since it was so early in the morning and still dark out and I didn't want to call my poor friend AGAIN and still not have a baby. Then I decided I would drive myself to the hospital and leave a message on her cell that I was heading there because I figured she wouldn't answer...wrong. She did and INSISTED I stay put while she drove the 40 minutes to my apt in a blizzard to go to the hospital. I was feeling very sheepish and embarrassed thinking that I dragged this poor lady out of bed in the wee hours of the morning for nothing. Well she got there and we got my stuff and loaded it in the car all the while I'm thinking this poor woman is going to disown me :D I was fine in the car on the way there and talking and laughing with her and then we started circling the hospital trying to find out where to go because everywhere was still closed (it's a small island hospital) and we both laughed together that we could always find a nice stable that would be opened if the need came. But we found the entrance to the ER and alas! It was open! And we gathered up all my stuff and waddled in. I was perfectly fine until the elevator, and then something changed. By the time we got out of the elevator and took a seriously long walk to the L&D desk, I was bent over in horrible pain! The nurse asked me how I was feeling and I never answered, I just glared at her with a look that got her off her butt quickly and helped us to an examining room to wait for the doc (who was home asleep)...needless to say, I never managed to get out of that room and into a proper delivery room. The corn dogs proved to be a bad pre-labor food choice as I started to vomit truck loads once I entered the room. I had two nurses holding me while I puked (and peed) and puked (and peed) over and over. They looked scared but I managed to get out that I ate 16 corn dogs earlier that day and all they said was ""Ooooooooooooooo". LOL They then put me in the tub and it was ok at first but then got to be wayyyy too hot for me to stand, so I got out and the doc was there and he checked me and said I was 5 cm and I about died. I thought for sure this baby was coming immediately...nope. So I demanded an epidural and the guy came pretty quick. It worked great for all of 2 hours and then the doc came and broke my water and the epidural was completely useless. But they wouldn't let me move around anymore because I had had the epi and they were worried my legs would give out. Let me just say, being stuck with your butt in a bed and unable to move is the absolute WORST way to have a baby! (in my opinion). I screamed and passed out, then screamed and passed out. This went on for a bit and one of the nurses recommended narcotic drugs while they were waiting on the epidural guy to come back and fix it. Sure why not, I thought....bad choice. Turns out I am allergic to most narcotics. Thankfully they didn't give me much and it worked it's way out my system pretty quick but now I am on oxygen and monitors and all sorts of hoopla and the epi doc comes in and asks me how long have I had scoliosis? Ummm...forever. He said that normally they can still do an epi with people with scoliosis and it works great, but in my case, I had the curve in the exact wrong place for a proper epi and when my water bag was broke it did something weird to the nerves in my back with pressure or something. So now it's hitting me that there is no relief in site and I am wracked in pain. I am screaming to the point I am loosing my voice and the docs and nurses feel so bad for me they check me one more time to see if it's time to push then maybe I can get some relief. I was 9.5 cm but the doc was convinced I could still push and he would just hold the extra lip back since first time moms tend to push slowly and this was a big baby. WRONG. In one push, he was at the top of my cervix to crowning and ripped the entire length of my inner wall (thankfully I didn't feel that right then)...then a couple more screaming fighting pushes and a longer tear later and he was out! I was so traumatized by the long (for me) and excruciating labor that I couldn't even bond with him right away, I was in a totally different place. But eventually (after a long stitch up period), they brought him to me and of course it was love at first site. I did very quickly after (before I even left the hospital) develop baby blues that turned into PPD (postpartum depression). I am thinking the fact I was on my own and single plus what I had went through and that I couldn't walk or sit down for quite sometime had a lot to do with that. That was the only baby I had that with and it lasted 11 long months. Awful! I so feel for moms with PPD, it's a horrific and scary thing to go through! Jonathan weighed 9 lbs even and was 20.5 inches long, he was born after only 5 hours of labor and 10 minutes pushing.
Second son, Aidan... (2005)
By this time, I was married to my husband (and still am :D) and he knew of the awful birth and what came after with our first son and we had the same hospital (still in Rhode Island) with some of the same staff but different docs this time, same anesthesiologist... and felt like we were prepared for any outcome. My due date came and went and then kept going. I was on bed rest for most of this pregnancy because of my back and gestational diabetes (I gained 80 pounds!) I would try to walk around and the baby would cut a nerve off to my leg and I would go down to the floor and sometimes on the freezing black ice outside. But thankfully baby was fine and comfy in there, momma on the other hand, was not at all comfortable. I begged my mean doc to induce me, he wouldn't until the baby was showing signs of needing to come out. Seriously??? I NEED HIM TO COME OUT! LOL. We walked, we stripped membranes, had sex, Castro oil, etc etc...nothing. My work was getting more and more scared seeing me everyday that was passed my due date (I was still in the Navy and was working with all men at the time), which turned into almost two weeks. Again I was the "girl who cried labor" because I was hoping against all odds that every little cramp or twinge was it and that I'd get there and either be in labor or they'd feel so bad for me, they would just induce...nope. I had an awful mean doc with the bedside manner of a wet noodle and he wouldn't budge. Ah well. So again I go into the whole, I'll just be pregnant forever thing and left it at that. Hubby and I went to see the mean doc (now well over 41 weeks) on a Monday and he checked me and low and behold...Progress! I think I was at a 3 and somewhat effaced and so he stripped me and there was blood on his hands (all good signs), he had also set a day for my induction (that wed), so if no baby until then, he was coming out one way or the other...this he stated to my belly and less to me. :D I felt relieved to know that I wasn't going to be pregnant forever and there was an end in sight. I went back to work because my hubby and I worked in the same building and carpooled and he had to go back to work and work was a lot closer to the hospital if anything happened. I went to my office and was chatting on messenger with my friends letting them know what was going on. I didn't really have to work so I spent some good time with them sharing birth stories and having a good ol time. I was so into it that it took me awhile to notice I was breathing funny and that every so often I would grimace and rock in my chair. So I told my friends on messenger and we all started to time the pains. They were about 5 min apart when the Admiral stuck his head in my office to ask how I was doing but I was in the middle of a contraction and I guess I had a pained expression on my face because he ran out of there so fast yelling "call an ambulance!"...hee hee...men. Well the next thing you know the whole office is in an uproar and they are trying to call my husband but of course he is nowhere to be found. They have a reserve Admiral come in (she was a nurse in the real world) and sit with me, but this was an Admiral and I was a petty officer and it's really had to be cordial to her while having contractions especially when I wanted to walk around and she wouldn't let me get off my seat. UGH. As the ambulance people came in my office, so did my husband (thank god) and they got me on the stretcher and out the door followed by applause from the rest of the building. I guess everyone had been waiting for the big day! :D But I was in denial and thinking how embarrassing would this be to be taken by ambulance to the hospital and still be at work the next day. But when I was in the ambulance the EMT was checking my vitals and noticed that my blood pressure was elevated so he asked me if I was in much pain and I said not particularly. He then felt my belly and got the same look on his face as the Admiral and screamed for the other EMT to give him the emergency birth kit...I was like, "why?" No answer. Well we got to the hospital right before an epic blizzard for Rhode Island and hubby found us in the elevator heading up to L&D that was when I felt something cold and wet in my pants and I told them (what is it with the elevators at this hospital?) They got me to triage and the nurse checked me (there was a lot of blood and mucous) and then she got the same look on her face as the EMT and mumbled something to another nurse about not feeling a cervix at all. They then called the new nice doc and he came in and smiled at me and said "oh you are about a 7-8" and then ran out the room screaming...WE NEED A ROOM NOW! By the time I got to the room (which was quick) the epi doc was already there and prepared to stay with me for the duration because he remembered what happened last time and was bound and determined to get this done right. (I found out later that I was complete when I came in but if the doc had noted that, I wouldn't have been able to get an epi, so he lied :D) This epi was better than the first, but when my water broke it did go away again, so the epi doc redid it and I had one side pain free and the other not so much, but it was A LOT better than the first labor and I could deal with it. The mean doc came in to check on me (he was also the head doc) and by this time I was moaning very loudly with contractions. I could push but I was afraid of the long tear that I asked to allow the baby's head to descend on it's own until it crowned and the nice doc agreed. This also made it way more painful, so the loud moaning got more intense and the mean doc actually had the nerve to tell me "could you tone it down a little, that's a bit much, don't you think?" I fired him right there on the spot, even though he was an 0-6 and I was an E-4..."get the hell out!" He did and the nice doc smiled and rolled his eyes and said some docs just should stay with admin and not with people. :D Nice doc checked me and I was crowning so he said I could push now. I got my legs up and coughed a little and his head came out :D Then a quick grunt and there was my whole 9lb 3 ounce baby boy with only the tiniest of tears that needed no stitches! Aidan was 22 inches long and his labor was just over 3 hours. I had a couple weeks of baby blues on and off but was fine after that because of DH (darling husband) who was (and still is) so supportive!
Third son, Joshua (2007)...
At this time, DH, I, and the boys were in Hawaii and were not impressed with the docs at the military hospital so we opted to go into the midwife program as I knew I couldn't do narcotics and I was pretty darn sure we would have epidural issues. I thought at the very least I could try to go natural and then maybe I'd have a say in positions and walking and that would be all the help I needed. We held onto this theory and proceeded to explore the natural side of labor. This baby didn't want to wait. I had to go into the hospital a lot to stop contractions so that he wouldn't be a preemie. Then shortly after 37 weeks (I was already 4cm dilated) I started having contractions again, but I'd been having them for so long, I didn't think anything of them. They weren't too bad and I shrugged them off as BH (braxton hicks). It was a full moon that night and my hubby was stationed on a ship and low and behold he got recalled to go back. I had a feeling that that was a bad idea and started to worry. DH tired to talk his chain of command out of making him go back but they wouldn't budge because I wasn't in active labor at the hospital. So being the sweet guy that he is, he got the boys to bed and me comfy on the couch for a nap and promised he'd be home asap. I slept on and off for about 2 hours and then noticed I was just too uncomfortable to deal with it anymore. So I went to get up and the pain knocked me to the ground and I started moaning loudly which turned into crying and whaling and the boys woke up and came down stairs and Jonathan (age 4) was rubbing my head and Aidan (age 2) was rubbing my butt :D and they were telling me "it's alright momma the baby is coming, that's all" :D It was so sweet but I didn't want them to see me in pain so I tried to get them to go back upstairs but they weren't having any of that. So I had my oldest open the doors so that maybe a neighbor would hear and come over to help. Then my oldest got me the phone and told me to call DH...I somehow managed and was crying into the phone not even able to make coherent words. DH just kept saying "I'm on my way baby! HOLD ON!" And seriously he was home in 10 minutes and it was a 30 minute drive! He got home and I felt so much relief that it eased the pain a little so I thought, maybe it's not that bad after all. And of course hubby is all "LET'S GO!", but me not wanting to be the woman who cried labor insisted that I needed a very hot bath first and if it still hurt then we would go. He agreed (sort of) and helped me up to the bathroom and just as I was putting a leg into the hot water, my water broke! Oh crap! Both births before I had had a baby less than an hour after my water was broken by the doc (never broke on it's own) and I knew it was about 40 minutes to the hospital and the pain would be ten times worse now. It was. I screamed for DH and he came up and I told him my water broke and he got all pale and scared and went into some robot mode where he grabbed boys and stuff and was heading out to the car. He forgot one thing, me. :D I realized he wasn't coming back for me and somehow managed to get down the stairs and grab my pillows on the way out the door wearing nothing but a night shirt and a towel between my legs. My neighbors (whom I'd had hoped would be able to help me) were lined up in the front of the house watching the show and not one person called an ambulance or asked to help...just watched....I screamed at them (in the middle of a horrid contraction) on my way into the car and they moved very quickly away from our house. I guess I looked a little frightening at that point. :D We got in the car and DH drove like a madman to the hospital. It was night and I was looking up at the moon between screams blaming the moon for all of this, "It's YOUR fault!" :D DH had onstar and was speaking to 911 while taking us to the hospital. At this point I was holding in the urge to push because I could feel it strongly but I was too afraid to tell DH because he was fighting with 911 that he wasn't going to pull over, he'd make it. And 911 was telling him that they couldn't chase him down the freeway. :D Anyways, we got there and had the kids with us so DH pulled us up to the main entrance and there were some maintenance people there and I screamed "someone help us PLEASE!" and this nice man came running with a wheel chair and took me up to L & D. On the way there (the elevator...darn elevators) I had the urge to push so strong I screamed and he started saying the Hail Mary in Spanish. Poor guy. We made it to L & D but there was a yuckie trail of puke and amniotic fluid from the car to there and I was covered head to toe in yuck. Thankfully MY midwife was there and she got me into a room right away and I stripped off everything and climbed into bed with my knees in the bed and leaning on the head part of the bed (which was elevated). This was (and still is) the most intense labor of my life. I was begging for an epidural, I didn't even care if it would work or not. The midwife checked me and said I was a 7 and I said "EPIDURAL NOW"... I wasn't able to have a conversation and I was delirious in pain. I had no idea who was in the room and who wasn't. At one point my DH came over to me and I bit him hard, he didn't come within a mouth's distance to me after that. I also ripped out my IV and threw the BP cuff across the room. I might have even hit a nurse. It's all kind of a daze. I was like a wild animal! The midwife said I had to have the IV if I wanted an epi so I let them put it in again and ended up ripping it almost out so that it was filling my arm with liquid and I had this nice blob of fluid in my arm. I knew they would fuss over it so I hid it from them and everyone was ok with staying away from my flailing limbs. :D Again this is all a blur but at some point I remember asking God to just let me die. That's how bad it hurt. And I was getting really weak and scared. I think it was divine intervention because I started to get into a breathing rhythm and I stopped screaming I was also rocking and really going with my body. I heard in my head (just bear down a little) and I did and it cut the pain in half. It felt so good to bear down with the contractions I started to smile slightly with each one. I really forgot there were other people in the room and it surprised me when I heard my midwife tell me "you're pushing!" And I grunted out a "no, I'm not" and then she laughed and said let me check you. The epi doc finally came in and I told him I didn't need him anymore (I know, weird). Midwife checked me and said I was complete, so I started to push but couldn't get comfy anyway but standing up. Well DH wanted to catch the baby and they would let him do it if I was standing so I got on my side and Josh came flying out so fast he hung himself on the umbilical cord. So he ended up needing to go to the NICU. But first they laid him on me (the first time I had a baby laid on me right after birth, skin to skin) and he peed in my face! Nice way to say "love ya mom!" I bled badly after that birth. From the time my water broke until I had him was 50 minutes. Total labor was less than 2 hours, if that. I had to be on Pitocin after the labor and monitored for a few days to make sure the bleeding was under control. Little man had to stay in the NICU for 4 days to make sure he could breathe on his own. We were fine though and I was on cloud nine and so proud of myself for delivering naturally. Josh weighed 8 lbs 11 ounces and was 21 inches long. I had about a day of baby blues. That was it! And my recovery was amazing! Bleeding and all.
Fourth son, Jullian (2009)...
With all the drama of the previous births, DH and I decided that a homebirth would be the best option for this little guy, and it was! I was studying to be a doula at the time and that really helped me make the decision to homebirth with ease. We found a midwife (an older lady) here in Hawaii. I made a deal with the military hospital (since I was out of the Navy, they couldn't make me go to the hospital if I didn't want to) that I would see both them and the midwife just in case there were any issues and we had to go to the hospital (that way they had some kind of record). They were hesitant to say the least about the whole "homebirth" thing and I often got a lecture about the dangers of birthing at home but I ignored it and reminded them that if I was allowed back into the midwife program we wouldn't be having this conversation. But because my BMI was higher than they allow for the program, they denied me. Oh well. So at about 36 weeks, I stopped going to the military hospital and started to see the midwife exclusively. That was also about the time that I went into my ever so famous "first labor" (the one that stops and starts and stops and ends up making me "the woman who cried labor") and all four of my doulas (I invited my class) and midwife and DH were there staring at me for hours at my house watching my labor stall out. UGH. I did make it to 4cm dilated but baby wasn't having it that day. Then at a teeny bit over 37 weeks pregnant, my DH had duty (of course) on the ship during a full moon. I was freaking out and begging the baby to stay in at that point. Luckily, DH's chief had a heart and a feeling that I was going to go any minute and sent him home. Sure enough, a couple hours after he got home, labor started. We texted everyone to come over. They did (except one doula, she missed the text). I was in denial that this was real and telling everyone sorry and I hope I didn't waste their time. They were all smiles and had this look like "this is definitely it" on their faces even though I didn't think so. We already had the tub set up and filled from the "trial run" the last time and we had been keeping it warm. I was squatting on the birth ball next to it when I felt a pop, so I went to the bathroom and noticed I was leaking fluid even after I was done peeing and the contractions got worse, so I got into the tub. For 5-10 minutes my contractions went completely away and I just enjoyed the warm water. Midwife started to get impatient and suggested we do some stimulations to get things going, but I said absolutely not, just let me enjoy this. The contractions kicked in with a fierceness but nothing I couldn't manage in the water and with the hip squeezes my doulas were doing on me (best birthing technique ever!) The pain did start to get to me because at one point I noticed that DH was falling asleep in the warm water and I threatened to "rip his (you know what's) off" if he didn't wake up. I also got a little snappy when the midwife started telling me how to birth the baby and I looked at her and snapped "I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING!" The doulas were amused to say the least. I forgot to mention that as soon as DH came home that day, we took Castro oil as we wanted to have baby that day before he got stuck at work again. Well the Castro oil didn't have a chance to work before labor kicked in but once I got to the bearing down stage it worked a little too well and I poo'd and poo'd in the tub so much so it sent DH screaming "POOP POOP!" and the doulas were laughing at him and scooping it out, even I snickered a little, couldn't help it. Hey, it woke him up! :D The pain peeked again and midwife checked me and said I was a 6. A 6!!! You have to be kidding me. That's when I lost it and screamed out the next two contractions and threatened that if I had one more, we were calling the ambulance. I then decided I didn't care if I was 6, I pushed anyways and he went from my cervix to crowning in one contraction. I got in a doggy style position and pushed again, and he was out! No tearing, no ripping, no nothing! He was beautiful and so calm. I was in shock that I had just delivered a baby in my living room. It was so cool! The midwife was a bit of a pain and had us all freaking out for no reason because the baby had a funny rash and one undescended testicle. So she tells me (about ten minutes after I gave birth) that I needed to "run" upstairs and get dressed and "HURRY HURRY HURRY!".. I KNEW my baby was fine, but I let her get the best of me and was in hysterics in no time. I had one of my doulas drive me and DH drove the midwife. The separation was all I needed to calm me down and in the car on the way to the hospital and we prayed and I felt very loved and calm. He was fine (of course) and already nursing like a champ! The doc was amazed at how alert he was and responsive for being only minutes old. We went back home in no time and had some dinner and I was so happy with my little guy. Not one day of baby blues. Just had to keep my distance from the midwife. Jullian was 7 lbs 10 ounces and 21 inches long. He was born after about 2 hours of labor.
This time I have SERIOUSLY taken into consideration WHO will be at the home birth of my daughter. I picked our doula and the midwife extra carefully, plus my best friend that I know will be good for me to be there. I have a feeling that this birth will be a lot different than the others. Longer and calmer. But that is ok. DH will deliver her this time (if he can stay awake :) And it will be another water birth. Can't wait! I will let you all know!