A Labor And Delivery Story

Late last month, our baby girl finally arrived! If you’ve been following my pregnancy story you know that she was a full week late… so I was anxious to get the ball rolling. I was also feeling extra huge. lol. If you’ve been following my blog, you also know that I was hoping for a natural birth. Here’s how it all turned out…

Baby's Big Day!

Baby’s Big Day!

My water broke on a Monday afternoon and I was thrilled. I called my husband right away to say, “It’s happening!” The original plan was to labor at home before going into the hospital, even with my water broken. I wanted to see if contractions would establish on their own. Turns out that was not going to be so easy (as you’ll read later…)

I’ll spare the details but after several hours at home, I was still having only mild, inconsistent contractions – not really even painful. I did however have some “alarming” signs that made me think we should head to the hospital. After talking with my doula we agreed to head in to Huntsville Hospital.

We checked in, distributed birth plans, etc. and luckily had an amazing labor and delivery nurse with a “natural” mindset. I was feeling pretty good at this point. The alarming signals I had been afraid of turned out to be nothing to worry about… and contractions were finally picking up in intensity and frequency.

I spent the time walking the halls, breathing through the pain and leaning on my husband for support. Brittany, my doula, offered encouragement and relaxation techniques.  Hours and hours and hours passed. lol. Every so often I was checked for dilation, which as it turned out, was happening at a snail’s pace. More hours passed… and by Tuesday midday I was exhausted. I was also only dilated to 5 cm.

We’d switched shifts by now, to another wonderful nurse who was supportive of my “original plan” – except now we were getting to 24 hours from the initial water breaking. The risk of infection was going up. I was starting to feel a little desperate. I opted for a mild drug via IV to help me get some rest. I thought, if I can sleep a little, maybe I can keep going.

Fast forward several more hours. I was up and laboring again. My contractions just did not want to establish a consistent pattern. Dilation was stalled. I was starting to fear a C-section, since my waters had broken so long ago and things were moving so slowly. I was also, to be totally honest, doubting I’d have the energy to push her out! After talking with my OB (who happened to be on-call that day) I decided to labor with Pitocin – gradually increasing the dosage to see how I’d handle it.

They are NOT kidding when they say Pitocin contractions are harder to get through than natural contractions. I only made it a few hours (with dilation not progressing despite increased Pitocin) before opting for the epidural. I just knew, in my heart, if I didn’t get something to cut the pain, I wouldn’t be able to manage the rest of the labor. It was almost Wednesday.

Once I got the epi, they cranked the Pitocin up slowly – eventually getting to almost the max allowed (not joking) before my contractions established enough of a pattern to finish dilation. It was only a few hours from the time I got the epidural (which I was terrified of but turned out to be blissful) to the time I was ready to push. Pushing was fast and honestly, the easiest part after such a long slow labor. She came out with no trouble and minimal discomfort for me at 9 lbs. 0 oz. even. It was the happiest moment of my life.

Looking back, I feel very happy with the choices I made. I had a wonderful labor and delivery experience – in large part thanks to the nurses at Huntsville Hospital who let me set my own pace until it became apparent that a change in plans might really be needed. I also had a great OB and my doula Brittany Berghammer made me feel secure and supported through the entire rollercoaster.

I do also think that I probably avoided a C-section by trying so hard to stay natural until I was at least past the half-way point – until I was in active labor. In my research on labor and delivery I often read or heard people describe how epidurals and Pitocin can stall a labor or even stop it. I really think, if I had opted for drugs early on, due to my body’s slow pace of establishing labor, I probably would have ended up with surgery.

In the end, I didn’t… and was up and feeling pretty good within 24 hours. That was a blessing, since my daughter ended up in the NICU for several days with a bad case of reflux. Once discharged we were back-and-forth to the hospital every few hours to feed her and help with her cares until she was finally keeping food down and ready to come home.

Moms, how did your “birth plans” change once your labor began? Did you not have a plan at all? If so, how do you feel about your birth experience? Share your comments below! I’d love to hear them!

Also, a quick note. I want to thank all of our WHNT News 19 friends and fans, especially those who have followed my pregnancy and reporting on Birth Options in the Tennessee Valley, for the support and well wishes these last few m

onths. I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading this blog as well, which I plan to continue updating as my transition to mommyhood continues!

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18 thoughts on “A Labor And Delivery Story

  1. my first child was two weeks late,i was induced with Pitocin as well and i did great, my second child ten years later i was also induced with and had Pitocin , i have nothing to compare to naturally going into labor and water breaking on its own because neither happened for me, both of my experiences i was put into labor and my water was broken,i can say i had the worst back pain labor with both! The epidural experiences well not so good with the second one ending in a rare reaction which caused my blood pressure to bottom out and all that wonderful stuff but, hey i have two beautiful and healthy children so in all i can say it must have all went fine! Congrtas to you and your hubby!

  2. It’s funny how things can go the opposite of how you envision it!! My daughter came 7 weeks early, I had placenta previa.. I was admitted into the hospital on Christmas morning because I started bleeding. They were able to stop it & I stayed in there for 3 nights. In the early morning hours of the 3rd night, I started hemorrhaging & they rushed me to L&D! My husband was 4 hours away working out of town & they let me call him to tell him of the emergency Csection I was about to have. My daughter, Cobie, was born within the hour:) she had to go to the HH NICU the next day because she was having trouble breathing & stayed in the NICU for 5 weeks! Worst 5 weeks of my life! I live over an hour away & went everyday for her cares. She’s almost 4 months old now & healthy as a horse! Congrats on your beautiful baby girl!!!

  3. I had a very quick labor. My water broke at home, and we went to the hospital immediately. We got to the hospital in about 30 minutes. I was sitting in the waiting room and my contractions were about 45 seconds apart at that time. The contractions started out being every 4 minutes. I went back to labor and delivery and was dilated to 9. After a few more contractions I felt like I needed to push. The OB said it was ok to push, and I began to do so. My daughters heart rate dropped to zero numerous times, and they had to use the vacuum to get her the rest of the way out. She was crowning, so there wasn’t far for her to go. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. It was the best moment of my life when she was put on my belly. She was so precious and was 7lbs 5oz and 19 inches long. She was delivered in 2 hours and 10 minutes. I had no signs of labor until my water broke.

  4. Ashley, I must say spending even a few days in the NICU was a real eye-opener. Our little one was a little chunkster compared to the premies in there and lucky enough to be in an open crib where we could change her, hold her, feed her, etc. It made me very appreciative and I really feel for you having your daughter there for 5 weeks! I met some other moms during our time in and out of the unit and felt so much sympathy for them… having to drive so far with so much worry and stress. Glad to hear your daughter is well. :o)

    • Thanks! It was an eye opener for me too! I still think about all those babies/families that have to go through that! It just makes you appreciate them so much more:)

  5. The goal of any pregnancy and delivery is a healthy baby. You did it.!! I can’t think of a thing you didn’t do for the optimum result. Well done to both you and your hubby.

  6. Destiny had a hand in mine. The day I delivered by C-section (ten days before my due date), an 18 wheeler almost ran me off the road in front of my doctor’s office. Once I pulled in and they took my first blood pressure reading (which was sky high, *duh*), I wasn’t even thinking about why it might be that way. I was only thinking of my baby and was she ok??!!! I never did think to tell my doc about the close call in front of his office. 4 hours later my doc was telling me that although my blood pressure had returned to normal…he didn’t feel good about the fact that it had spiked so high and though it best that I didn’t go through normal delivery and didn’t want to send me home either. “Let’s just go ahead and get this baby out!” During the C-section, he found that that hard round thing he kept thinking was the baby’s head, was actually a huge fibroid that was right in the way of the birth canal and if I had been given the go ahead to deliver the “normal way”, I would have labored for hours and eventually would have had to have a C-section anyway, after she and I started showing signs of danger. So…all’s well that ends well eh? As long as our babies are healthy…that’s all that really matters!

  7. I was at work at a daycare, didn’t feel well, had one of the dads (who came early and happened to be an EMT) check my BP. It was 200/110. Hubby came to pick me up and take me to my obgyn. Was wheeled over the covered bridge to a hospital room where they tried to settle the BP down.(wore a cuff all night!) The next morning they started a pitocin drip. Had to stay in bed due to elevated BP. Water broke late afternoon, an exhausted me asked for an epidural, got much needed sleep and then pushed for about two hours and delivered my 4 week early, 4lb and 13 ounce daughter. She was tiny but perfectly healthy.

    Second daughter was only 2 weeks early. I went into labor around 4 a.m., found out she was a footling breach around 10a.m. and was having a C-section an hour later. We had an 8.b and 3 ounce baby girl. She began life being contrary, and 17 years later, she still is!

    I love both my girls. I’m glad you have your own sweet girl to enjoy!

  8. I had three boys and they were all delivered with no medication. With my first son, I went in the doctor’s office and he asked me if I had had any contractions and I told him I didn’t think so, why? He told me I was dilated 4 cm. Go home, get your husband and bag and check myself into the hospital. I got there around noon, got settled in and he broke my water and the contractions started. After several pushes, I delivered him at 8 pm a 7 lb 14 oz baby. The second son, I lost my mucus plug around 3:30 am; got to the hospital and was on the bed by 5:35 am where the doctor broke my water and delivered him at 6:24 am (7 lb 4 oz). By the time son number three was ready to be born, I was worried that I may not make it to the hospital with him, but when I went for my doctor visit that day ( 2 weeks before he was due), he told me I was 2 cm and I would probably go that night. I did, I got to the hospital around 7:30 that evening, he broke my water, and I had him (without pushing) being rolled into the delivery room (6lb 11 oz) at 9.59 pm. The doctor caught him with his bare hands while he was standing in the hallway. Yes, the pain was extremely painful during the first birth and I wanted to back out, but I had no medical reason to need medication so I chose not to have it and the others were so quick that pain meds would have not taken in time anyway. In fact, I had only one ultrasound and that was with #3. All were healthy and alert. I would not have changed a thing. That’s my story.

  9. My first & last child was born one day before his due date. I started mild contractions during the day and they progressed quickly. I went to the hospital at 8:00 p.m. and contractions and dilation progressed very rapidly. I had every intention of having the epidural, and all of that – pain was not something I thought I needed for this ordeal!! As I was checked for dilation at about 10:30 p.m. it was discovered that I was ready to push! In tremendous pain from the contractions, they then asked me if I wanted the epidural (the doctor that did that was not at the hospital and needed to be called in). Since it was time to get this moving, I opted for NO epidural and had no pain medication. It turned out to be the best experience EVER! I was so glad to experience childbirth the way it was meant to be. My son was 8 lbs 4 oz and seemed very healthy (& such as cutie!). Unfortunately, he had a congenial heart defect and spent the first 6 weeks of his life at UAB having multiple heart surgeries. Today, he is a normal, healthy 11 year old!

  10. Well, I was like you Michelle, I was all natural, at least that was what I wanted. I did tons of research and planned on the Bradley Method, practiced with my husband and did all the exercises. Pregnancy was a breeze for me.. I loved it! My doc even told me I was build to be a good incubator and suggested that if I wanted 5 kids, I would do great at it. On my last doc visit before I hit 40 weeks my blood pressure was elevated to an alarming level. Given I had no prior issues and being sick at my stomach that day, he suggested I be induced. Him knowing I wanted NO interventions, he told me we would do a cervix thinning drug applied directly to the cervix and go slow, but he wanted me monitored and in the hospital bed. I thought that would not be a big deal, I can still be natural with no other interventions and once I got to the hospital the nurses told me they had plenty of people deliver using this cervix thinner and nothing else. Well that was a Wednesday, and as Wednesday blurred into Thursday my cervix did not change and I was still at 1cm. I was in labor but nothing hurtful… but my contractions were steady with a constant ebb and flow. fast forward to Friday. My cervix FINALLY thinned enough to break my water. So my doc broke my water. I still was med free except the cervix med. As soon as my water broke I was in HARD active labor. The second he positioned her head after my water broke, I went to 3cm. It only took the first hard contraction for me to realize she was not turned correctly and I was also having hard back labor. I still did my Bradley Method to get through the pain. It only took maybe 2 hours from my water breaking to go from 3cm to 8cm. I was excited… I was going to deliver fast like my mom. She always told me of her fast easy births. At 8cm is where everything changed. after 30 minuted at 8cm my body started to push. My Doc told me under not terms am I to allow my body to push, it was too early. So I did all that I could to calm my body. Nothing in this world hurts more that full back labor and trying to stop your body from pushing. But I did all I could and after suffering for 3 hours in that state, the doc checked me and I was reverting dilatation. I was at 6cm. We talked and he told me that she was getting pressure on her head from slamming on my cervix and all I would keep doing is swelling my cervix. The only option I had was what I feared most in the world, a C-Section. But my husband and I made that choice without hesitation (not that it was really a choice at that point). I never had any drugs until they put the block in me for the C-Section so I will be proud of that. Once she was delivered and found she was perfect my doc looked at me and said there was NO way she was coming out. He found a massive defect in my tailbone that not only caused her to be facing the wrong direction (the massive back labor) but her head was totally stuck. All of my future babies will also have to be born C- Section because of that defect. I wanted to share my story because sometimes no matter how much we want something we know is best, there are things we don’t know that can change everything. I am thankful for my hospital staff at Crestwood for all they did for me and letting me make the decision and not be forced to do something I did not want to do. Michelle, I am so glad that everything went well and even though everything did not go like it was planned, you have a beautiful baby girl to love and hold and you are in great health. Our family wishes you all the best! By the way our little lady will be a year old Saturday!

  11. I despise pain so my birthing plan was to have an epidural. My pregnancy was normal with no problems. With six weeks left, after a week of feeling terrible and a round of antibiotics not doing any good I woke up vomiting and decided it was time to visit the ER. The OB recognized the signs of HELLP syndrome and sent me via ambulance to UAB where they started inducing. I was not allowed to have an epidural because of the situation; only a mild drug. They also gave me Pitocin which made me feel like I was “tripping” everytime I closed my eyes. After 24 hrs. and with my body shutting down, I had no strength left to push and finally the doctor had to perform an episiotomy. Our baby girl was here but early; after three weeks in the CCU and NICU we were able to come home. Almost three years later, we are blessed with a beautiful girl and you would never know she had such a hard beginning!

  12. We didn’t have a birth plan other than to make it past viability and delivery a healthy baby. I ended up having an emergency c-sec at 30 weeks (we were surprised I made it that far because of pre-term labor) due to a breech little boy and contractions that wouldn’t quit no matter what meds I was given. We spent 4 weeks in the NICU with the most amazing doctors and nurses. I sing their praises every chance I get 🙂 Looking back I don’t know how we made it thru but we did. It is crazy to see how far my little preemie has come in the last year! It goes by so fast.

  13. My first visit to the hospital in 1969 was false labor, therefore, the insurance company informed us the next time I went, it had to be for real. I was three weeks late in the hottest summer Indiana had ever seen. Finally, at 1:00 a.m., I awoke in labor. I woke my husband and informed him it was time to go, but we could take our time because we only lived three blocks from the hospital. As I began stirring around I thought the pains had stopped. Then they would start again,then stop. We decided to drive the old 1940s truck, thinking the rough ride might help me along. So off we went, hills, bumps, curves. We would get to the emergency doors and there would be no pain, then get to the front of the hospital and they would start. It was scream, not scream, drive around and around the hospital. Finally my husband couldn’t take it anymore, so in we went. Fast forward twelve hours in the labor room. One minute good, ten minutes of screaming and my husband was patting me saying “oh Hun, oh Hun”. I said don’t oh Hun me, I will kill you when I get out of here and let out my first cuss words ever. About half hour later my doctor walked by and said, I am going on a housecall, yes they did that even in those days, and I panicked, screaming “the hell you are.” My water broke and five minutes later I had a beautiful baby boy. A short time later someone informed me man had landed on the moon,but I felt I had the best miracle.

  14. I was like you, wanting a natural child birth. I labored at home for almost 2 days on and off. Finally on New Years eve morning I woke my husband up and said it was time to have a baby! We got to the hospital and I was almost 9cm. I was so excited but also incredibly tired. Being so tired and scared that I wouldn’t be able to push I opted for the epidural. For me, it slowed down everything, which turned out to be good so I could rest a little. I ended up having pitocin since I wasn’t dilating anymore. Finally 6 hours later of pushing and having to use the vaccum to get my daughter out she arrived at 1:40pm. I was so disappointed with myself for getting the epidoral but it all happened just the way it should. That is a good thing with having a plan and a back up. Sometimes you just have to go with plan B.
    Congratulations!!!

  15. I gave birth to my first on Nov 29, he was due December 1st. I had went to the doctor that morning and they had advised me to be induced due to he was going to be a big baby. They had been advising me for a few weeks to be induced and I kept telling them wait till after his due date. That morning I scheduled it for Dec 3 even though down deep I wasn’t sure that’s what I really wanted. Fast forward to 7 that night, I felt the urge to go to the bathroom AGAIN. I turned to my husband and told him how I wished our little man would make his appearance already. Get to my bathroom my water broke. To start there wasn’t any contractions, after about 30 minutes I had my first contraction and by 9 they were every 10-15 minutes. We went to bed to try to rest before going to the hospital but by 10:45 I couldn’t handle the pain…..At the hospital everything progressed pretty quickly and by 4 AM And dilated to 6 I opted for an epidural, I was more scared to have it than I was the labor itself. By 8:30 AM I was ready to push, I pushed till 11 before the doctor came in and seen the baby was turned facing to my left side, and told me he could turn him. The doctor turned him and my baby turned right back the way he was, so he gave me a choice of trying to pull him with forceps or a c-section. I allowed him to try forceps, when that didn’t work the doctor says ” we have to do a c-secton NOW.” I was scared to death, but 45 minutes later my 8lb 4oz baby boy arrived. After it was all over they told me, my pelvis just wouldn’t open enough for him to fit, so there is no way I would have been able to have him natural.

  16. I also had an epidural for the delivery of our first baby and it was a God send! The labor and delivery went much smoother than I had anticipated by having an epidural! I am glad everything turned out good for you and Baby Jane! I just have one question, since having your epidural, have you noticed any back pain where the epidural was placed? I have read this pain from the epidural can last for months but no one else I have spoken with has experienced this with their epidurals. I was just wanting to ask another new mom about their experience! Keep us updated on your journey, it is a comfort to have someone else going through the same experience I can compare to!

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