July 23, 2018 | Lex Daddio
So Baby T is officially 5 weeks old and it’s honestly been amazing. I mean having a baby is definitely exhausting, but it’s such a blessing. I feel so honored and grateful for the opportunity to be a mom. When I was little, I always said I wanted to be a mom when I grew up. There was just something in me that always had the desire even from an early age. I truly love being a mom so much so far. I know things will get harder and easier at times, but I’m trying to take it all in day by day and enjoy every second of this little guy.
I decided to write out our birth story and share it with you all, because it was quite an event and pretty amazing at the same time. I went into birth with a plan, but I knew that if it didn’t go as planned I’d be okay with that (even though of course I’d prefer it to). I just wanted our baby to come into the world healthy and happy. We decided to go the midwife and doula route, because both my sister and sister-in-law highly suggested it. I didn’t know anything about it before going into it and honestly thought it was kind of weird. I think everyone should choose the route they prefer, and this isn’t to tell you that you HAVE to use a doula and midwife. I just want to share our experience with you, but I will say, I will always use a doula and midwife and if anyone was interested, I’d highly suggest it. but I’m just sharing my experience with you. We chose a midwife that practiced in a hospital so if anything went wrong, we’d have access to a doctor, etc. Not everyone chooses that route, but that’s what I felt the most comfortable with.
Let’s talk about doulas really quick, because having a doula was one of the best decisions we ever made. Thomas calls it the concierge service, but basically a doula is like a birth coach and she helped coach Thomas so he knew how to help me. She also helped us through pregnancy and was like a big sister who could answer any questions for us. We both felt so calm during the preparation for birth, because we knew as long as Jenny was there we’d be fine. We figured she’d been in plenty of births so we trusted her. So not only did she give us both peace of mind, but she was helpful beyond belief. I can’t even describe it, but I’d use her again in my next birth because she was THAT AMAZING and every birth looks so different so you never know. She works at MyBirth, so if you’re in Richmond and looking for a doula, I highly suggest MyBirth!
For my birth plan, I hoped to try to go completely natural, not only because of things I had learned but also because I’m not really fond of needles or hospitals or doctors or anything that has to do with it. I know they say that feeling comfortable and safe helps labor, and hospitals are the last place I feel comfortable. It’s kind of pitiful haha, but anyway we hoped to labor at home as long as possible and then have Jenny join us when the time was right. After that, we’d probably labor some more, and then head into the hospital before the transition period of labor. I hoped to go completely natural so no IV, no pitocin, no epidural, etc. I was basically hoping to use the least amount of interventions as possible. I wanted to be able to walk around freely and labor in any position. To be able to eat and drink as normal. To not have my water broken. To only external monitoring is necessary, and no internal. And of course, I didn’t want to be induced. I learned about all of these interventions and the labor process at the MyBirth class Thomas and I took. I was clueless about what happened in labor before we took this class, but it taught us both A LOT. The class helped us decide how we hoped to approach birth. I also am not against any of this, we just had our own personal preferences that we wanted to take. Doesn’t mean if you get these things that they are bad. Turns out that I had to have every single one of these things, which you’ll find out about later. Life is funny isn’t it? Alright, so that was basically my birth plan during labor, but let’s get to the actual labor.
I for sure thought baby T was going to come early. My sister’s baby came 3 weeks early and I just felt like he was going to come early, so my bags were packed at 36 weeks… Well we ended up going to 41 weeks and 5 days. Little guy was comfortable and on his OWN time. Also, I fully believe & know that God had the timing set perfectly. His timing is better than our own anyway, even though it can be so hard to be patient. I had to learn a lot of patience during the last days of pregnancy.
The 12 days after his due date were probably some of the slowest, strangest days I’ve ever had haha. I honestly felt really peaceful, and I believe God kept me calm because I so badly wanted this boy to come naturally. People were asking me why I hadn’t been induced yet, and the number of people that checked in to see if he was here yet was overwhelming. In a good way, but also kind of in a bad way. It became super exhausting to continue telling people, “No, he’s not here yet”, “Yes, I still feel good and I’m being patient.”, and “No, I’m not going to get induced early. I’m going to wait for him to come naturally.”
Honestly, it didn’t get to me mentally until about a week in and I actually had to take a break from social media, because I realized it was starting to really mess with my mind. I knew people were excited, and I’m so glad, because I was too and it was so sweet to see how excited people were! It became too much when people were telling me what to do to induce his labor. Eat pineapple, try castor oil, get a pedicure, do acupressure, or go on super long walks.. Okay, maybe some of these work and maybe some of them worked for people. I tried some, and then finally surrendered and realized I had no control of T’s birth. He was going to come in the right timing, in God’s plan, and there was no amount of pineapple that was going to bring this baby into the world. I’m only sharing this with you all, because I didn’t realize this was even a struggle for people. Now, I’ve experienced for myself so I’m telling you, because if you know anyone overdue, just be mindful. You can check on them and love on them, maybe bring them some food or go on a walk or do something with them to take their mind off of the baby, but don’t keep asking them if the baby is here yet or if they feel like baby is coming soon. Even though I know everyone had the BEST intentions and it was out of love, that was the hardest part during the last two weeks. I just want to be open and honest about that, but now I’m done haha!
What happened is I had to go into my midwife to get a non-stress test and an ultrasound to check his fluids since he was overdue. I went in on Monday for a checkup and everything looked great. Baby was happy and we were all good. I went back in Friday for another one just to check, and turned out baby T’s fluid was too low. The cut off was 5 and his fluid was at 4.9. This was on Friday and they had already set an induction date for Sunday night, because I wasn’t allowed to go past 42 weeks. They told me that they needed to go ahead and induce me that night. They said baby was totally fine and there was nothing to worry about, but to just make sure baby was all good and wouldn’t run out of fluid it was time to bring him into the world. I cried. I was excited, nervous, confused, scared, frustrated, etc. I felt every emotion, because I really believed this baby was going to come naturally. Being induced wasn’t part of my plan. They let me decide what time we wanted to go to the hospital, and they told us to get packed up and pack lots of food because the process could take a few days. It was so weird and honestly kind of funny, because I got a bunch of food/ snacks from Whole Foods and our favorite little market, Stella’s grocery. Thomas and I got packed up and headed into the hospital.
When we got there, we checked into our room and I put on my Ingrid & Isabel hospital gown (I loved this gown so much, it was so comfortable and made me feel like myself rather than wearing the actual gowns they provide). I kept telling Thomas this was the weirdest thing of all time. I had been imagining for 9 months what labor would look like. Would I be in the backseat screaming on the way to the hospital? When would my water break and where would I be? What would labor look like at home? Would I know when I was in labor? What do contractions feel like? I had imagined all these things, and of course, none of them were even close. Instead, I rode in the car like any other day, showed up, checked in like we were at a hotel, and then got comfortable and it was just so odd. They hooked me up to IV’s, so that’s when I knew okay wait this isn’t a hotel haha.
They induced me with cervidil, which is basically a long string that they insert vaginally, and has a medicine called prostaglandin on the end. It basically helps soften the cervix and prepare your body for labor by helping you dilate and efface more. When I came into the hospital I was only 1cm dilated and 50% effaced. Many of you asked if I think eating the 6 dates a day worked. Honestly, yes I think they helped play a roll, because my cervix was actually very soft and ripe but they didn’t help me spontaneously go into labor, which was the other thing they were supposed to help with. I still had to get induced, but I’m not blaming that on the dates not working haha. So did they work or not? I’m not 100% positive and it’s kind of hard to tell, but I would do the same thing again on my next pregnancy if that means anything. I think they definitely helped in ways, I just can’t give an exact answer how! The cervidil takes 12 hours to work, so they gave that to me around 7:30pm and then Thomas and I just had to get some rest and let it do it’s thing. They gave me Benedryl to help me sleep, because how are you supposed to sleep when you’re just waiting for your body to start laboring? We slept and woke up the next day, and all the fun started.
A new midwife, named Amber, came in that morning for her shift (and it is by God’s grace & timing that we were there when
she was, because she is the reason this baby came out the way he did!) She checked me in the morning and I was about 3cm dilated and 80% effaced. The cervidil worked better than expected so we didn’t have to do any other steps, instead we went straight to pitocin. Right after she did the cervix check though, my body naturally started having contractions so it was already ready to go before the pitocin began. They gave me pitocin at about 7:30am. I love how they did it at this hospital though, because they are all about mimicking natural labor, so I was at the lowest dose of pitocin almost throughout my whole labor, until the end when they actually shut it off and it was all my body woring. My contractions started off 3-5 minutes apart from the beginning. They were way different than I expected and pretty sure I had back labor, because I felt so much pressure in my lower back every time I had one. That was not fun.
Things started getting more intense, so we called our doula to have her come and assist. SHE WAS AMAZING. She brought in pretty white lights and hung them up in the room and bathroom, diffused essential oils, brought a heating pad, and had this crockpot of herbs to use for later when I was pushing. It made the room so calm and peaceful and we labored with my music on and the lights dim. She had me do different labor positions to change it up and help keep me going. Since my back was hurting so badly, it was really hard to labor sitting down so I mostly stood over the bed while Thomas did counter pressure on my back. That helped so much. I was also able to get into the shower a few times as well and and laboring in there was so much better. I was amazed how the heat and steam relaxed me and made contractions feel less intense.
My midwife came back in and apparently T’s heart rate was dropping sometimes during my contractions. He was basically as low as he could go on my bladder so she said it could be because he was so low, that my contractions were squeezing him and his heart rate would drop. In between them, everything looked great and totally fine. Also, since he was so low, when she did a cervix check, she literally had to move T out of the way to check. For some reason (still not fully sure why), but when she tried to do another cervix check, it was more painful than contractions. It hurt so bad, that she couldn’t even check me because I was screaming. She gave me a break and said it’s okay and we’ll keep just letting it go and watching his heart rate.
After this, things really started heating up and moving along. Contractions were 2-4 minutes apart and much more intense. Like really intense and it had been 6.5 hours and I hadn’t sat down yet. I was getting exhausted. Everyone left the room for a bit and it was just me and Thomas, and I remember I looked at him crying, and I said I don’t think I can do this anymore if this isn’t as bad as it gets. We made the decision that I needed to get an epidural. Little did I know, at the same time, my doula was in the lobby racking her brain on what to do, because she knew I didn’t want the epidural. However, they really needed to be able to do a cervix check, but I couldn’t handle it. So I basically decided this for myself, but my doula and midwife were actually relieved because they felt it could be beneficial to get one. We were all on the same page. As soon as I got it, my contractions went from intense pain to just a lot of pressure and it was the biggest relief of all time. I was finally able to lay down! Since I couldn’t feel, my midwife was able to do a cervix check and I was 6cm dilated and 100% effaced, so I was almost there! Also, my water broke right then, and my midwife said, we’re about to have this baby. Thomas and I were both so excited thinking he was coming, but it ended up being a little scary after this.
Things were moving along and going fine, and it was time to start pushing. All the sudden, my midwife said in a stern serious voice, “can you get on your knees?” The severity and intensity scared me but she was still so calm. I responded yes, and my midwife, 2 nurses, my doula, and Thomas flipped me over. Things got really intense right then, I didn’t really know what was going on, but I knew something was wrong. Thomas didn’t realize anything was wrong and that was probably better. Then, I heard T’s heart rate stop. The machine lost his heart rate, and I just starting praying so hard. I’m not going to lie, I was scared. I didn’t know what was happening but I was scared. The doctor came into the room, and I knew if the doctor came that meant my midwife needed back. My midwife went inside me and moved some things around and baby’s heart rate came back. INSANE.
Later I found out that I had cord prolapse, which is when the cord comes out before the baby, which is typically an emergency C-section. My midwife is quite an amazing woman, and she wasn’t going to let that happen. She also has a 1% C-section rate, so she was determined and I love that about her. So what she had done was take the cord, move it up past baby T back where it belonged and it was all around him so she got it out of the way. Then, she moved his position in my body to get him into the perfect labor position. Talk about CRAZY! This woman did this all with her hands! THANK THE LORD I had gotten the epidural, because she said there was no way I would have been able to handle it without. That’s the beauty of medicine right there.
A little backstory about my midwife, her name is Amber and she has a true gift. She grew up in a midwifery in Holland in an area where they were 3 hours from the nearest doctor. She was explaining to us that you just learn how to do things with your hands, because it was their best option and seriously this woman is incredible! The doctor was in the room and was amazed at everything happening. He even said to Amber at the end that he’d never seen anything like that and would have given me a C-section immediately. It’s pretty amazing how they work together and are able to learn from each other, but also need each other.
After she moved the cord and all that craziness happened, things calmed down and it was more of a waiting game from here. We had to let me body finish doing what it needed to do before starting to push again. After a little rest, it was time to push. I’m pretty sure I pushed for about 30 minutes. My epidural was wearing off at this point, and I definitely felt it. Not fun, but SO WORTH it, because when T finally came out, it was the craziest, most amazing, thing I’ve ever experienced. They placed his slippery little body on my belly and I can’t even describe the emotions I felt. But mostly I could not believe this little human had been in my belly for 9 months. Pregnancy and birth has really made me see my body in a whole new light, and I really appreciate how God thought of everything and how smart and amazing our bodies are.
One other amazing highlight that I have to share, I had NO tears down there. None. The doctor was floored and my midwife was proud, haha and I don’t blame her especially since she had two hands up there. Also, it sure felt like I did, but nothing. I swear it’s from a few things: the extra virgin olive oil they used to help him slide out, these herbs that my doula was using on me in between pushes that they make at MyBirth loaded with cloves, Pure Barre (I feel like this really strengthened me and helped me be strong to push, and lastly I feel like collagen could have helped because it’s supposed to help with skin elasticity and I took one scoop my whole last 2 months of pregnancy.
A lot of you have asked if the things I did in the last 4 weeks helped. These are what they were: 6 dates a day, red raspberry leaf tea, 50 squats a day, pure barre 3x a week, 20 minutes outside everyday, and my supplements (prenatal, probiotic, and DHA). HERE is the post explaining more on these and why I did them. I already answered about the dates. For the tea, I’d definitely think it helped. I only pushed for 30 minutes and I feel like the tea helped strengthened me. For the squats, I mean you can’t go wrong. I think they helped me to be strong as well, especially when I needed my legs to be strong since I was on my feet and squatting down a lot in labor. For barre, I swear this helped me feel good during pregnancy and recover so quickly after labor. My stomach went almost back to normal pretty quickly, and I was honestly blown away. I’m telling you though, I believe it’s because barre works your abs so much and my body just knew what to do once T came out. It also made me feel strong during pregnancy, and the community is amazing. You can’t beat that. Going outside for 20 minutes a day helped my sanity, my mind, my body, etc. I try to do this outside of pregnancy too. Last but not least, my supplements! They suggest taking a prenatal and DHA and I would do this again and I’m still taking them. They’re just supposed to help baby. I don’t know if I can see actual results myself haha but I believe they helped. The probiotics kept me regular and I never had any issues at all with constipation in pregnancy so I’m thankful for that!
So finally, over a month later, and here’s T’s birth story and my overview of everything. It was crazy, exhausting, overwhelming, confusing, and the best dang thing that ever happened to Thomas and I. Birth was nothing like I expected. Having a baby had been amazing. I’ve never done so much laundry in my life, but it’s the biggest blessing. Thomas & I have gotten closer, and I feel like I’ve fallen in love with him all over again watching him be a dad. It’s the sweetest thing watching him love on T so much. I couldn’t be happier to be a family of three. I truly feel like T is a little miracle baby and God was in every single part of it and I am so grateful. Thank you so much for reading our story, I’m so grateful for you to take the time to read about our boy. I love getting to share our journey with you!