This is Megan’s story. The birth changed course and I’m very thankful that she is willing to share.
I had been feeling pressure waves on and off for a month prior to the birth. It really wasn’t anything too painful or something I felt I couldn’t manage. I had also started to leak a lot of water, and I just knew that her birthday would be soon. I had a guess date of March 15th that was based on my ultrasound, and I had a guess date of March 25th based on my last menstrual cycle. When I went past both of those dates, I really began to wonder if I would birth this baby or not.
On the morning of April 4th at 7 am, I had 5 pressure waves about 5 minutes apart. I was downstairs trying to relax because I didn’t want to wake Jared up so early in the morning. However, I decided to call him downstairs at that point. He began timing my waves. After about 30 minutes, we decided to call Lori, our midwife Carolyn’s assistant. Lori asked us a series of questions and told us she would call Carolyn. I decided to try and eat some breakfast, and take a shower to relax. After the shower we began making sure we had everything ready to go to Carolyn’s home since we would be birthing there. Lori called us back to let us know that she would be coming to our house to check myself and the baby and that Carolyn would be making preparations for our arrival. About 10 minutes after we were off the phone with Lori, my pressure waves became stronger and closer together. They were 3 minutes apart and lasting 60 seconds by that time. Jared thought he should call Lori back and tell her. It was decided that we would go ahead and go straight to Carolyn’s home with Lori meeting us there.
We arrived at Carolyn’s home around 10 am. I ate a few bites of a cheeseburger while Carolyn and Lori helped me throught a few waves. I had listened to my Hypnobabies tracks on the 45 minute car ride there, so I was pretty relaxed. I changed into some more comfortable clothes so that Carolyn could check for dilation. I honestly didn’t want to know how far I had dilated because I didn’t want to be discouraged if I wasn’t as far as I thought I should have been. Curiosity got the better of me and Carolyn informed me I was at 4 centimeters. She said that it was good progression and we would keep on keeping on.
Throughout the day I went through a lot of position changes; laying on my side, laying on my other side, standing up, sitting on the birth ball, walking up and down the stairs, etc. Jared was so good at helping me, giving me the peace cues and making me feel comfortable. He never left my side. I am pretty sure I prevented him from ever wearing his jeans properly again because I tugged on them so hard during my waves. Around 5 pm, Carolyn checked me and I had only dilated to 4 1/2 centimeters. That was a little discouraging to hear. They were allowing me to get into the bathtub though for 30 minutes at a time, so that made the situation better. The warm water was amazing. It eased the pressure tremendously. I could have just stayed in the water for the whole day. Sadly, that could not be the case. I had to keep moving and encouraging that little baby to make her way out.
The storm started to move in that night. Carolyn checked me again and I had not progressed at all. She informed my family that was there that I needed to get some sleep and that we would pick everything up in the morning. After my family left around 9 pm, me and Jared layed in bed. I finished off a bowl of soup and listened to a couple of Hypnobabies tracks. I was still having pressure waves, but they had slowed down to every 5 minutes. I was sleeping between every wave. I knew it would probably be the hardest night of my life, but I was determined to make it through till morning. Around 11 pm Carolyn came in to listen to the baby’s heartbeat on the Doppler. Lori had went home to get a bit of sleep. She had been with us the entire day just taking care of me, and making sure I was doing all of my essentials, like staying hydrated and moving around. She was such an enormous help through the whole experience.
As Carolyn was listening to the baby, she noticed that during a pressure wave, the baby’s heart rate would drop considerably. She told us that something may be wrong because that usually didn’t happen that early in a birthing time. She continued to monitor the baby while I moved around into different positions. Sometimes the baby’s heart rate would drop, with other waves it wouldn’t. During all of this, Jared received a call from my sister letting us know that my parents’ house had been hit by lightning and that a wall and the front window had been blown out. Lightning had also hit my mom’s car, disabling it. Our dogs were at my parent’s house, but my sister said they were okay. That news added a bit of stress to the situation.
At 1 am, Carolyn said she was calling the doctor and that we were going to the hospital. I was so sad to hear that. I felt that we had put so much time and effort and love into giving our baby the best possible birth that we could give her, and that it was all over. I eventually came to the understanding that Carolyn wouldn’t be sending me to the hospital if she didn’t feel that it was the best choice for myself and the baby.
We drove the 5 minutes to the hospital. After the series of expected questions about insurance and extensive past medical history, we met the doctor, Dr. Seeber. He explained that his goal was for me to have a natural birth and that he would do everything possible to make that happen unless he felt mine or the baby’s health was compromised. I was still only dilated to 4 1/2 centimeters at that point. I was finally put into a room and hooked up to the monitor so that they could track the baby’s heart rate. Hours later I had still not dilated any further, and the baby’s heart rate contiued to decline during my pressure waves. At that point, Dr. Seeber grew more concerned, so he asked if we could start Pitocin to speed up my birthing time so that we could get the baby out and out of any distress she could be under. Jared had been in the room asking all the questions about the interventions that were taking place. We talked about it and agreed it was the right thing to do. I also received an Epiural in preparation for the increased intensity of the pressure waves brought on by the Pitocin.
I was completely exhaused and in and out of sleep until 11 am. At that time, Dr. Seeber came in and checked my dilation.I had also been taken off of the Pitocin for a few hours as well. I had only progressed to 7 centimeters, but her heart rate began to drop more frequently, so Dr. Seeber felt we were moving into a more emergency situation. He suggested a C-section. The last thing I wanted was major abdominal surgery. After deliberation with the doctor, Carolyn, Lori, and Jared, we all came to the conclusion that it was the best thing for the baby. I truly felt it was warranted, yet I was still so sad that it had come to that point. I had no control over what was going on inside of me, and that was so scary.
Amelia Louise was born at 1:01 pm on April 5th, 2011 by C-section. She weighed 6 pounds and 5 ounces. She definitely came when she needed to (43 weeks, give or take a few days) otherwise she might have weighed a lot less. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice, which was causing her heart rate to decline. She was also trying to come out face first. She was a little trooper in there, just hanging out. They had to clean her up right away because she had meconium on her. Jared got to hold her first, but then he gave her to my mom so that he could check up on me and the stitiching process. As soon as my mom got her, she turned her so that I could see her. I said her name, and as if she recognized my voice, she turned her little head to look at me. She was absolutely beautiful with big dark eyes. She wasn’t crying, just alert and checking everything out. I snuggled her with my cheek. She has been the best baby ever since.
I still struggle with the fact that the birth wasn’t what I had hoped for or wanted. I guess she was just born how she needed to be. I am glad that she is here and healthy all the same. I am still a proponent and believer in natural childbirth, Hypnobabies, and the midwifery process. If and when I have another baby, we will go that route. Carolyn and Lori were able to see that something wasn’t right, and they made the best decision for me and my baby. I am so thankful for that. Overall it was a positive experience. Hypnobabies was an excellent tool. It gave me the ability to control my discomfort and physical response to what was happening. I felt like I could get through that night with Hypnobabies. Unfortunately, I didn’t really get the opportunity, but it was a great tool all the same. I guess you can’t plan for everything, but we still got a beautiful baby in the end.