River’s Birth

by Charlene, USA

Whereas sister Calla was 3 weeks early, I had a feeling the River would be late… following the trend that my brother and I set when we were born (I was 3 weeks early, my brother was 1 day late). I didn't think that River would be 12 days overdue nor think that I would have to be induced.

My early goal was to make it to 37 weeks so I could utilize the tub again for birth which I loved for Calla's birth, but I was already showing signs of progressing at 36 weeks. I stayed off my feet as much as I could to make it to full term, but by 39 weeks I was thinking of how to get the party started. Once I was full term at 40 weeks, we attempted almost every non-evasive, natural way to jump-start labor. I wanted to avoid any pitocin or other drug induced ways. One of the easy wives-tales was to eat a greasy, spicy pizza, which my midwife actually suggested and we thought it just might work when I started to have minor contractions, 10 minutes apart that lasted 24 hours. They never got stronger and eventually stopped all together. I was so ready to meet River and was very uncomfortable at this point.

Once I reached 40 weeks I had appointments every few days. With normal pregnancies 42 weeks is the normal cut-off date where inductions take place. I went in for my last appointment at 41 weeks, 5 days when I saw a nurse I had never met before. She provided some serious comic relief (unknowingly), because she talked in a high pitch voice, with a Minnesotan accent as if Robbie and I were 3 years old. We couldn't look at each other for fear we would start cracking up. All joking aside though, she was extremely sweet and supportive.

I went to a non-stress test to check on the baby and everything was fine but the on-call doctor decided to check the amniotic fluid by ultrasound. She had a very comforting way of informing us that the fluid was low and that I would need to be admitted that evening for induction. Ultimately, by measuring the fluid around the baby and adding up the numbers the doctors decide what is safest. She said they feel comfortable with no less than a ‘5' and that I was measuring a ‘3.5'. She also pointed out the white patches on the placenta as calcium deposits, meaning the placenta was aging and shutting down. I had no problem being induced, it was time to meet River!

Luckily I was already dialated 4cm and 90% effaced. I was admitted at 6pm Tues evening but didn't get an I.V. put in until midnight, partially because it took 5 tries to get an IV in my veins. That was annoying! By 12:30am the pitocin kicked in, hard. Contractions with a drug are far more painful than contractions naturally, which I knew about and was prepared to face. I wasn't prepared for the shaking or the hot flashes. The pain was so intense and unnatural that it made me sick to my stomach but I managed to keep everything down.

There were no breaks, one contraction after another, climbing in intensity, making me doubt myself. I didn't have a doula this time because of a communication problem with the volunteer doula on-call, which was disappointing. I really could've used a cheerleader to keep the negative thoughts out of my head. River's birth experience was different from Calla's in many ways. The room was mostly empty for River's birth, just me and Robbie most of the time, whereas Calla's had a room full of nurses, midwifes, a doula, and people coming to visit one of my midwives who was working her very last birth. Robbie did a wonderful job as my ‘doula' :), he had water ready for me, kept the room as cool as he could, and kept me cool with a cold wash cloth.

Once I got into the water (luckily the room with a tub became available just as labor became difficult), the midwife asked if I wanted to be checked for progress and I agreed. I was dreading her discovery, hoping I was far along, not knowing what I would do if little progress had been made, doubting my abilities to continue without any pain medication. Luckily, I was 9cm and well on my way. Soon after getting into the water the pushing contractions started and I was soooo relieved.

Robbie ran out of the room to let the midwife and nurse know I was having the urge to push and after about 40 minutes of insanely painful pushing, River arrived! He had (has) some powerful lungs and let out cries for quite awhile after, was so pink, alert, and beautiful. We were all surprised to find out he weighed 9lbs, 14oz, 21.5 inches in length, and 15.25 inches of head! Wow! I still can't believe I did it. Calla's 48 hour labor was hard but all that hard work crammed into less than 4 hours makes for an intense labor and delivery as well. Either way, I cherish every beautiful and(painful) memory!

(NOTE: Want a Perfect Birth Plan Template? Use this template and step-by-step videos to write a birth plan that gets your birth team on your side for a beautiful birth experience! Get the kit here.)

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