Thank you to Katie and Michael, who took my natural birth class, for sharing this birth story. First, a word from Michael. Then the story from Katie.
The Dad’s View of Birth
Michael says: A side note I must share with everyone. My wife is by far the strongest and toughest woman I know now. To witness what she went through was just unbelievable and the overwhelming wave of emotions I felt can and will never be duplicated. I definitely have a new outlook on birthing and applaud every woman who has experienced it. She is and will forever be my rock.
An Low Fluid Surprise
On Friday March 10th, I went to my normal 40 week appointment at Special Beginnings. I was checked and the midwife said I was not dilated and her guess would be that I would be about a week late. I was measuring small, so she decided to send me to maternal fetal medicine for an ultrasound to check on the baby’s size. I was able to get a same day appointment.
While there, they completed an ultrasound where they found the baby was at perfect size but I was low on amniotic fluid. The OB there then recommended that we be sent to labor and delivery at Anne Arundel Medical Center. We were both caught by an overwhelming feeling of shock. Before that though, they wanted me to do a non-stress test where she did well, but there was reason for concern, so they recommended that they call Anne Arundel Medical Center and see when they could get us into labor and delivery. Our simple day of a routine appointment had done a complete 180 and had us both in shock. They said that we could go home but that one of the midwives would call us and give us further instruction.
I talked with the midwives and decided to be induced Saturday morning. Friday night I worked on mourning my birth plan. That included tears and re-writing what was important to me.
We received the call at 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning to head to the hospital. We took our time and ate breakfast and took a few more moments to prepare ourselves for our hospital birth. When I asked for the method of induction the day before they were unsure of how we were going to begin.
Induction with gel
We arrived at the hospital around 9 a.m. We discussed options with the midwife. She recommended we to start with Cytotec. We had not wanted to start off with cytotec or pitocin, so knowing some of our options, we discussed instead of starting with an application of prostoglandin gel. Neither the nurse or the midwife were insistent on using cytotec, so we began with the gel. We did 3 treatments of the gel with minimal progress. We were hopeful that maybe it would send me into labor. But we were not so lucky. After three treatments I was about 1-2 cm dilated.
We then re-discussed our next options as moving forward and agreed to try the foley bulb. It was a bit new to us, but we had done some research the night before and had educated ourselves on the process and effectiveness. We tried the foley bulb at 12:45 a.m. Sunday morning. My cervix was too far right and they were unable to get it in. Later that Sunday morning, Michael and I asked if we could go home. After a night of monitoring, all that was done was three treatments of gel and the baby was looking great.
The midwife wanted us to have a second ultrasound before sending us home. Maternal Fetal Medicine refused to do the second ultrasound because they doubted there would be any change in levels of amniotic fluid to constitute sending us home. We could have left against medical advice, but decided to stay for the safety of our baby. At 9:30 a.m., the midwife talked with us to explain our next options and why it would be best for us to stay.
Foley bulb induction
At 9:50 a.m. Sunday morning, I reluctantly agreed to begin cytotec orally. We had three doses of this as well over the course of Sunday. I had to stay in bed for 2 hours after each dose. After the second dose of cytotec, we agreed to try the foley bulb. They were able to get it positioned right and so the foley bulb was inserted at 4:19 p.m. Sunday. They said the foley bulb should normally dislodge itself after a few hours once the cervix reached a dilation of about 4cm. At 6:30 p.m. Sunday, I had my last dose of cytotec and was hopeful that this would help the foley bulb finally dislodge itself. I woke up the next morning (Monday) without it having dislodged itself.
After discussion, we came to agreement on what we had hoped to avoid all along: pitocin. This is when my back labor began. At 8:10 a.m. Monday morning, they started me on a slow drip of 2ml of pitocin and hoped that would help the foley bulb finally dislodge. At 8:50 my dose was increased to 4ml. Foley bulb still not out. At this point we were on our way for setting a world record for length of time that a foley bulb had been inserted and not yet dislodged itself. It finally came out at 11 a.m. on Monday. It had been in for almost 20 hrs.
At 10:35 a.m. pitocin was increased to 8ml and at 11:25 increased to 10ml. My water broke at 12:02 a.m. By 12:45 p.m. Monday, my pitocin was upped to 14ml and my labor became more and more intense and I begin using our relaxation techniques. We had essentials oils diffusing to create a more home like atmosphere. Michael played the music playlists we had discussed. My doula and Michael helped me position myself on the hospital bed and on the ball. They made sure to keep me changing positions frequently so that I wouldn’t become uncomfortable. I was also allowed to get in the shower twice which made all the difference. The hot water really helped with the back labor I was experiencing. Labor was extremely tough and at times felt like contractions were coming right on top of each other.
It was very reassuring when the midwife checked me at 3:30 p.m. and informed that I was dilated to 6-7 cm. That gave me extra strength and fight to not give in to an epidural. After about 3 more hours of back labor, the midwife checked me once again and said words I will never forget, “Would you like to meet your baby?” After that she told me that if I wanted to I could begin to push with each contraction.
Meeting the Baby
By 7, I was beginning to push. By 7:40, she was crowing and I was able to feel her head for myself. And at 7:50 I gave it all I had and at 7:55 p.m., our little girl was born and immediately was able to hold her, skin to skin.
I had amazing nurse that tried to do everything she could to keep constant monitoring while I was moving around. (Anne Arundel staff was absolutely amazing with us). After 12 hours of back labor and every means of induction, I gave birth without pain medication at 7:55 p.m. Monday night. Aurora Lucille Chappell was born 6 lbs. 14oz. and 19.5 inches long.
Even though plan A, B, C, D and E did not work out, I still got my amazing little lady.