The “I” Word
Did y’all like the title of my post? One of the reasons I’ve been so excited to share my birth story with y’all is because I was induced and still had an amazing birth experience! So many women have to get induced — either because of a high risk pregnancy or going past term or maybe just preference. When we learned I’d be getting induced, I was scared. The only stories I had heard about inductions usually ended in an emergency c-section or days of labor. And while I wish I could have gone into labor naturally, which is definitely the most preferred way, I came to terms with my induction.
I was induced at 39 weeks because Christian’s cleft classified me as a high-risk pregnancy. After the initial scare of the “i” word, I realized an induction was best for me and my daughter. Because of her cleft, there might be complications at birth, so the NICU staff had to be in the room when she was delivered. By being induced, we were able to ensure they’d be ready to go when it was time. Plus we could plan things better: we had arranged for our dogs to be taken care of, we enjoyed our last night as a family of two, and we got about a week in advance to mentally prepare. Plus my birth photographer didn’t have to play the waiting game or wake up in the middle of the night to try and make it to the birth! So while an induction wasn’t initially part of the plan, I was definitely able to find the silver lining.
Things did not go well at first. They wanted to check us in at midnight on July 6th, so we got there a little early and waited….and waited….and waited. So many women had come in that night that we weren’t put in a room until 2am! The initial plan was that we would check into the hospital around midnight, be given Cervidil to soften my cervix and prepare it for the induction, and then I’d be given Pitocin when my cervix was “ready”. So things were already off to an unplanned start.
Around 4am someone came into our room to finally give me the Cervidil. Then they said it would most likely be in for TWELVE HOURS! I was not told this. I had stopped eating, as instructed, around 10 pm the night before. My stomach growled just thinking about the fact that I wouldn’t even be induced for 12 more hours, much less given food! They put in the Cervidil, and Chris and I tried to get some sleep.
The Ball Got Rolling…
However, I woke up around 5:30am with terrible contractions. The Cervidil was definitely doing it’s job, but my body was having terrible contractions back to back to back. There was no time in between contractions. Around 7am, my OB decided the contractions being so frequent and back to back would upset baby girl, so they took out the Cervidil after only 3 hours of it being in. It had definitely done the job of softening my cervix, so they put me on Pitocin to get the ball rolling. I remember thinking how grateful I was that my body seemed to be responding to the induction — it felt like my body was ready to do the d*mn thing!
I knew I wanted an epidural, so shortly after being put on pitocin, my new best friend came in the room and administered the epidural. It wasn’t bad at all. There was a lot of pressure and a little pain. I remember screaming at one point, “No me GUSTA!!!!.” But then it was over. I think it’s awesome that some women want to experience an unmedicated birth, but I wanted those drugs. And after the terrible and painful contractions caused by the Cervidil, I loved watching the contractions come and go on the monitor without feeling a thing.
After being given the Pitocin, I dilated about a centimeter an hour. Around 7cm, the contractions got really painful and hard to manage. That’s when I started hitting that epidural button to try and get some relief. The contractions got more and more painful as I dilated more. My birth photographer gave me some incredible advice: to embrace the contractions, not fight them. She told me to visualize the contractions helping me to dilate — to let them do what they’re suppose to do. Once I did this, the contractions were so much more manageable.
I remember our nurse coming in to check my progress. She said I probably wasn’t dilated enough, but that she would just double check anyway. Next thing I know, she’s setting up the medical tools needed for the delivery! Then the OB came in, he said it was probably too early to start pushing, but the next thing I know, he’s going to get scrubbed! Things started happening pretty quickly. They took down the bottom part of my bed, and started coaching me on the pushing. Apparently first time moms usually push for about an hour and a half (especially with an epidural) because the pushes are usually not as effective.
Sidenote: I had the best nurses in the world — no exaggeration. They loved on me and my family so well. They supported me throughout labor. They calmed me. They coached me. And they handled all the gross parts of labor. They also smuggled me in a popsicle when I was about 5cm dilated and starving! Bless them! I just have so much respect for RNs after that!
Back to the pushing. Not to brag, but apparently I’m a really good pusher! My pushes were extremely effective, and just knowing that I would get to be holding my baby girl in minutes made me try even harder. After every round of pushing, Chris read me a bible verse from my L&D binder. This helped me stay focused and put my trust in God. This was hands down the best thing I packed in my L&D bags. Words really can’t describe how much I needed to hear Him during my labor.
All of a sudden, I got extremely nauseous. I was confused; this wasn’t in my pregnancy books. I looked at my nurse and questioned, “Uhh I think I’m going to throw up?” Well they had special throw up bags ready to go, and the next thing I knew I was throwing my guts up. Apparently this is very common. When a woman’s body goes into transition (transitioning from dilating to pushing), a rush of hormones can make mama throw up. And throw up I did!
July 6th, 2018. 7:13pm
After about 25 minutes of pushing, our OB informed us he could see Christian’s sweet little head! “She has blonde hair!” I don’t know what it was, but after months of wondering what our sweet girl would look like, hearing that she had blonde hair just made me weep. For the next 15 minutes of pushing, I just kept crying and saying, “she has blonde hair!” The OB asked me if I wanted to touch her head, which was something I had never even thought of doing. But in the moment, hell yes I wanted to touch my girl’s head! I leaned over and felt it. Then the OB asked Chris if he wanted to SEE her head. Ummm excuse me, no? Chris and I had talked about it beforehand, and we’d agreed he would not be looking down there. But. he. did. I’m still trying to forgive him for that….moving on!
After 40 minutes of pushing, our beautiful girl made her entrance into the world on July 6th, 2018 at 7:13pm. She was 21 inches long and weighed 7 pounds 2 ounces. She was screaming, covered in vernix (the waxy white stuff), and she even had some blood on her. She looked gross and beautiful all at the same time!! I got a few minutes of skin to skin and delayed cord clamping, and then the NICU staff had to examine her. It was the longest few minutes of my life waiting for her to be back in my arms. I was so afraid they’d say something was wrong and leave the room with her. This was something Chris and I had also planned for — he knew he would follow Christian wherever they took her and never leave her side. Finally they finished examining her. I kept asking them if her palate was affected, but they just told me they couldn’t tell yet.
Life in Gold
Finally the NICU staff left, and Chris and I get our sweet, sweet golden hour of loving on our girl. We both did skin-to-skin with her. We talked about how beautiful she was. How amazing the birth was. How amazing God was. I tried to breastfeed, and while we got a successful latch, Christian just didn’t have the suction she needed. We would go on to try over the next few days, but we just couldn’t do it.
While Chris was holding Christian, I chugged about a gallon of apple juice and a Dr. Pepper, and I scarfed down a Nothing Bundt Cake “bundtiini”. Lord I’ve never tasted something so magical after almost 24 hours of no food or drink.
Once I was able to move from the bed to a wheelchair, our new little family of three was taken to the nursery for Christian’s first bath and other exams. Our families had been waiting a long time in the waiting room for an update, so they were so ready to finally meet Christian! It was there in the nursery, with our families watching from the other side of the glass, that a nurse finally confirmed Christian’s palate was also cleft-affected. I cried. I’d been praying for the past few months, “please God, just giver her her palate.” It was a weird prayer; one I never thought I’d pray. But it became a prayer I repeated throughout those last few months of pregnancy. I was heartbroken. This meant more surgeries, more potential complications, and it also confirmed that breastfeeding was off the table. My mom saw me crying and tried to talk to me through the glass, “are you okay?”
After being wheeled into recovery/postpartum, we were all reunited with the families. And Whataburger — thank God for whataburger (and more Dr. Pepper). Our families loved on Christian and then left for the night to give us some privacy.
It was a magical day. It was an incredible birth. It was empowering and scary and emotional. And I can only hope that my future births are as positive as this one. I feel so blessed to have had a positive birth experience — and it’s definitely not something I take for granted!
Photography and Videography by: Jennifer Hamilton at Mamarazzi Photography
holy cow. i am sitting in the commons of texas a&m crying my eyes out at the beauty of this video. god is so good and was so present in this birth. i love that yall kept him with you in the toughest moments. she is so beautiful.
Thank you so much for reading! The birth was amazing, and I’m glad we kept God at the center of it <3
That Golden hour was agonizing for this mommy who wanted to know her baby was ok. You were so brave my warrior daughter and so was my granddaughter. What a legacy who you have already given your baby girl.