It’s the day before my due date, the day before we hit the 40 week mark and my darling little girl shows no signs of wanting to join us earth side. I decided to have an induction.
I know that each birth story is different and ultimately, it’s the baby who decides when they want to exit the womb. My first daughters birth story was intense and lasted for over three days. She came on her own before we hit 39 weeks. However, this little angel doesn’t want to budge, she seems content where she is right now, safe inside of mommy.
Some people may call me selfish for being induced but those people’s opinions don’t matter. I’m the one carrying this child, I’m the one who created and cared for her in my womb for 40 weeks, and as long as I’m happy with my decision that is all that matters. All families are different and we make decisions that benefit us and our well-being. As most of you know, my husband is currently attending the police academy and because of this it’s hard to get ahold of him. He wants to be there for the birth of his daughter, to be there for me, and I need him. He’s my rock and he keeps me sane. I couldn’t imagine going through this experience without him. Being induced works perfectly with our lifestyle, we arranged it for a day that works for dad and for us, that way he’s guaranteed to be there for the birth of his daughter and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.
The entire week before our induction, I tried my best to coerce Katya out of me, naturally. I walked often, I cleaned and cleaned, and kept myself busy. I gave in to those old wives tales and ate all the foods that are supposed to help with inductions (except castor oil) and nothing seemed to work. So, I accepted the fact that she was going to have to be evicted — hahah. All jokes aside, all I could think about was my first daughter, Anaís. Who was going to watch her, how is she going to feel being away from us for who knows how long, how many nights am I going to have to spend away from her, and making sure I set everything up so that she can come to visit mommy, daddy, and her new baby sister at the hospital. I knew she was going to be well taken care of, but I suppose it’s typical anxiety and guilt that comes with motherhood.
How about me? How am I feeling? Honestly, I’m filled with anxiety and fear. This is my second birth experience and it isn’t happening naturally, I’m afraid because I do not know what to expect. My biggest fear is the epidural. If you read Anaís’ birth story you know that I did not have a great first experience with the epidural. In fact, because of the events that occurred during that epidural I now experience lower back pain on my left side if it’s too hot or too cold. I’m hoping, wishing, and sending it out into the universe that this time around it’s a whole hell of a lot better. A few wonderful moms have given me advice that has helped me find a bit of relief, such as: getting the epidural before I start having intense pain so I can be as still as possible, knowing the anticipation of the needles always hurts more than the needle, distractions are my best friend, use my support system if I have one, to think about the huge pain relief that’s going to come after I receive the epidural, and the reward for going through this is the best gift of all. My fear hasn’t subsided entirely, but the advice given to me has helped relieve some tension. I’m going into that delivery room, conquering that epidural, and getting this beautiful baby girl out of me and into my arms.
It’s Friday morning, the day of my induction. We were told to be there at 5am sharp but I have been up since 3am. I made sure my bags were packed, Anaís’ bag was packed, and that I took a long, hot shower to relieve some stress. First stop, dropping off my daughter to my moms house. It’s early in the morning and the anxiety is real. I kissed my baby girl a hundred times, told her I love her, and closed the door. The next time I see her, we’ll be a family of four.
Hubby and I stopped at Dunkin’ for a quick coffee and bite to eat, who knows when I’ll be able to have anything other than clear liquids again.
We check into the labor and delivery department and enter the room. I’m immediately hooked up to the IV machine, asked questions about my medical history, and told to wait for the doctor. After about an hour, the doctor walks in, she checks baby on the ultrasound, measures my belly and gave me a guesstimate of baby being over 7lbs, she then performed the cervical exam and discovered I’m 2cm dilated. I looked over at hubby and laughed, I had a feeling it was our last hoorah before bed that set things into motion. My cervical exam was painful and because of this, my doctor recommended I get the epidural before they break my water and my contractions intensify. I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for that big needle in my spine. My palms are getting sweaty thinking about it.
The nurse walks in with a bag of Pitocin and hooks it up to my IV, she informed me that they will be upping my dosage every 30 minutes until contractions become regular and one to two minutes apart. I asked for a birthing ball to prepare my body for what’s to come.
The contractions have begun and I’m monitoring them on the screen as they come and go. Now, we just play the waiting game.
I have been receiving the Pitocin by IV for about two hours now and my contractions have become more intense and regular. My doctor informed me that they will be breaking my water by lunch time of today. It’s now 9:15am. I asked if I can receive the epidural prior to the breaking of my waters and they happily obliged. The anesthesiologist visited us shortly after my doctor left, he was told about my fear and wanted to make sure I was confident and comfortable with my decision of getting an epidural. He explained in great detail on how the procedure is done and how it works. My conversation with him brought relief. Courtney, my nurse has been coming in periodically to increase my dosage and check my and baby’s vitals. So far everything is going smoothly.
Its 11:35am and my anesthesiologist just entered the room, it was time to receive the epidural. I begged them to let hubby stay with me because he’s my greatest support, I needed his encouragement and calming presence, with the permission of the anesthesiologist he was allowed to stay with me. Hubby pulled up a chair and positioned himself right in front of me, giving me his hands and telling me to squeeze them as hard as I could “break my fingers if you need to, but you got this babe.” I love this man so much. I could feel the cold swab on my back, cleaning and disinfecting the area before the nerve-wracking part began. He began feeling around my spine looking for the perfect spot, “you’re going to feel a pinch and then a burn. This is just the numbing agent, it’s going to feel uncomfortable but it’ll only last for a few seconds,” said the anesthesiologist. I took a deep breath as I felt the strong burning sensation, I will admit that the most painful part of the procedure was the numbing needle. I now felt something entering my spine, it felt crunchy and funny. The anesthesiologist began to move the tube around trying to find the ideal spot and I felt a lot of uncomfortable pressure in my lower back. It made me feel weak, I felt different nerves being touched, I felt something in my right leg and then my left, I felt like a piano. My shoulders kept tensing up and my nurse Courtney kept pushing them back down as hubby reassured me everything was ok. If I kept taking deep breaths, it will be over before I know it. I stared at my husband, soaking in the calmness he was sending with his eyes. I honestly couldn’t have been going through this procedure without him. I was counting the seconds just hoping this whole experience would end soon, I just wanted the funny feeling to go away, I wanted to meet my daughter. It was over. I felt the doctor applying tape to keep everything in its place. I didn’t move an inch until he was done applying the last piece of medical tape. The whole procedure went smoothly and only took ten minutes, a lot quicker than my first time. My anesthesiologist was amazing, he kept up conversation the entire time and was cautious in telling me what to do and what not to do. I was at much more ease during this experience. I could feel my lower body becoming numb and the feeling my contractions brought, were subsiding with the numbness. Do you know that feeling of where you fall asleep on your arm the wrong way and it goes numb? So you poke it and shake it to ‘wake it up’ sort-of-speak, that’s what my entire lower body feels like right now and I love it.
Shortly after the epidural took effect, the doctor came in and broke my water. I’m now 3cm dilated, with less cushion between the baby and my cervix, things should start progressing quicker. Courtney positioned and placed the catheter while I spoke to the doctor. I tried not to think about it because it made me queasy. If you’re wondering if I have had any side effects from the epidural or the procedure, I did. I began to feel light-headed and nausea swept over me, Courtney notifies me that it was because of my blood pressure being too low, she acted quickly and resolved it before it became a big issue. Other than that, I felt peachy.
Can I just say that I really am thankful for my husband. He’s always by my side, through the worst and best moments and I could not imagine going through this birth experience without him. He will be celebrating Father’s Day this year with both of his girls and that brings me so much joy.
It’s now 4:30pm and baby’s heartbeat is strong as ever but so are my contractions (according to the monitor). I received a button that connects to the epidural and if I need to, I could push a button to get an extra dose every twelve minutes, I used it often. Even with my contractions being strong, baby girl shows no signs of wanting to make her arrival anytime soon. I was given something called a peanut ball, it’s a huge ball made of material like that of a birthing ball, the only difference is that it’s shaped like a huge peanut. The ball is used to help open up the hips and make things easier for baby to exit. Courtney positioned my legs using the peanut ball.
It’s now a little past 5pm and Katyas heart rate began dropping. Courtney rushed in, checked all of the monitors, and changed my position. I guess Katya didn’t like that one. This all feels too familiar, when I was in labor with Anaís and they tried to speed up the process by using Pitocin, she too had a drop in her heart rate. Yup, just like with Anaís, I now had to lay on one side and couldn’t move, no matter how uncomfortable I am. Oh my girls, stubborn like mama even in the womb. On another note, my doctor performed another cervical exam and I’m at 5cm! Things should progress much quicker once I hit 6cm, but for now we decided to stop the Pitocin and let baby’s heart rate regulate.
Courtneys shift has ended but she began setting up our room and preparing it for delivery. Cherish walked in, introduced herself and started familiarizing herself with my situation. Hubby and I were so excited that we were getting closer to meeting our daughter.
It is 7pm and and I am now 10cm dilated. I progressed quite quickly over the past few hours, maybe too quickly. A flood of hormones filled my body and I began to shake violently and couldn’t stop. I felt like I was covered in snow, my muscles clenched, I was in pain and shaking so hard and quickly that I wanted to cry. I was in this state for three hours. My shoulders tensed up and my back spasmed. Finally, the shaking stopped but the pain continued. I couldn’t sit up, I couldn’t lay down, I couldn’t move my upper body or support myself. However, the doctor alerted my that Katyas head was near my cervical opening, it wasn’t close but we could try to push and see what happens. I didn’t want to push, I didn’t think it was time and I know my body wasn’t ready for it. The doctors told me to try and so I pushed, and pushed as hard as I could but the pain from the shaking left my shoulders and back in crippling conditions. I couldn’t muster enough energy or force to push her out. I felt defeated.
My doctor sensed something was wrong and decided to do another ultrasound to check on baby. “Ah, I don’t like this. We have an issue, I knew something wasn’t right.” He said. My eyes flashed towards him, “what is it??!” I asked frantically. It turns out that baby girl was laying on her side, so even though I was pushing, there’s no way she could come out. The doctor called another doctor in to assist him and they both attempted to perform a ‘manual rotation’ which means they would reach into my cervix and use their hands to manually rotate the babies head into the proper position. First, the female doctor tried and she couldn’t get the baby’s head to move. I could feel her attempt but it wasn’t working. The lead doctor decided to take over, his hands felt huge and the pressure was uncomfortable. I could feel him moving the baby around and I was trying my best not to look at the ultrasound, I felt like I was going to vomit. He sighed and said he couldn’t do it either. He stated that he could move her head but not her body, she just kept returning to her position. I was given two options: “we could up your dosage of Pitocin, change your position, and see what happens, because maybe baby will move on her own. If baby does not move, we will have to perform a c-section.” My heart dropped at the thought of being cut open to deliver my baby. I wanted to push her out. I wanted to have control over this. Anxiety filled my body.
Cherish was trying her best to keep baby and I happy and comfortable. The pain from my back and shoulders were becoming increasingly intolerable. Hubby was massaging my shoulders, using ice packs, heat packs, nothing was working. I was given Tylenol but it only put me to sleep for 40 minutes just to wake up in more pain. Cherish tried to change my position to help the baby move and I cried out in pain. I tried to be strong so that I could help Katya shift positions but I couldn’t, my body felt weak, I felt powerless. My back began to spasm so strongly that I felt paralyzed and couldn’t move. I burst out crying uncontrollably and my husband quickly rolled me to my side. He frantically began rubbing my back, trying to find the source of the pain, thankfully he did and he was able to rub it for me. He was alternating between his hands and an ice pack, if he stopped the pain came back violently. Hubbys hands were a godsend. I begged Cherish to give me something for the pain, anything. She was desperately trying to get me something for the pain, she consulted with other nurses, the doctors, and even a pharmacist, until someone recommended lidocaine patches. I told her I’ll try anything to stop the pain because at this point I was ready to give up and have a c-section. Cherish placed an order with the pharmacy for a lidocaine patch, now we play the waiting game. Time moved slowly the pain was unbearable and taking over my body, it was followed with nausea. I want it all to end.
As I waited for the pharmacy to approve my lidocaine patch I began feeling pressure, the urge to push. It was becoming more and more intense with every contraction. It wasn’t painful, I just felt like baby girl was ready to make her appearance. I could almost feel her head peaking through, it was odd but a bit of a relief. I took deep breaths, trying to breathe through the pressure, and the unbearable pain radiating from my back.
Cherish returned and I in my loudest voice asked “Cherish! Do you come bearing gifts? Please tell me you do!” She laughed and said yes. I was putting so much hope into this one medium-sized patch that promised me the ultimate pain relief. I needed this to work because my mommy instincts were kicking in to push. I wanted to push. Hubby helped me sit up and Cherish applied the patch. I waited it out for three more contractions. I wanted to give the patch a chance to kick in before I notified my nurse that I was feeling the urge to push. I told her I think all of her hard work paid off, that baby girl is ready to make her appearance. Cherish laughed and said, “my hard work? Mama you’re the one going through it all, I’m just here to make this easier on you and more comfortable! If you think you’re ready to do it, let’s do it!” I screamed yes and asked her to get the doctors.
The doctors came in and checked my cervix one last time. I was right, baby girl changed her position and was now ready to come out. I told them I wanted to push. “Alright mom, you’re in charge. Let’s do this” stated one of the doctors. They put my legs up and I began to push. The patch was working and the pain from my back vanished, a wave of adrenaline kicked in and I pushed as hard as I could. Three pushes, back-to-back, for 10 seconds each. I was determined to meet my princess. I could feel her head crowning and the doctors started gearing up, “oh we’re having a baby right now, let’s do this Jass, you can do this!” My mother-in-law was wiping my forehead whispering “you can do this,” hubby was egging me on by telling me that he can see our baby girls head, Cherish was holding my leg with the assistance of another nurse, and they were all cheering me on, they could all see her coming out. I so desperately wanted to see her too, I wanted to hold her, I want to hold my Katya. I took a deep breath, grabbed both of my legs, and pushed and pushed. I felt like the blood vessels in my head were going to burst from the pressure. I could feel her head sliding out of my vagina, the pressure of her body coming out, I didn’t know if I was pooping or if it was her, either way I didn’t care, I took one last deep breath and pushed with all of my might.
She was here.
Princess Katya joined us earth side at 1:33am on June 15th, her due date. Princess is 8lbs and 4oz, two pounds bigger than her sister!
Although I chose to be induced, Princess Katya had other plans and came on her own terms. She didn’t want to make her arrival the first time we attempted to push her out, but when she decided it was time she knew what to do and I knew she was ready. My mommy instincts have never let me down, I knew baby girl would change her position when she was ready.
With her arrival, all of my pain vanished and I felt immense relief. I immediately grabbed my beautiful daughter, placed her on my bare chest and performed skin-to-skin. As I stared at her adorable face, tiny hands, and held her close, tears filled my eyes. She was worth all of the pain, no matter how unbearable.
Honestly, even though I was going through all of the trials during this labor, I couldn’t have conquered it without my husband. This guy is my rock and grateful isn’t enough to describe how much he means to me and our girls. He was there for the birth of both of our girls, helping me, aiding me, being my calm, carrying the burden of the pain, always trying to keep me comfortable and happy, even if it means starving with me and rubbing my shoulders for three hours nonstop, and never leaving my side. Jay is the definition of a true father and the universe blessed me when they placed him in my life.
As I sit in this recovery room nursing my daughter, my husband sitting beside me, and my mother-in-law relaxing in the recliner, I’m thankful. Thankful for the beautiful family that I have, thankful for being able to give birth to another beautiful princess, and thankful to be the mother of two beautiful girls. Neither of my labors were easy but the overwhelming love I have for both of my daughters is nothing compared to the pain. They say nothing worth having comes easy and they are right. Katya you really put mommy’s body through it, I thought I couldn’t do it and I was scared they weren’t going to let me push you out, but I was wrong. You and I both knew you were going to come when you were ready and boy did you make your entrance, in less than ten minutes you joined us earth side and baby girl you are worth it all.