Asher’s Birth Story

Asher’s Birth Story

Mama: Amanda W.

Stats: 8lbs 14oz, 21.5 inches

Type of Birth: Vaginal, Unmedicated

Birth Location: Hospital

Primary Care: Midwife

I had been fully committed to having a natural childbirth from the start. I knew I wanted as little intervention as possible, but also wanted to have access to doctors in the event that intervention would be medically necessary. Because of this, we decided to go with a group of midwives who work within a local hospital.

I could definitely say that I had been blessed with a fairly easy pregnancy. My morning sickness only lasted from the “normal” time and was minimal compared to what many of my friends had experienced. I never even had any swelling and I could wear whatever shoes I wanted. My blood pressure was absolutely normal. That is until about week 38 when the swelling suddenly started.

For a week or two, it was only swelling, but by week 40, I was completely swollen - my hands, my feet, ankles and legs - and my blood pressure (although, still within reasonable ranges) was beginning to rise. I gained 7 lbs in a week. Because I was 40 1/2 weeks and things were starting to go down hill, they gave us a couple of options: we could wait it out and see how much worse it would get and be on bed rest for the next week or however long it took to go into labor on my own, or we could induce. After much discussion and a few tears shed, we went with the induction.

The next day, we went to the hospital bright and early. They began administering the Pitocin to kick-start my labor; all the while, I was wondering why women complained about the pain associated with it. Pitocin was a breeze.

However, after spending close to 11 hours walking around the hospital, bouncing on an exercise ball and finally trying a technique one of the midwives had learned at a recent midwifery conference, we found out why. The Pitocin wasn’t working. So, we were given the option to break my water or go home. After more discussion and more tears, we decided to go home.

I had only dilated about one centimeter more than when we had first arrived and pain was so negligible that I had spent the vast majority of the day bouncing on a ball and eating popsicles. I knew I never wanted to have a labor with Pitocin, and it just wasn’t time. We didn’t feel like it was necessary to break my water when I wasn’t yet in labor and it wasn’t worth the risks associated with it. Until then, I had never heard of anyone failing an induction.

We waited the next couple of days, wondering if the Pitocin had done anything to kick-start labor. It didn’t appear that it had.

On Memorial Day, I woke up at four in the morning to make my normal morning trip to the bathroom. When I sat myself up, I felt something strange, almost like a pop followed by a minor contraction. Since I’d been having similar contractions for at least a week beforehand, it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for me and I went back to bed. Just after 5, I awoke to even more contractions. I decided to time them and after several, it was evident that they were very close together - three minutes on the nose. I showered, called our midwife and was told to come in.

Because I was so swollen and my blood pressure was continuing to rise, I was almost immediately hooked up to a fetal monitor which they continued to check periodically throughout the day.

I spent the next several hours feeling the contractions worsen in intensity but barely varying in duration. I withdrew, like I usually do when I’m not feeling my best. I closed my eyes and just rode out the waves of pain that repeatedly came at me. In between, we walked, we bounced, I got into the tub and tried a million and one positions until, ten hours later, I was sure I could no longer handle the pain.

I gave in, I wanted drugs. I was having back labor that I refused to tell anyone about and it was becoming too much. Of course, my midwife knew I didn’t really want the epidural because we had discussed it and she had seen my birth plan so she wisely suggested checking to see how much I was dilated at that point.

I was finally fully dilated. Unfortunately, my water still had not broken. So, yet again, we were faced with the option of having the midwife break my water or wait it out. This time, we took her up on the option - it made no sense to continue and wait as my blood pressure was still on the rise. Either way, we were having a baby that day.

To this day, my husband and I still chuckle about when the midwife broke my water. It quickly became evident why I had experienced such rapid weight gain. Words like “copious”, “gushing”, “still gushing”, “.and still gushing” were thrown around and when it was over, she uttered, somewhat laughing because I was laughing, “Well, that one takes the cake”.

The “copious” amounts of fluid may explain why the Pitocin didn’t work, she surmised that I might have experienced some late stage gestational diabetes and the amount of fluid prevented the baby from properly being able to engage. The amount that came gushing out was comical to say the least. However, it also contained meconium; which was a slight cause for concern.

This really got labor moving. I ended up pushing for 5 1/2 hours and he had only slightly progressed, and during the last 2 1/2 hours of pushing, he had made no progress at all. After 17 hours, and so much pushing, I was done. I had nothing left. That was when we finally called it. I wasn’t going to be able to do it on my own. We needed help.

Fortunately, the baby was far enough down that a c-section could be avoided, but since he needed help coming out, we still needed an OBGYN and a vacuum extraction.

After all the pushing and the pain that went along with it, the extraction was by far the worst part. Not only was there a baby trying to get out, but there was also a vacuum that needed to be maneuvered in and it was all happening at the same time. I wanted to give up, right then and there. I wanted to be done. I didn’t want to push any more. For some reason, probably out of delirium, I thought the vacuum would just magically deliver him without any effort on my part, but that was not the case.

Four pushes later and the most intense feeling of pain I have ever felt, and probably will ever feel, I finally saw my baby boy. My first words were “Oh my goodness, he is huge”. He was born 8 lbs 14 oz and 21.5 inches long.

There was one problem, he didn’t immediately cry and when he did, it wasn’t as loud as the doctor would have hoped. Fortunately, because the vacuum was necessary, the NICU team was already in the room and set up in case there were any problems, so he immediately went to them and they sucked they extracted the fluid from his lungs.

I only got to hold him for about 30 seconds before they took him away to the NICU where they would continue to run tests and monitor his lungs for the next few days. They X-rayed him to make sure there was no meconium in his lungs. Thankfully, there was none.

It wasn’t until nearly four hours later that I finally got to see him. He was moved around a couple of times, but three days later, we got to go home for the first time as a family.

It was stressful and crazy, but I know I am stronger for it and I thank God every day for our precious gift. And now, when you hear him cry, there is absolutely no question as to his health - that boy has quite the set of lungs on him!

Guest Mama Amanda is a graphic designer, photographer and first time mama trying to balance it all while working from home. Check out her photography site.

One Response to Asher’s Birth Story

  1. Great birth story, thank you so much for sharing!

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