Isaac’s Birth Story

Issac’s Birth Story

Mama: Rebecca S.

Stats: 8 lbs 2 oz, 21 inches

Type of Birth: Vaginal, Unmedicated

Birth Location: Hospital

Primary Care: Obstetrician

This was my second pregnancy, and the pregnancy was as good as the first time, if not better. It was tougher only because I had a toddler to take care of, but physically I was in good shape. Isaac’s Birth Story

Even when I was overdue, I wasn’t too uncomfortable, but I was worried that I’d get induced if the baby didn’t come within a week. I had heard too many horror stories about Pitocin and having c-sections. Besides, I could not imagine recovering from a c-section with a demanding 2-year-old. He still co-slept with me and wanted me to carry him all the time (even up and down the staircase with my big belly). I knew I would not be able to carry him for weeks after a c-section.

Natural induction seemed like a much better alternative, so I called an acupuncturist and booked an appointment for induction. I didn’t know how effective it would be, but at that point I was clutching at straws. I also hoped my labor would begin as soon as I arranged the induction.

Four days after my due date (one day after I made an acupuncture appointment)

The day after I made the appointment, I was awakened in the middle of the night by contractions. I was half asleep and every time I woke up I thought, “maybe it’s time to grab my iPhone from downstairs and start timing.” Then I would fall back to sleep. At around 4 a.m., the contractions were strong enough— or I was awake enough— to finally grab my phone and start timing. I also finished packing the hospital bag in between contractions.

My contractions did not progress well. In fact, they got more and more sporadic in the morning. I suspected I was having false labor and sent my husband to work. I also exchanged emails with my OBGYN to schedule an induction — a traditional induction complete with pitocin. I wrote in my email that I was having contractions, but pretty sure it was just false labor. I was disappointed and slightly embarrassed for getting my husband and my family excited for nothing.

After lunch, I went for a walk with my mother-in-law hoping to give my contractions a little push.

“Be careful what you wish for.” That’s all I can say when I think back. Within minutes after I left the house, the intensity and frequency of the contractions picked up. I continued walking for about 20 minutes, stopping often during the contractions until I couldn’t take it anymore and headed home. MIL continued walking for about 10-15 more minutes, and she came back to find me rocking on the floor on all fours growling in pain. It was shocking how fast the contractions progressed. The contractions were about 6 to 7 minutes apart but were extremely intense, much more intense than what I experienced with my first baby.

I texted my husband to come home. It took him at least half an hour to return. As we were about to leave for the hospital, it dawned on us that he needed to pick up our son from the daycare first and so he spent another 20 minutes or so on that. The wait felt like eternity and I was dreading saying goodbye to our son. How could I possibly keep calm and not scare him? How could I endure the car ride to the hospital? At that time my contractions were less than five minutes apart.

Fortunately when my son came home, I happened to be in between contractions and was able to be as calm as I could and I told him to be good for grandma while mommy goes to have the baby. Despite my best efforts, my son sensed something and started bawling almost as soon as he saw me. He wanted me to hold him but I could only give him a quick hug and had to run for the garage because another contraction was coming. I literally ran out the door, running away from the ear-piercing scream to cry while his grandma held him. We were both heart broken.

While I was in the car, my contractions were around 2 to 3 minutes apart. Saying it was extremely intense would be the biggest understatement in the world. I was thrashing wildly in the car which scared the daylight out of my husband. As luck would have it, we hit the 3 p.m. traffic when we were close to the hospital. The last mile to the hospital took forever. I could see the hospital, but couldn’t get there. I almost wanted to roll out of the car and crawl to the hospital.

My husband dropped me off before parking the car. I ran into the lobby and another contraction hit. I couldn’t make it to the elevator and stumbled to a chair by the visitors shop. I sat on the chair and moaned and groaned loudly despite visitors’ glances. The shop clerks came out to see if I needed help, and a security guard ran upstairs to get a wheelchair for me. I told the clerks I was waiting for this contraction to be over so I could run to the elevator that’s merely 20 feet away from me.

When the contraction was over, I darted for the elevator knowing that I had at most one minute before the next contraction hit. “Don’t you want to wait for the wheelchair?” One clerk asked. “No way in hell!” I screamed in my head but could not respond. The next contraction came faster than I thought. As soon as the elevator door closed, I doubled over in pain and I groaned helplessly, and the couple in the elevator exchanged glances and slowly backed into a corner, as if I were rabid.

The elevator door opened. I stumbled out and the security guard with the wheelchair ran to my rescue. As soon as I was wheeled in, I screamed for an epidural and a nurse shook her head without even checking, saying, “I don’t think you have time for that.”

I wasn’t surprised at all. I knew deep down it was the case before my husband came home, but I still had the dim hope that I could get some relief.

“How about morphine? How about some Tylenol? Yeah, just some Tylenol?” I whined. I wasn’t expecting a response and didn’t get any. I vaguely remember asking for a yoga ball too, but that never came. The nurse confirmed I was nine centimeters dilated and could start pushing as soon as the doctor arrived.

Unfortunately the doctor was tied up at another delivery. While waiting, I was told not to push, but I couldn’t hold it. “I CAN’T! I’m pushing! I’m pushing!” I shouted. I did push a few times, but the baby didn’t come out. Honestly I didn’t know if I was hoping I could successfully push or not. Both having the baby out before the doctor arrived and enduring the pain that was unbearable sounded like horrible ideas.

Actually, “pain” is not the right description. It was the pressure and the soreness I felt in the lower abdomen that killed me. It felt like my internal organs were going to explode out of my rear end. Now I can’t recall when my water broke, if it broke before or after the doctor arrived. But I felt an immense relief after the water broke, because the pressure was greatly reduced. The funny thing was the water broke when I was pushing and the water shot straight out, splashing all over my poor nurse.

I got the official go-ahead to push when the doctor arrived after about 20 minutes. The nurse, now soaked, told me not to make any sound while pushing, so that I wouldn’t waste energy on my throat instead of my abdomen.

That’s why I couldn’t push the baby out while waiting for the doctor, because I was screaming my head off! I kept pushing but made little progress.

At the last contraction she said, “don’t waste this contraction.” That really motivated me because at that point I didn’t know if I could bear another contraction. I let go of the irrational fear of an internal explosion and pushed with all my might. I felt an enormous pressure and something warm between my legs. My husband told me it was the baby’s head. That gave me new strength to keep pushing. I pushed one more time and without asking I knew the baby was completely out.

I sighed with relief, because the pressure had finally left me completely and I got to meet my baby! From check-in to delivery it was less than an hour, including the wait time for the doctor. The delivery wasn’t comfortable, but it was a speedy one.

When the baby came out, he was quiet. He was breathing but wasn’t crying loudly. It took the nurse some time to make the baby cry loudly enough to make sure he was OK.

Somehow, I wasn’t surprised. I knew he was a mellow baby during the pregnancy, at least mellower than my first born. When the nurse was about to put him on the scale, he peed all over her (that same poor nurse covered with my water)! We were all laughing— including the nurse.

The baby was of a good size; 8 pounds 2 oz and 21 inches. I thought I would cry when I met him since he was going to be our last baby, but I didn’t. I was so happy that the delivery was over I could not find my tears. I put him on my breast and he started suckling right away like a champ. I kept looking at him and was amazed how different he looked from my older son. He didn’t have a cone head like my first, because he was pushed out so fast.

The aftermath

While feeding the baby, I kept feeling blood clots gushing out of me. I thought it was normal initially, but it went on for a while so I told the nurse about it. She pushed my abdomen and immediately called the doctor back. They whipped my baby away and the doctor reached into my uterus by hand to “take out pieces of placenta that were left behind.”

I shuddered in pain because of my freshly sutured tear. The doctor gave me some pain medication so she could continue. The medication numbed the sharp pain but I could still feel the pressure. Although it wasn’t as bad as the labor, it was still extremely uncomfortable, especially since I already put my guard down, ready to enjoy my baby bonding time.

It’s hard to tolerate pain when you’re not expecting it. The doctor explained that sometimes the placenta isn’t entirely pushed out, and the pieces left in the uterus could cause massive bleeding. She kept reaching in and out with her hand to take out tiny pieces of placenta and every time she would assure me it’s “one last time.” I looked at the tiny pieces in her hand and doubted how she could possibly find all of them. And I wished she would stop claiming it was the last time, since I kept relaxing, only to start all over again.

Halfway through she said she was going to use an instrument in combination with ultrasound instead of her hand. It provided much needed relief since the instrument was much smaller than her hand. I wish she had used that in the beginning. This went on for another hour or so before the bleeding stopped. They weighed all the blood clots and told me I lost about one liter of blood.

While the doctor was scraping my uterus, my husband went with our baby for the his bath, but I didn’t know why they were gone for so long. After the procedure they still hadn’t returned. I was half naked still, and the room felt freezing. Then my left leg started cramping. You know the type of cramp during pregnancy that is much more intense than regular cramping? Well this one was even worse than pregnancy cramps. My foot bent at a strange angle and with all my might I couldn’t force it back to its position. I asked in panic for the nurse’s help and she said indifferently, “just push it back so it’s perpendicular to your calf.” I yelled that I tried but couldn’t move it. She reluctantly came to my assistance but even with both of us she couldn’t move my foot back either. I screamed and screamed and finally we were able to move the foot back to the right position. She said cramping was normal since I lost a lot of blood. I knew from experience that the cold contributed to much of it too, and the only thing that had stopped my pregnancy cramps was hot towels. I asked for blankets and hot towels, but the nurse brushed me off and repeated that it was due to blood loss, not temperature. The blankets did not come for a while and my leg continued cramping.

I was so exhausted at that point. The birth was painful, and the uterus scraping was far from pleasant, but this prolonged, sharp cramping pain was what did me in. I had to hold my foot or else it would go back to its awkward angle. It was especially frustrating because nobody seemed to care about the cramps. I understand that from a medical point of view, it wasn’t a big deal, but all I wanted were some hot towels to cover my legs to stop the cramping and I did not get that for the longest time. When I was finally given hot towels, I only got two small ones that could barely cover my left leg. I was so tense and cold, my other leg started to cramp too.

At last my husband came back with our baby and they managed to keep me warm enough for the cramping to stop. When I was moved to the recovery room, I fainted in the bathroom because of the blood loss. It’s a good thing a nurse was right behind me and caught me. I didn’t realize I fainted. I only knew that one minute I was standing by the sink, and the next I was sitting on the floor with all these faces floating above me asking me if I could hear them. I thought, “Of course I can hear you!” But I couldn’t move my lips and then I noticed I was on the floor. Somebody put ammonia in front of my nose and kept it there. It stank so bad I pushed it away, but she kept moving it back. Eventually I found my voice and told her “I’m awake! Get that thing away from me!”

Anyway, my baby was born at 3:49 p.m. but by the time I was finally in bed in my room, alone, it was past 7:oo p.m. The delivery was fast but the aftermath was drawn-out and most unpleasant. Even though I had an “au naturale” birth, I had less time to bond with my baby compared with my first birth with epidural. For mamas out there who want to go natural but had an epidural for whatever reason, don’t beat yourself up over it.

Natural birth doesn’t guarantee a shorter, smoother birth with rose petals and fairies flying around.

Five weeks postpartum

The story doesn’t end here. I had to have an emergency D&C five weeks postpartum after another episode of heavy bleeding, because of residual placenta retained in my uterus. I won’t get into details about that, as that’s another story in itself. My word of advice from that experience is, if you feel a lot of cramping and spotting a few weeks after birth, don’t hesitate to call your doctor and have it checked out. After the D&C, I had to take antibiotics to treat infections, all because I didn’t call the doctor early enough, despite my suspicions that something was not right.

Four months postpartum

Despite all the pain and with blood and discomfort gone, I would still say I liked this birth. I got to experience a natural un-medicated birth, fainted for the first time, had general anesthesia and a D&C. That’s what life is about; experiencing different things, pleasant or not, isn’t it?

A birth story is such a tiny part of parenthood, and it’s a fun story to share. What counts is that baby Isaac is one healthy, mellow, happy and chunky baby, and I kiss his chubby cheeks at least 57 times every day.

2 Responses to Isaac’s Birth Story

  1. Oh my gosh, your story made me laugh, tear up, and want to murder your doctor for putting you through a manual scraping like that!!

  2. Congratulations, loved reading about your birth :)

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