Annabelle’s Arrival

Annabelle’s Speedy Arrival

Mama: Jessica S.

Stats: 7 lbs., 3 oz., 20 inches

Type of Birth: Vaginal, Unmedicated

Birth Location: Hospital

Primary Care: Midwife

I was a bit beyond my estimated due date (40 weeks, four days) which was expected as I was a first time mama. I wasn’t too concerned, but everyone around me had ants in their pants.

I had experienced some issues toward the end of my pregnancy involving high blood pressure/pregnancy-induced hypertension. I never developed any protein in my urine or enzymes in my blood to indicate pre-eclampsia, so I was monitored two times a week with my midwives and had weekly ultrasounds at the hospital until I gave birth. It was very stressful at the time because our midwives were 90 minutes away.

I got out of bed Monday morning (June 27th) at 9:30 a.m. and went to pee. After I finished peeing, I kept leaking fluid for about a minute. So I thought to myself that this must be my membranes rupturing! When the leaking stopped, I put on a heavy overnight pad, went downstairs to have breakfast, checked my email and then watched some television.

Around 10 a.m. I called my husband to see if he was on his way home because we had an appointment with our midwives at 12:30 p.m. down in Toronto. I had several more gushes and eventually gave up on using pads as I had soaked through two already, and also soaked a pair of  pants with  fluid. So, I laid a disposable diaper in my underwear and it actually contained most of the gushes of fluid. When my husband arrived I looked at him and started smiling. I told him my water broke and he was super excited! At about 10:15 a.m. I got into the shower to get refreshed and paged my midwife to let her know that my water broke!

We made a plan to meet at the hospital at 2:30 p.m. and because I  was Group B Strep positive (GBS+), we wanted to start the antibiotic prophylaxis sooner rather than later. We hoped within that time I would start having contractions regularly on my own, as the recommendation for GBS+ women with rupture of the membranes is to induce.

I was quite disappointed, as my goal was the have a natural birth. Labor augmentation was not what I wanted at all, as I knew it would decrease my mobility and my plans to labor and give birth in water would go right out the window because of the monitors. Even though I was disappointed, I trusted my midwives’ decisions and recommendations.

We started antibiotics at 3:30 p.m. and waited a bit longer, but I never really developed any contractions. We made the decision to start Pitocin at 5 p.m. - seven and a half hours after my water broke. We did very mild dosage increases every hour, as needed.

I started having regular contractions, about every three minutes, lasting 45-60 seconds each. They were so mild that I knew it wasn’t really super effective, and that I wasn’t in active labor. I had wireless monitors on so I was free to move around and use the bathroom. I must have been going to the restroom every 15 minutes, I was drinking so much water. At about 6 p.m. we got something to eat because I was hungry. I had some fruit, yogurt and chicken noodle soup. I also snuck a bite of my husband’s cookie.

I spent the next few hours trying to rest because I figured I was in for a long night, but the monitors kept losing contact when I tried to lay down. So, we spent the evening talking with our midwife and guessing whether or not we had a boy or a girl getting ready to join us!

At about 10 p.m. we decided to do an internal exam to see where I was. I was three centimeters dilated, which wasn’t surprising because of the low intensity of my contractions.

By midnight I was starting to go into active labor. I needed to focus a bit more between my contractions, but they were definitely tolerable. We alternated between upping and lowering my Pitocin, keeping it at the minimal possible dosage to be effective.

Around midnight I officially entered into active labor. Contractions were still coming every two to three minutes and lasting 60-70 seconds each. I labored in several different positions and places. I tried walking, swaying, leaning into my husband, leaning over the bed, laying in bed, and sitting on the toilet. My midwife would press into my back for some pain relief, but I didn’t really find that it helped. I tried to focus on my breathing and preferred not to have anyone touch me unless I wanted to hold my husband’s hand. I moaned a lot during my labor, but overall I was pretty quiet.

I was in transition at around 3:30 a.m. and my Pitocin was shut off because my contractions were about 30-45 seconds apart, lasting about 90 seconds each, and really intense.

This was the point where I really wanted to get into the birthing tub, but because my monitors were not able to be submerged, I wasn’t able to. I also had the sensation that I might vomit briefly while in transition, but I never did. I remember saying to my midwife between one of my contractions, “I know this is probably a good sign, but I am feeling like I don’t know if I will be able to do this.” She told me, “You are doing this, and you’re doing great.”

I never wanted drugs, nor were they suggested to me, I just wanted confirmation that I was making progress.

It was very limiting to be in bed, and I had to switch to the wired monitors as the wireless ones were showing some issues I think because they kept losing contact. Once the wired monitors were on, the baby showed she was doing great. My body took over on its own and around 4 a.m. I started feeling the pressure and a strong urge to push. I was at nine centimeters when I was checked.

By 4:40 a.m. I was fully dilated and had been letting my body push on its own since nine centimeters. It was the oddest feeling because I wasn’t actively pushing, but I could feel her descending into my pelvis. Within a few minutes I really could no longer control the urge to bear down and within three good pushes we were able to see her head.

With the next contraction I was able to push to crowning.

I averaged about two or three pushes per contraction and we welcomed Annabelle Riley into the world at 4:59 a.m. — about five hours after entering into active labor, and after only 12 minutes of pushing!

Our back up midwife arrived about five minutes after I gave birth because I had progressed so quickly from transition to pushing. A nurse from the hospital actually came in as back up!

The cord was wrapped around her neck two or three times, and around her body once. She was so pink and so alert. She scored a nine on her APGAR score.

Annabelle was placed directly on my chest, skin-to-skin, and she spent the first hour of her life on my chest.

My husband was so excited he lifted her leg right up and started yelling, “It’s a girl, we have a baby girl!” It was funny to me because I was so content to have my little bean on my chest, I still didn’t care if she was a boy or a girl.

She didn’t cry as we spent our time together while I delivered the placenta and received stitches for my second degree internal tear. I had always thought that the placenta just sort of came out after birth at some point, but I actually actively pushed it out. I had several large blood clots while I was getting stitches and I had to pee very badly as I hadn’t been able to for a few hours when the wired monitors were put on me, so when my midwives were kneading my stomach to help my uterus contract down, it was somewhat painful.

After an hour of skin-to-skin, I got up to use the restroom and Anna was taken to be weighed and measured. She weighed 7 pounds, three ounces and was just over 20 inches long with thick brown hair.

When I came back  to the room, Annabelle spent more time skin-to-skin with me and latched on for the first time to nurse. During her nursing session we consented to have the Vitamin K injection done and the Erythromycin put on her eyes. She continued nursing away like nothing happened!

After this our midwife gave me a “tour” of our tree of life — the placenta! She said Annabelle had a very long umbilical cord.

At around 9 a.m. we said goodbye to our midwives and spent the day in the hospital instead of going home because we would have had to come back the next day to have a blood screen done.

Annabelle slept much of the first day, nursing sporadically. I tried to get some rest because I knew the night would be a different story, but it was so difficult to close my eyes with my little one sleeping right next to me.

While my birth wasn’t exactly how I pictured it would be, I hope by sharing my story for women facing an induction who wish to have a pain medication-free birth, that I am able to give you some encouragement that it *is* possible!

6 Responses to Annabelle’s Arrival

  1. You rock mama! Great story, thanks for sharing.

  2. Great job, Mama! You’re amazing!

  3. Good job, Mama! You’re amazing!

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