The "less-than-perfect" birth story
Been a while since I've posted here but pregnancy took a lot out of me. Now our baby girl Miah is here and a month old. It took about that long to write my birth story as my hands have been kind of full! Originally the below story was for my prenatal yoga class. I wrote it honestly and realize now it does not sound as awe-inspiring and glorious as others that have been read out loud in my class. I say that slightly tongue-in-cheek, of course. No water birth. Or midwife. Medical intervention. No squatting to birth her. Epideral. It is not glowy or whimsical. It is just MY story. Raw and beautiful to me because it ends in the most important person in my world. I am sharing it here because what better art than life?
Except for frequent discomfort, my pregnancy was healthy and normal. No gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. Baby was measuring fine and was doing well. However at 37 weeks I had a strong pain in my right side along with a bad cold. Along with my usual discomfort, all of this meant I wasn’t able to sit, stand or lie down without some kind of issue. The next morning after a long night of pain, my husband called my doctor and they had me come in to get checked. For the first time I showed signs of higher blood pressure than normal. My doctor was a bit concerned and took it again after having me relax a little while. It didn’t go down and in fact was even higher. She told me to go to labor and delivery at the hospital to be monitored. I was floored. I was so used to everything being OK.
What I will tell you is I had a birth plan and it was simple. Music, essential oils diffused and I wanted to labor as long as possible before requesting an epidural, if at all, using all the techniques I learned in prenatal yoga class and the assistance of my doula, Jessica of Attuned Doulas. I prayed to give birth to my daughter vaginally and have immediate skin to skin. I also knew that anything could happen but induction wasn’t on my list. However my pressure never went down and continued to rise which meant that induction was the direction I was headed.
They first tried inserting two rounds of cervidil to soften my cervix and avoid any further intervention because my doctor knew I didn’t want to be induced unless it was a major emergency. The problem was I was barely dilated. So, unfortunately, Pitocin was next, which caused contractions to be even more painful. But I didn’t care how much pain I was going to be in, I wanted to labor without any more medical intervention. I was happy that the nurse was doing all she could to make sure I could get into positions to help me along as long as I could stand it because she cared about my wishes to labor without pain medication. But after three hours, tons of cleansing breaths my doula was proud of (which I credit my yoga classes for) I chose the epidural. I forgave myself for the decision because I knew that pain was connected to raising my pressure and I didn’t want to put my baby nor me in jeopardy.
When it was time to push I had two doulas holding my legs, my husband at my side keeping me steady, the head nurse guiding my pushes to some of the best warrior-invoking drum music Jessica had. I smelled the lavender of my diffuser and I pushed. Being sick created a lot of nausea for me. Jessica and my husband made sure I could be sick with as much dignity as possible. And although I had the epidural I felt all the pressure of pushing my girl into this world. I had kind faces all around me and I felt safe. That was what was important. I didn’t push longer than an hour before three final pushes with my doctor delivered our Miah. It was a serene moment as I became aware that my mom had entered the room prior. I wanted her there and I felt blessed she stayed to see my daughter’s birth.
When they placed Miah on me, I couldn’t believe that she was really here and that she was mine. I was in complete love, shock and relief that we made it through together. It was an indescribable moment I will never forget. Even though things didn’t go exactly as planned and wasn’t what I expected, I was proud of the team I chose and how much everyone tried to honor my wishes as much as possible but also kept me and my baby as safe as possible. In the end that’s the real victory. And in the end you have the most precious blessing ever realized.