Our baby has arrived!! Patrick James Taynor was born on January 3, 2014 at 5:50pm. He was 8lbs 2 oz and 20 3/4 inches long. His arrival was not exactly what I thought it would be, but I am happy that I was able to stick with my birth plan through an over 24 hour natural, unmedicated labor. It was by far the craziest thing I have ever experienced.
As soon as I got home from the hospital, I wanted to sit down and type out Patrick's birth story. I want to have my journal of the adventure written down before any of the details got blurry. The reality of having a new born, a toddler, and recovering from a very long labor set in and here I am a week later finally getting a few minutes to type. So here we go... (warning lots of details).
Labor started on Thursday, Jan 2. It was a pretty normal day... I went to the OB that morning for my 39 week check, did some shopping at Target, played with Ryan... the normal. For the most part it felt like a normal day, I did not have any symptoms of labor that were different than how I was feeling every day.
There was a predicted snow storm coming that night with pretty nasty weather, 6-8 inches of snow, temps in the 20's, blizzard warnings because of the high winds. We decided that it was best to have Ryan sleep over with grandma and grandpa, just in case. I didn't want to worry about going into labor that night and having now one able to get through the storm to our house to watch Ryan, while we needed to get to the hospital. Well I guess my body was telling me because that is exactly what happened.
We were driving Ryan to Mike's parents house around 3:45pm when the contractions started. At first they felt very much like Braxton Hicks, but they were very regular and pretty strong. After dropping him off, Mike and I ran some errands (Michaels, Home Depot) and the contractions continued. We got home around 6, and by 6:30pm I was starting to realize that this was the real thing. Thats when I started timing each contraction.
From 6-9pm contractions where about 4-5 minutes apart, strong but nothing unbearable. At about the same time is when the snow really started coming down, and sticking to the roads immediately. After some conversations with Mike, my mom, and Nicole (my Doula) we decided it was time to head to the hospital. We made this decision for 2 reasons- first because Ryan was a fast delivery, second because the roads were getting bad. I felt more comfortable getting to the hospital just to be safe.
Once we arrived, they checked me in, monitored the contractions and checked my dilation. At that time I was 3 cm with regular contractions and a thinning cervix, so they confirmed I was officially in labor and checked us in.
At that time, Dr. Lopez (a Dr. I had never met) was on call, and he would be the one to delivery me if it happened over night. I was told that my doctor, Dr. Azu, would be in at 7am... so if I was still in labor then she would be delivering the baby. Mike and I both thought, "Nah, baby will definitely be born before 7am, thats like 9 hours away" Hahahahaha- Now I just laugh. Little did I know this was going to be the longest labor ever.
Over night (from 10pm- 5am) was your pretty standard labor. Frequent contractions, getting more and more intense, but progressing slowly. I did a lot of walking the halls of the hospital, sitting on the yoga ball, resting when I could. I was uncomfortable and definitely felt like I was having a baby, but again, nothing unbearable. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, so during this stage I was tired but relaxed as we went through the motions. Meanwhile, Mike, my mom, and Nicole all kept me company, got me ice chips, and watched the snow storm out the window. It was a long night.
Then we were surprised, sometime around 5am, my labor seemed to stop instead of progress. The contractions were further apart and a little less intense. The nurse came in and was like "ummmm we need to talk, it seems like you are not in active labor any more". We decided to wait until 7am, talk to my doctor, and see what happens because making any decisions. During those 2 hours, I got a very little bit of sleep, took a shower, my "team" all got breakfast... it was like a mini labor break that we all needed.
Dr. Azu came to see me pretty much at 7am. She did a cervix check to see if I had progressed at all. At that time I was 5cm (so at least the over night labor helped me make some progress) and the baby was in the -1 station in my pelvis. All good signs that I was still in labor and changes were happening, just very slowly.
So my options where:
1. Go home, sleep, and come back as soon as the strong contractions came back.
2. Get pitocin to start labor back up again
3. Break my water, to "remind" my body that it was in labor and hopefully move things along again
Going home was what I kind of wanted to do (I was so tired I just wanted a nap haha) but the roads were terrible (we had about 10inches of snow at that point). Plus I was nervous that when things picked back up it would be quick and I didn't want to have my baby in the car while driving through the snow trying to get to the hospital.
I really really really did not want pitocin. That was part of my birth plan, not to use any kind of drugs to start labor. So many stories I hear about pitocin end in difficult deliveries and c-sections.
So the last option seemed like the best happy medium. If we broke my water, my body would start labor again on its own. The one risk is that if for some reason, labor did not start back on its own, I was now officially on the clock. Meaning after a few hours, if nothing was happening, they would use medication to induce labor (because they don't want you going to long after your water breaks). So by deciding to break my water, I had to understand the risk of possibly having drugs and/or a c-section if my body didn't jump start by itself.
At about 8:30am, Dr. Azu broke my water and my body did exactly what it was suppose to do. Almost immediately, strong, intense contractions came back and they were regular about 4 minutes apart. Just like that I was back in active labor!
Finally making progress-
From 9am-2pm things went very smoothly, very text book to how I should feel in labor as I progressed from 5cm-8cm. I continued to walk the halls, sit on the ball, and occasionally lay down on my side to help labor along. The contractions were getting much more intense, and lets just be honest... much more painful. It was very challenging, but I was very prepared for what was going to happen so I was not shocked by the pain. This is when Mike and Nicole really stepped in to help. They did everything in my power to make me more comfortable and help through the long and strong contractions. One of the many pros about having a doula is she was able to sneak in food for me! Between contractions she would let me take sips of water and gave me grapes! They were both very much needed. By 2:00 I was 8cm dilated, but still in a -1 position. Dr. Azu was happy with the 8cm but surprised to see the baby had not lowered any further into my pelvis.
From 2-5:50pm is when things got crazy!! I had heard alot about "transition" stage of labor. From reading other blogs, talking to my doula and my doctors, and just all my research, I knew transition would be the hardest part. This is when I would start wanted the pain meds, I would be very emotional, I would do anything to get the baby out. But I also heard that this stage only lasts about 1 hour tops and when you are through it, you are fully dilated its time to push. And by that time pushing almost feels like a relief. Well this is not at all how it happened for me!!!!!
Like I said, I was 8cm at about 2:00 but already feeling that "I need to poop" feeling. Dr. left me for another hour to continue to labor because even though I felt ready, my body was not ready to push yet.
At about 3:00, I was just about fully dilated.... she wanted to give me just a little longer before starting to push....
This part was awful!! I did all the things the books said I would do... I cryed, I begged for meds, I asked for a c-section... anything to make things more along. I just felt like we were stuck. I didn't feel like I was progressing any further. I felt like I had been in labor so long, and the pain was so intense, but the baby was not anywhere near coming. And it turns out I was kind of right. Looking back at the whole thing, he was kind of stuck in a bad position, so what normally takes about an hour to happen in labor, took almost 4 hours for me.
We were trying everything.... laboring on my side, on all 4s, standing up, birthing ball... anything we could to get him to move down into pushing position. But I kept feeling the same pain and pressure in the same spot. I wasn't feeling movement or progression and this was SUPER FRUSTRATING. I remember looking at Mike and Nicole and saying "You guys are wonderful, you are helping so much and thank you for respecting my wishes of a natural birth... but this is not working, please get this baby out of me!"
At about 3:30pm it was time to start pushing. Based on simple math (he was born at 5:50pm) you already know the pushing part didn't get smoothly either, just like the 8-10cm transition phase.
I pushed and pushed and pushed for over 2 hours. I pushed laying on my back, laying on my sides, and using the squatting bar the nurse brought in. Contractions where coming very fast... so I would do 3 long hard pushes, and then rest for like 30 seconds, and then do it again. I have never felt so deliriously exhausted as I was at this point. It is not fair to have to go through such a long hard time pushing after already being in labor so long and with no sleep in like 36 hours. My body needed to work so hard to push him out, but I was so tired that I know I wasn't doing a great job.
I would never have guessed or planned it... but both my mom and Mike ended up being very active rolls in this part of labor. My mom was helping with one of my legs, Mike supporting my back and giving me oxygen between each push, Nicole with the other leg, 2 nurses helping the doctor... it was pretty intense.
I continued to be frustrated because I still was not feeling the progress, I was getting that relief feeling that he was getting close. I remember with Ryan, I could tell the pushes were actually doing something and it would be over soon. This time, I just kept getting that same stuck feeling in my very low back/pelvis area.
But everyone worked as a team and did everything they could to get me through it... and eventually it worked! I finally got 3 good pushes in a row and the doctor was able to get her hands on his head, the next set of pushes she was able to get his head and shoulders out, and then one more set of pushes and finally his body was all the way out and he was on my chest.
He is finally here!!
This part is all a big blur. Of course there was relief that the labor was over and he was safely in my arms. I know I heard someone say "Its a Boy", turns out Mike was the first one to see and make the announcement. I also immediately felt him on my chest, and when I looked down the first thing I thought was "Wow that is a huge cone head with a lot of hair!!"
My body was so weak and exhausted that I literally just laid there limp and let everyone else around me do what they needed to do. The doula took pictures, Mike stayed by my side and helped with whatever the nurses needed to do with the baby, and my mom helped me get him latched on to nurse for the first time. I am lucky that even after the hard labor, I was able to get my wishes. I got skin to skin time immediately, he nursed within the first 20 minutes, we delayed any baths or any time where Patrick was away from us. He did not leave to go to the nursery, they did everything they needed to do right in the room with us.
The worst part of the hour after giving birth is that you are not really done yet. I delivered the placenta, I got stitches (thankfully it was easier than last time...with Ryan I had 3rd degree tearing and then an episiotmy. This time it was just some minor tearing. The big difference was I didn't have any pain meds to ease the discomfort of getting the stitches), they worked on my stomach to get my uterus to contract and the bleeding to stop.... I know, sounds like fun right?! I was sooooo tired of people touching me!
The aftermath -
Labor was long, hard, unpredictable, painful, and by far the hardest thing I have ever gone through.... but after it was all over, everything else was pretty easy! Patrick had no complications, he ate right away, peed/pooped right away, there was no distress, and things were pretty peaceful.
The next day and a half in the hospital flew by. He roomed in with us the whole time, and the 3 of us spent the time resting, nursing, and enjoying the quiet time before returning home to our crazy toddler!
The theme of this birth is that it was "opposite" of Ryan's. With Ryan, labor was pretty quick with a lot of interventions. But after he was born it was several weeks of issues (not latching, jaundice, not pooping, not eating, hole in his heart, extra 2 days in the hospital, excessive spit up, etc). Plus I had a difficult time healing and ended up getting new stitches at about 10 weeks postpartum. With Patrick, labor was the hard part, but he has been healthy and happy and doing great since the minute he was born.
I am very interested in seeing what kind of baby he is and I am very happy to finally have him in my arms.
Now some pictures: