For both Troy and Rocky, my birth experiences were completely different than what I was planning on for Tyler. Epidurals, artificial rupture of membranes, membrane stripping, continuous monitoring, episiotomy...I pretty much complied with whatever my doctor suggested. Their births were beautiful and perfect, but I wanted something different with Tyler. I wanted to trust my body instead of forcing it to do anything. I wanted to trust the baby and provide him a unstressful birthing event. I wanted to prove to myself that my body was capable of making and delivering a baby and I could go through that process without having to be numbed. I wanted to be supported by Bobby and people instead of medicine and items. I wanted to have the freedom to move to guide the baby down the birth canal instead of pulling it out. In summary, I wanted this to be a spiritual, bonding experience and I knew that the cost of that would be pain and preparation.
I did not find my hospital to be supportive of me. I learned about halfway through my pregnancy to not ask questions or for favors because they were always dismissed. I cried after almost every appointment. Because I went into A Fib with Troy during labor, the doctors were worried about delivering Tyler. None of my OBs had ever had a patient deliver a baby with A Fib, and my cardiologist had never had a A Fib patient get pregnant. To cover themselves, they had a whole plan of bringing down ICU nurses, hooking me up to a 12 lead EKG for my entire labor, pulse ox, continuous fetal monitoring, etc. etc. I would have been fine with it if it had been the other two deliveries, but this really ruined my plans of a natural birth as it would cause a lot of restriction of movement. I feel that one of the reasons my heart did freak out so much was because it was under so much unneeded stress. I felt that all this monitoring and supervision would increase my chances of stress on my heart.
We really considered switching insurances/doctors, but we were scared of what that would cost us if I did need cardiac intervention. It would also make things complicated with my cardiologist. AND even if I did switch, the new doctor would surely request my prenatal medical records, and we had no indication that the new doctor wouldn't do the exact same plan, but charge us for it, so for those reasons we decided to just stay at SAMMC.
My plan to combat the ridiculous amount of oversight they planned for me was to labor as long as I could at home. My doula and others recommend this to me anyways, because the less amount of time a patient is at the hospital, the less likely she'll need interventions. They also didn't have birthing tubs at the hospital, so I wanted to be in my bath as long as I could. I hoped I could labor as long as I could at home, be a little distracted by the 35 minute drive, get to the hospital and deliver soon afterwards before they really even had a chance to get all those monitors hooked up.
I prayed about this delivery so much. I poured my heart to Heavenly Father how I wanted things to go, and why and asked him for me to give me this spiritual experience of welcoming a new innocent baby into our family. A friend of mine told me that Heavenly Father wanted this for His children and that he would answer my prayers and give me the birthing experience that I needed. I had all sorts of unanswered questions and fears of the unknown, but at the same time I trusted Heavenly Father to hear and answer my prayers. I had a feeling that everything was going to be OK and so did Bobby. I prayed in specifics - after hearing a birth story of my friends, I even discussed how I would like to catch the baby if the doctor would let me and I had the physical stamina to be able to do it, but that I wasn't expecting to be able to. I prayed mostly that I would be able to withstand the pain, and that labor would go quickly but not too quickly that it was out of control, and that it could be a peaceful, bonding experience between me and the baby and Bobby and that I would be kind throughout it and wouldn't need to get confrontational with the hospital staff, that things would just work out. I also prayed so much that the baby would change positions before I delivered (baby was posterior weeks before delivery on numerous occasions).
I did my part to try and have things work out. I read the Bradly Method and tutored Bobby on it. I read and practiced hypnobirthing - that was probably my main prep. I researched positions and relaxation techniques, counterpressures and back massages, Robozo, bought thoughtful snacks and drinks, I had herbs for transition, Bobby and I practiced laboring positions, Bobby did Robozo to me many nights near the end, I swayed on my birthing ball, I attempted to do 300 squats a day per Ina May, but that actually never once happened, but I did try occasionally. I was ready! But when the due date came I was also ok with waiting. I didn't want to induce labor too much (like too much walking - induction was obviously out of the question for me), because I felt that he was still posterior and wanted to allow him time to flip.
Monday morning came. My mom and I walked 2 miles to the HEB construction site. She led me in way further than I felt comfortable with and the construction workers had to ask us to leave lol. Not one contraction. I told multiple people that it "wasn't going to happen today." I texted Bobby that I felt 6 months pregnant, not 9.
My first contraction happened when we were dropping Troy off at preschool at 11:35. Then I had a couple as we drove home. I barely mentioned it to my mom because I didn't want to get her hopes up. They just kept coming! I thought maybe this was something and started actually tracking them at 12:45. Rocky had shown me false labor twice - so I didn't get my hopes up too high. I did my "chores"and read my scriptures and mom tried to make herself busy by making cookies. The last thing I wanted to do was eat, but I was trying to be a kind laboring woman and decided to have a couple bites of her cookies since she made them for me, and ended up eating two. They were the best cookies I've ever had.
Bobby was asking me if he should come home, but I didn't want to get too excited about labor too fast, for one in case it was false labor, and two because I wanted to not concentrate on labor until I needed to because I didn't want to head off to the hospital asap. I was going to labor as long as I could at home, so the longer I ignored it, the better. I told him not to come, not to come. Finally I accepted the fact that this was it. I told him to come home now. I texted my doulas that they could come over or meet me at the hospital. At this point I was laboring in the tub.
I got out of the tub, only to be in pain and got back in. The second time I get back in the tub, maybe around 2:45, I started realizing that things needed to start happening. Bobby needed to come home, my doulas needed to get here, the boys needed to go to their friends house, my bag needed some last minute things to be packed... So at that point when I realized it was time to go, I couldn't because I was waiting on people. I thought I was home alone (turns out I wasn't), and I said to myself, "Ok I need to get out and dressed and pack so I'm ready when everyone shows up. When I stood up to get out of the tub, that is when things really got intense.
I was laboring in the tub in my sports bra because the door was open and I didn't know if people were going to come in and check on me. I grabbed a robe and headed for my dresser. I made it about halfway, to the edge of the bed when I couldn't walk anymore. The contractions were SO intense at this point. I was on hands and knees - still with the intention to get some clothes on. The whole time while laboring I felt I needed to be leaning forward, perhaps because baby was posterior? Also a lot of rocking.
My doula and mom came in my room at this point. I was completely primeval, animal-like crawling on the floor. My doula tried doing some counterpressure on my hips, but I couldn't hold still I was in so much pain. But I didn't have the energy to tell her not to touch me, so instead I just crawled away. I knew that was a weird thing to do, but like I said - primeval. I was crawling in circles in my bedroom, in so much pain that I think I was trying to "run away." I was panicked and scared. My doula was telling me not to use just high groans, and asked if I was pushing because of how I was breathing, essentially high pitched grunting. I was trying to listen to her/take her advice but I really didn't have control at that point. From the time I got out of the tub until the end, I only had one very small break in contractions. They were relentless and on top of each other and so painful. My mom later told me that my whole body was radiating so much heat, just being near me.
My water broke next. It felt like a syringe, a lot of pressure to get it started, then even more intense/different pain once it was over. I watched my water break as I was still on my hands and knees, I remember it squirting out and it was white with specks in it. I lost it at this point. I stood up and said something like, "We've got to go right now! We can't wait for Bobby! We've got to go to the closest hospital too." I remember grabbing my doula's shirt at the shoulders. I think my doula was responding with something about breathing, but I wasn't listening.
She started leading me out of the bedroom, my mom behind me. At this point I had no clue that the baby was so close to coming. It did not register to me that I was probably in transition. But it did go through my head something my sister-in-law Anna sent to me, "At some point you're going to think you can not do this, that is when your baby is coming." The pain had been bearable, but once my water broke I had overstepped my pain limit and I was thinking I could NOT do this. I wanted to die or to be knocked unconscious! I hated myself for not being at the hospital earlier and therefore the thought that I couldn't get pain relief anytime soon.
Anyway, right past the doorway, about 5 steps from where my water broke and I had stood up, and 10 seconds later, I instinctively reached down. I don't know why. I didn't think I was delivering a baby, but to my surprise I felt a head and shoulders. At that exact time I was overcome with relief. The pain was gone. I reached down and grabbed the baby, and collapsed backwards onto my mom's lap all at the same time. He had been delivered to his belly button. There was no conscious pushing. He really did just fall out. I was grateful he didn't land on the floor, because like I said I didn't intentionally catch him. I didn't really know what to do, but my doula took over from there. She delivered the legs and handed him back to me.
I was still kind of in shock. The first thing I said was "I feel so much better" which is dumb but I think my body was still trying to process the pain I had just gone through.
I knew the baby was ok. He was pretty pink when he came out. He was crying/coughing just a little and blinking/looking around. I am still on my mom's lap. We were all in shock!
The rest is kind of a blur already (I needed to write this blog post asap because I know I'm already forgetting things!). The doula told Bobby to call 911, that was the first time I registered Bobby was there, so no the doctor in the house was not a big help. Bobby was getting towels and following orders from the operator and answering questions. The doula was checking me for bleeding, no gloves, just running the show. I am SO grateful she was there. We would have been totally lost without her. She was calm and level headed and knew just what to do.
The 911 operator told us to get a shoe string to tie off the umbilical cord. A month or so ago a friend gave me an umbilical cord clamp, just in case she said. She must have been inspired. I was like what do I do with this? She was like, "I don't know. Keep it in your car just in case?" I should have. But instead I gave it to Troy to play with and my last remembrance of it was it was half under the fridge. I told the people around me that there was a clamp under the fridge. My mom tried to get it, then Bobby came and used super human strength and lifted the fridge and found it. We clamped the cord, and I got my desire of delayed cord clamping. It was cold and lifeless by the time we clamped it and I remember the feeling on my thigh. There was thick pudding-like vernix on the bottom of his bum all over my fingers. One of the towels was stained with meconium.
I felt like the paramedics arrived quickly - my mom said it took about 10 minutes. It must have been Bobby who took pictures, but I have no memory of taking pictures. The paramedics were funny. I don't think they had any clue what they were doing. They tried placing leads on Tyler - which would not stick whatsoever. They never checked for bleeding which was making the doula nervous. I have no memory of getting on the gurney. I was just glad they promised that I could hold the baby the whole time to the hospital. The wheeled me out on the stretcher right as the middle school bus dropped off the neighborhood middle schoolers. I was breastfeeding.
The hospital was much less invasive than I imagined SAMMC would be. It was simple, and everything went according to procedure. We were discharged after 24 hours.