Category Archives: labor

Everett’s Birth Story

​Oh my sweet Everett, you are more than I could have ever hoped or dreamed for. Your journey into this world is not what I would have chosen, but it was perfect. 
Your labor and birth was so different, yet similar to your sister’s. She came 2 days early, and you made us wait until almost 42 weeks. But you came just when you were supposed to. You needed more time to grow and plump up.

So let’s get to the details of your story.

I went to the hospital on Friday, July 1st to start the induction process. Even though I had been having contractions for 3.5 weeks, I was only 2cm dilated and you hadn’t made your way down yet. So, we needed help to get labor started (the doctor didn’t want you to stay in past 42 weeks). Even though induction is not what I wanted, I had peace about it. I was ready to meet my baby boy!

We checked into the hospital around 4pm and were greeted by a familiar face. Our nurse Misha had taken care of us before when I thought I was in labor a couple weeks prior. She took good care of us. I had a cooks catheter placed at 7 something. This device helps dilate the cervix and can start labor. Around 3 hours later it fell out. I had some mild contractions, but things still weren’t starting. The midwife let us get some rest overnight and wait until the morning for the next steps. By Saturday morning things still hadn’t started yet. I was dilated to a 3 which got stretched to a 4. We waited a little bit longer to see if things would happen, but they didn’t. So, we started pitocin and the first round of penicillin (thanks group b strep) around 9:40. That got the party started finally.

Contractions were consistent, but still not strong enough. Each hour the dosage of pitocin got upped by 1 until we were at a 5. It was my goal and desire to be able to get off the pitocin before birth actually happened.

I have to pause here to say that during this whole process, I felt very empowered, encouraged, and respected. All of the midwives were supportive of my desire to have as few interventions and drugs as possible. Though Chrysantha’s birth was much smoother, I didn’t always feel like everyone was on board with the plan and I had a hard time speaking up for myself. This time I made myself heard and was able to have good discussions about each step of the process.

Back to the story. Contractions started picking up and getting consistent in the afternoon. The pitocin was working to dilate my cervix. We were able to turn down the pitocin, which I was very thankful for. I was definitely nervous about having pitocin. I had heard from several people that it made contractions really intense and the natural rise and fall and rests don’t necessarily happen. But my body was kind and though the contractions were more intense, they still had a very nice pattern that made them bearable. Contractions were happening consistently and building, I was dilating more and we were able to turn off the pitocin completely. I was so relieved! Things kept happening, but progress was slow. Everyone was fine with taking things a step at a time. I was thankful for the opportunity to let my body do what I knew it was capable of on its own.

I got to labor in lots of different positions. With Chrysantha I was a lot more tense at times and didn’t want to change things in case they didn’t work. It was good to try a variety of things.

A few things came up. When I was getting my last dose of penicillin, my arm started hurting really badly. Dealing with that in the middle of intense contractions was NOT fun. After my nurses tried to fix things, I ended up just having them take it out. It was sooo much better to labor untethered. I had more freedom to move around and things were finally going how I hoped they would.

Everett’s water broke a little after midnight on Sunday July 3rd. We thought that would move things along. Well, Mr. Ev had different plans. He moved back up the birth canal and managed to keep some of the bag intact in front of him. 

Unfortunately my contractions started slowing down. The monitor wasn’t very good at picking them up anyways. But because things slowed down we had to discuss our next options. I was thankful for the rest I was getting in between contractions, but I knew that things couldn’t go on forever. So, we agreed for the midwife to break the bag of waters that was left. Again, we hoped that this would get things moving along. It helped the contractions pick up, but they were too far apart. They were super intense though and I did my best to gently push Ev down during the contractions, but he just wasn’t budging.

Finally it’s around 3 am, my contractions are slowing and the OB on duty is pressuring my midwife to move things along. She comes to talk to me and we agree to having her place an internal contraction monitor and to start me back on pitocin. The thought of being hooked up to the IV again and having that potential pain was not sitting well with me. When my midwife was inserting the internal monitor I started getting painful contractions. So, we abandoned the plan and she helped me push Ev out. It was just the jumpstart we needed! It took 4 painfully long minutes of pushing to get Ev to come out. He was a lot harder to get out than Chrysantha was. Once her head was showing it took less than a minute. With him, these 4 minutes, though not long in actuality, felt like they were forever. I was thankful to have a mirror to see the progress. Seeing his cute little hair gave me the energy and strength I needed to fight through the pain and push him out.

After he arrived we figured out why things had been more difficult. He came out with one of his arms touching the opposite shoulder and the umbilical cord loosely wrapped around his belly. He needed the extra help to move down and get out.

Meeting him was definitely worth all of the waiting and the pain. The nurse kept remarking how he didn’t have any of the signs of a past due baby. The amniotic fluid was clear, he wasn’t peeling, he wasn’t big, etc. She said he looked like a 38 week gestation baby. All of those things just reinforced my conviction to wait for him to be born. I’m glad we didn’t force him out sooner, he clearly wasn’t ready. He came at just the perfect time. He was brave and strong in his entrance and he brought peace. I love my sweet Everett Ninghai and I am so thankful for him! I learned a lot through his birthing process. And sweet boy that he is pooped on me right after birth!

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Things I wish I would’ve known about labor, delivery, and the postpartum life

About Labor:

  1. For me, contractions felt like stomach cramps
  2. Contractions really aren’t as bad as I envisioned, especially in the beginning
  3. Bouncing on an exercise ball is extremely helpful (wish I would’ve brought it to the hospital)
  4. Eating during a contraction is extremely uncomfortable
  5. Resting as much as possible is important
  6. Contractions in a car stuck in traffic are not fun
  7. There are moments of self-doubt
  8. Screaming “Get this baby out of me!” just might happen a few times
  9. Saying, “I don’t want to do this anymore,” might also happen
  10. Warm showers really do help the body to relax

About delivery:

  1. It’s weird and strange to feel a baby come out of you
  2. There is a “ring of fire” but you quickly forget about it
  3. What they say about pushing like you’re pooping is totally true
  4. Wait for the strong contractions to push and let them build first, don’t push on the weak ones
  5. The moment when they put the baby on your chest is the most exciting and scariest moment
  6. Delivering the placenta was actually really easy

About postpartum life:

  1. You get little to no sleep in the hospital
  2. Breastfeeding hurts at first and nurses will “help” you
  3. All your dignity and sense of shame went out the window when you gave birth
  4. A nurse will use a peri bottle to rinse you off after you go to the bathroom
  5. You’re not supposed to “push” when you go poop
  6. You’re also not supposed to wipe when you go to the bathroom
  7. The first night home is one of the hardest, especially when you’re running on little sleep
  8. You may have fleeting thoughts that make you feel like a horrible person
  9. Postpartum hormones are like a million times worse than pregnancy hormones; there is soooo much crying
  10. Being the person responsible for a new life is incredibly overwhelming
  11. It’s okay to not be okay
  12. Having visitors is nice, but also exhausting
  13. Sleeping when the baby sleeps isn’t very easy, but really important
  14. Day 3 is a day like no other, especially if it’s the day your milk comes in, baby may nurse every hour all day long
  15. You do whatever you can to get sleep the first few days, even if that means sleeping in the recliner while holding the baby
  16. Everything you thought you knew and thought you would do no longer matter, you do whatever you gotta do to survive
  17. Hearing your baby cry makes you wanna cry too
  18. Relaxing while nursing is so important! Use a chair with arms and put your feet up
  19. Mom guilt starts early
  20. The baby determines the schedule and how the days and nights are going to go
  21. Everytime you think you have your baby figured out, they change on you
  22. Holding a precious newborn is worth every moment

Birth Story

On Friday, June 20, 2014 I woke up around 1:15 a.m. My stomach felt crampy and I had to go to the bathroom. I was able to go back to sleep and woke up again around an hour later with the same problem. Again I went back to sleep and again an hour later I woke back up. I tried going back to sleep after going to the bathroom, but the crampiness was becoming more bothersome. At first I thought that I might have food poisoning or some sort of stomach bug like I had back in January. The pains were so similar. Around 3:45 a.m. after not being able to sleep any longer, I started pacing the house. And I started timing the contractions. They came about every 5 minutes and lasted for 30-45 seconds. I really wanted to wake up Yusheng, but I knew we had a long day ahead of us and it was better to let him sleep. Finally, at 5 a.m. I called my doula, Rebecca. I couldn’t keep the excitement to myself anymore and I wanted her input. She encouraged me to try to rest more. After some more time of pacing and bouncing on my exercise ball, I managed to fall asleep on the couch for 45 minutes or so. Yusheng came out of the bedroom around 6:30 and I happily declared that I was in labor. He was excited. He ate breakfast and finished up work stuff.

I had an appointment scheduled with my OB at 9:45. I called the office and asked if I should still come in and they said I should. Yusheng drove me to the appointment. We ended up waiting until 10:00 to see the doctor. She asked how I was doing and I said that I was in labor. She didn’t sound like she believed me because I was so calm. She checked me and I was dilated to 4cm and my cervix was thin. She said, “Yep, you’re in labor.” My thought was, “Yah, I know.” She said that we could go to the hospital right away or wait. We chose to wait. I knew that I was more likely to have the birth I wanted if I stayed home longer.

So, we went home. I let Rebecca know and she said she would be on her way soon. I called my mom to let her know that I was in labor.

When we got home I did some more bouncing on the ball and pacing. My contractions were getting longer and closer together, about 2-3 minutes apart. They weren’t really that bad. Rebecca came. We ate lunch and then went on a walk. I put all of the last minute items in the van. We decided we would leave at 2 p.m. for the hospital. When I called, the nurse said I had to go to the Ob/Gyn clinic first.

We left just before 2 and got stopped by a train. Traffic on 880 was horrible, especially at the exit for Kaiser. It was the worst car ride of my life! Contractions in a vehicle when you are unable/scared to move are extremely uncomfortable.

We got to the hospital and went to the clinic. My mom joined us. The line was really long. We decided to just head to labor and delivery. We checked in and they made us wait in the triage room. They hooked me up to monitors, which made moving around more difficult.  We were there for about 1 hour 45 minutes before the midwife finally came to check on me. The monitors did not do a good job of picking up my contractions. When the midwife checked me she said that I was dilated to a 6 or 7 and that they could admit me now.

We ended up in room 5 with a really horrible fan that would not shut off.

My labor went well. They brought me dinner. I was able to shower, during which time I listened to worship music. The midwife kept pushing for an IV. I agreed to a hep lock to make them feel better. It was annoying to have, but didn’t bother me too much.

Around 8 or 9 p.m. I got a new midwife that I liked much better. She checked me and I was a stretchy 7-8 cm. I was able to shower once more and Yusheng and I got some alone time. He was super supportive. I loved putting my arms around his neck and just kind of sagging my body. It really helped with the pain.

After that shower I was pretty much stuck in bed. I had to be hooked up to the stupid monitors that didn’t do a good job of picking up my contractions.  My contractions gradually got more intense.  At one point I was really cold. I was shivering. I was covered in so many blankets, but still was not getting warm. It was not fun. It made the contractions worse because my body couldn’t relax. I was so tense.

I laid on my side and stuffed pillows all around. That definitely helped. Rebecca massaged me and rocked me through contractions, which was super helpful.  I was able to rest in between and that was great.  The contraction would build, get intense, and then fade. As it faded I went into a deep relaxation where I would almost fall completely asleep before the next contraction hit. In the lulls I had some pretty crazy dreams, the most notable of which was dreaming about a young Pope John Paul II and a young Madonna playing tennis together.  Sometimes, in those lulls, I would choose to engage with Yusheng and Rebecca.  I said some pretty random things. Those contractions were pretty intense and this was the point when I really doubted whether or not I could do this. I kept saying that I couldn’t and that I just wanted the baby out of me.  I also had moments of just wanting to stay pregnant. I was scared of having a baby and being responsible for someone else.

After the 24 hour mark, I was checked again and dilated to 9cm.  My water still had not broken.  Maria, my awesome midwife, offered to break my water. I took a bathroom break to consider this option. It was so nice to get out of bed! My contractions in the bathroom were awful, but Rebecca was there to support me through them.  She thought she saw the baby coming, so we left the bathroom and went back to the bed. The baby wasn’t quite coming yet. I agreed to have my water broken. As soon as that happened, it was time to start pushing. I pushed for 35-45 minutes before my sweet baby girl was born. I absolutely loved using the bar to support me while I squatted and pushed. Pushing was hard and intense, but so worth it.

At 2:24 am the baby’s head was crowning. In the course of that whole minute, she was born. I couldn’t believe that it happened so quickly. When the nurse put the baby on my chest I was shocked. I didn’t realize that she was all the way out already.  All I could do was hold her and try to see what she looked like.  It was the most exciting moment of my life. She was born weighing in at 6 lbs. 14 oz. and measuring 19 inches long.

I was so thankful that I was able to have the natural birth that I wanted. They waited a good 10 minutes before clamping the umbilical cord. Yusheng was able to cut it, which was really cool.

I absolutely loved my birthing experience. I had the best midwife. I had the knowledgeable support of my doula. I had the love and encouragement of my husband. And I had my Momma with me, just her presence there was calming.

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