Lincoln's birth story
June 11, 2012
I am so grateful and happy to announce that Lincoln Raymond-David Taylor finally made his arrival Wednesday, June 6th at 2:25 p.m. He was a healthy 8 lbs. 4.5 oz.
Sorry things have been so quiet around here lately, but we have been enjoying our new little boy and getting acclimated to life with two kids (which is quite a change!).
Today I wanted to share Lincoln's birth story for two reasons: (1) to get it down on [virtual] paper before I forget the details, and (2) because I love reading other mom's birth stories and realizing just how different each birth is regardless of how many babies you've had, what you expect, or what your prior experiences were.
Lincoln's birth story is fairly short, because labor only lasted 3 hours (can you say “lucky”?).
A little backstory: My first baby was born at only 38 weeks. Even though I knew I shouldn't expect to go into labor early with my second child, I think it was something I subconsciously relied on. So when 38 weeks came and went, and then 39 weeks came and went, I felt long overdue and completely uncomfortable. My OB told me that the hospital policy was not to induce unless medically necessary until 42 weeks (what?!?).
They had already tried stripping my membranes twice (at 38 and 39 weeks), which helped put me in labor with my first child, but all it did this time was give me a day of painful, inconsistent contractions and cramping. I had several hours of painful contractions at least 4 different times in the final weeks of my pregnancy, which was extremely frustrating. I would get my hopes up thinking it was “time,” and would be emotionally wrecked each time the contractions mysteriously stopped.
So at my 40 week appointment, they finally scheduled me for an induction at 41 weeks, 1 day (a little earlier than the previous 42-week mark I had been quoted). So I was to report to Labor & Delivery on June 6th, at 8:30 a.m.
My original birth plan: I hoped to go into labor on my own and labor at home as long as possible. I knew it would be more comfortable than being in the hospital and wanted to avoid having to walk the halls of the hospital waiting to progress like I did with my first child. Once the contractions were really painful, I planned on going to the hospital. I also really wanted to try and have my second baby without an epidural; I remember being terrified of the epidural last time (not a huge fan of anyone sticking something in my spine), and I hated how it made my body shake, how I couldn't really feel the baby coming down (which made pushing difficult as I pushed for 2 1/2 hours!), and how I couldn't use my legs for hours afterward. I was also hoping not to have my water broken, because I remember how painful the contractions became after the midwife broke my water. I thought that with a shorter labor (hopefully, since it was my 2nd), an unbroken bag of waters, and laboring techniques and positions, I might be able to do this thing without an epidural.
All of that was kind of thrown out the window when I decided to be induced. My only option for induction was pitocin, and I wasn't too confident that I'd be able to do without any medication once the pitocin was pumping. I decided to try and stick to my plan, but leave it open for alternatives. On the morning of the induction, I remember telling my husband that I wasn't feeling very confident about going it without meds.
The big day: We arrived and were told that the rooms were all being used and that their resources were tapped because two sets of twins were being born. I was afraid they were going to send us home, but they assured us that they would have room eventually. By 11:00 a.m. I was finally in my L&D room.
By 11:15, I had been started on a slow drip of pitocin. I was checked by the doctor and found out that I was already 7 cm (all those contractions and false labor did something after all), and they decided to break my water. It ended up being really hard to break – no wonder my body wouldn't go into labor on its own. My midwife was very sweet and reassured me that if I could get through transition without an epidural, she knew I'd make it through pushing.
I didn't have to wait long for the contractions to start; about 20 minutes after they broke my water I was in full-blown transition. They never had to turn up the pitocin drip, because breaking my water was enough to move me along. The contractions started getting painful and making me nauseous. The only way I could get through them was to stand and “slow-dance” with my husband; all the while gripping his shirt and trying to keep pace with the breathing he was setting for me. Sitting and laying only made the pain more unbearable.
When I finally said, “I think I need something for the pain,” my midwife wanted to check me before we decided on a sedative or an epidural. She told me that I was 9, almost 10 cm when I pushed and from there on out, she had me pushing with each contraction to move the baby down. This was probably the 2 1/2 hour mark. I was given one dose of fentanyl, which I don't recall feeling the effects of at all, and decided to forego the epidural since I was so far along. We were almost there...
I pushed for about a 1/2 hour, and Lincoln was here. I felt him moving down the birth canal with each contraction, and when his head was visible, I had extra incentive to push because I could feel the pressure and the burning sensation. As he was delivered, I felt him wiggling out of me (sorry, I know it's a little TMI!), and it was honestly pretty amazing to be present and aware of it all. The moment they layed him on my chest, I felt exhaustion, pure joy, and really proud of myself for making it through without the epidural. I couldn't have done it without the amazing coaching of my husband, nurse, midwife, and OB; I was so lucky to have such a great, patient staff working with us to deliver Lincoln. It didn't hurt that the process only took 3 hours, either.
The hardest part came after delivery. I was bleeding a lot more than the doctor was comfortable with, and they pressed on my uterus several times from the outside to push out any blood clots they could. This literally felt like being stabbed in the abdomen and they had to do it 5 or 6 times over the course of 3 hours. My midwife also had to go back in and sweep around to be sure they got all of the placenta. Trust me, after you've just pushed an 8 lb. baby out, you don't want anyone going back in... I remained in my L&D room for over 3 hours before they moved us up to recovery. In the end, everything turned out fine, but I'll probably never forget the pain of that situation.
Natural vs. Epidural? I will have to say, despite the pain, I was happy that I went natural with this delivery. I loved that I could get up and walk around after delivery. I was able to go to the bathroom on my own and could be moved to my recovery room in a wheelchair instead of on a gurney with half of my body numb. The pain afterward was minimal.
But going through labor with no medication was also really, really difficult. It was probably the worst pain I have ever experienced (but you're talking to a girl who's never had surgery or broken a bone...), and coping with it took all my focus and will power. I can definitely see the draw to coming in, getting an epidural, and delivering a baby without too much pain. Funny side note... I realized after-the-fact that I had totally been the typical screaming woman that you see on TV and movies while giving birth. When I had an epidural, I don't remember making much noise while pushing, but without the numbness, I was grunting and yelling the entire time. Oh well, I think I earned the right. Hopefully I didn't scare my neighbors in the other L&D rooms too much! I definitely gave it all I had because in the days following labor every muscle in my body ached; I think I even discovered some new muscles that I never knew I had...
Bottom line: If I have a 3rd, I'll have to decide then which way I want to go - epidural or natural. But I am completely happy with how it all went this time around. In the end, I was able to stick to my birth plan pretty closely, which is all a mom can hope for. I have a healthy, happy baby to show for it, and that means more than anything.
Welcome to the world, baby Lincoln!