"For I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made in You...You make it Beautiful Somehow"

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Charlotte's Birth Story Part 2: Come On Labor!

Catch up on part 1 here...

Fast forward to 40 weeks pregnant. I was still feeling fantastic. No contractions, no cramps, and still sleeping comfortably through the night.

It was annoying. Haha!

I was convinced that because I was feeling nothing that she was staying put for the long haul. I was right. At my 40 week appointment my cervix showed almost no signs of change. Dilated to a 1 but not thinned out at all. I knew things could change overnight so I stayed positive. I was okay with her cooking for as long as she needed.

But the days start to wear on you. Any day could be THE day. So every day I worked tirelessly to keep the house clean, the laundry all washed, and everything ready for the baby's arrival. By 41 weeks I was done trying to keep everything together, it was way too exhausting.

Sunday morning, 41 weeks, we were sitting in church when I noticed I was feeling horrible. I felt light headed and dizzy, and was developing a horrible headache. I looked down at my hands and realize that not only were my feet and legs starting to swell, but so were my hands. I told my husband as soon as the service was done that we needed to leave right away so I could check my blood pressure. We stopped at a Walgreens and I went in to check my blood pressure. Sure enough it was high- 144/90. I called my midwife immediately. She was already at the birth center with some one in labor so she said to come by and she would check me over.

When we arrived at the center she checked my urine and blood pressure. Sure enough I had protein in my urine and my blood pressure was very high. She checked my cervix again and found I was still at a 1 but at least I was thinning out. I was terrified this meant I was going to have to transfer to a hospital, have an induction, epidural, all of the things I desperately did not want.

My midwife said we definitely need to have the baby soon, but that there were things they could do to encourage baby to come. She stripped my membranes and gave me a tea mixture of pregnancy tea and black and blue cohosh. She told me and my husband to go walking and that if labor hadn't started by morning to be back at the center by 8:00 am.

Our dear friends watched our boys for us while we went on a little mini date. We got some dinner and walked around a bunch of stores. I had some minor cramps but no contractions.

 In the morning (Monday) we finished packing our bags and headed off to the Birth Center. When we got there my midwife immediately checked my urine and blood pressure. To every one's surprise and relief there was no protein in my urine and my blood pressure had gone back down. My midwife checked my cervix again and discovered I was dilated to a 3 now, 80% thinned out, and she was able to stretch me to a 4. She stripped my membranes again, gave me another mixture of black and blue cohosh, and sent us out walking again. She was sure that by lunch time, dinner time at the latest, we would have a baby.

So my husband, my mom, and I went to walk around a few stores. Still no contractions. We headed back to the Birth Center after lunch for the midwife to check me to see if anything was going on. I was dilated to a 5. So we decided to head home for a few hours to rest and would come back to the birth center around 5:00, and if no more progress had been made they would go ahead and break my water.

I was still not feeling any contractions by the time we headed back to the birth center. The whole day my midwife had been checking my blood pressure and it had stayed low. After talking, we decided that we would go home, get a good nights rest and come back in the morning and she would break my water then to get things going.

We went home, had a wonderful dinner, enjoyed the company of family, and slept wonderfully. Still no contractions.

Tuesday morning we woke up and headed back to the birth center, hoping this would finally be it. When we got there my midwife checked my blood pressure and urine again. Still great. Praise God! They decided to wait on breaking my water though and try some more black and blue cohosh. This time just straight black and blue and not diluted in a tea. Wow that stuff was horrible! After taking several rounds it and bouncing on a birthing ball, I was still feeling zero contractions. Not even a single cramp. So my midwife came back in and stripped my membranes one more time before sending my husband and I out to do some curb walking.

We walked around the birth center, on foot on the curb and one off. My husband was amazing during this entire process. He was so encouraging and loving. Through out this entire thing I found myself falling more and more in love with the man that he is.

It was now 3:00. It had been a long day of trying our hardest to get labor started. I was dilated to a 5 but nothing was happening. Another one of the midwives met with us and said that my midwife would break my water for me if I wanted or we could just wait since my blood pressure had been perfect.

I felt so torn. I thought that if they broke my water that might just be the thing my body needed to kick it into gear. But, if contractions did not start I would end up in the hospital, on pitocin, and all things I did not want to happen. After talking through the pros and cons with my husband and mom, we had finally decided to go ahead and ask her to break my water. I still felt scared and unsettled about the whole thing though.

When my midwife came in I expected her to say 'if you all want me to break your water I will'. But I was surprised to hear - "Ok, we have done everything we can to start contractions naturally. Obviously your baby is not ready to come yet. I think we should wait". That was all the reassurance I needed that waiting was the right decision. My midwife told me "go home and relax. Take a bath, enjoy a nice meal, and don't think about labor. Don't time contractions. Nothing. Just enjoy your evening." The plan at that point was that if labor had not started on it's own by Friday that I would come into the center and they would for sure break my water. (Once you get to 42 weeks you can no longer deliver at the center and have to go to the hospital. So at that point the risk of breaking my water would be worth it.)

I felt peace about our decision to wait, like God was telling me to keep trusting Him. I still cried however, as we drove home. I knew my baby wouldn't stay put forever, but I was still sad that I wasn't going home with her in my arms. We decided to stop at the grocery store on the way home. As we were walking into the store my husband turns around and says "Now you know that since we are going home you are not allowed to have this baby tonight right?".

And wouldn't you know...I had my very first contraction right at that moment.

Part 3 Happy Birth Day continued here...

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