by Teyanna, Davin’s mom
Be warned. Not for those easily grossed out discussing birth details…
I decided I wanted to try for a natural birth without an epidural and as few interventions as possible. One because I just don’t like needles, hospitals, doctors etc and get kind of anxious with all of that. I toughened up for this pregnancy but the previous blood test I had before pregnancy I blacked out. Even as a kid, I remember in 1st grade I had to be bribed with a popsicle after to go into the doctor and then my dad had to make balloons out of the doctor’s gloves to keep me from crying lol. Second, from reading lots and hearing too many horror stories, I didn’t like the risks of interventions – it seemed epidurals could give you migraines or back pain the year after and you can’t feel how to push and are more likely to tear down there. Being induced with pitocin makes contractions a lot more intense so they hurt more and the baby is more likely to not like it and then need a c-section. Luckily all the Nashville hospitals and birth centers have laughing gas which I was okay with since there are no side effects and no needles :). But of course it only takes the edge off not like an epidural or anything. So Ben and I decided to take a Bradley method class – it was 8 3-hour classes so a pretty big time commitment but we felt like it did a pretty good job educating us and getting us prepared. Three of the other 5 couples had their babies before us – all 1st babies and vaginal deliveries with no epidurals, 2 got pitocin and at least 1 didn’t tear at all, so we had high hopes that we’d also go somewhat according to plan!
Davin was due 1/28, some of us made guesses on when he’d arrive. Ben’s sister was due also on 1/30 and whoever had theirs first was Munyan grandkid #7, so of course I was hoping for that but Ben & I had some work and baby projects we were still working on so I was telling Davin to wait for 1/27. But my mom had both my sister & I two weeks early so my mom kept telling me get prepared ASAP! On Tuesday 1/16 there was a little snow but knowing our time for dates was limited we ventured to go out to dinner at Green Hills Grille just a couple blocks away. I was feeling a little uncomfortable around my pelvis but figured maybe this was just him “dropping” which could still mean he was a couple weeks away. I’d also lost all/part? of my mucus plug a couple days earlier but again that could still mean baby is a couple weeks away. I’m not sure what Braxton Hicks contractions are supposed to feel like so idk if I ever had those this pregnancy?
Well dinner was going great and we were waiting for dessert when my water broke 8-|, it was 8 pm. Our night just got much more exciting. Generally speaking, doctors want you in labor and close to having a baby within 24 hours of your water breaking because they don’t want to risk infection in the uterus for mom & baby. For my mom’s first birth (me!) her water broke at 10 pm and she had me at 5 am. So it was go time! The restaurant gave us the dessert to go, we paid, they gave us a gift card when we told them & asked for a towel lol, and we headed home. At least I was wearing black pants so you couldn’t really tell :-/. At home we started packing our hospital bag, installing the car seat, etc ASAP.. Ben drove to Vandy to get a couple work things and his oil diffuser (we wanted to help make a peaceful birth environment lol) and drove by the Vandy hospital to see where we would park…ya I know maybe we shouldn’t have procrastinated those things so long.
By 11:30 pm we were set and figured we’d better get some sleep. But of course that’s when contractions started so no sleep for us that night. At midnight they were coming about every 5 minutes and they lasted all night coming about every 4-7 minutes. We’d lay on the bed between trying to rest, then I’d stand up for each contraction and Ben would help me get thru it. We were trying to wait until I was dilated to a 6-7 cm (need to be 10 cm to have a baby) til we left for the hospital since labor at home is nicer than at the hospital. The sign for that usually is that contractions are 1 minute long and coming every 3 minutes. Well by 5 am they were about 4-5 minutes apart and almost a minute long and getting really intense so we decided to head in to the hospital. We got there about 5:30/6 am and I was dilated to a about 5.5 cm. So not bad. We got our room and let our doula know she should come join us. Well contractions kept coming and at some point we got some laughing gas that would help take the edge of the contractions and Ben kept helping me thru contractions. By about 10 am they said I was about 7 cm dilated.
Decent progress, but I was kind of expecting a baby to be here by now so getting a little frustrated. I’d been drinking tons of juice & water this whole time but could not pee no matter how long I tried and sat there on the toilet – and contractions weren’t great in that position plus no laughing gas in the bathroom. So they decided maybe my bladder was blocking progress and I should get a catheter. This made me kind of anxious but I just focused on the laughing gas and kind of zoned out while they did that – it was like I couldn’t see or hear anything except Ben’s face sometimes. I survived it, they got 3 cups(!) of urine, and took out the catheter… But still no progress. I walked, lunged, rolled on the exercise ball, did squats, dance party and made out with Ben (oxytocin’s supposed to help progress labor 😉 to try to get things progressing faster but no dice. They said it looked like his head was turned in a bad/awkward way (left occiput transverse) that might be keeping me from progressing so our doula had me try a downward dog type position and lunges and swaying to hopefully move him but it didn’t seem to help.
Finally about 4 pm they told us we should consider getting induced with pitocin. We were getting close to 24 hours from my water breaking and I was tired and couldn’t last forever so we decided to get pitocin – they started with a low dose and upped it each hour. But unfortunately after a couple hours nothing had really progressed. The midwives next idea was that maybe my pelvis was just super tight and maybe getting an epidural would make it all relax and be able to progress. I wasn’t excited about this but we didn’t see what choices we had left so we did it. Again I tried to focus on the laughing gas and Ben’s face and kind of zone out while they put that in :-/. Maybe I was more tired or just used to pain by now but it wasn’t as bad as getting the catheter.
They started it low dose so hopefully I could still move my legs and feel when to push etc. I got a pain free catheter this time :). They upped the pitocin to the highest level and it was kind of nice to lay down and rest and not feel the contractions for a bit. But after a couple hours – by about 10 pm, I was only 7.5/8 cm dilated and baby was starting to react poorly to contractions and I had to be put on oxygen. So our midwife (who was awesome btw) told us is wasn’t an emergency but we were past 24 hours of my water being broke thus increasing the chance for infection, I was exhausted, baby wasn’t reacting well to contractions now, and they weren’t really sure what else to do get me to dilate all the way, so they recommended a c-section. So we went ahead and started getting ready for that.
Again not liking the idea of getting cut open, especially while still awake :-/. I emphasized I really didn’t want to feel them cut me open and they said they were going to up the epidural and I’d feel pressure but no pain. Well I think they really upped it and I didn’t feel pressure or anything but I think that combined with my nerves made me shake convulsively (from the belly button up where I wasn’t numb) and my neck and jaw were so tight and hurting. Ben was dressed up in scrubs but there wasn’t much he could do but rub my neck. Within a half hour baby Davin was born at 11:12 pm on 1/17 and Ben went with him to the NICU. They have a 1 visitor in the operating room rule but luckily we really pushed and they let our doula come in when Ben left and it was nice to have her there rubbing my neck. Honestly, even though this was pain free (for the belly down – which I’m thankful for! I’ve had friends who weren’t numbed enough and started screaming when they cut into them), it was the worst part of the day. It took a lot longer for them to sew me up than it did for them to get him out and I thought I’d never stop shaking and maybe my jaw would lock up or something.
Finally about 1am we were back in our room and I got to hold Davin and try to nurse him. At first I was like no, I’m shaking so bad I don’t think I can but while I was holding him I stopped shaking and life got a lot better :-).
So overall, we didn’t get the birth we planned and prepared for but everyone is healthy and so far no terrible side effects. I’m glad we did everything we did so I don’t have any regrets or wondering “if only we’d tried …” and all the midwives, nurses, and doctors at Vandy were really great.
We stayed at the hospital 3 nights … it was nice to have food and pills brought to me but lots of people checking in every hour and Ben had the tiniest hospital cot plus a newborn so not much sleep for anyone. About 3-4 hours after Davin was born, 3-4 the next night, and finally the last night we sent Davin to the nursery between feedings and got about 4-5 hours! The first day Davin was super sleepy – probably wearing off the epidural drugs in his system and didn’t want to nurse. He also spit up lots of amniotic fluid all day since with c-sections they don’t get it all squished out of them. The second day he finally started to nurse a little but wasn’t into sleeping so much. They were a little worried about his weight because he went from 7 lbs 14 oz at birth to 7 lbs when we left on 1/20. At the pediatrician on 1/22 he was still 7 lbs but today (1/27) they said he is back up to 7 lbs 10 oz! So doing pretty good now :).
I was on Vicodin and ibuprofen the first week after the c-section and then just ibuprofen and am doing pretty good. Ben was the most awesome birth coach and at home has been awesome bringing me food so I don’t have to go down the stairs to the kitchen, changed all the diapers the first week (now I’m getting my share ;), feeding Davin a bottle at night if Davin is “cluster feeding” and I am just too tired to nurse any more, being a pro swaddler, and having Davin’s bassinet on his side of the bed to calm him if he wakes (its kind of hard for me to sit up still w my incision plus at least Ben gets 45ish minutes of peaceful sleep when I nurse lol). We are super lucky that he gets to be on parental leave right now so we can figure this out together.
Anyways, it was a crazy adventure but we are slowly adjusting and learning this whole parent thing!