Leo’s Birth Story
I’ve tried writing this so many times, fearful that I would forget. Thank God I took a bazillion photos that take me back to those exact moments. It was early September, around week 38 of the pregnancy, and I was having consistent contractions. My doula, and dear friend, Sylvia was texting with my husband and decided to come over to help and gauge their consistency. I was walking, stair-stepping, lunging, dancing and laughing all over my neighborhood. It was difficult to tell whether or not we should go to the hospital because no one knew my pain tolerance like I did. I knew it wasn’t time but I had also never been pregnant before so I wasn’t sure.
We called my doctor and he said it was better to be safe and come on into the hospital. Sylvia and Adam got everything ready and loaded into the car and I was procrastinating by cleaning the house (Hi! I’m Ayla and I’m a nervous cleaner). I kept telling them I wasn’t having the baby today and we should just stay home. I was mentally shutting things down, already. Plus I had it all in my head that I would literally say the words, “and just like that, my water broke.” I hadn’t said them, therefore baby boy wasn’t coming. But, to be fair, no one knew my level of pain tolerance so I guess it was better to be safe than sorry.
We arrived at the hospital and a nurse checked me, and I swear it felt like she shoved her entire arm up inside of me, only to tell me that I was still at a 4, very anterior, and 80% effaced. She suggested walking and I suggested punching her in the face (just kidding, but man I said a few choice words after she left the room). We walked and walked, and walked some more… only to find out 5 hours later that it wasn’t time and I was being sent home. Apparently, I was dealing with Prodromal Labor. I felt so defeated and helpless. I sat in the bathroom of the triage and bawled my eyes out for a good 30ish minutes. I didn’t say much and asked Adam if we could get a pizza on the way home. Everything stopped. No contractions, no aches, nothing. I tried to sleep but I couldn’t, obviously. I was already putting so much guilt on myself for not being strong enough to keep things going. DUMB. Ladies, don’t ever place guilt on yourself for something that’s out of your control!
Fast forward to the next day. I could feel the contractions starting back up but I still had so much guilt that they weren’t as strong as they were before. I started telling myself things like, “you’re probably not going to be a good mother anyway,” and, “this is all your fault. You could have a baby right now but you stopped it.” Like, what the hell?! It’s like Negative Nancy and Debbie Downer took control of my brain and wouldn’t let up! And the saddest part is, I just let them.
I wanted to get my mind off of everything, which is hard when you’re huge, uncomfortable, and have a baby squirming around inside of you. So, Adam and I decided to go to High Garden Tea to get some teas and to also talk to Leah (the owner) about what was going on to see if she had any suggestions. After explaining my situation and asking her for her opinion, she responded with, “How witchy do you want me to get?” I immediately laughed and told her to bring it on. She gave me tips/tricks and suggested a few teas to get things moving.
Side note: for all of you who don’t know me, I live a very holistic lifestyle. Like, I’ll obviously go to the doctor if there’s an emergency but I’m also going to try a few things to make sure there’s nothing I can do to help the situation first (I’ll get into that in another post).
I also met up with a homeopathic mama who, after describing how I stopped labor and mentally shut down, had suggested so many remedies to help. So, being willing to try anything at this point, Adam and I met her at Whole Foods and bought a homeopathic supplement kit from her (and I’ll get more into homeopathy a bit later, too).
I also want everyone to know that I don’t just take things blindly. I research everything, I weigh out the pro’s and con’s, and then decide what’s best for my body. My body is different than everyone else’s so never will you find me telling* you what to do, I’ll only be telling you what I did that worked for me. If you ever have any questions, I’m an open book so please feel free to email me 🙂
OKAY, back to it. So, here I am, trying everything (except castor oil) to get this kid moving and shakin’. It’s now Tuesday and I have a chiropractor appointment. I make Adam take me because driving has now become annoyingly uncomfortable. Dr. Pence adjusts me and it’s wonderful. Then we had this conversation:
Pence: Have you eaten anything today?
Me: Not yet.
Pence: You should go home and probably eat something with a lot of protein. You’re going to need it. How about you just text me tomorrow and let me know how you’re doing?
Pence smiled and I went on my merry way. Adam and I got home and I snacked around, but was really trying to finish up some work so I could nap. I asked Adam if he could maybe hang at home with me for the day JUST IN CASE something happened.
We were both at the kitchen table working and I was going back and forth with my co-workers on Basecamp and they were all surprised I wasn’t giving birth yet. I started to really get down on myself after a while because, let’s face it, I was tired of being pregnant. I decided to take a break and headed back to our bedroom to rest. I started to visualize the whole process and literally said, “Okay, that’s it! I’m over being pregnant and I’m ready to have this baby so let’s get this show on the road!” … and just like that, my water broke. I even said it out loud to really amp myself up because I ENVISIONED THAT HAPPENING AND IT HAPPENED!
P.s. if you ever take a birthing class and they go over your bag of waters breaking, they will most likely tell you that it will be a slow drip and you will have to check and make sure that’s actually what happened. Very rarely will the bag of waters breaking be a thing like you see in the movies. Mine broke like the flood gates had just opened up and I didn’t know what else to do besides sit on the toilet because I was afraid he was going to fall out of me. SO, just remember that everyone is different. If yours breaks and it’s a lot, you’re technically a movie star ;)… and even if yours is a slow drip, you’re still a movie star! We’re all the star of the show until the baby gets here (insert all the laughs and nervous breathing)!
All I had to do was say, “Adam…” and homie knew it was time to go. Good thing we had already went to the hospital once and had all of our things ready to go. Preparation at its finest!
It was around 2:15 p.m. when we arrived at the hospital and I was still gushing water like a strong current smacks up against the river bend. This time my triage experience was much better and we were moved to a room within the hour greeted by our nurse Glenda, the good witch (swear on my life this is what she called herself). She was AMAZING! She also told us that the weather may have had a lot to do with my water breaking. Apparently during times with low-pressure systems, pregnant mamas who are about to pop… will, pop literally. She then explained how so many babies were born during the eclipse and it was like a total madhouse at St. Thomas Midtown and all of the other hospitals.
Okay, here’s where things start to get a little hazy. Nothing was really happening between 3-7 p.m. But once 7 p.m. hit, my contractions really started picking up. Beforehand, I was all about a playlist with great jams, lots of comedy, etc. but when those contractions got to a point where I had to halt, music wasn’t my thing. And talking wasn’t my thing. Not from me, not from Adam, not from Sylvia. No one could talk. And all I had to do was put up index finger and everyone knew it was time to be silent.
I’m going to spare you many tiny details of me drinking cranberry juices to get my blood pressure up and fast forward to the good part . It’s 11 p.m. and I am making noises that I didn’t know I couldn’t make. A nurse comes in and literally says, “It sounds like transition up in here.” I finish up a contraction, come back to reality long enough to make a joke and remember not to scream because screaming moves things up. If you want to make noises, they have to be deep. Adam said I sounded like something from the pits of Hell. I don’t even know what that means but I do remember asking Sylvia if all women make these noises because no where in any birth video I watched did I see a woman make these noises [also writing a post about the stuff no one tells you… like transition and how you kind of sound like a demogorgon (only slightly kidding)].
Now it’s midnight. My doctor, Dr. Martin (probably the best OBGYN in all the land- seriously- this man was put on this earth to help women and deliver babies), comes in and tells me I really need to have this baby within the next few hours or I’ll have to have a c-section. You never really want to hear that but it also kind of puts you in a mindset of, “Hey, yeah, okay… let’s have this baby!” So, long story short(ish), I pushed for four hours. I hit the point all women hit. The point where you just want help, anything to take the pain away (this means you’re so close, so remember that). I begged for Nitrous Oxide, I knew it wouldn’t do much but I needed something. Once they handed me the mask it was like game over, I sucked it down so fast I broke the mask and they had to switch me to oxygen. I started using the mask as a clutch. I needed it to get me through. Like, I needed to hold it. The nurses kept telling me that if I just pulled my legs back, it would help so much with pushing because I would be more in control. Here’s the thing, when you are in transition, you are doing whatever you can to GTFO of transition. It took me three hours to realize they were right and as soon as I held my own legs, BOOM: baby boy crowned, Dr. Martin and staff entered and after a couple more pushes, I had a baby!
Well, this was longer than I anticipated. I had a lot to say, I guess.
Here’s something I want you to know though:
I don’t care if you had a natural birth, an epidural, a c-section, an induction… you are a STRONG mama. I mentally prepared for a natural birth (as much as one could anyways). I know people that had epidurals that went from 0-60 and had no time to think and BAM, there was a baby and a lot of pain following. I couldn’t have done that. That’s a superwoman if I ever did see one. All mama’s are super hero’s. That’s just a part of our job.
Labor is weird and crazy, but also really cool because you get a baby out of it <3