Wednesday, November 5, 2014

I Am Not Broken. A Birth Story.

My Bella Jane. Talk about fashionably late. Even at 12 days past her due date, she came slow and
steady into this world. Apparently my uterus is like the Taj Mahal of uteruses - so why leave?
I guess the "all you can eat" milk buffet just doesn't compare.

41 weeks //

All my people from far and wide were sending me every trick in the book to induce labor. God bless 'em!
Check. Check. Check. Did it all. 3 or 4 times over for good measure. Yea about that whole pineapple I ate
- all I got was a couple cankers, thank you very much. My favorite was a message from a friend
reminding me about how "funky town" from Parenthood would totally work. Anybody?!

Totally did NOT work. But again, we did our best. Wink.

I am so thankful that my doctors were willing to let me take this pregnancy to 42 weeks.
Since I have had a C-SECTION, most OB-GYNs in my experience are not too comfortable with such
ideas. But knowing that I have one successful VBAC under my belt (funny, right?!), I was confident
that I could do it again. I just needed time. And time was given.

I wrote a whole post about my "non birth plan" plan, but at 10 days past my due date I looked my doctor
in the eye for the last time before we would meet in the hospital and told him...

"I told you that I have NO plan, but that's a lie.
I am going to VBAC and you are NOT going to cut me open."

To that he said, "That's right!"

Again, thankful for supportive doctors. I felt like they believed in me and were so open
to all the little alternatives that I requested. If anyone in the Chicago-area is looking for
some solid Catholic OB-GYNs - I cannot recommend this practice enough. I love them.

Two days before my scheduled "light induction" (no promise of a VBAC, but at least a trial of
labor), I decided it was time. CASTOR OIL. Yes, I did. My doc actually said to give it a shot -
so I followed my cousin's midwife's directions (because midwives are so cool) and later that night...

contractions woke me up.
They were tolerable, but I could not sleep through them.
2-3 minutes apart for hours and hours. I woke my husband and told him I was jumping in the shower,
but encouraged him to keep sleeping because I had been having "fake outs" for many days and was
sure this was just another round of fun.

I then checked in with my doctor, and he asked me if my bags were packed.

But by the time I got to the hospital those beautifully consistent contractions were fading. I was
instructed to "WALK!" Round and round the labor and delivery floor. 3 hours later it was determined
that I was NOT in actual labor. Another fake-out. Technically I could go home.

Since I was 12 days overdue, dilated to 3, with a scheduled "light induction" less than 12
hours away, we decided to stay at the hospital and let the doctor break my water. Once I felt
that initial gush, I got that "HOLY COW THIS IS IT" feeling! In less than 24 hours we are
going to have a baby in our arms!

You would think that a 10 and a 1/2 pound baby would just fly out after the water had been
broken, but no. Hours later I found myself hooked up to my BFF, pitocin. That's a joke.
The BFF part.

Every hour or so they would bump up the dosage and my contractions would become stronger,
more consistent. Once I was dilated to 7 the doctor came in and turned off the pitocin;
thinking that my body would do the rest on its own. 5 minutes - 7 minutes - 10 minutes -
the contractions started drifting off to nothingness.

This was my panic moment. I asked every nurse that came in, "is my body broken?"

I cried. Partly from the pain, but more so from the fear and frustration of my body not responding.
I began to repeat in my head, "I AM NOT BROKEN. I AM NOT BROKEN. I AM NOT BROKEN."

My doctor came back in and said he was sorry, but that they were going to turn the pitocin back on
at the highest level safe for my condition (c-section scar). He asked if I wanted the epidural
first. I said, "NO" - determined to overcome the situation, thinking "I've got this."

10 minutes later, back on pitocin, I paged the nurses 2 times and eventually sent my
husband out in the hall with instructions NOT to come back without the anesthesiologist.

The pain subsided to the level of bearable and I just laid there on the hospital bed.
Feeling defeated. Crushed. Beaten by the woes of induction. My breathing slowed and I held
my husband's hand as the box fan whirred next to me, blowing away the tension and my furrowed brow.

Finally, I could feel the baby descending with that great rush of pressure. It's time. I knew it
was time. 30 minutes of pushing, deep breathing, chanting in my heart, "I AM NOT BROKEN!" ---
and then LIFE. I pulled myself up to see the doctor turning the baby over, hearing the nurse
ask, "is it a boy or girl?!"

GIRL. It's a girl.

Nathan got to cut the umbilical cord right before they rushed her over to clear out her lungs
(meconium). So surreal. Tears filled my eyes and no words came. No words. It was like being a
first-time parent all over again. A daughter?! The awe of it all - felt so different.

Her daddy got to hold her first. In fact, I'm pretty sure Nathan got to hold all of our children
before I did due to complications with each delivery. I guess the universe didn't get the memo that
the I was pregnant for 40+ weeks and probably should have dibs on holding the baby first! HA.

But it was wonderful. Happiest of memories. Nathan handed her to me, and even though I had planned
to breastfeed RIGHT AWAY -- I just stared at her; completely overcome with newborn baby bliss,
drowning in a sea of hormones and emotions. It's one of those SURPRISE OF YOUR LIFE kind of moments. You know?

We prayed for her. We waited for her. We are celebrating her.
Lady Bella Jane, welcome to our family!!! We love you more than you will ever know!

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  1. I followed your link from IG. :) As a vbac mom I can totally relate! Good job, mama. This is precious.

    1. Thank you, Hannah!!! YEA for VBACs!!! Such a gift, right?! XO

  2. i adore that last photo!!!!!


    1. She makes me swoon. The little punk. We kinda love her!!! Thanks, N <3

  3. I LOVE her!! She is so beautiful so great job on the name ;) Ben has called Stella, Stella Bella from day one and it is the sweetest. I am SO happy you got your VBAC and yes, your body is not broken!! Such a good ending to a good storing written by a good God.

    1. Amen, friend!!! Man, I wish we lived closer together. So sick of all these cool people being spread around the country. Our kids would be BFFs!!!! And Stella Bella?! Precious. P.S. I LOVE the name Stella! Nathan would NOT have it. Stella and Bella should get together!!! AHHHH!!!!

    2. Obviously I meant story, not storing ;) Maybe they should be pen pals. Do those exist anymore??

    3. PEN PALS should ALWAYS exist!!!! I won't let that "art" die!

  4. Gave me goosebumps reading this! A follower over at IG so glad I clicked on your blog link. You've a way with words.


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