Great Expectations: Julie's Birth Story

violet 1.jpgOn May 27th, my daughter came two weeks early at 38w2d. I had the intent of working until June 3rd, with an EDD of June 8th. That was not to be. Nor would I attend my friend's wedding or see my boss retire after 40 years of service. My feet were so swollen that work day, that I left around 2pm and just put my feet up for the rest of the night. I went to bed around 8 or 8:30 pm and around 10 pm, my water broke, in my bed. Thank God I had put down a rubber mattress pad or I would have ruined my mattress. This was movie level gushing, combined with getting a charlie horse and I had to decide between ruining the carpet and pain or just staying in bed. I chose staying in bed.

We called the midwives shortly after. I was not having any contractions at that time and we figured this would be a long night. They wanted me come in to get started on an IV, as I had tested positive for Strep B. By the time we got to the midwives a half hour later, I was having strong contractions. I had specifically chosen to be with the midwives because of all the laboring options I would have (as well as their more "natural" mentality): the yoga ball, the jacuzzi tub, the bed, the birthing pool, the nitrous for pain. In the end, I used none of them successfully. The only position I could labor in was standing up or on the toilet. I was vomiting quite a bit during this time period and they gave me some sort of nausea medicine in my IV. Unfortunately, this doped me up so badly that I could not stand up when contracting. So then we tried the nitrous. However, I couldn't breathe at all through my nose and my throat was so dry that I could barely keep the mask on and it wasn't doing anything anyway.

My contractions were so intense by then that I decided I needed an epidural, as I could no longer labor in the positions that were at all comfortable for me. So off we went to the hospital! It was only a 7 minute car ride, but the back labor had started. This was the most painful and difficult part of the labor. We got to the hospital and I was full on moaning at this point. It would have taken a half hour for the blood tests to come back, then half an hour for something else and then the anesthesiologist would come. Well, it became clear that this was moving way too fast for all of that. I had this great nurse who was pushing down on my back and hips while I stood over the bed. Then I said, "Something has changed!" And up I was on the table with my legs spread.

I swore I wouldn't look in the mirror that they wanted to bring over, and I very much thought that my body would naturally know how to push. It didn't. As I was moaning my brains out, the very good nurse said very quietly, "Julie? Julie. You need to do it this way." And I would immediately do what she said. I had to push 3-4 times during each contraction and was easily able to "not push". Within about 15 minutes, I watched my daughter's head and body come out in several rounds. It took about 35 minutes to sew me up, with only barely 2nd degree tears. Door to door, my labor lasted less than 6 whirlwind hours. As a first time mother, I felt like it was unheard of! And I basked in the glow of how smoothly everything had gone and how happy I was that I didn't get an epidural in the end.

violet julie.jpgWe brought our beautiful 6 pound 7 ounce baby girl, Violet, home after a hospital stay. And we were trying to get into the newborn swing. But I just didn't feel right after a few days. I was dizzy with a headache. I took my blood pressure and it was through the roof (200s/100s at the highest). After two days of monitoring, I was admitted to the hospital with "atypical" (postpartum) pre-eclampsia. I won't get into all the treatment, but it was rough. I was hooked up on every arm and leg, and had a catheter, all while trying to breastfeed. My milk had come in beautifully and I would have my mother or mother in law hand me the baby, which was really fun with my IV in. I left after 36 hours of drugged treatment. Sadly, I think the blood pressure medication I am on has affected my milk supply and I have to meet with a lactation consultant. It broke my heart having to use formula the other night. However, I don't believe in starving my baby (and she has not gotten back to her birth weight at 10+ days).

All in all, I am very much blessed with this beautiful little baby. I gave birth with confidence. I had no idea that when I went to bed that night that my whole world would change so dramatically. I'm working hard to get as much sleep as possible and take care of everything the best I can. Her warm little body makes it all worthwhile. Thanks for letting me share my (long) story!

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