Labor of Love: An Empowering Birth According to Plan
mamabare.co loves showcasing our most popular segment in this community – where women can share their own stories of pregnancy, loss, labor and motherhood. In Labor of Love, we are reminded that our stories are so unique in their own ways, yet entirely universal.
Chloe is mama to Laila (7), Rhiannon (4), and Abram (2). She and her family recently relocated back home to North Carolina after moving around the American Southeast during her husband’s military career. She is currently in nursing school and works at a local hospital. In her free time, she loves cooking with her family and spending as much time as possible outdoors.
mamabare.co asked about her birth experience with son Abram – and she had lots to share (including smushy newborn shots – lovvve)! Welcome Chloe!
Describe Your 3rd Pregnancy
My pregnancy with Abram was by far the most difficult. I had all-day sickness well into my second trimester, which proved to be quite challenging while taking care of two other kids. Prior to getting pregnant with Abram I had started working really hard to get in shape, and I was able to continue yoga and Pilates throughout pregnancy. I believe that really gave me the strength I needed for a tough delivery. (I was even at the gym while in labor!) Even though it was physically the most challenging pregnancy, knowing it was my last helped me to really appreciate what my body was doing and treasure all those (painful!) kicks and rolls inside me.
Tell Us About Your Labor With Your Son
Monday morning I woke up around 1 am having contractions about 10 minutes apart. The contractions were very strong in my lower back and I told my husband the baby might be sunny side up (occipital posterior presentation). It was such a different feeling from what I was used to in my first two labors. The contractions eventually fizzled out and I went about my regular day : going to Pilates and hanging out with my youngest daughter before an afternoon doctor’s appointment.
My husband went to the doctor with me and I was 4cm dilated. I asked for a membrane sweep to get things going since this was the most pregnant I had ever been (39 weeks 4 days). Contractions continued off and on that evening, but overnight they went back to being 10 minutes apart. ALL. NIGHT. LONG. They were just enough to wake me up and keep me from getting a good night’s rest.
All day Tuesday the contractions continued, right around 10 minutes apart. I went to a playdate (and got to make everyone very nervous!). Eventually I did consent to letting my friend Jen drive me home because, even though they were far apart, my contractions were pretty intense and lasting about 45 seconds. They would randomly get closer together but then would space back out. I took a nap and when I woke up I was convinced everything had stopped. My friend Carly came over and I got to make her nervous too! But I did let her drive me to pick my eldest daughter up from school.
When my husband got home from work we went to the gym because I could not just sit around waiting for something to happen. I walked a mile and a half and then we did the stairs outside for about half an hour. We came home, ate dinner, and when I got out of the shower I told him: “I think something is happening.” My contractions went to five minutes apart for about an hour. Chad went in total freak out mode and arranged for the girls to go to a friend’s house. We headed to the hospital.
"You're Not Going Anywhere!"
On the way, everything went inconsistent again.
3 minutes apart.
7 minutes apart.
10 minutes apart.
2 minutes apart.
It was SO frustrating. I refused to go up to Labor & Delivery for at least an hour. Instead, I walked the halls and stairs in the lobby. I tried to get my husband to just take me home, but he said I should at least get checked while we were there. Around 11 pm we went up and got in a room. I was only 4-5 cm and my contractions were still all over the place. My nurse wanted 20 minutes of monitoring then suggested we take an hour to walk around and see what happened before heading home. I did more stairs and continued to have painful contractions, but they never got consistent. On the way back to my room, I told my nurse: “Nothing is happening. I just want to go home and go to sleep.” She checked me again around 1 am and to my surprise, I was 7 cm. She laughed and said: “Sorry, but you’re not going anywhere!”
Following the Birth Plan
At that point I gave her my birth plan and got hooked up to an IV since I was positive for Group B Strep. She asked me once: “So you don’t want an epidural?” and I said “Nope!” I was never offered pain medication again. She asked a couple of questions about other things on my birth plan and then left me to labor. The only caveat I was given was that I could not do the stairs anymore since I needed to stay on the L&D floor. My amazing OB showed up around 2:30 am to let me know she was there for whenever I needed her, but she was going to sleep until it was baby time.
I continued to walk the halls and labor. Everyone left me alone besides checking heart tones about once an hour. I didn’t even have to get in the bed for that. I really just wanted to be left alone and even let my husband doze on the couch a little bit. Finally at 4 am I asked to be checked again and was dilated 9 cm.
I still had no pattern or consistency to my contractions, but things were starting to hurt…a LOT. I was starting to panic that I wouldn’t be able to do it or that my son just wasn’t in the right position. At 5:30 am I asked nurses to wake up my doctor and asked her to break my water. My son was so low and engaged that it took her several tries to break the sac. It got even more intense after that and about twenty minutes later I started feeling a lot of pressure, but wasn’t getting the urge to push.
I was leaning against the side of the bed and the nurse suggested I try the squat bar. At this point the delivery team and my OB went ahead and came in. I tried the squat bar for a few minutes but couldn’t get “comfortable” or in the groove. Then I tried the stirrups and hated that. The room was silent except for one person I wanted to punch because she was talking about her kitten. My doctor said: “We’re all rooting for you Chloe! Just let us know what you need.” But that was it.
Finally Meeting Her Son
Finally I got on my hands and knees and tried pushing that way. I felt like I couldn’t remember how to push and started to panic even more. I should have known my son was close to coming out because I got REALLY hot (my husband ended up ripping my gown off and everyone fanned me). I also felt like I was going to throw up and my awesome OB just said: “That’s okay! Throwing up is great pushing!”
Finally after 2-3 pushes I sat back into a squat, holding onto the top of the bed and felt my pushes start to work. Once I figured it out, my son Abram came in 3 pushes at 6:15 am. He was sunny side up, like I thought. My OB passed him through my legs still attached and I held him on my chest until I delivered the placenta. I didn’t get the rush of emotion I had after my daughter Rhiannon. I think just because I was SO tired from laboring all night. At least three times I said: “Is he really a boy???” which everyone found pretty amusing.
The Most Empowering Labor
My birth plan was followed perfectly. The only things that we didn’t get were for my husband to catch our son (which is just because we forgot about it in the moment!) and I didn’t want Pitocin following delivery – but had to get two bags due to hemorrhaging. Even though it was my longest and hardest labor, it was the most empowering because I truly felt like I was in control the entire time. I received such incredible support from my doctor and the nursing staff. We are DONE having babies but I keep telling my husband the only way we would have another is if it was with Dr. Knodel. I seriously love that woman!