Birth stories… you either love them or could care less. I find I only cared about them when I was about to go into labor. Any false hope I could give myself at the end of that 9 months was VERY exciting to me. So if you’re currently bouncing on an exercise ball and thumbing through blogs, this is for you.
Arlo Bradley was born on July 3rd, making him overdue by 3ish days. On July 2nd my OB and I decided together that I would be induced the following morning at 7 am. My kidneys were beginning to swell and she felt like it was best to put me out of my misery (pregnancy misery that is).
Aunt Shauna came bright and early around 6 am to be here for Beck when he woke up. I was so nervous and sad thinking about leaving Beck and him no longer being our ENTIRE world, but also so incredibly anxious to no longer be pregnant.
Clay and I headed out and hit up Black Sheep (our local coffee joint) for breakfast sandwiches and an iced coffee for me. We pulled into the parking lot next to the trails and chatted and ate our food while I called the hospital to let them know I was reporting for duty and to see if they had a bed for me. They did! So we made our way to Lakeside.
We got checked in and cozy and they started me on Pitocin shortly after 7 am. My doctor arrived about 45 minutes later and asked if I wanted to go ahead and break my water. I wasn’t sure what to do as my doula had advised me the night before to let my water break naturally. I honestly had no idea what the best answer was so I called my doula and she said I could go for it, but to remember that I was going to go from 0-100 very quickly.
And she wasn’t wrong.
My original plan (though I knew better than to really have a plan after Beck’s rowdy arrival) was to go drug free. Since Beck was a c section, this was an attempted VBAC and I wanted it to be as natural as possible. Add to that the fact that epidurals scare me to death. My doula and I had decided that we would try laughing gas and she had me start it immediately as my contractions pretty much picked up in intensity right from the beginning. The laughing gas worked amazingly to take the edge off but allowed me to be up and moving. Unfortunately it only worked for so long and after a few hours I was in so much pain that I was unable to hold the mask over my mouth to breathe through the contraction.
About 5 hours in and my contractions were relentless and my cervix was not dilating. I was basically completely effaced walking in that morning and had been for days but for some reason my cervix did not want to progress. When they checked me after 5-6 hours and I was still at a 2, I completely broke down. I needed the epidural. As much as I hated the thought of that needle, I couldn’t bear that level of pain any longer. Unfortunately the anesthetist wasn’t around since she wasn’t expecting me as a patient. In the meantime, they gave me some fentanyl. That was an experience! When she finally arrived I was barely able to give consent for my epidural.
After the epidural I immediately started to relax and really enjoy the birth process. I started to dilate rapidly and after I’m not even sure how long, I started to push. I only pushed for about 30 minutes and the entire time the nurses and my doula and doctor were all raving about Arlo’s hair! It was, and still is, a big attention grabber!
If I could go back and do it all again, I would have gotten the epidural right away! I had such a great experience laughing and joking with Clay and the staff there once I was able to relax. And I think Arlo would have arrived a lot sooner than 11 hours after the induction had I done the epidural right away. But I’m proud of myself for trying. It’s easy to beat yourself up over what you hoped to do, but the reality is that after the 10 month marathon of being pregnant, it doesn’t really matter how you get your baby into this world.
Arlo was born at 6:32 PM at 8 lbs 12.7 oz. He had (and has) a full head of unruly blonde hair. Clay and I fell in love with him immediately. He was so chubby and snuggled in right away and started nursing like a champ. I cried and cried because it was the experience I always wanted to have. I will never forget that moment they placed him on my chest for the rest of my life.
I can’t tell this story without feeling emotional (as I’m sure most mothers do) and also without mentioning Clay. He was so encouraging to me the entire time. I know it was hard trying to help me navigate that pain but he stood next to me and held my hand the entire time.
We are so thankful to be a family of 4 now!