Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lily's birth story

At 15 days overdue I went into the hospital to be induced. They started the medication around 10am and then Luke left to take Jack to a friends house. Luke got back to the hospital around 11:30am just in time to help me through the start of some painful contractions. The nurse was worried that I wasn't in enough pain so she gave me an enema and increased the medication to speed up my contractions. That did the trick. The pain was to much for me to walk around anymore so I got into the hospital bed. After a half hour or so trying to practice relaxing through each contraction in the hospital bed, I was ready to get into the birthing tub (originally I had wanted Lily to be born in the water). Before I could get into the tub the nurse wanted to check and see how far along I was, she was shocked to see Lily's head right there! As soon as I got into the tub my water broke and I needed to push. I couldn't get enough power behind my pushes in the tub so I had to move back on to the bed and a couple pushes later Lily came right out! She toped the scales at just over 9 pounds and had a huge (15 inch) head full of black hair. We couldn't be more in love!
Last picture as a family of three

Minutes after birth
Luke and Lily

Jack meets Lily

Happy family

Coming home from the hospital
Proud brother

Lily's original due date was September 25th. As that date came and went my doctor started talking to me about being induced. Luke and I had been preparing for a natural unmedicated childbirth for 9 months so we really wanted to avoid the induction. My doctor told us that he was comfortable giving me 7-10 days past my due date, but then I would have to be induced. We tried everything to provoke labor: raspberry leaf tea, cinnamon tea, evening primrose oil, castor oil, sex, nipple stimulation, lots of walking, walking up the stairs sideways, relaxing, bouncing on the birthing ball, eating spicy foods, acupuncture, etc. There was nothing we didn't try. 

When I was 7 days past my due date I met with my doctor and he informed me that he was leaving on vacation in 3 days and that if I didn't have the baby by then I would need to call the hospital and schedule my induction. At that appointment he stripped my membranes to try to encourage labor. I was really hoping I would go into labor because I really like my doctor and wanted him to be there to deliver Lily. The 3 days went by and I still wasn't in labor. I called the hospital and told them I didn't want an induction yet, that I would like to go to 42 weeks before they induced me. I had to go into the hospital to have a few checks done to make sure Lily was okay staying in my belly longer and they agreed to let me have 5 more days. Again we tried EVERYTHING to bring labor on...but nothing worked. 

To make things even more frustrating I was having consistent contractions for 1 month now. They started out 10 minutes apart and worked up to 5 minutes apart all day long, every day. They would register on the monitors every time I went in for an appointment and everyone would get excited thinking I was in labor only to find out that the contractions were not progressing my cervix. By the time I was 42 weeks I was about 70% effaced and 2 centimeters dilated. The on-call doctor decided I needed to be induced the next morning. He suggested that I be induced with a pill called cytotec that is placed up near your cervix in hopes that it will stimulate contractions. After I met with the doctor I was able to see the midwife one more time and she did some aggressive accupuncture points as well as a very thourough and aggressive membrane sweep to try to get me into labor that night. I went home and cried. I was so upset that it had come to this. I really wanted a natural birth and felt like I wasn't going to get it. When I woke up the next morning I cried again realizing that I didn't go into labor during the night. But it was time for my induction and I felt good knowing that I gave Lily 15 extra days to come on her own and really had no other option since the birthing clinic usually only allows women 10 days past their due date. 

Around 8:00am we got all our bags together and headed over to the hospital. Luke and Jack came into the clinic with me and we were able to talk to the midwife and get me settled into the room and then Luke left to take Jack an hour away to a friends house in Interlaken. In the meantime the midwife checked my progress and noticed that I was now dialated to a good 3cm and my cervix was more favorable than the day before. She called the doctor and they agreed that the pill was no longer a good idea and that we should start right away with the lowest dose of pitocin and go from there. 

A little after 10am the midwife started me at 35ml/hour of pitocin. I noticed that the normal contractions I had been having for a month were starting to feel very crampy. But I wouldn't say they hurt yet. I figured we would be at the birth center all day so I started looking up some movies to watch and got out some books to read. I was in a pretty good mood and was walking around and cheerful. A half hour later the midwife says we need to up the pitocin to 60ml/hour. She wants to see my contractions coming every 3 minutes, which at this point they were but they weren't painful. The crampiness got stronger and more uncomfortable but my attitude didn't change. The nurse wanted to up the pitocin again but I was anxious for Luke to get back at this point. If things started to really get intense I needed him to be there. So she agreed to wait for Luke to get back and in the meantime I could order my lunch. 

Luke made it back to the clinic around 11:30am at which time the nurse suggests giving me an enema and then increasing the pitocin to 90ml/hr. She checks my dialation and I am about 5 cm dialated. I feel like I made good progress and didn't think that she needed to up the pitocin again, but since my contractions weren't painful it was decided that we would increase it to "get things moving." After she checked my cervix I stood up and lost a lot of mucus and blood which she said was a good sign that I was dialating. Then she gave me an enema and I had to walk around for 5 minutes and then use the bathroom. I noticed that it was difficult to walk around now. I actually didn't make it the whole 5 minutes before I went to the toilet to sit down through the next contraction. After the enema did its work my lunch had arrived, but by now I had no appetite. By now Luke is hungry and I told him he could eat my lunch. He tries to get me to eat but I could only taste one bite of mashed potatoes and that was it. I felt bad because I knew we were possibly there for a long time and I would need the energy, but my body would not take the food. This was the first time I noticed that my brain wanted one thing and my body was telling me something else. 

The contractions are getting more intense and only a minute or so break between each. I am trying to breathe and relax and stay clam through each contraction and I don't think the nurse or Luke knew just how intense things were getting.   The nurse is still trying to push for things to go faster. She wants to give me drugs to help the cervix dialate easier and she wants to break my water to get my contractions harder. At this point I am leaning over the bed through each contraction and I can't talk through them. I was starting to get nervous because the nurse was acting like she expected this to be a long labor if I didn't take her advice, yet I felt like it was already very intense. I told her no to both the drugs and that I didn't want her to break my water. She seemed a little upset but I felt things were already tough enough. Although I am guessing that by looking at me the nurse didn't think things were tough yet because I was really trying to relax.  Each contraction seemed to be double the strength of the previous. I was able to try a few more positions such as sitting on the birthing ball, kneeling on the floor and rolling around with my arms and head on the birthing ball, then I tried staying on the floor and leaning against the bed. I was getting a bit flustered that I couldn't find a position where I could relax. Finally I told Luke that I needed to get into the bed. He thought it was too early, after all we had only been laboring together for an hour or so. In both our minds we still had another 6 hours to go. I was somewhat dissapointed that I couldn't continue with all the labor positions we had learned about, but again my body overrode my brain and told me I needed to be in the bed. And from here on out labor was just like that, my brain didn't understand what was happening and my body just took over. Once in the bed the contractions continued to double in pain, I started moaning through contractions and saying "open" to my cervix as the contraction peaked. I was trying my best to stay relaxed and to visualize my cervix opening over Lily's head.  The contractions seemed to come faster and faster and I found it very hard to relax. Luke said I was keeping all my tension in my feet. When I was in bed I found I didn't really want to be touched. The nurse and Luke wanted to help with the pain I was feeling in my back but it was too difficult for me to relax through the contractions when they were touching me. I think I got a little cross with them and told them just to stop.  Luke wanted me to get up and try to pee (he was determined to get me to pee every 30 minutes to make sure I was constantly moving and not getting stuck in one position). I couldn't do it. I couldn't get up. I felt like I had reached my pain limit on the bed and I needed to get into the tub. I was a little worried because only a few minutes ago I was 5 centimeters and they usually don't want you to get into the tub until 7 centimeters since the warm water could stall the contractions. But then the next contraction felt "different" I told the nurse that I felt the contraction more in my butt and I had a vague sense of needing to push. I just kept saying that I wanted to get into the tub, I needed to get into the tub. The nurse and Luke were talking and she was taking her time filling the tub. I think since I was trying so hard to relax on the bed that they had no idea how much pain I was in. The nurse finally said she would start filling the tub and then she wanted to check me again before I got in the water. After the next contraction she checked the dialation and her demeanor changed as she said "you're complete." Those were the best words I could have ever heard! I knew that what I was feeling was a lot of pain and I couldn't imagine going on like that for many hours, I was so happy that I wasn't being a wimp and that I truly had made a lot of progress. The nurse started to panic because the doctor was not at the hospital so she needed to call him and tell him to come quickly. Apparently when I was on the bed she could already see Lily's head. I really needed to get into the tub. I had wanted a water birth and it is so funny that my body knew exactly when it was time even though my brain was telling me there was no way that after only 30 minutes or so I had dialated from 5 to 10.  Luke and the nurse helped me into the tub and right away I felt a weird sensation and knew that my water had broken. Thankfully it was clear and the baby had not pooped in utero as is sometimes common for overdue babies. Once in the tub I felt some relief. The hot water was awesome. Again my body took over and I needed to be on my knees leaning over the edge of the tub. Luke was great as he was holding me up and I could relax against him. The nurse was still frantic and needed to call in the assistance of another midwife since the doctor was not at the hospital. This frantic atmosphere was really bothering me and I just wanted her to be quiet. Thankfully all her frantic calls for help were in German so I could easily tune them out. Luke was doing a great job being calm and I was just leaning on him to get through. Soon the desire to relax was gone and replaced by this maddening urge to push. Another nurse showed up and both nurses were starting to really annoy me. They were poking and prodding me and trying to get the monitor on my belly to hear the baby's heartbeat. Everything they were doing was to make sure that the baby was okay, but it was really annoying. I was still just trying to lean on Luke and ignore the nurses.  The urge to push kept getting stronger and I started to become afraid. The pain was unbearable and although I didn't say it, I was thinking to myself that I wanted a c-section. I could feel the bones of Lily's head grinding against my pelvis bone. I couldn't imagine being able to push that huge thing out and I started doubting myself. I was nervous pushing and I think I was even holding back. I could feel her head coming out but it hurt so bad that I would stop pushing and let her head go back inside so I could get a rest from the pain. I wasn't prepared for this sort of intensity. With each contraction my moans turned into yells and I had an overwhelming desire to bite something. My nurses arm was right in front of my face and I wanted to bite down on it so bad (don't worry, I didn't do it). At one point the nurses said "she has hair!" and I was able to feel the baby's head. But this didn't make me want to push her out, I was really scared to push her out. The doctor arrived shortly and everyone (except Luke) was frantically podding me and trying to reach the baby. I was still on all fours leaning against Luke but they wanted me to lay back in the tub and push to see if I could get the baby out that way. It may have worked if I tried harder, but I was so scared of this pain and having her big head come out that I couldn't do it. The nurses sensed that I couldn't get enough power behind my push so they told me to stop yelling with the push and to use that energy to push her out. I tried again but the fear and pain was holding me back from getting her out, then they said I had one more chance and then I had to get on the bed.  I couldn't get her out with the next push so everyone helped me onto the bed.  I felt like she was going to fall out of me as we walked a few steps from the tub to the bed.  Luke sat behind me on the bed and it was a great position. I could lean against him until the contraction and then pull up into a semi-squat with the bars while I was pushing.  I still couldn't get her out though so the doctor said he would cut with the next contraction.  I knew in my mind I had to really give this last push everything and then it would be over...I just wanted it over!  with the next contrction the doctor cut me a little and out she came...long dark hair and all!  They gave her to me right away and I just held her.  I was still in so much pain and I was bleeding badly. The doctor started getting really nervous from all the blood and gave me some drugs to stop the bleeding. The placenta came out very quickly and the dotor examined it for quite a while.  Finally they said it all looked good but I was still bleeding a lot from my uterus.  I was feeling a lot of pain so I finally asked for something to help and the nurse gave me a pill.  It didnt help too much and I still neded some stictches (though not as many as I had with jack). I was still bleeding a lot but the doc felt I was okay so he left. Everyone left us alone with Lily but then I started feeling quite dizzy.  I told luke to call the nurse and she took my blood pressure which was around 70/34.  She stared to panic again and called the doc and gave me some injections.  I was still very dizzy for the next hour or so and even though my blood pressure returned to normal I felt like I couldnt get out of bed. Finally the nurse told me I needed to try to pee, but when I stood up a ton of blood came out and I told them I was going to faint. Thankfully Luke and the nurse each had an arm so I didn't fall to the ground.  They moved me onto a bed and over the next 30 minutes I tried to get from laying to sitting to standing. Finally I made it to the toilet (3 steps) and immediatley felt dizzy again.  It took a good 20 minutes for me to pee and then I tried to stand to get back to the bed but felt dizzy again.  I had to be wheeled up to my room on a bed (not walking like I thought I would) I had to stay in bed most of the night as I had no strength. I needed help walking to the bathroom and getting back into my bed. It wasn't until the next morning that I was actually able to walk to the bathroom by myself. The recovery from this birth has been very difficult. I thought that since I avoided the epidural that I would feel great after but apparently the speed of the birth and Lily's size took a huge toll on my body.  At first I was pretty traumatized by the whole experience, but now after a couple days I can look back on my (partially) unmedicated childbirth and be happy with the way things turned out. 


  1. Wow! Jenny, thanks for writing all the details down of your experience! It's amazing how different each birth experience can be! I am so happy for you that both you and Lily are healthy, congrats again! :) ~Wendy

  2. Thanks for sending me the link so I could read your story. Sounds like it was pretty emotional and crazy. I had a couple in France do classes by DVD too, and their experience was somewhat similar with the nurses. Interesting that she kept wanting to up the pitocin. Like you said, the fast labor (due to the pit) sounds like it took a toll. Between you and me, I feel the same way about pushing. It's my least favorite part if the experience. Proud of your accomishment! Enjoy your Babymoon. Did I send the breastfeeding DVD with your classes?