We are honored today to share a birth story from one of our recent online birth class graduates. As you read you will find that the end of pregnancy and the labor were not without some unexpected surprises, but because this mom and her partner had worked so hard preparing for their birth, they were still able to have a fabulous experience.
To us, that is really what it is all about- education, preparation, knowledge, and then going forward and having the best outcome possible no matter what happens.
We are so grateful to Tina for sharing her story with us! If you also took an online (or in person) class and would be willing to share your birth story with us, we would love to have it! You can message sarah(at)birthbootcamp(dot)com and we will be in touch!
My name is Tina Mitchell and I took the Birth Boot Camp online class, and gave birth on April 17th 2014 and this is the story of the birth of my daughter.
On March 25th at about 11 pm, I awoke suddenly to my first “contraction“, I’d had Braxton-Hicks all throughout my pregnancy, but this definitely felt different. I was only 37 weeks pregnant with my first child, so I knew this could be a false alarm, so I laid back down. But, when I had another one several minutes later, I decided to sit up and time them, just to make sure.
After an hour of timing them, my contractions were consistently 8 minutes apart, I texted my midwife to let her know what was going on, she told me to get some sleep and if the contractions got closer together by morning to let her know. So I went to sleep, the next morning they had completely stopped. I felt quite embarrassed at having texted my midwife over nothing, but she reassured me that this was normal.
Well it certainly became my normal, every night, around the same time, the same thing would happen over and over again. I would get contractions that were 7-8 minutes apart, go to sleep and they’d be gone by morning. After three weeks of this kind of prodromal labor, I was starting to lose my mind a little. Even though I had diligently kept a good diet and exercise routine, and had had no complications, the last three weeks were quite miserable, mostly because of the sleep deprivation brought on by the prodromal labor I was experiencing at night. As my due date approached, I had convinced myself that I would not go into labor until at least 42 weeks.
The night of April 14th, the same prodromal labor began, I started crying, not because of the pain, but because of the exhaustion. My pregnancy had been absolutely wonderful up until then, and really it was still going quite well. My blood pressure remained 100/67 pretty consistently throughout the whole pregnancy, I had no issues with my blood sugar, I was eating and exercising, I felt like I had done everything “right” and I had somehow been cursed with this terrible prodromal labor that was taking away my precious, precious sleep.
To make matters worse (in my mind anyway), earlier that day I had seen my midwife and she told me that:
a) my baby was not in an ideal position, which of course made me cry because, weeks earlier when I was first told this, I had done a Google search on what a “sunny side up” delivery would be like, coupled with the information given in the birth class and I was terrified.
b) that my baby was at least 9 lbs. I wish she hadn’t told me, and if I had to do it again, those two pieces of information are things I definitely wouldn’t want to know again.
I had had cervical exams, those didn’t impact me in the least (probably because of the class) and any amount of dilation or effacement hadn’t excited me, or worried me at all. But I also wanted to have them done, not sure why exactly but it gave me peace of mind that my midwife knew what was going on. But knowing she was sunny side up and that she was a “larger baby” brought me more stress than anything else. (Side note: Although I was receiving the advice to go to a chiropractor from both the class and my midwife, my husband and I are skeptics and do not trust any type of alternative medicine, including Chiropractic health.)
So when the dreaded prodromal labor began the night of April 14th, I didn’t even think about it twice, I went to sleep and expected it to go away by morning. When I awoke the next morning, something different happened; the contractions hadn’t gone away. I was still skeptical, I was convinced this wasn’t actually the start of my labor, I did send a text to my midwife to let her know but I was convinced they would go away. Well by noon, the contractions were consistently 4 minutes apart and quite a bit more jarring than they had been before.
I updated my midwife, who asked me to come into the birthing center, and advised to bring my bags. When I arrived, it was clear to everyone that I was in early labor, everyone but me. I was still in denial, when my midwife checked my cervix I was dilated to a 7, stretch to an 8. I was completely effaced, baby was in a -1 station. All of this information was enough to convince me that this was the “real thing”. So I labored…and labored, and labored some more. My contractions coming at 4 minutes, but this whole time I kept telling my midwife “Not that I want to complain or anything, but I feel like this should be more painful.”
She took what I was saying seriously, she didn’t just laugh it off, by around 8 pm, my contractions started slowing down, and when my midwife checked my cervix, it had gone back to 5 cm. She advised me to get some sleep, which I did and low and behold, by morning the contractions had stopped. Wonderful. She offered to break my water, but as exhausted and frustrated as I was, because I was GBS+, I knew my labor would then be on a time clock, and the baby was still at a minus station, I chose to wait. Donna’s words in the online class really helped with this decision.
So we picked up our bags, and headed home. I was completely emotionally drained and spent the day in bed. Thankfully, we hadn’t told anyone but our parents that I had gone into labor so I wasn’t answering any questions of “did you have your baby yet” from well meaning friends. In fact I had avoided telling anyone my due date for that exact reason.
On Thursday morning, I told my husband to go to work because I was never actually going to go into labor. I’ll admit, I was angry, I was frustrated, I was exhausted, and I was resentful. My husband left, reluctantly, at 4:30 that morning. His work requires him to drive our only vehicle to one end of the city, and pick up his box truck, and drive to the other end of the city, you can imagine where this is going. Yup, an hour and 15 minutes later, I went to the bathroom, had a contraction and my water broke. Fantastic.
I calmly woke up my mother, who had been staying with us, and I called my midwife. She asked me if there was any meconium in the fluid, and I knew that there was. There was a lot of meconium, and it was thick. So after discussing it for a few minutes, we decided that the best course of action at this point was to make my way to the hospital and she would meet me there with my medical files and birth plan. Of course, we had no vehicle and my husband was all the way at the other end of the city, so we called our upstairs neighbor and my mother and I made our way to Baylor University Medical Center of Dallas. She dropped us off at emergency and an orderly wheeled me to maternity.
My husband arrived shortly thereafter, and I was admitted. I kept repeating that I was GBS positive, and felt pretty ignored at this point because they wouldn’t start antibiotics. This was my first pregnancy, my water had just broken, surely I still had hours, possibly days, to go. At this point, I assumed they were probably right since the contractions weren’t any stronger than what I had experienced two days earlier. My husband was in constant communication with my midwife, everything was going smoothly , and because I was a birthing center “transfer”, I was never offered an epidural or any kind of pain medication, although I’m not sure if it’s because the hospital has a policy of respecting peoples wishes or because they didn’t have time. At around 7:30 am, about an hour after being admitted I tell my nurse that I feel like I need to have a bowel movement. The nurse told me to wait, because what I could be feeling is the need to push, so they checked me again, and sure enough I was dilated to 10 centimeters.
The resident then asked me to do a “practice push” and, according to to my husband, had a look of shock on her face because she could see the top of my baby’s head. She calmly brought down my gown and told the nurse “Can you call in the doctor. Right now,” and evidently the nurse saw the urgency on the resident’s face because she called the doctor and a level 2 NICU team (because of the thickness of the meconium) and within 2 minutes my room filled with about 15 people, between the NICU team, the doctor, the nurses and the residents (including two who were there for no other reason but to observe) and the doctor then asked me if I could stop pushing. HAHA…HA. NO. The pain was much worse than it had been and I was feeling the contractions coming one after another. Five pushes later, at 7:45 am, my 9lbs 4 oz baby was born, posterior lie, and sent straight to the NICU team.
I didn’t get to hold her right away, for the umbilical cord to keep pulsing, the immediate skin to skin, or the time to let the skin absorb the vernix. But according to the medical staff and my husband, there was a lot of meconium and it was thick, they needed to make sure she didn’t aspirate any, which, thankfully she didn’t. They sent her to the NICU where she remained for 2 hours and she was brought to my room.
My experience wasn’t exactly how I had imagined it, but I did have a fabulous natural birth, and a beautiful healthy baby, she suffered no adverse effects to the meconium, nor the GBS. I’ve been exclusively breastfeeding which has been going wonderfully. She was born where she needed to be born, and if the Lord blesses us with another child, we will absolutely stick with a midwife.
Many things contributed to my having a wonderful birth, I know that had I been in the hospital when I went into labor on the 15th, that my experience would have been much different. Without the information I received in the online class, the experience would have been a lot more confusing and a lot more scary.