Friday the 13th: Liam's Birth Story
Friday the 13th… Yes, that’s right my son was born on Friday the 13th. I am not really one to believe in superstitions such as this, but you do have to admit it’s a pretty neat date to be born on. Prior to Liam being born the only other significant Friday the 13th was going to a NYSNC concert when I was 12-years-old. So I think it’s safe to say Liam’s birth beats that day hands down.
The day before Liam was born Colin and I watched a documentary about natural childbirth and how in today’s day and age so many women turn to medicine when it comes to birth. During my whole pregnancy I never once entertained the idea of using pain medicine during labor. I drilled into my head that women were meant to have babies and there is no need for medical intervention, I know I sound a little hypocritically when I say this, because I did have him in a hospital. But, the need for an epidural, medical induction and any other unnecessary procedure seemed so strange to me. Now, I don’t want to sound demeaning toward those who do utilize medicine during childbirth- I want to make it clear that those options just weren’t for me and I support those who chose those methods. The reason I am writing about Liam’s birth is I think it’s important for women to be proud of their accomplishment and to share their experience. So many people are fearful of childbirth because our society has made us believe birth is such a negative and horrendous event. So I’d like to share Liam’s birth story; even though I did experience pain and I did have a few negative moment.
I woke up just before 1am on January 13th, 2012 with pain in my low back. The pain wasn’t bad at all, it was just noticeable. I decided to get up drink some water and walk around, assuming it would just go away, but it didn’t. At this point about an hour had past so I started timing them. I would have one that was 3 minutes apart, then one at 5 minutes, then one that was 2 minutes apart, and so on. I was so confused because they felt irregular, but were getting more intense. I still didn’t think they were real contractions. I continued walking around, sitting on an exercise and I even tried going back to sleep which, was impossible. At about 3:30am I finally decided to wake Colin up to see what he thought, because in my mind I wasn’t in labor. He was so supportive he got up immediately and drew me a bath (we were told that if it was real labor the contractions would progress and if it wasn’t they would stop.) The bath actually relieved the pain in back so I continued to think it was false labor. After getting out of the bath everything got much more intense, I continued to labor at home till about 8am and decided to call my midwife after having a really strong contraction that made me throw up. She told me to head in to the hospital to get checked; she figured I was in early labor. As Colin started gathering all of our things my contractions seemed to get less intense and I didn’t want to go to the hospital just to get turned away.
Once we got to the hospital, they checked me and I was 4.5cm dilated, 100% effaced and at +1 station… he was extremely low. My contractions were getting much stronger but I could only feel them in my back and now in my tailbone. During the next 11 hours of labor that was the only pain I experienced, severe tailbone pain. Prior to having Liam I broke my tailbone twice. Once when I was 15-years-old, when I decided to give cheerleading a try and I was dropped during a basketball halftime show in front of the whole school straight on my butt. And the second time was, almost exactly a year to date before Liam was born (11/1/11). It was first day of marathon training and I slipped on a huge patch of ice. I blame my labor pains on cheerleading and snowy-icy weather!
During labor every once in a while I would have a contraction that didn’t affect my tailbone and it was a breeze. I honestly think that had my tailbone not been an issue I would have had no pain at all during labor.
Right after being admitted, I decided to sit in the Jacuzzi since it relieved my pain at home. After about 2 hours they checked me again and I had progressed to 6cm, so at that point I decided to walk to halls. I was told that would help progress things faster. So we walked for another 2 hours and at this point the pain was getting much more extreme and my midwife was sure I had made progress so she checked again and…NOTHING. Absolutely no progress. I went back to the Jacuzzi but was so discouraged- I was in a ton of pain, everything was more intense, I had been up walking around and I hadn’t progressed at all. At this point, I became super negative and started to cry. I kept saying “I can’t do this, I can’t.” My nurse that was in there at the time offered me an epidural and I am pretty sure I glared at her. On top of being in pain and discouraged, I was still extremely nauseous. I was given two rounds of nausea medicine and I still managed to throw up at least 5 times during labor. I have never been a fan of throwing up (who is?) but now that I have thrown up during extremely strong contractions… I will never complain about being sick again! At this point, I draped myself over the back of bed, which was supposed to help the pain in my tailbone. I also used the TENS unit to help during contractions, and Colin had to apply a ridiculous amount of counter pressure on my hips. Because I had lost so much fluid due to being sick, I couldn’t keep anything down and I hadn’t eaten anything since Thursday night at 6pm (he was born at 7:27pm Friday) I was so weak, exhausted and dehydrated they pumped me full of some sort of glucose, sugary concoction to get my blood sugar up and give me the energy to keep me going. After a few hours I started feeling the urge to push but was told I wasn’t far enough to do so (I was about 8cm). I had to do everything in my power not to, which was extremely hard. Eventually, I made it to 9.5cm and my midwife told me to push as she stretched me to 10cm!!!!
After 17.5 of labor and awful tailbone pain, I could see the end!!! Now, all I had to do was push him out. Which, I successfully did in under an hour… but just barely though, I pushed for 59 minutes! Right before I started pushing they decided to break my water to keep things going, which I am so happy they did because he found out that Mr. Liam had a bowel movement inside of me, creating thick Meconium. They called the neonatal nurses in so they could work on him immediately after birth. He began crying before he was completely out so he sucked in a ton of Meconium. His cry was strong at first but then it turned into gasping for air which wasn’t easy to hear. They had to take him straight to the nursery to pump his stomach and get him on oxygen. Meanwhile, I was stuck in the birthing room and I didn’t get to see Liam for 2 hours. During that period the 14 family members who were awaiting his arrival were able to see him through the nursery window and then came to visit me telling me about all his cute features. I was extremely sad that I hadn’t seen him, but very happy we had the support from our families and Liam has so many people who love him dearly.
I think it’s safe to say the only way I made it through my natural birth was the amazing support I received from Colin. I wouldn’t have been able to bring our son in to the world without his help, his love and his positive attitude. His reward: getting to spend the first two hours of Liam’s life without mommy…and getting to bond with his son on a very special level! And another special thanks to our amazing doula Becky…we both couldn’t have done it without her.
Since we’ve been home we are still adjusting to restless nights and Liam is still figuring out nursing, which has been a challenge for us but we are pulling through! He is 11 days old today and I will admit it’s going too fast already… before I know it we’ll be celebrating his first birthday! So even though I may not be fully rested, still have some frustrations about breastfeeding and dealing with the fact that mom or dads chest is a better place to sleep than his crib… I wouldn’t trade for the world because sooner than later he’ll be all grown up. (As I read this part aloud to Colin, I cried.)