Time has come that I can now write about all of the experiences I had bringing our final baby into our home. I can say “final” with absolute certainty. More on that later.
This third pregnancy was my hardest by far. Sure, I had nausea with the others. And I was tired. But these nine months took it to a new level. Beyond nauseous, I felt motion sickness all-the-time. I couldn’t watch TV, work on the computer, or read. The only thing I could do was sleep. And, I did a lot of that my first few months of James’ pregnancy.
By the middle of the second trimester, I started to feel a little better. I could get out of bed. Eat a normal meal. Work a little, and play a little with the kids. Then, came the third trimester. I got hit with pretty much all of the icky pregnancy things that can happen. Plus, contractions. Plus, the heat of summer. Plus, the worry.
You see, I was told I shouldn’t have baby #3. You can read why in the the story of my previous births here, and about my decision to have James here. Bottom line: In the delivery room after the doctor delivered Will, she told me I should never have another baby.
So, I had a spite baby.
Ok, not really. As a family, we decided we wanted another baby, learned the risks, and made the decision to have a third child together.
Prior to getting pregnant, I had been thoroughly warned by my doctor (not the one from Will’s delivery!), that things may not go well. I had a rare complication (retained placenta) in the previous pregnancies that may or may not present itself in a future pregnancy. But, given my history, I could expect to (a) have a D& C in the delivery room – I’ve already had 4, (b) need one or more transfusions, (c) possibly have a hysterectomy after delivery, and (d) I was warned that I had a higher risk of maternal death (low, but it was -and is for any pregnancy – there).
Because I know how hard labor and delivery is regardless of your risk of complication, I knew I wanted to have a great team of support for my husband and me. We were going to need a positive environment, experienced professionals, and a solid birth plan in place. Which meant – I scheduled my induction for the day that I knew the doctor I wanted would be available, I hired amazing doulas, and I limited family visits to the hospital for after the baby was born and we were all feeling well.
I went into the hospital on the day of my induction ready to go. As most of you know, once you hit 9 months in your pregnancy, you’re willing to do almost anything to get that baby out. And although you know blood, sweat and tears are inevitable, you welcome the opportunity to get the show on the road!
My doulas, Kimmery and Chloe from Doula Partners, were there from the first minute. They met us in the lobby of the hospital, bright and early. They helped me get into my gown, had calming essential oils to soothe me, and rubbed my feet as we got the IV, Pitocin, and everything else started. At one point, when the doctor first came in, there was a moment of shock – what’s this laboring woman doing with her husband on his tablet and two ladies rubbing her feet? Yeah, folks. That’s how it should be done!
Honestly, despite my fears about the delivery, everything went according to plan (the best-case-scenario plan). They started the Pitocin and gradually increased the dosage. As when I was laboring with Will, I waited until I could absolutely-not-go-another-single-second-more before getting an epidural.
With the help of my doulas, helping me into different positions, massaging my back and using different oils to help me relax, and with the help of my husband who supported me both emotionally and physically along the way, I made it until I was between 5 & 6 cm dilated. Then I got the epidural, and things hit fast forward.
By 2pm, I was fully dilated. Then we hit the pause button. James’ heart rate was dropping dramatically. It’s so disheartening to put a pause on delivery, especially when you’ve gotten that far. But, I was so glad to have my doulas with me. Although I was worried about the baby, they helped me realize that the heart rate drop was completely normal after having an epidural, and that everything would be ok. Which it was.
By 4pm, I was ready to push, and despite the fact that it seems like I was pushing FOREVER, by 5pm, baby James was born. Because there was meconium in the amniotic fluid, he was whisked away from me right after delivery. That was a pretty devastating moment, but my husband and my doulas held my hand and made sure the pediatric team brought him to me as quickly as possible.
I delivered the placenta (seemingly in one piece), but I didn’t stop bleeding. My abdomen was “massaged” (a.k.a. BRUTALLY assaulted), and I was given every medication under the sun. One of which made me crazy-thirsty, and then made me projectile vomit. Vomitting after giving birth is not something I recommend trying.
Eventually the bleeding slowed to a “normal” rate. About six hours after constant monitoring, I was transferred to the postpartum wing. I knew I was in much better shape after having James than the previous babies, because I became really frustrated with the level of care. I was so bad-off after my first two babies, that I just wanted to stay in the hospital forever, but this time….. I wanted to get the heck out.
The staff was so over-concerned about breastfeeding, that they didn’t really seem to care about me (the mom that was breastfeeding). My rant on my postpartum hospital experience is probably going to be another blog post some day, so I’ll stop there.
Regardless, we were home in record time, and I was feeling really good. I was alive. My baby was healthy. I had a great delivery. I LOVED my doulas. I felt even more in love with my husband. My family was complete. Things were looking up.
And then, the other shoe dropped…
The Birth Story of James PART II coming soon.