April 4, 2011

Birth Story - Beckett Laughlin - Part 1


I'm introducing a new blog feature here on the Manifesta called The Baby Mommas. They are a group of wonderful women who have all had a baby within the last year, but live very different lives and have different parenting styles. They will be a panel of go-to experts that I'll check in with every few months to see what decisions they are making and what their opinions are on hot parent related topics. I'll be introducing them over the next few months with their birth stories. I thought I would kick it off with Beckett's birth story. Seems fitting since it was his 6 month birthday last week.

Even before I was pregnant I knew I wanted a natural birth - no drugs, no interventions and certainly no C-section. When the time came H and I trained like we were getting ready to run a marathon. We enrolled in a Bradley Method class that was a few hours every Sunday for about 8 weeks. This was no Cliff's Notes version of labor prep. We did our homework and strength exercises. I began appointments with the midwives at a local hospital and we hired a doula. All of this was necessary for me, after all, labor can be just as long and taxing as a marathon and I didn't want to set myself up for failure. If I needed to go a medicated route for the baby's sake or for a reason beyond my control, okay, but I wanted to do everything I could to make sure I finished the race the way I wanted to finish it.

I had a birth plan - I wanted to labor in a warm water bath with dim lights in the room. I wanted to be able to move freely throughout the room and not be tethered to the bed. Nicole, our doula, would make sure we had cool cloths and suggest new positions if things got rough. H would be there as my support and comedy relief. I wanted honey sticks and dove dark chocolate for energy boosts. It would be as relaxing and nurturing as possible.

Becks, however, had his own birth plan, which went something like - get me the hell out of here! Just shy of 37 weeks I suspected I was leaking amniotic fluid. I spoke with my doula, and we waited for contractions to start. After 48 hours, when they hadn't, we went to the hospital. We were sent home. They didn't know what it was, but it was NOT amniotic fluid. Wrong. But that's okay, because if they had discovered that it was amniotic fluid, they would have most likely induced me and that would have been an intervention, which I didn't want. So H and I went home, feeling secure we had three weeks back to put the finishing touches on things before our baby boy arrived.


My parents were in town for the weekend, we went to dinner, brunch and they left with the promise that as soon as labor started we would call and they would make the five hour trip back down. That evening, a Sunday, I started contractions. They were light and lasted about 8 minutes a piece, so I thought they were braxton hicks - because, as I'd learned, contractions last 1 to 2 minutes in the beginning. We went to bed. Contractions got stronger, so I got up. At about 11:00 p.m. I woke Hilary because the contractions were very strong and very long - lasting up to twenty minutes. When we timed them they were three minutes apart. I just kept thinking - this can't be labor - this is NOT what contractions are like.

We spoke with our doula several times and at about 2:00 a.m. we decided to go to the hospital. I was imediately hooked up to the contraction monitor and the monitor for the baby's heartbeat. The worst part was that I had to lay still for them to get a reading and all I wanted to do was move. The pain was too much to be still. Their monitors were not registering my contractions. And the most frightening part was that they couldn't find the baby's heart beat. It turns out it was because he was so far into the birth canal.

When I arrived at 2:00 a.m. I was 0 cm dialated. All I could think at that moment was SHIT! This is going to be a long ride. After about an hour of them trying to get a reading of the baby's heartbeat they offered me a grape popcicle. I took one look at it and threw up everywhere. I had the shakes and was completely clammy. I thought - these are all the signs of transition. But the nurse asked me what I had eaten that day because food poisioning was going around. Still no one was admiting that I was in labor.

Unfortuneatly I didn't trust my gut. I thought - well they must know what they're talking about. So we didn't call our doula and we didn't call our families. At about 3:30 a.m. they did an ultrasound to check on the baby and still I was strapped to the table. I was in horrible pain - it was like one long contraction at this point. Finally Hillary insisted that I be allowed to stand up. They unstrapped me and I went straight to lean on Hillary. It was a relief, but also brought stronger pain.

I looked at him and said - If this isn't really labor, I'm not sure if I'll be able to handle the real thing. He kissed my forehead and then I leaned on the bed because I felt like I had to push. But no...I can't be pushing, this has to be something else. I was 0 cm not even 2 hours ago. No one had told me that yes, in fact you are in labor. I was still in triage! But there it was again, the urge to push. I went to the bathroom to no avail.

The nurse decided to check me again and low and behold she yelled to a nurse outside of the curtain - I have 10 cm and a head full of hair!

To Be Continued...

**All photos by our wonderful doula - Nicole Zirnheld Aldridge

1 comment:

hraw said...

This brought a tear to my eye. I can't wait to find out what happened.