Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Birth Story by Misha

I had a beautiful birth. It was not the birth I had envisioned but it was a great experience. We had planned to labor and deliver at home with our midwife, Maria Iorillo. We had a back-up hospital set up in case we needed to transfer for any reason.

Thursday, 9 p.m.

I lost my mucus plug but discovered I was leaking fluid. Thinking this was part of the deal with mucus plugs, I thought nothing of it until the leaking continued overnight. I was suspicious that my water had broken. I called Maria and she said she was 95% sure my water had broken. The goal now was to start contractions. We had 72 hours before I would have to be induced.

Friday, 5 p.m.

Ready to get this show on the road, I acted on one of Maria’s recommendations and drank 2 ounces of castor oil. She came by an hour later to check in on me. After testing the fluid, we were now certain my water had broken. She said to be patient and wait. She also left us with some herbs to try the next day if contractions didn’t begin overnight.

Friday, 7 p.m.

My first contraction came shortly after 7 p.m. Twenty minutes later I had the second. Ten minutes later another. Four minutes later another and from then on it was every four minutes. Each contraction was a minute or longer. We were in labor! After an hour of this we called Maria, as we had hit 4-1-1 (4 minutes apart, 1 minute long for 1 hour).

It was tough, intense and I was a little scared by how fast things seemed to be going. I labored mostly standing up, leaning over our dining table and breathing deep, loud, yoga breaths. It was rough but doable. I was having back labor but didn’t realize how intensely until Maria suggested Alan rub or push on my back during the contractions. SO helpful! Because my water had broken 24 hours before, our midwife decided to delay any internal exams until I had the urge to push to reduce the risk of infection to me and the baby.

After eight hours of contractions, I felt the urge to push and asked Maria to check me. I was only 2 centimeters. I knew I was in for a long haul. My mother and sister had both delivered their first children in eight hours so I was discouraged. We labored a bit longer but it was impossible to not push. There were signs I was dilating and we wondered if things were now moving faster so I asked Maria to check again. I was only 3 centimeters and my cervix was swelling. Not good.

We now had a couple options. We could keep laboring at home. This would require me to resist the urge to push, and hope the cervix stopped swelling and eventually get to 10 centimeters. If I couldn’t stop pushing there was the risk that my cervix would continue to swell and a c-section would be needed.

The other option was to go to the hospital and get an epidural to take away the pushing sensation. This would also increase the probability of a c-section but it also gave me a possibility of a vaginal birth, something that was really important to me.

We debated the options for a couple hours but it became clear to me I would not be able to resist pushing for another 7 centimeters. So we headed to the hospital.

Saturday, 6 a.m.

We arrived at St. Luke’s Hospital and waited as they drew blood and prepped me for an epidural. The staff midwife was optimistic I would continue to contract on my own since my contractions were regular, strong and long. The anesthesiologist arrived about an hour and a half later. He was awesome and got the epidural in between two really bad contractions. The epidural didn’t hurt and after it took affect, I barely felt anything. It kicked in almost immediately and then we tried to rest.

After the epidural my contractions slowed to 10 minutes apart and we decided to start pitocin to get them going again. Then the long waiting process began as we allowed my body to do its thing.

At 5:30 p.m. I finally fell asleep after not having a good night’s sleep in two days. When I woke up at 7 p.m. they decided to check me. In my groggy haze, I heard them say “You’re complete. We can start pushing!” I couldn’t believe we were finally there, 24 hours after my first contraction and almost 48 hours after my water broke, it was time to birth!

Saturday, 7 p.m.

The epidural made it difficult to feel all the contractions and push properly. I needed someone to literally push on me to give me a focal point to push back. I was also shaking uncontrollably from the epidural and adrenaline, so it was hard to get a break in between.

Saturday, 9:01 p.m.

I made steady progress and 1 hour 45 minutes later the midwife told Alan to come around if he was going to catch his daughter. Alan lovingly delivered our baby and placed her on my tummy at 9:01 p.m. The first thing I asked was “is it a girl?” Even though we were told the sex at an ultrasound, I knew there was a possibility they could be wrong.

We waited for the cord to stop pulsing before cutting it. Alan cut it and then started holding the baby directly against his skin to keep her warm while the staff finished up with me. It was such a beautiful moment.

I had a first degree tear. After stitching me up and slowing down the epidural, Alan put the baby on my chest. It was such an awesome feeling to see and hold my daughter. She is beautiful and perfect and worth every minute of the adventure. I still cannot believe I did it. It is the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. Our birth experience was full of surprises and challenges, but it was amazing.

Marcelle Diane is named after our mothers. We loved both names and felt it was great to use family names. We are going with the nickname Ellie. She weighed 7 pounds 4 ounces at birth and was 19.5 inches long. She arrived 48 hours after my water broke and after 26 hours of labor. It was the most intense, beautiful, mystifying experience of my life. And I wouldn’t change it.

You can find out more about home birth transfer rates and safety in this British Medical Journal Study:;330/7505/1416

1 comment:

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