Monday, September 23, 2019

Anastasia Zoe's Birth Story... Finally

I've never waited this long to pound out a birth story here on the blog and I am starting to worry that if I do not do it, the entire event might just be erased from my memory since that is what happens if one does not log all life events on the blessed Internet.

Anastasia's birth. Here we go.

Leading up to Anastasia coming into the world I was really seriously considering trying another all natural birth, which would have been my first since Naomi's super-natural tub birth 10 years ago. I went back and forth and listened to hypno-birthing stuff (not not not for me) and prayed about it trying to gear myself up for just doing it, Nike style. But then my doctor called one day after consulting with the hospital I was going to give birth at and let me know of 3 requirements that were the policy of this hospital for V-BAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) patients:
1) I would need to be constantly monitored,
2) I would need and have an IV, and
3)... wait for it... I would need to have an epidural.

It sort of made sense because the concern is that your c-section scar can tear and if it does they want you to be ready for an immediate emergency c-section. It was definitely more stringent that my previous hospital experiences and maybe unnecessarily so but honestly, I needed someone to make up my mind for me as to how I was going to go about pushing this babe out and it was ultimately helpful for that reason. I had had so much anxiety the entire pregnancy over something going wrong with Annie in utero or during birth and was just so eager for her to be safely stateside and I was also super anxious over birthing at this new hospital with this new doctor- I just wanted to be on the other side of it and be holding my girl.

Cue Easter Sunday. I woke up feeling... not right. I was 38 weeks 3 days and had had all my other non-c-section babies by 38 weeks, 4 days (Joe came at 37). I was totally ok with going another week, but also totally ok with holding our baby sooner. The kids hunted for their baskets, we had a nice Easter morning and then headed to mass. At mass I was contracting, as my kids would say, "like the Dickens". I kept needing to sit and breath and I felt so labor-y. That continued for the rest of the day and then I had some other physical symptoms that indicated that labor was likely in my future. At my 38 week appointment I was 3 cm and the doctor felt pretty sure I'd be seeing him in the next week but I was still not counting on anything.

I went to sleep Easter Sunday and woke up Easter Monday feeling fairly normal. Here's where I got a little impatient. I hate not being in control of labor things. We were 40 minutes from our hospital and relying on various friends to be on call to watch our kids and some of them would be going out of town for different stretches and I was so worried we would be stuck with no one to leave the kids with if I went into real labor during one of those stretches. So I decided to try to have some very little control over the labor situation. I drank a little caster oil (which has worked with some of my babies but not worked with others) and walked my heart out that Monday. Mike was home from work so it was nice to have him around if the labor symptoms got intense.

Around 2 in the afternoon contractions became time-able and stayed regularly 2-4 minutes apart until dinner time. I texted a sitter and one of the friends who was available to come in the middle of the night that I thought things were getting real and that I'd likely be going in to the hospital. I was so freaked out of a false alarm and did not want to go in too early because of how far the hospital was but Mike did not want me to wait and then risk a car birth - a valid fear. So I got Freddie down for bed, cried a little because labor emotions are no joke, and then we left the kids with a sitter who would later hand them off to the friend over night if this was indeed the real deal.

The whole way to the hospital contractions continued but I was fine in between and sure they would just send me home. Once we got to triage at the hospital I think I told the nurse 20 times that I was sure this wasn't the real thing and that she'd be sending me home but she was awesome and did not agree with me. She checked me and I was 4 cm. Not bad but also only 1 cm more than what I was at my doctor's appointment. She said I should stay an hour and either sit and labor or walk around and then she'd check me again.

I opted for laying down and maybe bouncing on a birth ball because by this point I was utterly exhausted and not interested in walking anymore. I just breathed and squatted through contractions or bounced on the birth ball and 1 hour later she came back.

The verdict?

6 cm and not going home. Hurray!

We went back to the room I'd be laboring in and they started to get things ready for the epidural (I forgot to mention that I was utterly terrified of getting the epidural this time, I just kept freaking out that this would be my time for something to really go wrong since all my other epidurals went smoothly).

Eventually the anesthesiologist come to do her thing and for a little while she could not get the needle through the hole in my back so she had to keep dilating it and it was so freaky and I was 100% sure this was going to result in my greatly feared epidural-gone-bad experience but... it was fine.

Maybe too fine? Dun, dun, dun...

So the epidural was kicking and I laid back to rest and the the doctor trotted off to sleep a little since by this point it was somewhere between 9 and 10 p.m., though I was still cautiously optimistic that I could progress quickly enough to have our baby on Easter Monday. In the past my epidurals had not slowed my contractions at all, and once the doctor broke my water I was pushing a baby out within the hour. HA! So much ha.

So I rested and paid little attention to how often contractions were coming for probably about an hour when Mike looked at the monitor and let me know that I had not had even 1 contraction for the last 15-20 minutes. Crap.

This is where I started to get frustrated. My doctor came in so infrequently, he just kept waiting and waiting to go ahead and break my water and even after he did (the timing of that is hairy in my mind) my contractions still would not pick back up. I wished he would have just given it 30 minutes to an hour after breaking my water to start me on pitocin- because I was TIRED and ready to get the baby out- but he waited hours after breaking it to start the pitocin. Somewhere between 2-3 a.m. they decided to start me on the lowest dose of pitocin, which I was utterly terrified of because I have never had it. It made contractions pick up and hurt like HELL. Yes I had an epidural, but by this point it was no longer working and I labored for at least an hour feeling every ounce of those pitocin contractions but Mike was sleeping and my nurse was "letting me sleep" (so NOT) so when she finally came in I begged her to fix my broken epidural and at this point she became my favorite nurse/person in the entire world.

She had to get special permission from the anesthesiologist to give me a boost of some sort but once she did I was riding that sweet epidural high and around then they had to up the pitocin as well to get those contractions to get me where I needed to be, which still took several hours.

Finally around 6:30 a.m. after an extremely long night of not sleeping and feeling much of my labor and more interventions than I have had before the pitocin did the trick and the doctor checked me and determined I was just about ready to push.

Around 7:15 everyone was in place and I  pushed something like 3 times and had to be asked to stop because she was going to fly out but I was READY and could feel zero of the pushing and then they finally gave me the go ahead to just get her into my arms I was so thrilled.

I longed so deeply to hold this baby after our 3 losses and I am so thankful to Our Lord for the gift that she has been to our family.


  1. Congratulations what a beautiful little blessing!!! So joyful for you I have been a long time blog reader so happy to see this update 😍😄 I am expecting a rainbow baby too and very excited/anxious...prayers for your family! 🙏❤

  2. Such a beautiful baby! Congratulations to you all!