My story begins with my 39-week check up on 3/13 with my midwife. Assuming this visit would be like all the other visits and very ordinary, I was thrown for a curve ball when my midwife recommended an induction. WHAT?! I was in complete shock and had a zillion questions. Throughout the later weeks of pregnancy I was measuring small by both belly measurements and ultrasound measurements. Over the last several weeks the ultrasound was putting my little one in the 18th, 22nd, and 11th percentile for size. And my ultrasound in week 38 put her in the less than 3 percentile. This dramatic drop was the reason for the concern. This led my midwives to study my file and decide their recommendation. With my baby having a chance of IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) they felt she was better off being delivered soon and getting breast milk instead of being in utero where her growth seemed to be restricted.
After several conversations with my husband and support team, we decided to move forward and err on the side of caution as our midwives rarely make this recommendation. But we truly felt everything was OK and our baby would be just fine either way. But I could never live with myself had I declined and something actually gone wrong and I trust my midwives.
We arrived at the hospital at 5pm on 3/15 (my due date) to begin the induction. That night I started Cytotec suppositories to ‘ripen’ my cervix as I was only 1-2 cm dilated on my own. I had 3 suppositories. The next morning on 3/16 I was 3 cm with contractions 4-6 minutes apart. There was a chance I may not need Pitocin. After waiting a while to see what would happen, and not much did, we started low dose Pitocin to increase contractions. My midwives only use low dose Pitocin to increase the chances of a vaginal delivery with an induction, which I appreciated but it also means a longer labor. I continued to progress VERY slowly. About 10:30pm we called my doula because contractions were intensifying. We also had an apprentice doula that we invited to get more experience. So its me, hubby, my mom and two doulas in my L&D room. At this point I still had hope for a water birth. With Pitocin, a water birth is still possible when I get to 7-8 cm and the Pitocin can be turned off.
I labored all night and contractions continued to increase. My pain level was very intense but with all my support I was able to make it through them. Despite the Pitocin in an IV I was still able to move around pretty well. We were using every tool in the book to manage the pain and get through the contractions (counter pressure, massage, rice sock, guided relaxation, multiple positions, music etc). At one point during the night we turned all the lights on, cranked up some 90’s jams and I danced for a while! It was a great change of pace. And I finally learned that I was having back labor. During each contraction my very low back felt like it was on fire and the only thing that helped was strong counter pressure on that area during the contraction. I was also using a heated rice sock on my back. I didn't feel any pain on my front. I would have sworn my baby was coming out of my back! Early Sunday morning the contractions were consistently 2-3 minutes apart and very strong. I was vocalizing through them and started to get the urge to push. My doula’s told me that I was progressing through the holistic stages of labor and it looked like I was about to need to push so they called the nurse in. The nurse was going to check my cervix before calling the midwife….and this is where the game changes.
We’re all expecting her to say I'm 9 to 10 cm….and she says 5 to 6 cm. WHAT THE HELL???? I was completely in shock and quite frankly devastated. Obviously it wasn’t time to push. Everyone was in shock too because I showed the classic progression signs. By now I’ve been in labor 30 something hours, I hadn’t slept, I was completely exhausted, emotionally drained, and didn’t see how I could continue doing this much longer. I reached my breaking point. My doula talked with me about my options – break my water to progress faster (but this would also greatly intensify the pain level), get Fentanyl to relieve pain and try to rest, get Epidural and break water. At this point I was upset and crying and my doula suggested everyone leave the room but Dean and we had a heart to heart. I told him I was done and I can’t do it any longer. I was tired. I was in pain. I told him I wanted my doctor to go in and get her out, do whatever was the fastest. He was able to calm me down and get it together again. He reassured me and read our affirmation cards to me - You are beautiful and you can do this. Your body was made for this. I can do anything for 6 minutes an hour. Every contraction brings me closer to meeting my baby... (a MUST during L&D!!). He was my rock and together we decided to get the epi. So at 7 am on 3/17 I got the epidural.
Sweet relief!!!!!! Oh my word, what a difference. I felt great. The epidural was perfect. I didn’t feel pain but I could still move and feel pressure. The nurse used a catheter to empty my bladder one time so it didn’t stay in. My midwife broke my water. In choosing an epidural I knew I could no longer have a water birth and could not move around at all (these are some of the reasons why getting and epi wasn't part of my plan). Fine. I accepted that now. The next several hours went by very slowly but much more peacefully. I could feel the contractions but not pain. My nurse told me to let her know when I felt pressure that made me want to poop. So about 1:30 I had that feeling and told the nurse. My midwife came in and checked me. 10 cm! Thank you Jesus!
A crew came in to prep the room for delivery (is this really about to happen?!) and at 1:45 I began pushing! It felt so good to push and I really gave it my all. My midwife put up the squat bar that I planted my feet on which was amazing. I pushed through 6-7 contractions. I reached down and felt her head as she was coming out. What a head of hair. My midwife was coaching me through the pushes to help avoid tearing if possible. Her head came out…and with the next push her body came out. I did tear because her hand was up and came out with her shoulders – 2nd degree. At 2:12 pm my little precious rainbow was born. She was put on my chest immediately. Oh my God. There just aren’t words. All 40 something hours were absolutely worth it. She is perfect. My life has forever changed. I’m a mom. We're a family.
Reese Monroe Friedland
Born 3/17/13 @ 2:12pm
6lb 4oz, 19 inches