I’ll share the good part first 🙂
This is my daughter!
(Not to mention that my vagina is still fully intact, I had NO TEARING or HEMORRHOIDS!!!!!)
Anthony, Tater and myself are all adjusting and spending every moment we can enjoying this special girl 🙂
Here I am enjoying a cup of coffee on my due date May 21st 2016 with a 17 day old baby 🙂 I made sure to write a rough draft of my birth experience just 3 days after Julia was born ( so that I would remember as much as possible.)
If you spent any amount of time with me during my pregnancy you would know that this is no small feat seeing as I threw up everyday of my pregnancy aside from 8 days. I haven’t puked or even felt SLIGHTLY nauseous in 17 days and I am back to my love love relationship with coffee. WIN-WIN!
Some women want to be very informed when it comes to the birthing process, others prefer to take it all in stride when it comes…to each his own! I have trained a lot of pregnant women over the years and have plenty of friends with babies of their own. It was not until I became pregnant myself that I started REALLY listening, reading, and watching other women’s birth stories. The range of different experiences was pretty impressive. There were friends with c-sections, home births, those who birthed unmedicated and those who chose medication. I was constantly reminded that women had done this for thousands of years and I was totally capable. I was also criticized for wanting an unmedicated birth, “why would you want to put yourself through unnecessary pain?” While at the same time I was taught to fear induced and augmented labor as well as the concept of the epidural.
Much to his dismay I signed Anthony and I up for Bradley Method Birthing Classes ( 12 weeks of 2 hr long classes) :))))) I wanted to learn as much as I could and was super interested in a hospital water birth. Ever since I was a teenager experiencing bad menstrual cramps I would find relief in the tub… I wanted to give it a shot. One of the first things we learned was that a first time mother will experience an average of 24 hrs of labor, sure some are shorter… others longer, but first time births are rarely an emergency as they are portrayed in the movies + television.
Sunday night, I got a foot rub from Anthony ( he claims THIS is what started the labor process). Monday at 3am I woke up to liquid running down my leg. I went to the bathroom and returned to bed, only to have the liquid keep coming. I woke up Anthony, telling him that I thought my water had broken. He said “no, no it didn’t”. I stood up and it just kept coming. We looked at each other in disbelief and I proceeded to text my mom as Anthony googled what to do when your water breaks without any contractions. My mom assured me that it was definitely my water that had broken and to wait and see if contractions would ensue shortly. A 7am Anthony called the midwives and got the answering service, we were instructed to call Mt. Auburn and see what they would advise. They wanted us to come in and get checked out.
I was 37.5 weeks pregnant. Just 4 days earlier at my last appointment with my midwife, she let me know that I was technically full term and it would be safe to have the baby any day after that Thursday. It was at this appointment that I had my Strep B Test. I had yet to get the results, whether I was positive or negative would determine our next steps. Turns out I was negative which meant that I could go back and forth to the hospital every 12 hrs to see how my labor was progressing without being admitted to the hospital right away. I gladly did some last minute errands, such as a run to Origins to get some face moisturizer as well as pack my hospital bag, while Anthony assembled some last minute baby items. Turns out we went back and forth to the hospital at 8am and 8pm and still NO contractions had started. The nurses and midwives at Mt. Auburn gave me 35-45hrs to get things going on my own. My mom and Anthony were my chosen “doulas” for my birth and seeing as my mom would be coming from CT I didn’t want her waiting around for me unnecessarily. Sure enough labor started on its own Monday night. I didn’t want to wake Anthony so I labored in the baby’s room from 11pm-4am and then my mom, Anthony, my Dad and I all headed to the hospital. I sat in the back seat listening to Coldplay in my headphones and crying, while my mom and Anthony were in the front and my dad followed in his own car. I cried because I knew that soon my life would be changing forever, I was about to embark on a crazy journey, and I was both terrified and overjoyed.
Contractions completely stopped when I got to the hospital. This is did not come as a surprise to me because I am a pretty sensitive person and oftentimes my nerves can get the best of me. Upon a cervical check, I was only 1 cm dilated. I had officially surpassed the time I was given to safely begin steady labor on my own. It had been too long since my water had broken and I wasn’t progressing. I was given the option of pitocin or cytotec to augment my labor. Like I said, in birthing class I was pretty much taught to fear both of these drugs, and I felt that my birth plan immediately went out the window. Seeing as I had wanted a “natural birth” PS all fucking birth is natural :)))))) the midwives encouraged me that I could avoid medication and labor on pitocin…but in my head I was like FUCK NO, I felt that both pitocin and cytotec would make my labor so strong that the pain would be unbearable. At 9am, after much deliberation I opted for pitocin, I just felt more comfortable with this option since my water had been broken for so long.
I labored on hands and knees on the floor and on the bed backwards for 6 hours. The baby’s head was side ways bone on bone with my hips and the only position I could handle was on my knees with hips swaying and Anthony digging into my deep up and around my ASIS. If it wasn’t exactly the right spot it was unbearable. My mom and Anthony would take my Yoga Tune Up balls and dig them into other pressure points on my body to distract me from the pain of the contractions. We tried different positions but if I know anything it’s my body and no other positions would do. At this point I had vomited 6 times and had been unable to keep food down at all. I went into the bathroom with Anthony and cried. I told him I didn’t know if I could take the pain anymore and I was seriously questioning my ability to make it through the labor. The midwives and nurses suggested I get in the tub, since it was after all a huge part of my birth plan.
After 6 hrs I went into the tub and was able to find temporary relief. The water made my hips weightless and I was able to rotate them enough that the pain of contractions was much more bearable. Eventually this too proved temporary. Eventually I was thrashing in the water through my contractions and my mom and Anthony were getting nervous because I was shaking, crying and exhausted. At this point a young super sweet woman who was soon to be a midwife was in the bathroom with Anthony and my mom telling me to “just breathe” and I pretty much lashed the FUCK OUT ON HER. The positivity was NOT what I needed at this point. As a recall I told everyone to leave aside from Anthony and proceeded to thrash and swear in the water. At this point the nurses and midwives spoke to my mom and Anthony saying that I had two option. Narcotics or epidural. They were pushing the narcotics and I said no… I was more nervous about that for some reason. My family has a history of alcohol and drug abuse and I didn’t want to be even more out of it for the birth of my baby or possibly have side effects AFTER the birth.
My favorite nurse of all time Kathy, had been the one to check me in on Monday morning was back on duty and she WAS NOT SWEET. She was like Stacey you need to get out of the tub NOW. I couldn’t even imagine walking back to the bed through a contraction without the water. I made it with the help of Anthony and Kathy and another awesome midwife. After all this time I was still only 2-3cm dilated. I saw the look on Anthony and my mom’s face. LIKE WHAT THE FUCK is going to happen. When it comes to epidural administration, everyone has to leave the room. That meant contractions seated with a relative stranger and staying still for 20 minutes. After puking 3x during epidural administration and crying on the midwives shoulder and telling her how much I hated labor I was able to get out of the right side of hip pain. I just breathed through the left side and got into side lying with knees bent. Let me assure you I could still feel everything with the epidural. It just made things WAY MORE tolerable pain-wise with the energy I had left. I still hadn’t eaten anything and my puke was the brightest orange bile I had ever seen.
Once I got the epidural my pitocin was gradually increased all the way to the 20…which is the maximum.
I just kept feeling like I was pooping myself! I kept telling my mom and Anthony to wipe my butt bahhahaha! I legitimately put a cup by my butthole and thought I was shitting in it. Anthony just laughed, but my mom ( who has had 2 children unmedicated was like that’s got to mean you are dilating fast) and she assured Anthony that this baby would be born before 10pm. In keeping with my birth plan we were minimizing cervical checks but in 2 -3 hrs on the epidural they did another check and HOLY FUCK I WAS fully dilated!
Kathy prepped me that I was definitely having this baby by the close of her shift at 11pm. It was go time!!!
I pushed for 20-40 minutes tops… Thank you deadlifts :))))) I kept saying deadlifts, deadlifts, deadlifts while I was pushing. That was honestly all I could compare it to, a heavy ass deadlift. My biggest fear at this point was that I would push so hard that I would tear. I DIDN’T want that. Kathy told me to suck it up and tearing was a reality I had to embrace to get this baby out as a first time mom. The midwife who just came on duty made sure to massage my vagina with oil in between contractions. Coincidentally her name was JULIA :)))) My mom made sure to get some AMAZING pictures of the birth process. I will totally share with anyone who wants to see 🙂
At 8:58pm Julia Veronica Lawrence was born.
Anthony and I had not found out the gender of the baby ahead of time, but all along I felt that it was a girl and I called her Julia Gulia throughout my pregnancy. We all cried with joy when she was placed on my chest and I felt more connected than ever with both Anthony and my mom. I couldn’t believe that this miracle was happening to me. As a result of the rapid delivery in combination with the fact that I had stayed on my anti-depressant throughout my pregnancy Julia was more than a bit stunned when she came into the world. She was immediately taken from my chest and rushed off to be checked out by doctors and nurses. Obviously you do whatever is best for your baby but this was a hard pill for me as a new mom to swallow. I told Anthony to go with her to the nursery to make sure everything was okay. My mom and Kathy stayed with me and Kathy assured me that everything would be okay and that she would take me to see Julia soon. I am a pretty open person and any struggle that I go through I share because undoubtably someone else will go through it and if it can help comfort someone then it makes me feel better. Backtracking to my first ultrasound at 20 weeks, we were told that our baby had an absent nasal bone, which is a downs syndrome marker. We had to wait 14 days to get results of a new test, which was also the day before our honeymoon to find out that MOST LIKELY our child would NOT have down syndrome. When you get news like that you don’t just forget it or put it in the back of your mind. In my exhausted state my mind immediately went to the worst place first… my daughter had downs syndrome. I was also thinking about the hour after birth is supposedly the “golden hour” that you and your child bond most and that I was missing that opportunity.
I got to see Julia on the table in the nursery with all the doctors and nurses and they still couldn’t give me a solid answer with as to what was going on. They took one look at me and said “ohhhhh you’re the mother” that she definitely didn’t have downs syndrome and that her eyes were just like mine. I found some comfort in that and Anthony and I were brought to our room. I was told we would have to spend the night without her and that I could see her first thing in the morning to breast feed. Anthony’s bestie sent us the new Mumford Song and we listened on repeat crying as we shared the hospital bed.
I woke with swollen eyes and we went immediately to the nursery to see Julia. She was beautiful despite all her IV’s and she was just so sweet. She took to breastfeeding like a champ and was truly a fighter from day 1. Her she had to stay for 3 days but we could come and go from the nursery as much as we liked. I fed her from my breast every few hours and it was like I had never missed a moment with her. Gradually her blood sugar improved and the IV’s and wires came off one by one. She got sweeter and cuter by the day. She is by far the BEST MOST AMAZING THING TO HAPPEN TO ME.
BEING A MOTHER IS WAY BETTER THAN BEING PREGNANT AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED. TIRED AND IN LOVE IS THE BEST COMBINATION :)))
More to the “after story” which I will gladly share but I am blown away but how much love I have for this tiny human.