Hi friends. I’ve been struggling to write this as it is so hard to put into words the entire labour experience and overwhelming amount of emotions felt throughout. I’m writing Nico’s birth story firstly as a keepsake for myself, and secondly to help resonate or connect with other fearful first time mom’s or mom’s who have had similar experiences.
Note: This birth did not go smoothly. Also note: It’s true what they say, it was worth it.
Also, I always worried that I wouldn’t feel connected to Nico as I didn’t enjoy being pregnant, or feel “connected” during my pregnancy, but when I saw his little face (and fingers and toes and presence), my heart had truly exploded and grew 10x (probably the hormones). The love and worries washed through me, I couldn’t stop crying when I looked at him. It truly is a miracle of life. I did not believe one person who told me “You’ll forget the pain” but I understand. It is a love I’ve never felt before, even through all the cries and sleepless nights.
Okay here’s the story! Sorry if it’s long & too much TMI.
TL/DR: Water breaking, meconium poop, induction, 2.5 hours pushing, vacuum, episiotomy, 3rd degree tear
It all started on a Saturday night. I was 39 weeks pregnant and extremely uncomfortable – swollen hands and feet, back pain, ab separation pain (diastasis recti), horrible hemorrhoids – the list goes on and on. We were at my cousins wedding, which we didn’t even think we were going to make it to, but happy we did! I tried to dance the baby out haha it was the most I had moved around in a month or two, but I definitely think it got things going. Fast forward to Sunday night, when I went to bed I was getting insane period-like cramping the whole night. It was to the point where I knew something would be happening soon. I’d gotten period cramping (potentially Braxton Hicks?) throughout my pregnancy but this was different and more intense. In the morning I woke up and went to the washroom and was slowly starting to lose part of my mucous plug! Each time I went to the washroom and wiped there was more and more mucous present, so I didn’t lose it all at once, but I definitely knew it was different than normal discharge. Shawn went to work and I carried on the day like normal. I actually had a midwife appointment that afternoon and we started to make a plan for what to do in case baby came late. I was 0cm dilated when she did her check and I went home very disappointed because I had thought things were happening.
That night (July 18th), was IT. I went to bed around 11pm and at midnight I felt the biggest rush of fluid pour out of me. It’s honestly so hard to describe but it felt like the movies, and the gush felt never ending. (I had an excess amount of amniotic fluid in my pregnancy which is why my stomach looked larger), but WOW, it really didn’t stop!! Our mattress was basically flooded and as I ran to the shower it went all over our hardwood floors. Shawn was so startled as I was screaming “OMG IT’S HAPPENING!” *Keep in mind I’ve been terrified of labour my entire life so this was just a monumental moment. As Shawn started mopping, and I phoned my midwife, I knew something was wrong when I looked down and noticed my water wasn’t a clear fluid – it was a yellow/brown with some tiny chunks in it. In a panic, I knew he had pooped inside me and we had to get to the hospital. The midwife was already there for another labour so she told us to start making our way there. (It’s apparently very common for baby’s who are overdue to have a poop in the fluid and isn’t harmful unless the baby swallows it on their way out). I wasn’t overdue but I always measured 2 weeks ahead. The only thing with meconium poop is that they need/want to get the baby out in the next 24 hours for safety, so I had to be induced. I wasn’t having contractions yet at this point so I assumed I wasn’t dilated much or at all.
When we arrived at the hospital they began an IV with Pitocin which is the artificial drug for Oxytocin (which ripens/opens the cervix to help with dilation). As soon as the IV started, I began getting contractions almost right away. I honestly thought I would be able to handle the contractions better than I did, but WOW they are no joke. Felt like period pain x100, and I get bad periods. I had read up on hypnobirthing and was doing the breathing techniques, unclenching my jaw/body, squeezing a comb for the pain, but nothing seemed to help. They were coming a few minutes apart, but I could not handle them and wanted the drugs lol. I actually ended up getting the epidural early (when I was only 3-4cm dilated) because the anesthesiologist was in the room next door and they didn’t know when he would be back on our floor, so I didn’t want to wait and risk it.
I was so scared for this needle. He numbed the area on my back and told me not to move. All I kept thinking was, ‘How the hell am I not supposed to move when the contractions just come on randomly and I’m heeled over in pain?!’ Because of the numbing I couldn’t feel any pain from the needle going in, but I did feel pressure and it felt never ending (which even thinking about it now makes me want to barf because it’s long and bendy). I did end up moving a bit during it because of the pressure I retracted my back and low-key thought I paralyzed myself because of it lmao. Anyways, it was the best decision I could’ve made as I didn’t feel a thing after that. Pros and cons to this but it worked so well I felt NOTHING. They asked if I could feel a contraction as it appeared on the monitor and nope not even a little bit. So that was nice since I’ve heard stories of it not working for people!
The rest was a waiting game to get to 10cm. I had a few cervical checks throughout this time and felt nothing. It wasn’t until about noon the next day that I got to 10cm – so about 12 hours from when my water broke. IT WAS TIME. I was crying because I was so scared of everything, but the midwives just did an amazing job keeping me calm. They told me first-time moms could take around 2 hours of pushing so I mentally prepared for that. My contractions were still a bit random, they’d come every minute, every 3 minutes etc. They had to coach me when to push each time though because I couldn’t feel a contraction come on due to the epidural. During each contraction Shawn held my one leg back, my mom held the other leg back, and the midwife was at my cervix checking for baby. I pushed 3-4 times per contraction with all my might and oh. my. god. was it exhausting. They tell you to push as if you’re taking a poop. My neck and back and head (basically what I could still feel lol) were killing me from the pressure of pushing, I thought I was going to pop a blood vessel. It really is like running a marathon, I was SO out of breath to the point where I felt like I was having a heart attack my heart was beating so fast. They gave me an oxygen mask for between contractions which helped a lot.
Unfortunately we knew something wasn’t right because by this point I had been pushing for 2.5 hours with everything I had in me and he still wasn’t coming. They said my pushes were strong and he was close, but must be stuck. They also weren’t sure if he was face-up or face-down, so they went to get the OB to see what options I had. He came in, confirmed after a while of checking that Nico was facing the right way, and told me my options were to 1. Try the vacuum which would require an episiotomy (a cut to open the vagina more), or 2. Have a c-section. If the vacuum didn’t work it would have to be c-section anyways. I was truly devastated after pushing for that long and having him so close to being out, to have it come down to those options. We chose vacuum as he seemed *fairly* confident it would work. Ugh. They got everything set up and I remember lying there just praying to God that this vacuum would work and that this nightmare would be over. Note: Did not think it was worth it in this moment lol. Shockingly, after one strong push with the vacuum his head was out, but his shoulder was what was stuck behind my pubic bone. They told me I had to push stronger than I ever had for this next one for him to fully come out. It was like the movies, I pushed and screamed at the top of my lungs and it WORKED. IT F*CKING WORKED. He was out. He cried. We all cried. They had the respiratory therapist standing there in case he did swallow any poop. He didn’t so we didn’t need him, thank God! They threw Nico on my chest for skin-to-skin and I honestly blacked out at this point. Apparently I had to do one more push to make the placenta come out, but I didn’t feel it. I just could NOT catch my breath. Note to self: Don’t just sit the last few months of pregnancy, actually exercise so you have more stamina. The OB stitched me up (I still felt nothing, bless the epidural Gods), and apparently when the shoulder came out with that last push, it gave me a 3rd degree tear from the episiotomy cut. Nico was born July 19th at 8lbs 8oz, and 21 inches long, so a big boy for someone my size!! He had his little eyes open almost right away and he instantly stole our hearts.
Such a damn roller coaster. Of course all of this would happen to me, but I guess that means I can handle anything? 18 hours of hell, but I get my baby afterwards (Obviously biased, but the cutest babes ever with the cutest head of hair). I felt like a superhero afterwards, woman are amazing. Women’s bodies are amazing. I CANNOT believe women just go through traumatic experiences like this all the time and it’s so normalized and not talked about?!
My recovery was awful, it’s week 3 and I still am not walking properly and have bleeding/swelling/pain where my stitches are, but they do say it takes 6 weeks+ to heal. The worst part was that because the epidural worked so well and I couldn’t feel anything, and I pushed for so long, I couldn’t feel my groin muscles being torn when they held my legs back and when I pushed. So I couldn’t feel myself injuring myself if that makes sense. I physically couldn’t walk because of this. Shawn had to move my legs into and out of bed, it was hell. Recovery would’ve been a lot better if the epidural hadn’t worked so well, but like I said, pros and cons!
At the end of the day, I feel blessed and grateful we are both okay. I love being his mama and would do anything for him. If you are fearful of labour & birth like I was, just know you CAN do it and yes it was worth the pain to hold that little bundle of joy in your arms (and the drugs help haha). I know if I read what I just typed before getting pregnant I would want nothing to do with it, so I have to keep reiterating that it was worth it to the fearful folks out there.
If you made it this far and have had any similar experience to what I just shared, please DM me! I’d love to chat! Thanks for reading <3