Learning to serve the Lord and my family one day at a time.

Learning to serve the Lord and my family one day at a time.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Laura's Birth Story

Things have been a bit crazy around here (imagine that!) and I'm just now getting around to typing up Laura's birth story. Luckily David and I managed to write most of it down the day she was born while it was still fresh.
When I was 38 weeks pregnant I received a phone call from my midwife’s office informing me she was no longer with their practice and would not be able to deliver my baby. As you can imagine I nearly flipped out. I had chosen this midwife because she was one of only two in town but I didn’t care for her office staff or the doctors in her practice but I figured I’d put up with it in order to use a midwife. There was only one female OB in the practice and I had seen her for a few of my appointments. She was relatively receptive of my birth plan and I knew I didn’t have any other choice for a practitioner. I was reminded that the Lord is in charge of this birth and will provide the best doctor for my baby. 
On Tuesday, November 8 (39 weeks 4 days) I had my membranes stripped by my doctor during my appointment around 3 pm. After a few hours I started to have bloody discharge and my back started to ache. By 8 pm I was feeling pretty bad, no contractions just uncomfortable so I took some Tylenol which didn't really help any. I went to bed around 11. I hadn't slept much the night prior so it was very frustrating to not sleep well another night, little did I know Laura was on her way. Sleep was fitful and intermittent at best and I was up every hour using the bathroom and the back pain made it difficult to fall asleep. I was confused whether it was back labor or just pain from having my membranes stripped. 
At 6 am Wednesday I gave up trying to sleep and checked on the laundry in the dryer. The load was still wet from towels and I found that a red shirt had bled pink onto a few things. I took the towels onto the deck to dry, turned the dryer back on and threw the newly pink items back in the washer with bleach.
I hopped in the shower until the hot water ran out and then went outside on the porch to pace back and forth. While walking back and forth on the front porch I started timing my contractions. I was still having constant back pain but I seemed to be having abdominal contractions that were frequent at two minutes apart but only lasting 30 seconds.

David woke up to his alarm at 7 and started his normal school morning routine. After he got out of the shower I was on the floor doing pelvic rocks and told him he needed to stayed home! I was pretty sure I was in labor at the point. I drank some juice around 8 am and threw it up 15 minutes later, too much sugar I guess.
Wondering if the back pain was from Laura being face up, occiput posterior, we walked the curb at 8:30. One leg on the street, one leg on the curb is supposed to help turn a baby to anterior. Our neighbor drove by on his way to work and I said "I think we're going to have a baby today!"

David called our Bradley instructor while I walked around on the back deck. I was very hot so the cold morning air felt amazing.

At 9 we went inside and I wanted to lay down so I got into bed while David pressed a hot compress on my back. David didn't want me laying down too much since it can slow labor but he didn't realize how far along I already was.
I wanted to take a bath so at 9:30 David drew a piping hot bath for me. Our hot water runs out pretty quickly so David heated water on the stove to keep the bath at a constant temperature over the next hour. I moaned through each contraction which I found to be the best relaxation method for me. It helped to actually do something physical to relax instead of just thinking about relaxing. There were a few times I felt like screaming but the low noises and vocalization prevented me from tensing up.

Contractions were getting stronger and stronger now and while the back labor wasn't as intense, I was having constant back pain even after an abdominal contraction would end. I could tell when they were starting, peaking and tapering off which made me feel a bit more in control of my labor. My contractions were about one minute long and three minutes apart, textbook active, first stage labor.
I got out of the bath at 10:20 and threw up while having a contraction and realized I was probably already in transition! That was probably one of the most miserable parts of my entire labor! I felt pressure in my pelvis but not the urge to push yet so I knew we needed to head to the hospital right away.

Left for the hospital at 10:30 and was taken inside in the worst possible wheelchair. It rattled and shook like it was about to fall apart but I just closed my eyes and tried to relax. We got to the labor and delivery floor and the nurses start asking a million questions even though we pre-registered with all the information they’re asking for. I told the nurse I wanted a birth ball and she responds that they have to run a strip (external fetal monitor) and do some standard procedures first. We got into the room and I collapsed onto the end of the bed crying that I wanted to go home. David ushered everyone out of the room and calmed me down.

He then went out and explained to the nurses to please not offer me any drugs and they were able to pull my birth plan from my doctor’s charts. I had left the extra copies in the car.

At about 10:45 the nurse hooked me up the external fetal monitor and examined me. I was 10 centimeters! I was elated because I knew the hardest part was behind me! In our hurry to get inside I told David to leave our bag in the car, forgetting the camera was in the suitcase. I told him to run and grab the camera before I needed to push. The nurse tried three times to give me a Hep lock and couldn’t get a vein. I was in the middle of trying to relax through a contraction and she was stabbing me with a needle. I had to ask her to stop until the contraction was over but she never could get a vein so I was left with a nasty bruise but happy to not have a Hep lock in my hand.

At 11 am Dr. Johnson arrived and preps for delivery. My water still hadn’t broken so she broke it but it was stained with large amounts of meconium. She told me that they would have to cut the cord right way because of the need to suction Laura right away. I had wanted to delay cord clamping and cutting to allow for the most amount of Laura’s blood to return from circulation through the cord and placenta into her body but that wasn’t as important as making sure she was breathing properly. The meconium can be ingested or aspirated by babies or in Laura’s cause, clog their breathing way and cause edema of the nasal passages.
I started pushing soon after. It took a few contractions to learn how to push effectively. While I could feel the contractions, I wasn’t sure how long to push for so I was glad to have the doctor tell me. It was such a relief to push instead of relax through a contraction. I had my eyes closed most of the time but when they told me she was crowning I reached down to feel her head. David and I both remarked we were surprised to see hair. She was out a few pushes later and the time of birth was recorded as 11:26 am. 6 pounds 14 ounces, 19.5 inches long. They immediately clamped the cord and David cut it. They took her over to the heated bassinet and began suctioning her nose. I heard her cry but I was still scared she wasn’t breathing well. Her oxygen saturation was low and they were having trouble getting her to breathe through her nose since the meconium had cause her nasal passages to swell. The placenta came a few minutes later but I was bleeding heavily so the nurse gave me a pitocin injection. Breastfeeding immediately after delivery helps the uterus to contract and reduce bleeding but I believe that since I was unable to feed her right away I probably bleed more.
Her Apgar score at one minute was 5 because she was having difficulty breathing. It was up to 8 at five minutes. I was able to hold her momentarily before they took her to the NICU so they could give her oxygen and clean out her nose better. David was able to go with Laura and came back several times over the next hour to give me updates. She was returned to me after about an hour and they got me ready to transfer to our recovery room. The sweet nurse brought up a food tray but warned me it probably wasn’t very good. She was right and told us about a great Chinese place that delivered to the hospital. We ate yummy Chinese for lunch in our recovery room instead of hospital mush.

With the exception of Laura’s breathing problem everything went as close to our birth plan as possible and it was a wonderful experience. If you’ve ever had even a fleeting thought of having natural childbirth check out the Bradley method. With practice and a caring husband by your side you can do it! God designed our bodies to give birth and it’s an incredible and empowering experience that I hope every woman gets to enjoy. Yes I said enjoy, I truly enjoyed our birth process; it doesn’t have to be an excruciating, terrifying experience. Even if you choose to have an epidural or don’t think natural childbirth is for you, being educated about your pregnancy, understanding the stages and processes of labor will give you a great sense of control and help alleviate the potential for fear and trepidation about birth. 


  1. Dr. Princessa Johnson? She delivered both Elias and Daisy. She is a good doctor, who has a good head on her shoulders about when to intervene and when not to. She left me alone with Daisy, but with Elias, she was pushing for a c-section(and she was right, he probably did need one.)

  2. What a wonderful birth story, Mary!! So glad you shared it!!!!
    Gaby Brucker