Our birth story was nothing like I expected it to be – but it was the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life – so I wanted to document it here and share our birth story with you today, while it’s still fresh in my mind.
Our journey began with infertility, but thankfully, after a year of medication and treatment, we found out that we were expecting and due in the spring of 2017. The next thing we knew, after what felt like both a minute and a lifetime had passed, spring had arrived and we were approaching labor.
We had a high risk pregnancy due to several diagnoses – including intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) – that had me on bed rest, in addition to daily appointments and check-ins during our last trimester. We knew this would affect our birth story, but had no idea how our labor on March 22-23 would unfold.
Our Birth Story
On March 15 – a week before our delivery – I had gone into prodromal labor, which meant that I would experience contractions every evening that would come three to five minutes apart and last for eight hours or more, just to stop suddenly and then repeat again the next evening.
Our doctors informed us that this meant we could go into active labor at any point during the experience, but without any further developments, we were going to have to continue laboring each night until we progressed far enough to go to the hospital.
10 a.m. Prodromal labor painfully persisted every night for a week and left me emotionally and physically exhausted each time, so Ryan and I went into our doctor’s appointment hoping for another sign that we would be admitted to the hospital soon.
12 p.m. Our doctor’s appointment confirmed that the prodromal labor we experienced had helped me progress far enough to head to the hospital that day – which we were initially happy about. Unfortunately, tests also showed that I had become increasingly preeclamptic that week, so I would need to be induced immediately upon arrival.
3 p.m. We grabbed our hospital bags, had one last meal together and drove to the hospital – in disbelief that our time had finally come, and that we would have our baby within the next 24 hours. We arrived at the hospital and I was immediately admitted to begin treatment in the form of magnesium for preeclampsia and pitocin to induce labor.
5 p.m. We were not responding to the initial treatment levels of either medicine, so my sweet nurse Sam apologetically explained that they’d be pushing me up to a higher dose of each throughout the evening, and that I’d likely start having reactions to the medicine soon.
7 p.m. – 11 p.m. I began experiencing the side effects of magnesium – which I believe was the worst part of our labor – and I was still not responding to treatment as quickly as we had hoped, so it was determined that our doctor would need to manually break my water to speed up our timeline.
12 a.m. Our doctor gave me the go ahead to request an epidural before he manually broke our water, and thankfully, the anesthesiologist was able to immediately accommodate our request. We had some difficulty getting it set because I was still actively contracting and getting ill from the magnesium – but we were successful, and I was able to receive the epidural and have my water broken soon thereafter.
2 a.m. – 8 a.m. The contractions began to increase with the help of another dose of pitocin after my water broke, and since I had already received my epidural and wasn’t in pain, Ryan and I were able to have a few hours of sleep while waiting for me to progress further.
9 a.m. We woke up when our doctor came to check our progress once more, and he asked if I had begun to feel the urge to push, because we were “ready to go at a 10.” Our doctor then stated that he was beginning to feel the baby move further down at this point, and I replied that I was noticing some increasing discomfort and pressure, so we both agreed that now was indeed the time to “do this.”
9:30 a.m. Our doctor felt that I would need some additional medical assistance before he allowed me to begin to push, due to the side effects I was experiencing from the magnesium. The medicine had made it difficult for me to breathe, given me blurred vision, drowsiness and weakness among other symptoms – so I was soon put on oxygen to help me through labor.
10 a.m. With the oxygen, I was now feeling strong enough to begin pushing through my contractions. We had our doctor and nurses, high-risk and NICU teams, and several resident doctors all assemble in our delivery room – but at that point, I didn’t care how many people were in the room with us, I just wanted to have our daughter here healthy and safe at last.
11:01 a.m. One hour of pushing brought Roselyn to us, and I recall hearing her cry and Ryan gasp simultaneously. I remember being so relieved to hear her cry because I understood that it was a sign of her health despite our early delivery and IUGR diagnosis. The next thing that I remember is Ryan telling me she has a full head of hair and that she’s perfect – to which I cried, laughed and replied “so that’s what all the heartburn was for.”
Ryan then cut the cord and followed Roselyn over to the NICU team’s table where she was evaluated and it was determined that she was, indeed, in perfect health.
Our doctor then assisted me in birthing the placenta, and informed us in that moment that our IUGR complications were most likely due to a placental abruption – which made me feel slightly better that we could attribute the diagnosis to something, but mostly just ready to see our mighty, tiny girl who had persisted through it all.
So, after she was cleared by NICU, I was able to soak up time with Roselyn on my chest and Ryan by my side. Roselyn listened and looked up at us with her beautiful, dark eyes as I spoke to her and told her how she was a miracle. Time stopped as she looked between us and as we looked at each other – in disbelief that we could create something so perfect.
We were officially a family of three, and there are no words to describe the overwhelming sense of joy and love that moment held.
Ryan was officially a Dad and I a Mom, and our perfect daughter was happy, healthy and here with us.
It was not the birth or birth story we expected, but it is ours and I would do it again to bring her into our family.