In honor of my 2nd son’s 21st birthday today, I wrote out his birth story. Happy Birthday Kodi!
My 2nd pregnancy
In Why I Became a Midwife, I talk about how I attended Bradley classes with a friend. They were a huge catalyst in becoming interested in natural childbirth and eventually midwifery. When I got pregnant for a 2nd time, I knew that I wanted a Bradley pregnancy and birth. I started by trying to follow as many of the dietary recommendations as possible and doing what I could to have a healthy pregnancy. Like with my first pregnancy (story here), I had pretty bad morning sickness again, which made eating pretty difficult. I was still working at Taco Bell for the beginning of my pregnancy. I did end up leaving there in the middle of my pregnancy. The morning sickness started easing up by that point. The two dinosaur doctors that I disliked from my previous pregnancy were still practicing, but we now had two new male obstetricians in town. So Kodi’s dad and I looked up the midwife that had delivered my little brother Paul. She was now only doing hospital deliveries, so we started driving the 2 1/2 hours to do prenatal care with her.
I really enjoyed my care with her. Donna was caring, easy to talk to, and would answer any questions we had without being patronizing. She would occasionally meet us at the hospital half way between us to do my prenatal visits at her office there. Unfortunately towards the very end of my pregnancy, my car broke down preventing us from making that drive. I ended up switching to one of the new OBs in town. Dr. Wells was a kinder, friendlier OB than I had dealt with previously. I felt like I could talk to him more than I had my previous OB. Being older and knowing more about pregnancy and birth also had a huge impact on my ability to talk to him about what kind of care I received.
Unfortunately at my 2nd appointment with him, my blood pressure had started creeping up again just like during my first pregnancy. He put me on bed rest just like last time, but without the home health nurse checking on me and without the horrible diet restrictions. I was to come back in a week to be checked out. My grandma came the day before my next appointment, so that she could take my now 2 1/2 year old home with her. My due date was in 4 days and she was going to help with him while I birthed and recovered.
At my appointment the following day, my health had not improved. Dr. Wells decided to strip my membranes to see if we could encourage labor to start. If it didn’t, I was to report to the hospital at 6am the following morning to be induced. About 4 hours after he stripped my membranes, labor started. At first, it was pretty easy to cope. I would do my deep, abdominal breathing. If Kodi’s dad, Kasey, tried to talk to me, I would put my hand up to silence him until my contraction was over so that I could focus on what I was doing. As the evening progressed, it became a little more difficult to cope through it. I took a shower to try to relax. During the shower, the song “Let the River Flow” went through my head. That song stayed with me as I imagined lying on a beach. In my mind, the ocean waves would lap up over my body. As they receded, they took the pain of the contraction away.
Around 10pm, Kasey went to sleep. He wanted his rest in case I was in labor a really long time. During this time, I became torn between staying on bed rest like I was supposed to for my blood pressure and wanting to walk to help use gravity to speed things up and because it felt better to stand.
At 2am, I was done trying to labor by myself. I woke up Kasey up saying that I wanted to go to the hospital. Looking back on it later, I didn’t really want to go. I just didn’t want to be myself anymore. My family had moved away right after I got pregnant with Kodi, so my mom wasn’t able to be there to support me again.
We had to wait for a taxi to come get us. Once the taxi driver realized that I was in labor, he got a little freaked out. He radioed ahead to make sure that the hospital knew that I was on my way. He was driving a little too fast. The cab did not have seat belts, so every time he took a turn, I slid across the vinyl seats.
When we got to the hospital, I was wheeled to admitting to check in. I continued to stop everything and breathe through the contractions in the midst of all the paperwork. Kasey got embarrassed when I stopped the lady if she tried to talk to me while I was having a contraction. Once admitted and gowned up, they drew blood and checked my dilation. I was 5 centimeters. We laid down to rest together in the little hospital bed. I finally tried to get some rest between the contractions until Dr. Wells came in during his rounds. It was about 7am at this point. I was still only 5cm at this point, so he wanted to break my water. I asked for some time to think about it.
I called my Bradley teacher friend to get her opinion and to see if she would be willing to come up to hospital to help me out. She was not able to come. She recommended that I see if we could hold off on breaking my water, but if it came down to that or Pitocin to speed up my contractions, breaking my water was the better option. When the doctor returned, we decided to go ahead and have him break my water. After he did that, Kasey left to find breakfast. My contractions almost immediately started coming harder and faster. The heart monitor was having trouble keeping track of Kodi’s heartbeat at this point, so the charge nurse came in and held the monitor on my belly so it could track it. I was grateful that she was able to do that, because my other option was to have an internal monitor and I didn’t really want that.
My contractions started coming back to back at this point. They were hard enough that I would forget to breathe. The nurse noticed that I was holding my breath and would encourage me to breathe. Kasey came back at some point and helped me to the bathroom. I started feeling like I need to poop and nothing would come out while I was sitting there. As soon as I would get back in bed, I would have another contraction making me want to go back to the bathroom. After the third trip, the nurse came back in to check on me again. I told her what I was feeling and she asked to check me. As soon as she checked me, she said that I was fully dilated and could start pushing if I felt the need. She started calling the doctor’s office next door to get the doctor to return. She had to call several times before he arrived. While we were waiting for Dr. Wells, Kasey asked the nurse if she could deliver the baby if she had to. She told him that she could, but she preferred not to.
Dr. Wells arrived just in time to catch and hand over a squalling baby. I had chosen not to find out the sex of my baby, so it was a surprise when they announced that he was a boy. Kasey asked if I was upset to have another boy. At that point with all the labor hormones flowing, I was just glad that he was out. Kodi looked exactly like Kasey’s dad and I remember thinking that he was so ugly that he was cute. I was immediately in love with this little boy though.
Right before delivering, I was suddenly ravenous and requested food. They promised me popsicles, but the popsicles did not get to my room until after Kodi arrived. My blood pressures had gotten pretty high, so they placed me on an IV of magnesium sulfate. I remember seeing the monitor read 166/122 at one point. My body did not react well to the IV though. I almost immediately threw up the popsicles. The longer I was on it, the more I felt like my body was on fire. They brought a fan in my room to help keep me cool. They also brought me cool washcloths to place on my face. Breastfeeding went so much easier this time though. Kodi was a natural. Because I was drowsy from the magnesium, I would try to put him in the little bassinet if I wasn’t nursing. He did not like that and would cry until I picked him up and put him near my breast. He would immediately fall asleep there if he wasn’t hungry.
I did it! I got my all natural, drug free birth. I have had 4 babies now and his birth still ranks as my best one. I left his birth feeling like the only way it could have been any better was if I had him at home surrounded by loving, supportive people.
What about you? Are you interested in a natural birth? Does birthing in the comforts of your own home interest you? Contact me to find out more information.