Just before our first anniversary in 2012, I started to experience sudden pelvic pain- long story short, I had an ovarian cyst measuring over 3 inches that needed to be removed immediately. Because of some complications during the surgery, my left ovary and Fallopian tube was removed. And immediately after recovering from the surgery, I was treated for six months for severe endometriosis so that we could try to save my right ovary and attempt to get pregnant. However, my body didn’t respond very well to the treatments- I seemed to be one of the small percentage that experienced severe side effects. After the six months, I spent the next 3 years detoxing and doing all I could to help my body heal. As each month would pass, I struggled to control the fear that an incontrollable disease had stolen our ability to get pregnant, and I worked to stand strong on the promises of God- that by His stripes I was healed- that He would give us the desires of our heart.
Once a month, I’d take a pregnancy test- just to see if by chance we were pregnant. On a Sunday morning in September of 2015, I took my routine monthly test, only this time just setting it aside, feeling discouraged that it would be the same negative result as always. However, I happen to glance down a few minutes later to see that it was positive!!!!! And so began the journey of our little miracle baby!
My husband, Mitch, and I were beyond excited! Our little boy was due May 22, 2016. Every appointment, every ultrasound and heartbeat was such a gift from God! We were constantly reminded of His goodness! I had a dream pregnancy- no nausea, no morning sickness, no heartburn… I felt amazing, slept great, and had no complications at all.
We chose to work with the midwives at St. Francis medical center- I wanted to go through my pregnancy and labor/delivery with the most natural care possible. We also hired a doula, Beverly, to assist us during our son’s birth. I knew my body was created to give birth, I trusted it, and was excited to have a great team of ladies to help Mitch and I bring our son into the world.
At my 36 week appointment, my blood pressure was suddenly sky high. After running some tests and lab work, we discovered my protein levels were slightly elevated too- I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. I stayed overnight at the hospital for further testing and a possible induction. Once my blood pressure returned to normal, they allowed me to go home for a few days to see what would happen. Then again at my next appointment, my blood pressure was through the roof and they admitted me again. This time they did an ultrasound to confirm that our son was ok- he was safe and sound and growing right on track. After more testing and administering Cervidil to soften my cervix, I was released a day later, but this time they had set a date to induce me at 38 weeks.
I was nervous. I was only 1 cm dilated and 80% effaced. I was on complete bed rest and had a week until my induction. I was scared knowing what could happen as we started walking down the road of pitocin, epidurals, ect. I just wanted to keep my sons birth as natural as possible, and I was doubting my ability to do so if I didn’t go into labor naturally. So I worked to control those thoughts and to focus on keeping myself calm and at peace.
We went in Sunday night on May 8th for induction. The midwife wanted to start off with a foley bulb to help me dilate since I was still at 1cm, but my water accidentally broke when my son pushed down on my cervix while she was inserting it. I had been having some consistent contractions that entire day, but when my water broke, they stopped completely. Being GBS positive, I was started on antibiotics every four hours. They let me rest that night but had to start pitocin around 5 AM since I still wasn’t having anymore contractions. I called our doula to have her come to the hospital- I wasn’t sure how fast the contractions would start and didn’t want to get caught off guard by the pain.
Around 10 AM I started to have consistent but not strong contractions. Hooked up to the baby monitor and IV, I climbed out of bed to sit on an exercise ball. As the contractions started to become stronger, I would close my eyes and focus on breathing- 8 seconds breathing in, 8 seconds out. I counted in my head, and it took my mind off the increasing intensity. Beverly, our doula, could sense the change in the contractions and started to rub my back and apply counter pressure on my hips. She showed Mitch how to assist and they started tag teaming as the contractions grew longer and stronger. My midwife had a day full of appointments and didn’t expect things to progress very quickly, so we hunkered down for a long day of waiting while she helped some other patients. They were steadily increasing the pitocin dosage every hour.
After a few hours on the exercise ball, I was growing increasingly uncomfortable and the contractions started to change in intensity. The counter pressure wasn’t helping with the pain anymore and I was having difficulty concentrating on breathing. I got back in bed, laid on my side, and the nurse had me use a peanut ball between my knees. Immediately the contractions escalated- they were so intense I could feel them down to my toes and all over my back. There wasn’t anything that Beverly or Mitch could do to bring me relief. I couldn’t even concentrate on breathing. Just when I felt I couldn’t handle one more contraction in that position, I felt a sudden urge to push. I told the nurse, who didn’t seem to believe me since I had only been in labor for a few hours. She called down the midwife to come check me.
Everyone was surprised and I was so excited to find I was fully dilated and it was go time! I got on the edge of the bed and started to push. I initially had some difficult finding which muscles to use to push, but the midwife was helpful in directing me to the right ones as she coached me through each contraction. Mitch and Beverly were at my sides encouraging me through each push. I was starting to feel discouraged because I had been pushing for almost an hour and didn’t feel any change. The pain wasn’t too bad, but the mental and emotional strain felt like it was taking a toll on me. I kept telling myself over and over that I could do this- my body was made to do this! After a few more pushes my midwife said she could see the head and encouraged me to reach down to feel it. Feeling my son’s head for the first time gave me an extra surge of energy and hope that the end was near! I pushed a few more times until I felt his little body slide out. I couldn’t believe I had done it- five hours of labor and he was here! They placed him on my chest, and I cried tears of joy over the little miracle in my arms!
Overall, it was an amazing birth experience! Despite the unforeseen complications and the induction, by keeping calm, trusting in the Lord, my body, and the wonderful birthing team I had, I was able to give birth to my son…. In just a little over five hours, while being administered pitocin without an epidural! There is nothing like giving birth to make you feel like superwoman! 🙂