I am so excited to be kicking off a series of “A Baby Story” posts here on Chasing Supermom. With my due date just three weeks away, labor and delivery are definitely on my mind. I thought now was a perfect time to share our stories with each other. Whether you are a new mom, a mom to many, or an empty-nester, there is something special in reading about and sharing baby stories. It is also my heart’s desire to empower and inform women to the best of my ability. I think pregnant moms can definitely benefit from the experiences, ideas, and thoughts of moms who have been through the labor/birthing experience before. Even moms who have had a child, but may still have more, can learn from the experiences of others. My hope is to share a wide variety of baby stories with you over the next few weeks. Snuggle into the couch, pull out your tissue (at least if you’re anything like me…), and get ready to hear a baby story…
The first time I became pregnant, I was 24 years old, and had been married for two years. My husband and I had originally planned to wait five years before starting our family, but chose to begin trying when we found that we were the only couple at church without children. (Peer pressure actually worked out for us this one time..) The funny thing was that just 2 days after we had begun to try, I found out that I had been hired on as the new kindergarten teacher at a school in our town. I remember running out to tell David that I thought we should probably stop trying. Little did I know that it was too late….
My first pregnancy was SUPER rough. I had extreme hyper-emesis and was even hospitalized. I was coming to the nurse’s station so often for IV fluids, that the second they saw me, they’d holler, “Bekki’s back again. We’ll just get your bed ready hon’.” I lost a lot of weight, and lived on Otter Pops for three months. I think the students in my kindergarten class got used to all the puking….I still feel badly for the janitor that had to empty my trash can every night though..With the boys and with my current pregnancy, I was also very sick, though not to the extreme of needing IV fluid. I swear by Zofran and would not have made it any of my pregnancies without it. Each of our babies, with the exception of our current pregnancy were extremely planned, though each time took longer to conceive.
Which type of birth did you choose and why? (vaginal, c-section, natural, water, home birth, etc.)
I wanted to have a vaginal birth, but was in no way planning on having a natural birth. I knew from the beginning that I wanted the drugs. With Hannah, I went into labor on my own. With both of our boys, I was inducted- once by force, and once by choice. I saw no difference in the strength, intensity, or duration of my labors. Aside from how they started, each of my labors has been relatively the same.
Did you have a midwife or an ob/gyn? Did you use a doula or another support person? Why did you make the choice you did? Would you make it again?
I have had an ob/gyn for each of my births. My first ob/gyn was really neat, as she was a family practice doctor who also delivered babies. We LOVED that she was ALL of our doctor…We all went to her for the everyday stuff too, so she really got to know our family.I’ve seen a midwife for this pregnancy (due to the way Kaiser operates where we live), but have been referred to a doctor for a potential complication. At this point, I know enough to know that the actual doctor doesn’t really matter…They essentially catch the baby…The truly important person in that room is your labor and delivery nurse…They will make or break your experience.
Our baby story:
I have to start by telling you how I knew I was in labor the one time I went into it on my own. (This is really fun to trip people out with….especially when I don’t explain right away…) I knew I was in labor with Hannah because…(are you ready for it?) Donald Trump told me I was. (And I’m so dead serious.) Okay…We must have been watching a lot of The Apprentice around this time. I was asleep and in my dream I was sitting at the boardroom table across from Donald Trump. He looked at me, did the little snake move with his hand and said, “You’re in labor.” I woke up, and I was. =) I labored in bed and timed my contractions for an hour before waking up my husband. (How I ever did this, I will never know…I know I wouldn’t do this now!) I will never forget that ride to the hospital though…Thank God we only lived a few minutes away…I was sure we were going to die in a fiery car crash because my husband was going so fast. I remember him having a hard time wheeling me up to the room in the wheelchair…bumping me into doors and such…(I still like to give him a hard time about this!)
With the boys, it was a very different story….We dropped our other children off and just walked into the hospital. Being induced (for me) was just like my first labor, with a tiny bit more waiting. I went in, got hooked up to my IV, and was given a different medicine each time to start getting my cervix ready. The first time, the nurse told me, “Don’t worry this won’t put you into labor.” Within an hour, I was having contractions and on my way. The second time, they gave me something different, and it did nothing. I had to wait for Pitocin to start kicking in, and basically sat and watched late-late night tv for hours…(because really, how can you sleep?!) I wanted to share with some of you who may be facing an induction, that for me, Pitocin was not the devil….Induction wasn’t a bad experience for me. All three of my labors thus far have been about 12 hours from first real contraction to baby.
Here is where some people think I’m nuts…I actually don’t mind labor. For me, this is the BEST day of the whole experience. (Note, that I really dislike being pregnant…) I love being able to watch the contractions come in on the monitor, and love the constant sound of the baby’s heartbeat. I am a fairly quiet laborer, and really internalize the pain. My husband and I have learned to have distractions, and really try to just enjoy the day together. My husband has always been the only person I want in the room with me. He’s been great, and a big support to me. He loves being in the room, and loves seeing and knowing what is going on. He asks a lot of questions and is a huge advocate for me. (I tend to not like asking for things or making a fuss, so he is always quick to get a nurse or ask for things…it’s great!)
A few things that have helped me during labor/delivery are bouncing on the exercise ball, staying distracted with funny DVD’s and keeping a sense of humor, staying in touch with the outside world (Yay for social media!), and resting when you can. I remember each time not wanting to sleep, and then being glad that I managed to get in an hour or two of rest before pushing began.
With Hannah, my epidural was so strong that I could not tell if I was pushing or not. I remember having to ask if I was doing anything. (An epidural feels really trippy….especially the first time…) With the boys, it had begun to wear off a bit, so I found pushing to be much easier. My first child took about 40 minutes of pushing. Henry shot out in 7 minutes, and our youngest took about 20 minutes. I found that having a mirror was the most awesome experience. I LOVED being able to see what my pushes were accomplishing, and loved the first glimpses of my baby’s head.
There is nothing in the whole world like having the doctor place that new little baby in your arms for the first time….true magical love….I remember thinking that each of my babies was the most perfect and beautiful thing I’d ever seen….Seriously, best. day. ever.
What were your strategies for managing pain?
I am here to give you permission to have a medicated birth. I could have kissed my anesthesiologist each time…Oh how I loved those people! An epidural is a beautiful thing. More power to ya if that is not what you want, but if you do, don’t let someone talk you out of it. I have never had a bad experience and my children have all been just fine. I am terrified of needles….but, I’m telling you…you don’t care. They give you the epidural during a contraction, and you can ask to not see the needle. I’ve had anesthesiologists who have walked me through everything they are doing…(Ie- You will feel a little cold. If you’re going to feel anything weird, it will be right now…etc.) They bring in extra people to support you while they’re doing it, and have you hug a pillow. It takes about 20 minutes to kick in….and oh the sweet relief. The difference before and after has always been huge. I have always been much more upbeat and talkative and have been able to grab an hour or two of sleep afterwards.
What could you not have lived without at the hospital?
Check out my full list of what to bring to the hospital! I covered all the bases of what we found most helpful for me, baby, and Daddy. =)
What was your hospital experience like?
We’ve had mixed experiences…The hospital we had our first child at was not great…They were in the middle of remodeling and it was still really old-school and small. There wasn’t a bed for my husband to sleep on and the nurses were AWFUL. One male nurse was banging on the bathroom door at 4am asking why it was taking me so long to go to the bathroom…(I was like, hello…I just had a kid, and I’m attached to an IV thing..) Another nurse announced at the top of her lungs in front of a room of about 12 visitors, “Time for your stool softener!” Such discretion….They carpet cleaned outside our room at 1am, and the hammering from the construction was not super fun either. However, they let us go home early.
We really liked the hospital we had our boys at. (Mostly.) With the exception of one awful nurse (we later learned got fired..) we had a good experience. I will say that much of your experience will depend on the nurses that you get. There are some WONDERFUL nurses who are willing to really work to meet your needs, bend rules to help Dad out (ie-sneak him some dinner, get him extra blankets, etc.) and really listen to your needs/thoughts. There are also some terrible nurses….Remember that you can always ask for a different nurse.
We absolutely LOVE having visitors in the hospital, so we’ve always enjoyed a few days of just really busy visiting time…Our children are always the first to get to meet the new baby, followed by my parents, and then the party can begin! I am getting so excited just writing this!
What do you wish you would have known about labor and delivery beforehand?
I wish I would have known that tv and movies lie. All I really knew about labor was from tv….Now, I get really mad when I watch births on tv…it’s nothing like what you see. I was also terrified because all of the women on “A Baby Story” on TLC would scream and yell and moan…..Women on tv would cuss out their husbands…And then for me, it was NOTHING like that. I was quiet…happy….never yelled once…Just because it happened to someone else, does NOT mean it will happen to you!
What do you wish people had NOT told you?
I had a friend who told me HORRIBLE things before my first labor…The horror stories really freaked me out. (And NONE of them happened to me.)
What was recovery like for you?
No one told me about recovery…I was really unprepared the first time. I didn’t put any thought into how I would feel after giving birth. The first time was definitely the hardest, but I pushed longer that time, and tore a bit. With the boys, I barely tore at all, and felt very little pain afterwards. The ugly details….yes, wiping with a spray bottle was unexpected, but you do what you have to do. I LOVE the giant ice pack pads they give you. (Ask to take some home! A good nurse will snag some for you!) I turned down all heavy medication afterwards each time though, and managed on ibuprofen just fine. (I don’t like what heavy drugs do to me.)
One thing that was rough for me, was with my second child, I bled for six months…..and didn’t tell anyone. (I don’t like going to the doctor.) When I finally told my husband (and he made me go to the doctor), I found out that my uterus never shrunk back down. I had to go on some medicine to get it back to normal. Moral of the story: Tell someone if something weird is going on after you get home!
Describe the day you took your baby home from the hospital.
I will never forget the day we took our first child home…I remember we got home and just looked at each other like, “What are we supposed to do now?” It was such a bonding experience for David and I, and nothing we were prepared for. I remember when we put her to bed that first night we just started praying, “please let her sleep, please let her sleep…” and within seconds, she was screaming. =) You’re so very tired, but you don’t really care…you’re just too in love. You somehow find the strength to just keep going, even though you don’t ever sleep…
What things were most helpful to you after you were home from the hospital?
Meals were VERY helpful to us. It was super nice to not worry about fixing dinner. I have been so blessed by friends….bringing special things for the kids…treats…thinking of every detail…I’m not big on having other people in the house right after we have the baby, so just having the help with food has been great. It has also been nice to have people offer to take some of the other kids, just to give a little bit of a break.
I hope you enjoyed reading my Baby Story! I can’t wait to share more of these with you over the next few weeks! Babies are a miracle and a gift, and remembering the day they make their world debut is so much fun.