Our game plan from before I even got pregnant was to have a homebirth. It’s what I had always dreamed of, Patrick was on board, and we found an incredible team of providers that we felt safe with and supported by. Then two weeks ago, at 41 weeks, I had a standard biophysical profile to check on how the stubborn babe was doing and we found out that my amniotic fluid levels were super low and we really had no choice but to go to the hospital and get induced. I spent about twenty minutes feeling upset and frazzled by this major change of plans but after a few deep breaths and some phone calls to the right people I really truly felt at peace with what was happening and also begrudgingly amused at this one final pregnancy reminder that I was not able to control what was going on. Patrick, my sister Emma, and I hopped in a cab and headed tonto Woodhull Hospital where we spent a thrilling 7 hours in triage cause a bunch of babies had just been born, I peed in a cup and then nobody ever took it and I’m still laughing at that, and one of my midwives swung by to say hi and see how I was coping. Around midnight we finally made it into our own room and I started my first of five doses of cytotec (which helps ripen the ol cervix and get contractions going). The next twelve hours were pretty boring, I was definitely having contractions but my pain level was like mild period cramps and my cervix didn’t budge a bit. Eventually Patrick went home to take a quick shower and Emma and I had a singalong dance party to the entirety of Hamilton. I was certain that this would dance the baby down and open me up BUT IT DID NOT. Things started getting a lot more intense and yet my body still would not budge, around hour 19 on the cytotec I asked about an epidural because my back and hips were in so much pain but the hospital midwives said they try to hold off on that until “active labor” and since I still wasn’t dilated at all it seemed a bit early so instead I called my amazing doula who showed up in ten minutes and worked absolute magic that allowed to me totally zen out for a few hours.
Finally after 22 hours on the cytotec I made it to 1cm dilated which meant a very exciting balloon catheter could be placed in my cervix to help open things up more. This was definitely the shitiest thing I’ve ever felt in my body but I’m glad we did it because 4 hours later I had gone from 1 to 4cm and when they took the balloon out my water had broken! The next few hours are a total blur and all i know is that shit got real. My contractions were strong enough on their own that we stopped the cytotec and just let my body take over, and man oh man take over it did. Around 4am Sunday morning I decided I had officially had enough of being in pain and I was worried I was looking at another 12+ hours of labor after how long it had taken to get to just 1cm, I wanted to be able to rest so I had the best chances of successfully pushing this punk kid out of my body so I asked for an epidural and everyone agreed this seemed like the right time and half an hour later thanks to a very feisty lady named Dr Cho I was slipping into the sweet sweet delicious relief of an epidural. Then pretty much right away baby’s heart dropped rapidly which is fairly normal after an epidural but the midwife wanted to do an internal check to tickle his head and wake him up a bit or something at which point it was discovered that I was fully 10cm dilated and ready to go! I assumed that meant I was gonna start pushing right away but my midwife, Kara, encouraged me to try to rest and let the baby descend on his own until I really really felt like I had to push. So we just chilled like that for almost an hour and half, I felt so so lucky to get to rest without pain while still feeling all the pressure of my little guy making his way with each contraction into a good place for me to push. Finally around 6:45 I said yeah we gotta do this now and I pushed for around 40 minutes (if you asked me after it was 12 minutes that felt like 2 very frustrating years – time is strange when you’re in labor) the entirety of which I ranted excitedly about the gigantic shit I was certain i was also expelling from my body (I was not, apparently what I was feeling was in fact my human baby) and then bam, just like that my baby was here and on my body and he looked gigantic and perfect and really I was too tired to think anything other than that. Felix had swallowed a bunch of meconium so the pediatricians grabbed him really quickly to suck all that (literal) shit out of his little body but he never left my sight and was back on my chest in less than five minutes and successfully nursing not long after that. Then we spent a lovely two days hanging out with a bunch of hilarious and very supportive nurses and before we knew it we were home sweet home.
Even though it was nothing like the birth I had imagined it really feels like exactly the birth that was supposed to happen and I came out of it feeling like it was an incredibly positive and satisfying, and ultimately empowering experience. Every single person we interacted with from the moment we got to the hospital until the moment we left was kind and gentle and friendly and funny and respectful and incredibly communicative. My mental state was checked in on just as frequently, if not more so, than my physical state and I really felt that every decision that was made throughout my labor was one that I made and was able to come to in my own time and on my own terms after being given exactly the amount of information I desired. And, of course, on top of the hospital staff being incredible and my doula being actually magic, I had my own personal superstar team of Patrick and Emma who knew exactly how to be there with me and for me without ever once getting in my hair (Very Important).
So that’s my story, it was long and it was hard but it was also kind of perfect and I wouldn’t change it for the world and now my little friend is here in the world after being ushered in with a lot of patience and love from everyone involved and that is a very cool thing