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My Birth Story

On December 1, 2018 at 12:06pm Julia Patricia entered the world. But her story doesn't begin there. This birth went nothing like I had expected and while I have not regrets or disappointments, to say I wasn't (and still am not) stressed and emotional about it would be an understatement.

When I found out I was pregnant in early March, I was so excited and a little bit nervous at the same time. I was excited that we had been able to get pregnant without any complications and very quickly too. I had been diagnosed with mild PCOS a few years earlier and had spent most of my teens and twenties with menstrual issues and often wondered if I would ever be able to get pregnant. I know that following the Body Ecology Diet, working with functional doctors, seeing my chiropractor  for nutritional therapy, and going to acupuncture made a huge difference going into this process. Getting my health back definitely is something I'm grateful for and what I attribute my pregnancy success too.

The week Anthony and I were scheduled to see the doctor and get a confirmation sonogram my mother in law died. I felt so upset for Anthony because we hadn't told anyone yet we were pregnant and he never got to tell his mom while she was alive. I know that she has watched over our beautiful Julia from the beginning. Even now when I walk with Julia through the house she is always finds a picture of my mother in law smiling and keeps looking at it. It's peaceful to know she knows her.

We told my immediate family on my birthday 2 weeks later. Everyone was so excited. I was experiencing some morning sickness pretty regularly which was annoying but manageable thanks to lots of ginger tea, lemon water, and Sea Bands. I was happy to see that my pregnancy was progressing well and that I had no signs of anything out of the ordinary happening.

I had a very uneventful pregnancy overall. I was blessed with extremely good blood pressure, no placenta previa, no bleeding, and no signs of fetal distress ever. My princess was basically head down from the time she was conceived. Each sonogram showed a healthy baby girl growing strong. The only minor issue that came up was I failed my 1 hour glucose test and tested positive for Group B Strep. Otherwise I had minimal swelling, I was all belly, and I was able to keep dancing and teaching dance with no issues whatsoever.

Once I found out I was pregnant, I dove into all things natural pregnancy and stumbled upon Mama Natural. I read her guide to pregnancy cover to cover and implemented all of her natural remedies to ensure a good labor and delivery. I practiced my pelvic opening exercises everyday, I drank red raspberry leaf tea, I drank collagen, I even followed protocol to eat 6 dates a day. I was so excited to push out my baby girl and knew that it would be something I was more than prepared to handle. Little did I know what my Julia had in store.

I hired a doula and created a birth preference plan. My goal was to have no interventions, no medication, have delayed cord clamping, and get immediate skin to skin with my little girl. I told myself that this would be the ideal situation and that I had to be flexible just in case anything changed in the moment and I was content with that. However, I don't think I was prepared for what actually happened.

My due date of November 27 came and went and my doctor sent me for a sonogram on November 29 just to check on things and make sure all was still good with the baby. They found that I was a little low on amniotic fluid and told me they were sending me to the hospital that day to get induced. I went home, packed up the last minute things that weren't already in my to go bag, and headed to the hospital to check in. I was hooked up to a saline lock immediately and my doctor gave me a dose of cervadil to start the labor process of ripening my cervix. After 12 hours I was 80% effaced and had started to dilate. I was having regular contractions that were strong and close together. It seemed like my body was doing exactly what it was supposed to do. However 8 hours later I had made no progress and it was decided that I needed some pitocen to get things moving.

I was in no way prepared for what happened next. After my first hit of pitocen I experienced a contraction that was 3 minutes long, extremely painful, and made me throw up. I got the shakes almost immediately. Things then calmed down and when I was checked again it was decided I needed more pitocen so I would continue to progress. After my next hit I had the same reaction, only this time in addition to the 3 minute contraction I experienced essentially what was 3 contractions in a row that totaled 6 minutes straight without a let down in between each one. I knew then that I needed an epidural if I was going to survive this pitocen thing or else I would have dehydrated from vomiting so much. The epidural made the unnaturally intense labor doable.

It was now well into early Saturday morning and when the nurse came to move my position at 2am we discovered that my water had partially broken. I still had one more bag that needed to break and about an hour later I heard a pop and felt a huge gush. The doctor came in to check me and I was now 90% effaced and 8 cm dilated. It was time to start prepping mentally to push.

I won't go into all the details but the long and short of it is once I was fully dilated I pushed for 4 hours and Julia was unable to make it down the birth canal. I had had the epidural turned off so I could push effectively and now she was stuck and I was being prepped for a c-section, which is something I never even considered or talked about with my doctors. I was in excruciating pain while waiting for the anesthesiologist to restart my epidural and literally almost lost my mind. When I say I never experienced something so painful in my life I mean it. I had spiked a fever while pushing so I was on antibiotics and fluids as well at this point. I was rolled down to the OR and was a bit nervous for what I was about to experience.

While I didn't feel any pain, I felt so much pressure with the doctors trying to get Julia out as quickly as possible. I felt every tug with trying to get her unstuck from the birth canal. When they got her out they immediately took her to a table and began working on her. She wasn't making any noise and I looked at my husband to see if he knew what was going on. He didn't and I heard doctors talking about maybe needing to get an intubation tube. I was scared and afraid that something was really wrong. They eventually brought Julia over for a quick look and rushed her and my husband to the NICU. I was writhing in pain from the pressure of the doctors trying to put me back together. It got so bad the doctor asked the anesthesiologist to knock me out which he did. When I woke up I had no idea what was wrong with Julia and was scared that something awful had happened. The anesthesiologist was very kind and let me know that she was ok but was in the NICU. When they rolled me to recovery I was informed that she was born with a fever, had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, was covered in meconium (which she probably swallowed), and was not breathing when she came out. Her vitals were fine in the NICU but she would need antibiotics and fluids to make sure there was no infection in her. It would be 4 hours until I was able to see her and finally have skin to skin. It was now time to begin a whole new adventure that I had never in my mind prepared for.

To say having a C-Section was painful was an understatement. I was intensely swollen, still hooked up to antibiotics and it is suspected that my uterus had incurred an infection while I was in labor. I was sore from pushing and in pain from having major surgery. I spent the next 4 days in the hospital with Julia being in the NICU for 3 of them. She was fussy, unable to feed properly, and needed a lot of holding. While she is healthy, she has had some struggles with feeding in this first week due to a tongue and lip tie and we have finally come up with a plan that seems to be working for her. While I had planned to breastfeed, it is not in the cards for this time around for many reasons but I am happy to report my little girl is doing better.

My birth went nothing like I had imagined and yet it's taught me that life can throw us curve balls that try to knock us down but if we are strong enough we can push through and come out on the other side a little bruised, but more than ok. Motherhood is a life changing event for sure and I have so much love for this little one. She is thankfully on her way to doing well and growing into a strong, beautiful girl. Like I said in the beginning, I have no regrets or disappointment in me about this experience but I will say it has been stressful and overwhelming. I am thankful for my husband and family for their support during this entire experience. I know this has been hard on my husband as well and he is a trooper for all he has done for us.

"When life is good do not take it for granted as it will pass. Be mindful, be compassionate and nurture the circumstances that find you in this good time so it will last longer. When life falls apart always remember that this too will pass. Life will have its unexpected turns." ~ Ajahn Brahm

Comments

  1. Catherine, first off you are amazing for having captured the essence and details of your birth story. We moms all have a unique journey into motherhood, sometimes during. Well done on maintaining an optimistic outlook and sharing what you have just been through. There is no way for anyone to relate to what another experiences but through the written word we can get a taste of what it is like to be in another person's shoes. As a birth worker I see many women in the first 72 hours of giving birth and not all of them look or feel like peaches and cream. Becoming (and being) a mother is intense, challenging work and thank god for the unconditional love that pours through our hearts. Without love, I fear we would all go to pieces. Keep on keeping on and moving through with grace. All of us women are with you in spirit 🌺

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    1. Thank you Tara for the kind words. So glad to have your support <3

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