I pictured myself giving birth in a birthing center made to feel like home.
… going into labor on my own without the need for being induced.
… being able to labor freely with no restrictions on position or location.
… toughing out the pain and forgoing all pain medication.
I knew that the main goal in my birth plan was to bring home a healthy baby. Despite me being aware of that, it took almost an entire year to write my miracle baby’s birth story. At first, I was disappointed that what I pictured in my mind didn’t happen, but that feeling turned to gratefulness after I was able to sit and reflect on what occurred.
Since I was officially past my due date, I had to go in for a biophysical profile ultrasound to see how baby girl was coping in the wound. The biophysical profile ultrasound looks for proper chest rise and falls (which show that she’s breathing), as well as fetal movement. She had 30 minutes to perform these tasks, but didn’t move at all until the 30 minutes was almost up. Even when she did move, it was just a twitch of an arm.
I was immediately walked into an exam room by a medical assistant that strapped a fetal heart rate monitor and contraction monitor to my bump. She brought in this ridiculously outdated machine, and I was told that I would undergo an NST (non-stress test). I was given a bag of stale Cheetos to encourage the baby to move since perhaps I might have simply been hungry. After I forced myself to eat half of the bag, the medical assistant came back in and handed me a buzzer that I should press when I feel movement, then she started the NST.
After the NST was complete, I was walked over to the nurse practitioner’s office, where she went over the NST results. There was a big language barrier due to her thick accent, so Dennis had to translate for me. Although I thought I felt the baby move, the NST didn’t pick up any movement. She told us to go straight to the hospital, to not even go back home to pack our bags.
Since we live 5 minutes from the hospital, we decided to stop at our house to grab my (already packed) hospital bag, eat a little something, and hug my daughter, Bella. I soaked in those last hugs, as it would be the final time I hugged her as an only child. She was an only child for over 7 years, and she couldn’t wait to FINALLY meet her little sister that she waited for just as long as I did!
My midwife was already at the nurses station as soon as I walked into the labor and delivery ward. She had a puzzled look on her face and asked why I was there. I told her about how the baby failed the biophysical profile and the NST, and she said “it might be time“.
I had one last super thorough NST in triage, and guess what? She passed that one with flying colors! I attributed it to me eating something real and actually being comfortable. I was highly irritated that Dennis wasn’t allowed to be in triage due to “limited space”. They had a chair next to the bed, which I’m assuming was supposed to be for the pregnant woman’s support person. I felt so alone. I didn’t have cell service, so I had no way to communicate with him or my family with what’s going on.
My midwife performed a cervical check and said I was 3cm dilated. She told me that according to my contraction charts, it appeared that I was in early labor. She asked if I wanted to go ahead with the induction and that the decision was up to me on whether to wait it out or not. She recommended that it was best to get the baby out, and I agreed. As much as I despised the thought of induction, the thought of delivering an unhealthy (or worse – still) baby was even scarier.
My midwife allowed me to attempt to induce labor naturally for a couple hours while my room was getting ready. She said I could walk around the hospital, eat dinner, and take a shower. I felt like I walked 1,000 laps around the hospital. I kept getting a crampy feeling and was hoping that it was the start of consistent contractions. I finally ate dinner (yay pizza), and I don’t think I would’ve been able to go through my labor without eating prior to my induction.
My room was ready around 10PM. The nurse attempted to stick an IV into my hand, but had no luck. She tried both hands and a couple different techniques, and nothing. She called in a more experienced nurse to try to get a stick, and thankfully, she was successful. My poor hand though…
The nurse hooked my IV up to two bags of saline, but I was able to move around without a bunch of restrictions. It wasn’t until I started pitocin that I was confined to the bed. I didn’t quite understand why I had to stay in bed while on pitocin, since I was able to walk around while hooked up to pitocin with my previous labor. I believe that had I been given the opportunity to move around semi-freely, I could’ve eased up the pain and agony that back labor put me through.
My contractions were consistently 3 minutes apart for hours, but I was lucky to be able to drift to sleep for an hour or two before all hell broke loose. A nurse came in to check how I was dilating, and I was still stuck at a 3. She decided to up my pitocin around 7am, and it didn’t take long before things started going FAST.
I vividly remember screaming every expletive known to man from 7AM to 11AM. Back labor is no joke. I thought I knew pain, but I was so SO wrong. Back labor is hands down the worst pain I have ever experienced. I literally thought my back was going to tear away from my body. It felt like I was being stabbed repeatedly in the lower back while someone else was twisting my spine. I begged for an epidural for what seemed like an eternity. It took the nurse to get in my face and breathe with me to calm me down.
Turns out, every woman on the floor was wanting an epidural at the same time. By the time the anesthesiologist was able to give me an epidural, I was already 9cm! Looking back, I believe that I could have toughed it out just a little bit longer so I could at least prove to myself that I COULD do it. However, at the time, I couldn’t bear enduring another minute of back labor without an epidural. In actuality, the epidural allowed me to relax just enough to get to 10cm VERY quickly. So quickly, in fact, that I pushed Juliana out approximately 30 minutes after receiving the epidural!
Even though I was given the epidural, I was able to feel everything from the waist down – meaning, I felt that burning ring of fire that I heard so much about! I’m not sure if the epidural actually took full effect or what, but I didn’t experience any kind of numbing effect like I did with my first. I could still feel and move my legs. As soon as I delivered Juliana, the anesthesiologist took out all the epidural line. I was able to walk immediately after giving birth, and my recovery time was essentially non-existent. It’s crazy how different my experiences were with epidurals!
Anyway, back to my delivery…
I was praying that I didn’t have to push as long as I did with my first daughter (3 hours!!). My midwife helped prevent any tearing by *cough* shoving her whole hand inside of my vagina. While I was pushing, I kept yelling “get your hand out of me”, but she kept answering with “no”. Once I noticed that my ladybits were pretty much back to normal immediately after giving birth, I was quite thankful that she did that for me. With Bella, my vagina was super swollen and purple, and I had ‘roids from hell. I didn’t feel comfortable walking until the next day.
My midwife asked if we had a name for our baby girl yet. Dennis and I battled over names for the past 9 months and didn’t have a name picked out until 4 days before her due date. We told her that we’re naming our sweet baby “Juliana”. She commented with how regal the name Juliana was. A perfect match for big sister Isabella.
I couldn’t believe that my miracle baby was finally in my arms. I waited so long for that moment, and I wanted to cherish every single second of her first days and photograph every single moment that I could.
We were discharged the following evening after practically begging to leave, and I was so ready to begin my new life as a mom of two. It’s been such a special journey learning to juggle two kids, but it’s one that I thoroughly enjoy with all of my heart.
Juliana healed my broken heart, and now that she’s in my life after such a long, hard road to get her here, I cannot fathom a life without her. She encouraged me to never give up hope and to continue believing in miracles.
Long before you were even born, we’ve been waiting for our miracle in the making.