Over the last several weeks I have taken the time to savor every second of Slate’s birth. Scrolling through all of the photos, remembering what was happening as the photo was being taken and how I felt, snapping my last bump update, enjoying a nice lunch with my husband and Jasper moments before heading into the hospital, feeling nervous and anxious, but more confident than ever before.
Slate’s birth was everything I needed and more. In most ways it has healed me. My birth experience with him was nothing like I expected but everything I had hoped for. It has allowed me to accept the traumatic birth I had with my first son, Jasper. (To read his birth story click here for Part I and here for Part II). I didn’t think I could love birthing a child more than I already had, but Slate has taught me- decide what you want, and you can have it.
This is his story.
The Birth Story of Slate Alexander
On Tuesday, September 29, 2020 I went in for my 41-week prenatal appointment. I was exactly one week past my due date and was hoping to either have the baby that week or be healthy enough to go until 42 weeks. That day was also my mom and sister’s birthday.
Prior to this appointment my midwife and I decided she would do a membrane sweep in hopes to get things rolling. She also scheduled me for a follow-up appointment later in the week just in case I was still pregnant. (If you didn’t know, when a woman gets her membranes stripped, it stimulates hormones to be released that may induce labor. At 41-weeks the hospital’s policy was a woman could remain pregnant up until 42 weeks if she was healthy, but a bio-physical was mandatory. This is an ultrasound where they check the baby to see if they are still thriving. I had two with Jasper and it was what determined my induction with him). Before heading into my bio-physical, my midwife hinted that an induction may be needed due to low fluid. (After about 40 weeks the placenta can stop working which means it is no longer providing for the baby. If the baby isn’t getting the nutrients it needs, then he or she isn’t going to the bathroom (peeing) aka making amniotic fluid). I get to my ultrasound appointment and before I know it I was being referred to the hospital for an induction. There was no amniotic fluid surrounding him at this point. He needed to come out or he was at risk for stillborn.
Upset, I tried to keep my cool and in between tears rolling down my face, I asked the doctor several questions. I wanted to make sure this was not only the best decision for baby and me, but also something that was needed. There was nothing I wanted more than to experience labor and birth naturally, from start to finish.
Little did I know I was already in pre-labor.
Although I was being induced, I felt much more confident than I had with Jasper. I had more knowledge, knew what to expect, had my husband and my doula, and overall felt ready. I was also being induced for an actual medical reason and using different methods than what I experienced with Jasper, so I also felt more in control of the situation.
By the time I got out of my ultrasound, it was around 3pm. I shared the news with my husband as he wasn’t allowed in the appointment with me, called my mom so that she could drive down to Delaware, and made our way to the hospital. Because of COVID and hospital policy I had to head in alone. Mark was with Jasper waiting for my mom to arrive. I got to my room, the nurses got me hooked up to the monitor and an IV started. For my induction the plan was to insert a foley bulb and then start Pitocin. (Foley bulbs act as a balloon inside your cervix to help open it, they fall out on their own once a woman is 3cm dilated. Pitocin is the synthetic form of oxytocin which is a hormone that causes a woman to have contractions and go into labor). Luckily, I was able to have my induction pushed back until Mark was in the room with me. As long as the baby was appearing safe and healthy we were in no rush.
For the next several hours I just hung out in my room, waiting for Mark. I encouraged him to go grab dinner with my mom, so he wasn’t hungry while I labored. During this time the nurses would come in to check on me and baby. After looking at the monitor they asked, “are you feeling those contractions, they’re pretty strong?”. I felt a little cramping, but to be honest it was nothing more than what I was feeling the days leading up. They grew a tiny bit stronger as time went on but nothing more than a period cramp. Then, I went to the bathroom and realized I had lost my mucus plug. This was a good sign! Mind you, at this point in time I still didn’t know I was in pre-labor. Before Mark came in they allowed my mom to visit with me, which was nice and made me feel a little better. Mark arrived around 7 or 8 o’clock pm. Still contracting and being clueless I was in labor, we waited for the midwife to insert the foley bulb.
It was around 10:30 pm when they were ready to insert the foley bulb. To my surprise I was already dilated to 3cm and didn’t need the foley bulb! An induction was not needed! This is when it hit me that I was in pre-labor the whole time and was clueless. My body had gone into labor all on its’ own and I couldn’t have been happier in that moment. However, I still needed Pitocin because the contractions weren’t strong enough or coming on quick enough which was risky for my situation. Things seemed to start moving fast though so my doula made her way to the hospital. Pitocin was started around midnight.
To be continued…
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