Read Part I here.
I was started on the lowest dose of Pitocin they could give me, and baby and I were handling it well. At this time my husband had left, and my doula was here to stay with me while I labored (COVID guidelines allowed only one visitor at a time but the plan was Mark would come back when I was ready to push). I sat on the birthing ball, talking to my doula, bouncing here and there. Standing up when things got too uncomfortable. I kept trying different positions because baby boy was not doing okay. This is when things start to get a little fuzzy. Sometime between midnight and 2:30 am the nurses increased my Pitocin and the contractions started to pick up. I remember talking to my doula one minute and having to focus on my contractions the next. I got down on my knees and leaned over the bed as she applied counterpressure on my hips and back- this was a game changer! It was then when I looked at my phone to see if Mark tried calling and remember seeing no notifications. It was 2:30 and things were moving fast. I pushed my phone aside because I knew I was in for a long night.
The next thing I remember is the nurse asking me to try kneeling on the bed over the peanut ball because baby’s heart rate was dropping. I was on the bed for what felt like maybe twenty minutes before several nurses came rushing in demanding me to get on my hands and knees as they threw an oxygen mask around my face. I just remember telling them I couldn’t because the contractions made it too hard. I quickly realized the severity of it and moved as fast as I could. Sobbing uncontrollably, I kept asking over and over if my baby was okay. The Pitocin and contractions had become too much for him as he had no fluid to act as a cushion. I had to lay on my right side the remainder of my labor with oxygen to keep him happy and healthy.
A little while later the midwife broke my water. Then at some point they began to replace the amniotic fluid that was lost (I can’t remember the proper term for this but essentially, it’s saline pushed back in to help cushion the baby during contractions). This was probably the most uncomfortable thing I ever felt. Not only was I having contractions but with each contraction gushes of warm water rushed out of me and the whole bed was just soaking wet. Sorry, TMI but this is the reality of it ya’ll!
I don’t really have a sense of time at this point. All I know is I was to stay lying on my right side and my contractions continued to grow closer and become stronger. My doula was amazing and continued to support me which provided a lot of relief. Eventually the contractions picked up in intensity to the point where I feel like there was no break in between them. It was so hard to focus. I got checked and was at 9cm. Looking back this was the beginning of transition. Fear began to take over and I just wanted him out! Being naïve, as this was my first and only unmedicated birth, I thought I was ready to push. After one more big contraction the midwife gave me the heads up to start pushing. However, I felt like I didn’t know how!!! I could obviously feel EVERYTHING, so I think that’s when the fear took over and I was pushing prematurely. I asked for my doula to get my husband. Once my husband arrived, so did the OB that was on call. Slate was stuck in at the top of the birth canal and the cord wrapped around his neck. I had to push with everything I had to get him into the birth canal and safely get him out of me. What felt like an eternity, was only fifteen minutes of pushing. After three giant pushes and some aggressive reasoning with the dr., Slate’s head was out.
At 6:06 in the morning, our second son, Slate Alexander was born. Weighing seven pounds and four ounces and twenty inches long. He was quickly taken away as he wasn’t breathing due to the cord wrapped around his neck. I was laying there in complete shock. I just birthed a baby, unmedicated. This was a wild freaking dream come true. As soon as I heard those sweet newborn cries I knew my baby was okay. We had golden hour and I tried initiating breastfeeding. I was in awe.
As side from a few challenges while in the hospital, we headed home that Friday to begin our new life as we knew it.
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