In the early morning of July 4, I woke up really needing to use the bathroom, which is nothing new to a 9 month pregnant lady. But this morning it was different. As soon as I peed I stood up and was quite sure I had peed again. Thinking that my bladder just had pressure on it (ya know from the baby) I went back to bed. I woke up again a couple hours later & the same thing happened again. Could my water be breaking? You hear about this ‘slow leak’ and how it’s just not common...but, after 4 hours and 2 diapers (yes, adult diapers) I was sure this was it! 2 days before, I had a membrane sweep at my doctor visit which brought period like cramps for at least 24 hours. Also, I lost my mucous plug the day before so I had all the signs. I went about my morning, showered, meditated, ate, chatted with my Doulas, etc etc. My husband and I decided to take our time since my ‘contractions’ were very mild and did not cause me any pain. I could barely tell when they actually started but we tried to time them. Once they were semi-regular we gathered our stuff for the hospital. I got pretty anxious on the way to the hospital. The rain was pouring down and while we were having our last meal (Chick-fil-A of course) I called my doctor. She had assured me my entire pregnancy she would do everything to be at my birth. As I began to explain how my morning had unfolded, she responded letting me know I should head to the hospital...and that she couldn’t be there-it was July 4. My heart sunk into my chest. Absolutely heart broken. I allowed myself to process that and honestly totally broke down in my car. This news affected my contractions and they were kind of lost in the bustle. We decided to go anyway to the hospital. I was GBS positive and it was the best for us since my water had been breaking for 8 hours. My husband comforted me and I spoke with my doula to get a plan started. She spoke with me about pitocin shortly. I had wanted a natural labor so this was a hard pill to swallow but I allowed that possibility to enter my mind...and prepared myself for the main event. I had prepared myself, my body, my mind for this for 9 months.
I got this.
We went through all the processing. Sign in, triage, room assignment, all of the boxes were checked. I was in a great mood but that didn’t matter much for my contractions. They were very mild. I knew they needed to hurt. I hadn’t progressed any since my visit 3 days ago. I was still 3cm and 80% effaced.
Pitocin. I had to get this rolling. It had been 10 hours and I accepted that I could still do this naturally but I KNEW it would be difficult. Luckily, my contractions didn’t get too awful. I was able to move around for a few hours. Luckily, another one of the Natural Baby Doulas, Sarah, was at the hospital for a birth. She checked on me periodically throughout the night. Everything was regular but I needed an increase in pitocin every 30 mins to an hour. I tried not to focus on the number. In the middle of the night my husband looked and I was all the way up to a 20. I thought to myself, ‘omg that seems high I’ve never heard of it being that high.’ Honestly I got pretty nervous. It was the middle of the night. I knew I needed to rest...this was taking so long and I still had so far to go. Trying not to be discouraged I agreed to therapeutic rest. This is a narcotic they put into your IV to help you relax. Little did I know what that would do.
As soon as that medication was in my IV I was SLAMMED with those pitocin contractions. SLAMMED. I lost track of my meditative breath. I lost track of my mind. I screamed gripping the bed with all my strength. I saw red. I couldn’t even open my eyes because my vision was doubled. The entire room was taken back at what was going on. For what seemed like eternity I dealt with this level 11 pain. If this is how labor was going to go I knew I couldn’t do it without an epidural. Thank god my doula was in the room. I could hear her ask about the pitocin. It was too high I thought to myself. It’s too high. ‘This is too much please, please this is way too much’ (or something like that) I barely got out. My contractions were back to back. I went from having them 4-5 mins apart to being hit like a bus. This wasn’t normal to me. The nurse responded quickly and turned my pitocin down. All the way to what we started with. Slowly my contractions eased up and I was able to open my eyes and release my grip. I was sweating. My entire body began shaking. Everyone in the room was looking at me when I opened my eyes. My husband looked at me with wide eyes. I was so grateful Sarah was in the room in that moment. She was shocked-she had never seen that effect on anyone from therapeutic rest. Immediately we called in my actual doula, Jessica. She arrived and exclaimed ‘Abby!’ I giggled at her. We told her what happened and she was also shocked. I had gone from 4cm to 7cm within just minutes. Woah. She began talking me through each and every moment. I followed her voice through the pain. I couldn’t even open my eyes from this narcotic wearing off. I listened to each word. ‘You are strong. Relax. Inhale love. Exhale fear’ I tried to guide myself.
And shit got real.
Go time. We were in it. I was in a rhythm with my breath. I didn’t lose focus. My entire body was still shaking. I moved through a few positions but could barely stand from the shaking. I tried nitrous and felt incredibly claustrophobic when I had that mask on. I couldn’t breathe deeply and that’s what was keeping me together. So, gave up on the nitrous pretty quickly. I didn’t want to be touched. I ended up on my side with a peanut ball between my legs so I could try to relax through contractions. It got to the point that I was exhausted. I was 20ish hours in and just didn’t think I could do it. With each and every contraction I thought, ‘ok, I’ll get through this one then I’ll get an epidural.’ I repeated that for at least an hour in my mind. I couldn’t give up. Finally I got the courage to speak my wants out loud. Crying to Jessica I said it’s time for an epidural. I can’t do this. She was so firm in her response. ‘Abby I know how important your birth plan is. I know how important it is and you can do this.’
I can do this. I AM doing it. I agreed to a cervical check. 8cm. Thank GOD! Here comes transition I thought to myself. Here comes the hardest part. But it didn’t get any worse. The pitocin attack was by far the worst up until this point. There was SO much pressure. I threw up and knew something had changed. 9 3/4cm. SERIOUSLY?! I looked at Jessica discouraged but she gave me the support I needed. Everyone gave me so much support. My husband didn’t leave my side. The room shifted. Another nurse arrived and began setting up the bassinet. They turned on more lights. ‘That is how close you are’ I heard my nurse say to me. This was very encouraging. Contractions were pretty awful but I had gotten into my groove again. I remained focused, calm, strong...but EXHAUSTED. Utterly exhausted. I needed help getting around. I was weak and shaking and emotional. 10cm. How was I going to push?! How?!
With everything I had, I began pushing. I thought for sure this would be easy for me. I had trained my pelvic floor for months. Kegels, squats, walking, tea, dates. I had prepared. We were 24ish hours in. It was 8am at the hospital and it felt like it had come alive. I watched in a mirror as I began pushing. This helped me stay focused. Oh man, now really was the hardest part. An hour turned into two. Two turned into 3. My dr had arrived. He was crowning for what felt like HOURS...and he was for a handful of contractions . I was at my breaking point again. I knew I was so strong but this labor was too long to keep my strength up. I honestly thought that I was going to need a c-section after all of that work. NO. I’m NOT getting one. Somehow I mustered up energy from the depths of my soul to continue pushing. I was on my back (which I didn’t want to be from the research I had done & the effect on your pelvis being less open than other positions) and most of the time I pulled on a sheet between my legs with each push to help me focus on where I needed to push. This was so incredibly hard.
Once again the room shifted. I watched as my son began showing more clearly. His head got bigger and bigger. My strength got weaker and weaker. I remember hearing my doula say ‘come on Abby get MAD’ ‘one more push Abby and he’s here you’re so close’ my doctor said to me (she said this 2-3x so after it didn’t happen the first time I got quite fed up) but I pushed through-quite literally.
My husband looked at me and before I knew it he handed my son to me. He had wanted to deliver the baby and with bare hands he totally did! At 12:05 pm I reached my hands down to the final moments as I pulled my baby to my chest. In between worlds they say...we were meeting for the first time. I remember reading something about how a mother’s soul leaves her body in this moment to retrieve her baby earth side. Jessica caught an incredible picture of that exact moment. I’ll cherish that forever.
We did it. My baby was here.
Ashton Wesley Delk
7.5.19 7lbs 7oz @ 12:05pm
28 hours to bridge the gap between what I had known to motherhood. To say I felt like super woman isn’t even strong enough. I got my natural labor...with a little help. We both did it.
I’m so grateful for everyone in that room. I had gone through 3 nurse changes. That final nurse, Jane was an absolute angel and exactly who I needed to get me through the finish. Once my doula arrived she never left my side. I couldn’t have ever done it without her. My husband was in total awe of me. I felt so much love. No fear, just love.
The 3 of us had arrived to the other side. And now begins the next chapter for our little family.