I planned to write baby Samuel's birth story long before even giving birth to the little guy, but I never planned for the story to go as it did. I guess his birth was a wonderful lesson for life and for motherhood: I can plan as much as I would like, but I am not in control.
False Labor Round 1
I started having contractions 4.25.13 and they lasted about one day. I even went in for a checkup contracting on 4.26.13, but the midwife said the contractions were not very strong. She checked on baby Samuel and he was doing just fine so I went on with life...waiting, but the contractions faded.
False Labor Round 2
On 5.10.13 I started contracting again! Wahoo I really was excited this time! My husband Sam was timing the contractions and they were very regular and slowly getting closer together. I just knew this was it. Sam and I went to Walmart to walk around and to hopefully keep labor progressing. Sam picked up some more frozen foods for the coming weeks. He stood in line to check out while I walked laps around Walmart texting him every time a contraction started and stopped. On our way home we called and talked to the midwife on duty at OU and she said to come in when the contractions get "harder and longer". I called my sister and mom to have them meet us at the house. Sam finished up some emails, did the dishes, and got the car packed while my sister and mom walked the neighborhood with me. After our walk and my sweet husband cut some mango and pineapple for us to enjoy. We all sat around chatting. I paused during conversation for each contraction, but the contractions were nothing I couldn't handle. Finally around 10pm I told everyone I had to try and sleep. Mom and sis slept on the couches while Sam and I tried to get some sleep in our room.
I woke up around 1am contracting pretty hard. I knew from reading Natural Birth the Bradley Way that I wasn't feeling serious enough to go into the hospital, but I had been having regular contractions for about 14 hours. At this point they were "harder and longer" so Sam was ready for us to go to the hospital. We drove to the hospital in the middle of the night. Sam prayed for me and for baby Samuel on the way to the hospital. When the urgent care nurse checked me I was having good contractions and baby Samuel was doing great. The midwife said I was at a 1 and 50 % effaced. She sent us home. My body was taking its sweet time delivering baby Samuel. I contracted through the night, but things fizzled out by Saturday mid day.
The Revised Plan
My due date was 5.18.13, but the final week of my pregnancy I started to show signs of preclampsia. The week before baby Samuel's birth we ran lots of labs checking on my health. The final week of my pregnancy we visited the midwife. She told me that at this point to keep me healthy she would like to induce labor. I was excited, but also very sad to hear this. The original plan was for baby Samuel and I to have a natural drug free labor and delivery. I knew that inducing labor meant the use of drugs and inducing labor would up my chances for even more medical intervention, but prelampsia is a serious condition. We chatted about how things would go if we did induce. The plan would be to start with Cervidil to ripen the cervix. Sometimes labor gets going from this and sometimes it does not. If the Cervidil didn't do the trick then we would start using Pitocin. I told my midwife that I STILL wanted to try not to use pain medicine even if we induced. I read many things about how Pitocin makes contractions so strong they are unbearable but I wanted to feel my body's cues even if it meant feeling pain. Before we left the appointent our midwife said she would call us to let us know for sure if we were going to need to induce labor and when that would be.
Our midwife had us come to the hospital with just 2 hours notice on Wednesday 5.15.13. We were all excited, but I was still nervous! No turning back now. Again, Sam prayed a very calming prayer for me and for baby Samuel as we drove to the hospital. We got checked in and shown to our room. Very shortly after I arrived they placed external monitors on my tummy watching my contractions and baby Samuel's heart. They told me they would need to get a 30 minute reading for my midwife to review. At 6pm they started the Cervidil, but then informed me that I would have to keep the monitors on the entire time. I was not happy about this. The monitors were extremely tight, uncomfortable, and of course felt medical and unnatural. It didn't help the situation that we changed nurses and the next nurse started throwing out words like Pitocin and C SECTION! I cried and took the monitors off until I chatted with my midwife. Our midwife calmed me down, explained to me that the nurse was not aware of our birth plan, and pretty much talked me into following instructions! I cried again, but they won and I kept the monitors on.
We got a new room (bigger, cooler, and better), but what I really wanted at this point was a new nurse. One of our prayers Sam and I had been praying was that we would have peace and be calm during labor and delivery. I was having a hard time remaining calm with this nurse, but the new room did help. Apparently the next medical to-do item was to get an IV started. NOT happy again. I never planned to use an IV (not even to hydrate) and now that we were inducing labor I did not want an IV unless we HAD to start Pitocin the next day, but around 8pm the less than favorite nurse started jabbing into my hand with a needle! I cried and cried. I think the IV was seriously the WORST part of labor (I'm weird I know). Sam held my hand and I squeezed him so tight. He later told me that I had squeezed my fingernails into his hand and that it was very painful. Sorry to my Super Sam, but he was a great comfort. (Muah babe) I was seriously a mess after getting the IV. I would not even move my arm. I was so beside myself that we decided I would take some sleeping aids for the night so that I was ready to deliver our son the next day. I fell asleep and so did Sam, my mom, and my sis. Sam slept in a reclining chair. Mom and sis shared the tiniest little sofa in the room, but we all made it through the night.
Thursday morning, 5.16.13, I was checked and still only at a 1 and 50% effaced. Our midwife said the Cervidil had softened the cervix some, but did not do much more than that. Sam helped me get cleaned up with my IV hand hanging out of the shower. Everyone else squeezed in their own short showers as well. Sam, mom, and sis packed up our things and we were moved to the delivery room around 11am. We started Pitocin right away. I was excited to start the Pitocin because in my mind this meant I would meet baby Samuel sooner. Everyone was saying we were going to have a baby that day! My dad even came up to the hospital anticipating the arrival of baby Samuel.
Initially the Pitocin was given to me pretty slow. At the same time the midwife tried a balloon contraption that was supposed to automatically get me to a 4. It worked! Just 30 short minutes after using the balloon our midwife checked me and I was at a 4. Now we were just waiting on the Pitocin to continue to move labor along. I ate my jello, sipped on my soup, prayed, tossed and turned, and chatted some until things got serious.
I labored on Pitocin all day with monitors squeezing me to death around the belly and hauling my IV pole to the bathroom every hour or so. I decided I could NOT take the monitors squeezing me any longer. Not only were the external monitors driving me nuts, but the nurses were having a hard time keeping baby Samuel's heart on the monitor because he was moving around so much. We decided to use an internal monitor. A huge sigh of relief this was to me! When the midwife went to place the internal monitor my water started to leak. We got settled again and everything was looking good on the monitors.
Sam left the hospital around 12:15am so he could run home to shower and let our dog out. While Sam was gone I got up to use the restroom and WHOA momma did my water break. I was leaking everywhere! It was the strangest feeling. In all my pain it made me laugh inside. Water everywhere! My sister texted Sam to let him know my water had broke and also my internal monitor had to be replaced. Apparently he drove back to the hospital like a maniac and was so distraught that he missed my water breaking he didn't even notice the predicative text fail he sent! My sister, bless her heart, tried her hardest not to die laughing at the texting error. She was holding my hand as I was feeling REALLY strong contractions and started laughing at what Sam sent "f*cking car now" and what Sam meant to send "parking car now"! I can't remember if I laughed with her or not, but I was relived that Sam was back.
In all my discomfort I was happy to be feeling the contractions so intense because that to me meant surely I was making progress. I moved around a lot, stayed calm, and thought about holding my baby once he arrived. Besides the IV this was probably the second hardest part of labor. That night our midwife checked me and I was only at a 4, STILL. I was bummed, but not giving up! I labored until around 3am. My pain level was at a 9. I was still at a 4 so I started to strategize. I thought to myself if it takes me another 24 hours to make it to a 10 on this Pitocin I would be dead tired by the time I needed to push. I talked to Sam about what I was thinking and we calmly discussed our thoughts with our midwife. We decided to go ahead and get me an epidural. I was exhausted, Sam was exhausted, and my mom and sis were passed out on the sofa when the doctors came to give me my epidural. I bent forward for what felt like forever while the doctor tried 3 times before getting the epidural placed. It was so hard to bend like I had to bend and to stay still throughout my crazy Pitocin contractions, but I got it. I can't even remember when I got a catheter, or when I was given an oxygen mask, but I got those too. Once the epidural was in place it was pretty much smooth sailing. Crazy how you can go from the most intense pain to feeling nothing.
I finally slept some on Friday morning, 5.17.13, thanks to the epidural. The nurses increased the Pitocin as frequent as they could. Surely our baby was coming soon! I was feeling tired, but not in pain. Sam went to get Kate and we all continued to wait. I started to get a fever at this point. My body had just had enough I guess. Baby Samuel's heart was not doing the best according to the monitor. Our midwife checked me around 2pm and I was only at a 5. I had been laboring for about 38 hours without pain medicine and for about 11 hours with pain medicine. Our midwife talked to us about the dangers of continuing on as we were and about the medical need to have a C Section. Sam and I discussed this shortly, but we both agreed to go ahead and have a C Section due to the circumstances.
As soon as we were on the C Section route I was rushed off to surgery just 20 short minutes after making the decision. My step dad Leonard came up to the hospital with my little brother Alec. We were all ready. I remember feeling the Peace that passes all understanding RUSH through my body as the nurses wheeled me through the halls. I was thinking only of my God, my husband and of my son. Doctors and nurses moved around me getting things ready. Our midwife was right there in the room encouraging us and snapping photos. She placed warm blankets around my head because I was shaking. I laid there listening. That's all I could do was listen with all my might for baby Samuel. Sam held my hand and stared at me. At 3:53 I heard his little cry and tears rolled down my cheeks! PRAISE GOD my baby - MY miracle was finally here. I heard people saying how handsome he was, how much hair he had, that he was 8lbs, and how healthy he was! Sam went to see baby Samuel and cut his cord shorter. I laid there excited to see him. All those months of feeling him inside me I wanted to look at him so bad. I just kept looking at the end of the sheet waiting for his little face to come see me! Finally Sam brought my little guy over. I could not believe the love that bubbled up in my heart for my baby. I remember thinking how beautiful he was! We were brought very close and we even were skin to skin as the doctors finished with my surgery. I cried tears of joy! This was one of the most happiest moments of my life. This was my proudest moment for sure.
My son's birth was completely out of my control and not according to my plan. Thankfully God is and was in control of my life and my son's life. Although God had a bigger plan for our son's birth, we had prayed for "delivery to be safe, healthy, and quick"! The labor was long, but the delivery was exactly what we had prayed for.
Baby Samuel is the best thing I have ever been a part of creating. He is my pride and my joy. I'm so thankful for his life. We are so blessed.
Baby Samuel - 8 lbs & 21 inches, born Friday May 17, 2003 at 3:53pm
Posted on Sat, June 15, 2013
by Amy Samuel filed under