Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Ours was as restful as life with three littles can be and Sunday gave us a little sunshine that we were took advantage of with a little sled ride around the neighborhood. Between that and snuggles, naps and play time, the weekend flew by!
Today we get to share in Chelsea’s birth story. I was so very, very privileged to help bring her sweet boy into the world. Chelsea has a personality that exudes joy in everything she does. It’s contagious when you’re around her! She was absolutely amazing during labor and second stage – but her labor and birth are only the first part of her story. I’ll let her tell it though and I can’t wait for you guys to read it as well…without further adieu, here’s Chelsea’s story (pictures used with Chelsea’s permission!):
It has been 3.5 years since my birth story came to be, but like all mamas, we remember that day (or those days) like yesterday. On 22 May 2017, I woke up at my usual 5 AM to hit the gym prior to heading into the pediatric clinic where I served as an RN. I stayed extremely active throughout pregnancy and I mention this because I truly feel that this played a key role in my recovery. The second I walked into clinic, mild contractions started, but this was not unusual for me. At the time I was 38+5 weeks pregnant and ready to welcome baby boy any day! However, this day felt different emotionally, not physically. I had been at work for about an hour and the contractions slowed down to a halt. Something still felt off and I went to my commander requesting to leave for the day because I just felt like I needed to be home. She asked me to wait to provide coverage for other nurses at lunch, then I could head out. Easy peasy! I looked forward to getting home and starting my to-do list: giving my pup a haircut, bath, and walk her.
Around 4 PM, we finished the bath portion and I ran to put on a pair of dry clothes. Bending over, sliding on my new pair of shorts, I felt a little trickle of fluid leak out onto my rug. Certainly, I didn’t just pee. Certainly, my water didn’t just break. I couldn’t be sure of either, so I popped a pad on and headed out for a walk. A quarter of a mile later, we were full on, water-gushing like they show in the movies! I had to swing back to our house, swap pads, and call my husband who was working almost five hours away to let him know he may want to start to head home. I also phoned in to my girlfriend and neighbor working her L&D shift to ask her to bring home a nitrazine swab to verify that this actually was my water breaking! There I was, gushing and still in denial. She got off her shift at 7 PM, but by then, we didn’t need a swab. Waiting on her to get home, I continued to walk around our neighborhood and pump (using my electric breast pump) intermittently to help induce contractions. Before my husband made it home, my girlfriend and I managed to walk 8 miles! I had zero pain or discomfort.
My husband arrived home around 11 PM thinking we’d get right on the road to the hospital. “Whoa, I’ve got to shower, eat, pump, and then maybe we can go in,” was my response to him. I also called my good friend Jamie who was able to assist in my prenatal care to let her know we were heading in! Unfortunately, I already knew she was off shift, but assured me if the stars aligned, she would be at my delivery the next day. We arrived to triage around midnight. I was admitted, I was in zero pain with light contractions, and I was still gushing. I was at 2-3cm upon admission that night and since I had made some cervical progress since my clinic check the week prior and was contracting on the monitor, the provider advised me that I could continue to walk without medical intervention. My provider had wanted me to use wireless monitors while walking, but was willing to perform an NST and disconnect me while I walked since I had no medical interventions at this point and baby looked great. Ladies, if I have one piece of advice for you– bring your tennis shoes to the hospital! I sent my husband to sleep in my hospital room and I started walking. My sandals were not comfortable for the next 2-3 miles I walked doing laps on the floor. *I should add, that I was previously a labor and delivery nurse on this unit and had measured out the halls to exercise on slow nightshifts years prior*. I hit my two hours of walking and we decided to see where baby was- 3.5-stretch to 4cm. Not a ton of progress, but some minor changes. The provider let me pick my poison- continue on intervention-free or start Pitocin to jumpstart things. I picked the pit since I still not feeling my contractions yet and had already walked over 10 miles since my water had broken!
In the L&D world, we have mamas who need insane amounts of Pitocin to get labor moving, and we have mamas who need just a “whiff of pit”. I could’ve literally smelled the meds and would’ve been pumping out intense contractions. My nurse turned my Pitocin to 2 and thirty minutes later to 4 and I was full blown feeling all the labor pains! Finally, I thought, “this is what it should feel like!” My husband awakened from his slumber and was SO helpful in reminding me of various positions and techniques I could do to get through the contractions. I knew making him attend a class would be beneficial! Around 6 AM, my nightshift nurse came in and was concerned about my creeping blood pressure. Upon admission, I had advised my labor team that I was not open to IV pain medication, but was open to an epidural and I would ask for it when interested. With my blood pressure creeping up, I was hoping it was only the pain causing the elevation. I asked her what she thought because I was unsure if I was too early to be confined to a bed yet without knowing my cervical progression. She checked my cervix and I had progressed to 6cm. I gave my nurse the go ahead to call anesthesia. It was a shift change epidural (sorry, team!) and the provider administering it literally placed that sucker in 3 minutes flat. He even commented on how quick and easy it was. Shortly after, I was comfortable, but my blood pressure remained elevated into the late morning. My new midwife (and/or Jamie) on shift decided to run labs to rule out any further concerns.
Throughout this period, I remained in contact with Jamie who was either teaching or taking a life support course that day, if I remember correctly. She kept telling me she’d come in to deliver me at lunchtime, but not to hold off if I felt the urge to push with the current midwife on. I was fully dilated somewhere around 10 AM but so comfortable resting! I had no pressure and baby looked amazing on the monitor, so we rested! Jamie made it around lunchtime to start pushing with me. Baby was low and ready! As we were preparing to start pushing my husband got very nauseous very quickly… so did I. A little Zofran for me and some ginger ale and a stool by my head for him and we were ready. Within 2 pushes, my husband was helping assist with pushing and positioning and we were both feeling much better!
Jamie did a few trial pushes with me then gowned up… that’s a sign that baby is near! We pushed in lithotomy positioning, we pushed on each side, we pushed with the squatting bar, we pushed utilizing mirrors, we pushed playing tug of war, and repeated. We pushed and pushed and pushed. Even though I had an epidural, I always felt that I had great control of my legs while I remained pain-free throughout pushing. Poor Jamie, was gowned up head to toe and in this for much more than she expected! Nearly three hours later, my son was born. 7lbs 9oz and 21.5 inches long and sharing a birthday with Jamie—this was so special to me! He was not happy to meet the outside world, but transitioned beautifully and took to my breast immediately. This is where my birth story transitions to my postpartum story…
Isn’t Chelsea’s story beautiful?! She also has some amazing birth photos as well (birth photos always give me the biggest smiles and goosebumps at the same time!). And I love sharing a birthday with such a sweet family.
As I hinted before, this is only the first part of Chelsea’s birth story. She has a postpartum journey to share with you that is just as awe inspiring…
But you guys will have to tune in next Monday to hear the rest of the story…but until then, I hope this birth story starts your week off on a high note and leaves a smile on your face.
Want to share your birth story? Please do . Your stories empower and educate other women about birth and labor. Send me your story here!
1 year ago on the blog…The State of Midwifery (Part 1)