Lacey's Birth Story
November 22, 2017
I can’t believe my little Lacey is two weeks old. Everyone was right—the first two weeks are difficult. Figuring out how to keep a tiny human alive is no simple task! But alas, we’ve done it, with a little help from my mom and our night nurse. Woohoo!
I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to Lacey’s birth. I would describe the experience as “the plan that went according to plan unexpectedly.” You’ll know exactly what I mean once you read through the post!
If you read my birth plan, you know that I wanted to attempt a natural birth. I was hoping for little intervention and a calm and peaceful birthing experience. Here’s what really went down…
THE WATER BREAKING
My water broke around 5:00am on Wednesday, November 22nd. This was so exciting initially, because I knew in that moment our baby girl would be making her debut without me having to be induced the following Sunday. Lacey was 11 days late, and the clock was running out for her to make her way into this world without intervention.
Being induced isn’t the worst thing in the world, of course, but it wasn’t what I wanted. So my water breaking was a great sign of things to come. I also had decided to do two membrane sweeps—one the Friday prior (my mucous plug fell out the next day) and one the following Monday (my water broke less than 48 hours after this one). Lacey was born Wednesday evening. After trying nearly everything to get things moving, this was the one thing that did work. My doctor did the sweeps in a more gentle manner than most so I wasn’t in too much pain the next day. I would do it again in a heartbeat after seeing the results!
I called my Mom and my doula around 5:30am, and was told to try to get some rest. Yeah, right! I was too excited. I decided not to wake Ryan up knowing it would be a long day, then laid in bed until 6am. My contractions started around that time, but they were super manageable, around 10 minutes apart. I got up, showered, and made cupcakes for the nurses at the hospital. I woke Ryan up and he was so excited. We decided to just hang out and wait for things to evolve on their own.
My contractions stayed at 10 minutes apart for a few hours. Again, these were pretty manageable—I would have to pause and breathe through them, but I was ready for these types of contractions. As the hours passed, I wondered what was happening. I would have contractions 7 minutes apart, then 20 minutes apart, and so on. They were completely sporadic for most of the morning.
At one point, I hadn’t had a contraction for 30 minutes. I called my doula because I was getting tired and really wanted to get the train moving. Ryan was also growing anxious, since my doctor said not to wait longer than six hours after my water broke to go to the hospital.
My doula recommended walking up and down the stairs while simultaneously doing lunges, along with cat/cow poses to get things flowing. The first time I walked up the stairs I had a contraction again. Ryan and I walked the stairs several times and alternated between several different positions, but it seemed my contractions were still in a funky 7-30-10 pattern and not making any sense.
Around 4pm, I decided to call the doctor since it was almost 12 hours after my water broke. Naturally, she wanted me to come in but told me not to rush. I decided to lay down while Ryan made himself dinner.
My body said hellllllll no to laying down and as soon as I hit my pillow, I had the worst contraction of the day. Like, debilitating-want-to-poop-and-throw-up-at-the-same-time type of contraction. I walked outside our bedroom and yelled down to Ryan saying, “Well, that’s not happening.”
My Mom and Dad arrived and pushed me to go to the hospital. We started getting our things together and the contractions were growing stronger and more nauseating. I would have to completely stop what I was doing and either get on all fours or lean on our kitchen counter during them.
Things went from six to midnight REAL quick.
It was time to drive to the hospital around 5:45pm and from what I can remember, this was one of the worst parts of my labor. Being in the car during contractions is no fun! But we made it. I walked out of the car, went into the hospital and leaned on a poll during a contraction.
The woman at the valet stand just looked at me and said, “I’m not even going to ask how you’re doing!” and proceeded to grab a wheelchair to bring me up to Labor & Delivery.
Things start to get blurry at this point. They checked me as soon as we got there and guess what…I was 8 centimeters dilated! So listen up, ladies—don’t listen to that math they give you to wait until your contractions are 5-1-1 before you go to the hospital (especially if you want the drugs). Every body is different, and in my case, my contractions went all day and weren’t close together until VERY late in the game.
The nurse asked if I had a birth plan, and my Jersey self said, “F*ck the birth plan, give me the drugs!” My husband laughed and said to everyone, “This is the real Amanda, in case anyone was wondering.” It was an entertaining moment for everyone involved.
They hooked me up to some fluids to prep for the epidural. If you’ve had one, you know it takes time to get this situated. So within the 80 minutes it took for them to do this, have me sign the paperwork (which was a pathetic scribble on my part), and get the anesthesiologist in the room, I was 9.5 centimeters dilated. My body was ready to go!
I was doing some crazy moves at this point during the contractions. I would squat and breathe through them as my doula massaged my low back. The pain was so intense.
I remember at least five people surrounding me asking me what I wanted to do, but also suggesting I forgo the drugs because issues could arise from doing the epidural this late in the game. After several minutes, I decided to go at it all natural.
During those squats, I was already making grunting sounds, so my doctor and doula asked if it felt like I needed to push. I didn’t know what that sensation was supposed to feel like, but they checked me one last time and I was 10 centimeters dilated.
The next two hours (maybe a little less) were a total blur. I went from pushing on the toilet, to using the squat bar on the bed, to leaning over the bed. Lacey’s head was coming out, and it was time to really, really push. They had me on my side on the bed, holding up my top leg and pushing through every contraction. She was almost ready to come out, but my doula suggested I switch positions one more time to adjust her. I laid on my back with my legs spread apart, knees towards my armpits. During contractions, Ryan would lift my head up and the nurses would hold my knees.
At this point, I was sweating, exhausted, and could feel EVERYTHING. I was ready to get this baby out. In one contraction, my doctor counted down from 10 several times, and with those breaths, I pushed Lacey out completely with the loudest screams you could ever imagine. It’s funny, because after practicing Hypnobabies for months before her birth, I didn’t use the recordings at all. By the time we got to the hospital, I was in my own zone and the “peace” I longed for was out the window. It didn’t matter, because the experience went exactly as it should’ve.
It was like instant relief after she was born, but mentally, I was slightly traumatized. They put Lacey on my chest, but all I could concentrate on was what was going on “down there.” I pushed the placenta out, and it was time to stitch me up. The local anesthesia barely did anything because all of the nerves were so stimulated, so this part was almost as rough as her birth itself! Within a half hour, it was over, and I could finally concentrate on my baby girl.
I held Lacey and breastfed her for a bit before they took her away to do a few standard procedures like weigh her, Vitamin K shot, etc. We did everything by the book except the Hep B vaccine and her bath. We waited a few days to give her a bath and will be determining what to do about Hep B down the road.
Ryan and I ordered food and my parents came to meet Lacey. It was so amazing seeing my parents with their first grandchild. Those first few moments made that entire day well worth it.
I had a lot of trouble sleeping initially, both from the pain and the anxiety I was experiencing. Lacey’s birth was amazing but also slightly traumatizing. I had flashbacks at night for the first week! It took me several days to mentally feel normal again—outside of the regular exhaustion every woman experiences post-labor.
There is no right or wrong way to give birth, and it’s so important to listen to your body and do what works best for both you and baby! You can plan as much as you want, but always know that things will never go as planned and deviating is more the norm when it comes to labor and delivery.
As far as breastfeeding is concerned, I feel fortunate because feeding came relatively easily to Lacey and I. This was only after I started using a nipple shield that was provided by the hospital—before this, we struggled for a few days because I have flat nipples (maybe TMI but it’s true!). The shield doesn’t seem to bother her, and the only issue I have with it is the convenience factor. I’m working with a lactation consultant and we’ll be figuring out how to move forward soon.
Lacey is an amazing little girl who is already so alert and has a sweet personality. I can’t wait to share more of her with you!
Thank you so much for reading through this and for being a part of Healthy Wifestyle. I’m thrilled to be able to incorporate more motherhood pieces into my writing for the blog and look forward to your requests!
I’d love to hear your birth story below, or anything you’d like to share as it relates to your own experience or future experience of labor and delivery. Heart you all!