The last 42 weeks were focused on my growing belly, preparing for the event that would take me to the other side, the birth of our Baby Girl. As I mentioned in “Birth Plan Shmirth Plan” my goal for the birth was to have knowledge of my options and create a preferred birth plan, but keep an open mind since I understood that births are very unpredictable and anything could happen.
Well guess what? Anything happened! Actually, in my case, it seemed like everything that was possible happened. Without going into too much detail (not all details are appropriate for a public forum!), I am going to share my birth story and what I learned along the way.
I originally loved the concept of approaching the birth without any structure, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I would never approach an Ironman without doing the training and creating a race day protocol. Like any big athletic event (and this was definitely an endurance event!), I created a few levels of goals. The first goal was to finish by delivering a healthy baby. The second goal was to avoid a c-section. The third goal was to avoid drugs. The fourth goal was to avoid medically inducing labor.
Guess how many goals we achieved from the list above? Yep – just the one. But it’s the only one that counts.
So here’s how it all went down. Tim and I tried everything to naturally induce labor. Your tips were phenomenal. Unfortunately, nothing worked for us. The morning of December 29th, we had an ultrasound to test the level of amniotic fluid. I fully expected to hear that everything was fine like it had been all along. Instead, I heard, “You need to go to the hospital in five hours and prepare to have your baby, by tomorrow at the latest.” The placenta was almost out of juice, so to say. Baby Girl had been brewing so long that there wasn’t enough nourishment for us to wait any longer.
I left the hospital and started crying. This isn’t what I wanted. I wanted my body to go into the natural, beautiful process of labor. I wanted to hang out at home during early labor. I wanted my water to break on its own. What I didn’t want was to go to the hospital to force my body to start labor.
That was the moment I realized that it didn’t really matter what I wanted anymore. Bye Bye Goal #4!
We started the induction process on Dec 29th and kicked into gear with pitocin in the morning on Dec 30th. I have to preface this with a little intro to my team. I didn’t realize how many people roam around labor and delivery rooms. I’ve heard stories about people who looked up in the final throes of pushing to see twenty people in the room at a teaching hospital! In my case, Tim was my #1 coach, helper, supporter. I also asked my oldest and best friend, Mindy, to be my “frien-doula” and make sure that Tim was not forgetting about himself either. I’ve watched enough Ironman races to know that the supporter often bonks before the racer! So when I mention Tim and Mindy, you know who I’m talking about.
By noon I had made little progress so we made the decision to break my water to speed things up. What sped up was the pain! After a couple hours of serious contractions, I still wasn’t making much actual progress. This is when Goal #3 bit the dust. Bring on the epidural. And while you’re at it, please add a side of IV and anti-nausea drugs!
With all of the medical assistance, I finally made some progress. By around 5PM, it was time to start pushing. This is when things got a little wacky. As Baby Girl started to make her way down the birth canal, her heart rate gave us a scare. It dropped and didn’t recover quickly enough. My midwife and the nurses had the obstetrician ready to meet us in the OR whenever they gave the signal.
A few pushes later and they said, “She needs to come out right now.” It was go-time. No more messing around. Goal #2 was gone in a flash. I was on my way to an emergency c-section. But I didn’t care.
They wheeled me into the OR and while I was thrashing around (I had crazy tremors), I greeted the wonderful anesthesiologist with a nice gift as the anti-nausea meds wore off. He was so compassionate as he held the puke bucket and assured me that vomiting on him was “very normal.” In the end, I was actually very relieved that I had the epidural because they didn’t have to administer general anesthesia which would have put me out cold and would have made it impossible for Tim to join me in the room. So yay for epidurals after all!
Minutes later, they said, “Here she is,” and raised her above the screen so I could see our new little girl! Tim was able to cut the cord and stay with her as they checked her vitals. He kept me posted:
“Airways are clear!”
“6 Pounds 1 Ounce!”
“20 – 1/4 Inches long!”
It was the coolest play-by-play ever. Minutes later he walked back to me with our Baby Girl wrapped in his arms and leaned down. I raised a tremulous hand and pointed my finger to try to touch her face. I think I gave her a nice poke on the cheek. That was my first touch – a poke on the cheek! But then Tim said, “Look – she stopped crying” and I immediately felt like a Mom!
Mindy stayed with me while Tim was with our baby. They put me to sleep for a few minutes so I didn’t end up with a zigzag scar due to my shakes! When I awoke, I groggily said to Mindy, “I was just dreaming about coffee…” Our nurse laughed and said, “I often dream about coffee too!” I wish I could say I was dreaming of the thrill of motherhood, but alas, I was dreaming of my other love instead!
Tim arrived minutes later with our naked baby girl. He laid her on my bare chest and we had our first moment of truly magical bonding.
We each have a unique story of how we entered this world. We named our girl Wilder Jette DeBoom. Her grand entrance could have been Wilder, but not much!