17

Jun

Wolf’s birth story

hiya Wolf.

There will be moments in your life that you choose to forget and moments that you choose to cherish in your heart forever.  Your birth was one of those “remember forever moments” and I think about little pieces of it every time I gaze into your little eyes.  In short, it was incredibly monumental – like no other thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.  The entire 34 hours from when my water broke to when you entered the world was a complete whirlwind of emotion.  We were packed full of fear, anxiety, love, joy and even sadness. But now you’re here and I want to write this all down so that I can hopefully share with you one day.  Here goes…

wolf

Wolf, minutes old, holding onto his Dad’s finger.

I was over 41 weeks pregnant and 5 days from facing induction.  Every night I’d go to sleep hoping to wake up to contractions or something that meant this baby was on his way.  So Wednesday night at 4:45 am when I got up out of bed to go to the bathroom sans labor signals, I didn’t think much of it.  Mid-night bathroom trips meant peeing in the dark so when I wiped and noticed that something felt a little different, I got up and flipped on the light to investigate.  I saw at the time what I thought might be my mucous plug, but in retrospect, I think it had been the first bits of my water breaking.  A rush of emotion came over me and I was excited that this meant things might be starting!  I finished up and went back to bed.

About 15 minutes later my tummy started cramping just a bit.  I’d been laying on my right side and decided to flip over to my left when – OMG.  Levi stirred in bed and I said to him, “Holy crap, I think my water just broke.”  Then I got up and ran back into the bathroom to confirm and yep, I was dripping fluid everywhere.  Luckily I’d gotten some humongous pads from a friend in a care package so I slapped on of them on and went back into the bedroom to tell Levi things were starting!

If you’ve been following my posts on Being Pregnant, you’d remember that I’d tested positive for Group B Strep.  That meant if labor started with my water breaking, I had to go into the hospital right away so that I could be hooked up to an intermittent IV of antibiotics.  So of course, having labor start with my water breaking was not plan A of “labor at home for as long as possible”, but I was over due and at least something was happening!

I got in the shower while Levi started making us a smoothie for breakfast.  When I got out I called labor and delivery to let them know I was on my way.  I text my doula Angela to let her know my water had broken, then started packing things up around the house to make our way to the hospital.  I was so excited and yet so nervous!  Our baby was on his way and would enter our lives very very soon!  I couldn’t stop thinking about how things would play out, what he’d look like when placed on my chest or what would be the first thing I’d say to him.  At about 6:30 am we headed out the door and excitedly walked the 3 blocks to the hospital.

Once we got checked into our room, our nurse came in to check my blood pressure, the baby’s heart beat, contractions and set up my IV of antibiotics.  Penicillin was the antibiotic of choice to treat the GBS, however I’d had an allergic reaction to it when I was 14 which caused me to break out in hives.  So my doctor had recommended that I was given Ancef, even though it could cause a similar reaction in some patients.  Turns out I was one of those patients and sure enough, my face began itching and tiny hives started popping up all over it.  The nurse called in my doctor and she immediately took me off the antibiotic and gave me Benadryl.

Now it was about 10:00 or 11:00 am.  I’d only begun feeling mild contractions so far and they were coming about 5 to 10 minutes apart.  And this was how things continued to be for hours.  {The main reason I’d wanted to labor at home, remember?}  Levi had downloaded some tv shows for us to watch on my laptop so we killed some time waiting for things to progress.

Sometime after lunch, my doctor came back in and said that she wanted to try another antibiotic on me called Vancomycin to treat the GBS.  So back to the bed I went to be hooked up to the IV and monitored intermittently.  Things were going well, aka no hives, and almost 80% of the antibiotic was in my system when I started getting really hot.  I looked in the mirror and not only was my face bright red but my chest was bright red too and my lips were swollen.  My nurse immediately called the doctor in and again I was taken off the IV and given Benadryl to calm the allergic reaction.

By the third tv show and later into the evening, contractions had started to come stronger and more frequently.  They still weren’t super strong but they were strong enough that I was having a hard time concentrating on the show.  I was excited that things were moving along, but I also knew that time was of the essence, especially as it had now been established that my body wasn’t responding to antibiotics and the longer I’d been ruptured, there was more of a danger of the GBS getting to the baby.

It was almost 8:00 pm when my doctor suggested that we start Pitocin.  My heart sank.  I’d been hoping for a natural delivery with no pain medication so her suggestion hit me like a ton of bricks.  I’d learned that one thing that could keep me going through the intense pain ahead was my natural endorphins telling me to hunker down and beat the pain.  Pitocin would essentially be blocking my natural coping mechanism along with bringing me contractions that would eventually come on stronger and quicker than natural contractions.  My labor was progressing slowly and because I wasn’t on antibiotics my doctor explained that she specifically wanted to get things moving to protect the baby.  While I really really didn’t want to give in to Pitocin, at 12:00 am, I finally decided it was time.

From the time that I was first given Pitocin at 12:30 am to almost 7:00 am was a complete blur of intensified contractions that went from being tolerable to downright unbearable.  I was feeling most of the contractions in my lower back so every position I was in just hurt.  I’d go from hunching over the bed to sitting on the birth ball, and paced around the room in between.  My doula Angela and Levi went back and forth massaging my lower back through each contraction but nothing seemed to help relieve the pain.  Angela would breath with me and Levi would hold my hands in encouragement.  Since I’m not had any cervical exams yet due to my water breaking, I had no idea where I was in labor.

Finally at 7:00 am, I decided I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I asked my doctor to check my cervix for the first time and decided to make a decision on pain relief based on how far into labor I was.  She checked me, announced that I was only 4cm dilated and I made the decision right there to get an epidural.  Looking back, I really can’t remember how painful it was.  I probably could have endured the pain longer if I’d been able to truly focus but I was so tired and the contractions were so close and strong that I just gave in.

By 8:00 am the anesthesiologist had the epidural in place and I was in the hospital bed resting.  I was in and out of sleep all morning until 11:00 am when my doctor wanted to check my cervix again.  I was shocked when she said that I was dilated 8cm already!  Plus, they told me that my body had finally kicked into labor on it on it’s own and they’d turned off the Pitocin mid morning.  All I could think was, hooray!  I’m doing it!  Something was happening!

Then the hours went by like minutes.  The epidural I was on was set to a very low dose so not only could I feel my legs but I could feel the contractions growing stronger and stronger.  Even though hours went by, to me it felt like I’d only blinked an eye when my doctor came back to check my cervix again around 5:00 pm.  She smiled and said I was 10cm dilated and it was time to push!  I felt an intense amount of relief.  This was it!  That’s when things started to get exciting.  I could feel the emotion in the room change considerably.  All I could think about was that I’d get to meet our baby soon.

In my birth plan, there were a few things that I said I wanted to be asked if I’d like when the time came.  One of them was whether or not I wanted a mirror at the end of the bed so that I could see things progressing.  While I was writing my the plan I thought, really?  Why would I want to stare at my vagina?  But when the time came, to literally watch myself give birth and to see the progression as our baby’s head entered the world was incredibly motivating.

Since I was on a really low dose epidural, I could feel every contraction building up.  My doctor and the nurses told me to push when I felt ready and I got two to three good pushes with each contraction.  Every time I pushed, my body was muffling the baby’s heart rate monitor, making it appear that his heart rate was dropping.  So every once in awhile they’d have me sit through a contraction if I could manage not pushing.

wolf me

Me and Wolf, having an incredible bonding moment.

I pushed for about an hour and 20 minutes before Wolf was born.  Levi and Angela were up by my head, cheering me on.  My doctor and nurses said I was a natural born pusher!  And man did I feel like it.  I felt so strong.  Like I was born ready to push.  I tilted my hips and pushed with all my strength and Wolf’s head was born at 6:48 pm.  The cord was wrapped around his neck once so my doctor gently unwrapped him while the nurses suctioned his mouth and nose because of the GBS and meconium in my water.  Then with the next contraction I took a deep breath and pushed as hard as I could and out he came.  His warm, wiggling, pink body was placed on my chest immediately while they wiped him off.

I just remember everything being so surreal.  One minute this little person was inside my body and the next he’s crying and looking at me with big newborn eyes while lying naked on my chest.  I’ve never felt so much happiness and love at one moment in my entire life.  I looked over at Levi and we kissed and gazed at our little man – our son Wolf.

levi wolf

Levi and tiny Wolf.

Now you’re 3 weeks old.  These three weeks have been a blur yet it seems like so long ago this story began.  Writing this brought back so many memories and emotions.  To be completely honest with you, adjusting to our new life with you has been really tough for me.  From challenges with breastfeeding to no longer being on “my schedule”, I’ve had many sobby moments.  But you know what?  I look at you, this tiny person that your Dad and I created and even in the hardest moments, I wouldn’t trade it in for anything.  I now know what my Dad was talking about when he told me about the love I’d feel for you.  I wasn’t sure what I was feeling in those first few days – perhaps a mixture of delirium and overwhelming love.  But when I look at you, teary eyed, swaddled up snug as a bug or falling asleep with your mouth slightly open, hearts and stars shoot out of my eyeballs.  You’re quite possibly the most incredible thing in the entire world and I love you to pieces.

xoxoxo mom

Comments:

  1. 17

    Jun

    I am coming out of the woodwork, at long last, to say, That was truly beautiful. As my almost-2-year-old son naps I am now thinking back on his birth. I had the exact same “I get to meet him soon!” feeling, although my birth story was a bit different than yours. I’m a month away from having my second child, a girl, and the magic and mystery is still there. Thank you for sharing! xo

  2. 17

    Jun

    Abigail said:

    Of course, this made me get teary-eyed. :)
    You are a trooper. And for next time you know that birthing plans are nice, but when the time comes, you just can’t plan against nature. I am happy you took the epidural, I remember going from 4 centimeters to 10 centimeters in 3 contractions after a day on pitocin. I realized then and there that it really just wasn’t such an evil thing after all.
    Congrats on your gorgeous new baby boy! You were made for this and he is lucky to have such a thoughtful, strong mother.
    xo to all of you.

  3. 17

    Jun

    oh, alyson, i love this so, so much. huge congratulations! wolf is such a little treasure. thank you for sharing your story so beautifully and honestly. xo

  4. 17

    Jun

    Jen said:

    I am literally crying. That sounded like a beautiful birth. And you’re right. The love for your child is one like no other.

  5. 17

    Jun

    Claudia said:

    This is such a beautiful story! Congratulations again!!! Each birth stories are so different yet so similar at the same time. I could totally relate to some of the things that happened to you. And from a “I want a natural childbirth” mother to another…lets be honest, the epidural felt pretty awesome at that point, right? ah ah ah!

  6. 17

    Jun

    Oh what wonderful documentation for little Wolf. The early weeks and months of being a new mother made me sick with fear and shock and sleep deprivation. That’s the honest truth. Of course there were moments of awe and love and amazement and I’ll tell you this: the hard times DID wane and it DID only get easier. Congratulations on bringing a beautiful human being into this world so capably…welcome Wolf!

  7. 17

    Jun

    Erin said:

    What a beautiful and honest story. Thanks for sharing your experiences here…and congratulations again, Wolf is such a sweet little boy.

  8. 17

    Jun

    bec said:

    what a beautiful and awesome story! you did it! wishing beautiful blessings for you little family of 3!

  9. 18

    Jun

    Just 6 weeks away from my own “guess date” this made me sooo excited for the event. :) I cannot wait. You have a beautiful story, and it is so encouraging. Thanks for being so candid and sharing it with us!

  10. 18

    Jun

    holly said:

    totally crying over here! that was so beautiful.

  11. 18

    Jun

    cori said:

    oh alyson, this is so great. i’m so happy for you guys, and even though it didn’t go quite as planned it sounds like wolf’s birth was no less amazing. thanks so much for sharing this. congratulations you two!!

  12. 19

    Jun

    katy said:

    Congratulations! I came from Marta Writes. I love reading birth stories and am currently going through certification to be a doula. My first birth was very similar to yours, with 38 hours of active labor, getting an epidural after about 26 due to exhaustion! My second little boy was born this past April, with 8 hours of labor, unmedicated and amazing. I wanted to have a unmedicated labor with both, but after my little man was born, I really didn’t care how he got here, as long as he was here and everyone was healthy :)

  13. 19

    Jun

    rebecca said:

    first off, happy first father’s day to levi.

    second, thank you for sharing your birth story here. it was, so clearly, an incredible, life-changing experience for you, and you sounded so strong and present throughout. it’s very generous of you to share it all here. and hey, now you have some more knowledge about your antibiotic tolerances, eh? oh man!

  14. 20

    Jun

    Johanna said:

    Congratulations! He’s so beautiful.

  15. 20

    Jun

    Sealicious said:

    Congratulations to you and your family!!! Welcome Wolf – you were born into an incredible family!

  16. 20

    Jun

    vân said:

    that was such a beautiful and happy story i was tearing up, i loved hearing it. congratulations on your sweet baby boy!!!

  17. 20

    Jun

    Crystal said:

    This was beautiful!

  18. 20

    Jun

    kendall said:

    I love this so much! so inspiring so real. Thank you for sharing your birth story with us. Wolf, you have one sweet caring mom!

  19. 20

    Jun

    Sally Mae said:

    This is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing – you are a total inspiration to me at 17 weeks pregnant!!! I’ve greatly enjoyed following your journey via the blog and I’m so happy for your little family!

  20. 21

    Jun

    katie said:

    thank you for this!! brought me a few dozen smiles :) congrats to all of you!

  21. 21

    Jun

    Tara said:

    Congratulations! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful birth story. I am 39 weeks pregnant and your honest words are an inspiration right now.

  22. 23

    Jun

    kim said:

    So lovely. He is a lucky little man and your family is just beautiful.

  23. 28

    Jun

    abby said:

    Loved reading this! So much more that I want to say, but can’t since tears are streaming down as I type this. Thanks for sharing, xo abby

  24. 28

    Jun

    Lindsay said:

    beautiful.
    welcome to your little wolf.
    +++
    “i felt so strong. like i was born ready to push.”
    powerful birth words.
    love this!
    love, lindsay

  25. 29

    Jun

    emily said:

    so so so many congratulations and good wishes to you, alyson. and levi. and welcome to the world, baby wolf!