There is so much I want to say, and I'm not quite sure where to start. At the beginning would be the obvious choice, but depending on how much of the story and what version I'm sharing, there are multiple starting points. I could write it from 5 different perspectives, each of them my own. Do I share about my pregnancy and postpartum journeys? Or just the birth? Am I writing a novel or a short(isn) story?
I do know I need to give you a couple caveats.
- I teach in my HypnoBirthing class that "pain" is the f-word of HypnoBirthing
- But I curse a lot..so you'll see the words "pain" and forms of 'fuck" scattered throughout
- There may be triggers for some
- I'm not gonna sugar-coat anything
- My story is likely to jump around a lot
- And yes, there are pictures of birth
Ok then, how about a little foreword?
Today, May 28th, 2018, Colin and I will celebrate our 12 year anniversary. It also marks Jasper's 75th day of life. July 14th, 2017 was the the day before I found out I was pregnant. It was a doozy of a day, especially in the parenting department. The boys had been on a sick one, being totally crazy. Colin was playing at a local event that night and I was trying to get ready. I was in the shower when Jax came in the bathroom. He began washing his hands,. Whats the big deal you ask? Well this kid thinks that no soap and only a few drops of water on about 2/3 of his fingers constitutes a good hand-washing. So you see it was completely out of character when he took an extraordinarily long time to wash his hands. Mind you, I asked him over and over again what he was doing.
When I opened the shower curtain, the top half of his body turned to face me, while his bottom half was stuck to the cabinet. This made more sense when I actually got out of the shower. When I left the bathroom, I was immediately informed that Jax had taken a tube of super glue, rubbed it all over his hands, then all over his brother's torso and proceeded to attempt to stick Jace to the outside of the house. This was one of those days that I was totally over adulting, and totally looking forward to my kids were getting older and hopefully less crazy.
I remember telling my sister that same day, that I knew I'd be getting my period soon because I cried like 7 times watching Sweet Home Alabama while I cleaned out my closet. (Yes, this was the day I donated the rest of the maternity clothes I had). That night before I fell asleep, literally the second before I fell asleep, my last conscious thought was, "take a test". I didn't even have time to think about it before I was unconscious. I woke super early the next morning, and again I hear, "take a test"...ok, where are these random "thoughts" coming from?
I peed on the stick and nearly forgot about it when I got up to leave the bathroom. I turned around to peek at it with my sleepy eyes. Two lines. TWO LINES. My immediate thoughts, well my immediate words, "Yea fucking right." I threw it in the trash and went back to sleep. When I got up for the day and had a minute to process, I made an appointment for an ultrasound. My Midwife brain jumped in immediately and thought, it has to be a blighted ovum, or a hydatidiform mole. Surely it was not a baby.
Ultrasound confirms, it is in fact, a baby.
I still don't know why I was in such denial. I've felt this little soul around me for years. And those little babies, they WANT to be here, and will jump through the veil at any chance they get! So lets fast forward a few months....(I'll share more about my pregnancy journey in another post)
In December of last year, I was put on meds for gestational hypertension. We closely monitored my BP, labs, and were on the lookout for any signs or symptoms of preeclampsia. Everything was great for a few months. Then at the beginning of March, I was admitted to the hospital to be monitored for preeclampsia. Great news, everything was within normal limits, and we went home.
Because of my history, my care providers and I decided that we would try all the natural induction methods to try to induce labor prior to 40 weeks. And so you all know, the thing about natural induction methods is that they won't work if your baby and your body are not ready. I started with acupuncture, I did that a few times in a week. On that 3rd visit, I started contracting and did so for a good 7-8 hours, went to bed and woke up, not in labor. Then we tried herbs and the breast pump, contractions for a couple hours and then they stopped. Then I did homeopathy and a membrane sweep and it seemed to be the most effective. I contracted for about 9 hours and then it all stopped. The next morning we did another sweep and a foley bulb, contracted again for hours but then it all stopped.
We had come to a point where my BP was climbing (still within normal limits and controlled with meds, but getting higher) and feeling like if I didn't have a baby within a couple days, we would need to head to the hospital for a medical induction. Being that we had been planning for a homebirth, everyone on the birth team wanted to avoid that if we could. Its important for me to say that I've never wanted a homebirth "at any cost''...and the health of myself and my baby would never be put at risk just to have an out-of-hospital birth. Midwives do NORMAL birth, and when the health of Mama or Baby falls into the realm of abnormal, we go to the hospital. Thats it. Safety above anything else.
My Dr swept my membranes once again and I went home to take the last ditch effort natural induction remedy...castor oil. LEMME TELL YOU, THAT ISH IS FECKING AWFUL AND I WOULDN'T EVER, EVER TAKE IT AGAIN. Never. Never, ever. But it worked. I was in labor, real labor this time. No more braxton hicks, no more practice labor. It was legit. It took me a long time to call my midwife and doula because I really didn't think it was real.
When my doula arrived, her words like magic, were exactly what I needed to hear, "You certainly look like a mama in labor!" I had finally made it. I was contracting about every 5 minutes. My whole team showed up. My midwives, Karly and Alicia. Annely, Ali, and Jackie. Everyone was there. Colin was getting things set up. Ali started taking pictures. After an hour or so of everyone arriving, the boys woke up. They sat in the living room with us, hugging and loving on me and "our" baby belly.
The energy of the room shifted. It was just a bit too noisy and I was distracted by the boys. My contractions had stopped. I decided to lay down in my room. Jackie came in and was giving me an acupuncture and energy treatment while I rested. She is a magical woman and I am so grateful for her friendship. It had been about two hours since my contractions stopped when Karly came in to take my blood pressure, or "blood temperature" as Jax calls it. 180/110. We retook it a few times hoping it was a fluke, but it wasn't budging.
A discussion about transferring didn't even happen, it wasn't necessary. As our plan was always: to stay home as long as my blood pressure was normal. If at any point it wasn't, off we would go. At this point, I still wasn't really contracting. It was around midnight, while I stood in the doorway - watching my birth team pack up their equipment - watching my last opportunity to birth my babies at home vanish, but in that moment, I wasn't angry or sad. I knew, and I still know, that I did literally every. single, thing. in my power to reduce my blood pressure, to keep myself and my baby healthy, and it wasn't enough.
We called my MIL to come stay with the boys.
Meet Rachel, the Author
I'm a Licensed Midwife and busy mom of two extremely active boys. I manage several different businesses, while also trying to maintain a household, my family and my sanity. Some days it works, some days it doesn't!