So my two birth experiences are like night and day differences. I tried to come up with the similarities between them and the only things I could come up with were that they were at the same hospital, my babies were similar in size, and they were both born in the middle of the day.
I count my blessings every day since Heber came that things went so completely wonderful. I have a hard time imagining a more perfect experience. I’m glad everything went so well because it is exactly what I needed to be willing to have more kids. When Power Shoes and I got married we agreed that we both wanted a larger family (6 to 8 kids). Then we realized with various complications in my pregnancy with Ty and then down the road to her delivery that you count each child a blessing and take them one at a time. Before having Ty I had been fearful of labor and delivery, and afterwards the thought of it was practically petrifying, but I knew that in all fairness we should probably give it another try.
This time around we switched to a different provider, took a birthing class (Hypnobabies—I absolutely loved it and I would highly recommend it to anyone), got a doula, and chose to primarily see midwives instead of doctors. I think that all of these were critical changes from the first time around to help Power Shoes and I change our perspective on those last critical moments leading up to our baby’s birth.
Five weeks before my due date I started taking this natural supplement called the 5 Week Supplement or 5W. It is supposed to help ripen your cervix and dilate gradually in the weeks leading up to your due date. I’ve also heard it also minimizes the amount of blood you lose when you have a baby. Which I can say I bled a ton less this time around.
39 weeks: I was dilated to a 2.
40 weeks: I had dilated to a 3 (this was major progress considering that I didn’t dilate to a one until I was nearly a week over last time).
41 weeks: I did the AFI (amniotic fluid index) and NST (non-stress test). Everything was perfect with me and my baby. I was supposed to be seeing one of the midwives, but the one that was working in the clinic was also on call and had to deliver 4 babies that day, so I saw the doctor.
When he came into the room he asked me what I was waiting for. I made a joke and said I was getting my visit teaching done that day and then my baby could come (I can’t believe he didn’t even smile). When I could tell that response wasn’t satisfying I told him that getting induced sucks, and if I could go into labor on my own that would be my preference. He responded by saying that labor is hard whether you get induced or not. I was and am still convinced that getting induced is tons worse than going into labor on your own. I had prepared myself for a natural birth and I knew that it was more likely to go the way I wanted if it was on my terms and I was able to labor a majority of the time at home.
We moved forward in the checkup with differences of opinions. I had him check me and strip my membranes (this was the second time this had been done, the other time was at 40 weeks and didn’t do much). He said I was at a 3 and 50% effaced. I was excited that I wasn’t just dilating anymore, that my cervix was also thinning.
Right before he walked out of the room he said something like, “I knew a girl once that was patient like you. One day her baby had a heartbeat, and the next day it didn’t.” I responded in saying that I thought everything was okay and I felt like I needed to be willing to wait at least as long as I did with Ty (1 week and 5 days past the guess date). After all due dates are really just estimations. When find out a due date I think like the scientist in me, Due Date +/- 2 weeks, and in my case plus 2 weeks is more likely than minus 2 weeks.
On my way home from the clinic I started crying. Why would anyone say that to a woman that is 9 months pregnant? Emotions are already heightened and then you tell her that her patience may result in her losing her baby that she has eagerly waited for. This is what makes me kind of angry about OB/GYN doctors. They seem really concerned with the numbers so both baby and mom are always safe, but because they have so little faith in the natural process things may not always go as well as they could.
The midwives kept a very close eye on me in the last month, but did not want to rush things unless there was a reason to. I think both are good, but think in the way they have been trained to think. Midwives realize that women have been having babies for a very long time with very little interventions and they can continue doing this.
Luckily Power Shoes was able to go out to lunch with me and reinforce my want for this birth. I also got a really sweet and calming voicemail from my doula, Kelly, that further helped me feel good about things. Both Kelly and Power Shoes were so great in supporting me in what I wanted, and their personalities are so calm and relaxed which was just what I needed to regain composure. And stay focused on the birth I wanted.
Part 2 will pick up with the evening of this appointment and continue through Heber's birth.