Well it’s my birthday week 🙂 and Jaylas too! She’s 1! I am 36! Ps. Being in the hospital when I was 34 and turning 35 at midnight while laboring meant that my chart all the sudden had a red line in it that said “High Risk, Geriatric pregnancy.” Kind of funny! Are you ready for the birth story? I haven’t shared it yet in its entirety mainly because it wasn’t how I wanted it to be. And I have replayed it over and over in my head millions of times this year (that’s called trauma). I have explored pieces of my story and why they bothered me but I have more work to do to fully accept it. (Essentially no redemption birth or another chance is an option here lol we have our hands full with three kiddos!) At the end of a year I fully 100% have seen why the universe/god (whatever you believe) gifted me the birth that it did for a reason. I had more to learn and experience to make me a better person, a better pelvic expert PT and a better teacher for my patients.
The benefit of my job is I get to talk to moms who have walked this path before me. And a wise woman once told me, “it’s totally ok to mourn the loss of this age and these moments and the first year and be excited for the current milestones and what’s to come.”
If that doesn’t sum up the feelings of my last baby turning 1, I don’t know what does.
Well while I have been up with two kids through the night this week, barreling through their colds and fevers I got to scrolling through all my pics of last year at this time.
I remember exactly when my water broke. Sleeping at 2:37 am, I felt the pressure and pop/ wetness. Rushed to the shower and saw my amniotic fluid. It was tinged brown/tan. My heart sank, I had initial panic and pretty much an “oh fuck this” feeling.
You may or may not know what that means but I had meconium in my amniotic fluid. I was praying and manifesting the perfect homebirth in the water. And my absolutely magical caring midwife had told me that if there was meconium a homebirth would not be an option. Essentially the risk here is that babies can aspirate the meconium at birth which is a medical emergency. Well to get my husband on board with a homebirth (He never wanted this with the first two and I went the hospital way with those) I agreed that I would not go against the medical advice of my midwife.
SO take me back to 2:37am and I text my midwife a picture of my amniotic fluid. And I text my doula too. I remember just crying and my heart racing in Jaylas room. It was a gush of emotions rushing through my body that I was not going to have the perfect twinkle light, candle birth in the tub. All those instagram videos that I wanted to be my birth were now not an option. Essentially the sadness was consuming and I couldn’t sleep.
ALSO I knew that since my water broke first and I was not in active labor, I was now on the clock. Essentially feeling like this baby had to be out within 24 hrs or else!
The other part of me wanted to make sure that I could have an unmedicated vaginal delivery. (When my water broke with my #1, I was forced to take pitocin in the hospital after 6 hours of only moderate contractions and not much cervical change). SO I knew what those pitocin contractions were like and I didn’t get a break during that labor. So this time around Pitocin was not an option I wanted for me. I would go to the hospital and keep it as “homebirthy” as I could.
Well I tried to rest until that morning;……
Before I move on, let’s back up to my actual due date 7.26.2022, I texted my doula at 12:00 am saying that I laid on my acupressure mat because I was having pretty bad back pain. Well 2 minutes into this, which was extremely painful to lay on because there was a lot of weight on the pad and against my skin (So a pretty noxious stimuli) I felt a massive jump in my belly. I freaked out that Jayla flipped. It was a fear I had. And I have never felt her move so much. My doula reassured me that most babies don’t flip this late in the game. The next day my lovely midwife came over and checked me, I was 3cm dilated and the baby was head down. But no active labor. I WAS RELIEVED!
However, fast forward back to my water breaking two early mornings later at 2:37am of 7.28.2021 I absolutely believe that lying on that mat caused Jayla to freak out and poop and that was probably the massive amount of movement I felt. (But we will never know) So this is where I have to forgive myself for choosing to lay on that mat. At the end of the day, the meconium was meant to be there to give me the experience I had.
Well around 9:00 am the next morning my midwife and doula came over. They hang out with me all day. I went on walks and did a bunch of spinning baby moves to try and progress my labor.
I did herbs
I did spinning babies
We swept my cervix a few times
I was a bit more than 5 cm dilated by 4:00 pm. The day really was beautiful and I got to labor in the comfort of my home thanks to my lovely midwife. But she was fearful that things were progressing and I should get to the hospital. The other option was for her to call the paramedics and have them on stand by for when I did deliver in case we had the aspiration of a meconium situation. (sometimes I wish I chose that option just to stay home but that wasn’t where my midwives comfort level was and I wanted to respect that).
So my hospital of choice was full and not accepting home birth transfers on 7.28 in the afternoon so I ended up going to Virginia Mason Birth Center. We sat in pretty bad traffic but got there by 6:00 pm. My contractions subsided significantly. My doula and midwife had snuck me some castor oil milkshake in case I needed it in the hospital. (Glad they did and sure wish I took it earlier). The care team at Virginia Mason was lovely and gave me lots of space. Taking babies heart rate every hour or so, from what I can remember. Their tubs were really small though and I wasn’t going to fit in the one in my room. The midwife checked me a few times and I had only been about 6cm by 12:00 pm. I was so exhausted AND shocked I had only been 6cm which is extremely defeating. It was the most active labor I had had.
So we battled rush hour and transferred, before the transfer I was 5cm dilated and the baby was low.
When I got to the hospital after the initial check in they really said they would leave me as long as I needed or support me as much as I needed.
It was great.
After laboring for hours things didn’t change, in fact the baby was higher in the birth canal….
I was devastated. But determined still.
We packed some castor oil and I did it at the hospital, which intensified contractions but at the next check around 12:00 am I was still only 6-7cm dilated, I couldn’t take it much more. And was coming around on 24hrs
We tried some more positioning/spinning babies and a starfish thing and in the bathroom this time we did some posterior pelvic tilts.
It was so beyond intense. I felt my back literally breaking. And I could squat into that so deeply so we did these last three contractions with a posterior pelvic tilt and I growlered so loud and deep and begged Jayla to turn. After that I was done. Exhausted. I had nothing left. I told the doula I needed an epidural. (Hindsight, I wish I told my husband because he would have asked me like 100 more times and told me okay but knew that I really didn’t want it and would just hold that information for me). She asked if I wanted to be checked one last time and I said no I can’t stomach the disappointment.
They told me at the last check I couldn’t push because my cervix was starting to inflate. So of course I knew this was meaning it could potentially mean I had to have a c-section. So Part of me thought well maybe the epidural would help prevent any bearing down on the cervix. I sat down for the epidural in a completely flexed spine position in the posterior pelvic tilt and my body just started pushing on its own with every contraction. It was magic and the anesthesiologist student who was trying to do the epidural couldn’t feel my spine (I have very flat bones) so he couldn’t get the epidural in. And we sat waiting for the main anesthesiologist.
I felt something coming out and prayed it was the baby’s head and or I was just having a huge bowel movement. They reassured me when the baby is not positioned correctly it will feel like I still have to push and I just have to not. But my body was pushing even when they put the needle in my back for the epidural.
They left me there for 30 min, all the while I kept breathing her down. She was so low and my pelvic floor was so open but they didn’t want to check me again. So they kept me there. I wasn’t trying to hold her in and I knew she had arrived.
They checked me at 2:00 am and the baby was very low and I could push, my doula reminded me to breathe this baby out and go slow. She said you know what to do. I felt Jayla emerge from my pelvis with just a few breaths. I loved this feeling. Every single second of it. I wasn’t straining or pushing hard. I was breathing her out. Just like I teach my patients and just like I visualized every single bowel movement since before this pregnancy :). This part of the birth was absolutely incredible and satisfying. I absolutely know that what we do and the pelvic floor prep PT protocols that I created and the treatment I received from my team was exactly what every single pregnant person needs to experience. This right here, this is what changes the babies ability to descend through the birth canal and the vagina. I ended up with a small tear but it healed very quickly. I had no pelvic pressure and couldn’t even feel my existing prolapse after breathing Jayla out. Because I had worked so much with pelvic floor PT my muscles simply opened for Jaylas head. The muscles were conditioned and prepped for this. And it most definitely was NOT from doing kegels during pregnancy and it was also NOT from just doing simple perineal massage. Full Pelvic Floor Birth Prep Purchase Online Birth Prep Pogram needs to be working the entire pelvis inside and outside in order to prep ALL the muscles and layers of the pelvic floor and the ligaments so they can open during childbirth.
Okay off the Soap Box.
After my birth, I was elated to hold Jayla and got to go home a few hours after birth, since my midwife would check on me that day. This was a lovely part about working with a midwife, my care transferred back to her.
My labor and birth process taught me a lot.
My immediate lessons I wrote the day after my birth:
“The work I have to do is adapting to the unexpected. And moving graciously to the next step. Win or learn. Learning is where true growth happens. I really was holding on so tightly to my ideal outcome this whole time and struggled to surrender to the process.
I just want a do over with this birth but sometimes in life you don’t get that.”
I continued to write right after my birth because I was really sad it didn’t go how I expected. And most of all I could fathom that I let someone put a needle in my spine and couldn’t feel my muscles. I pride myself on being strong and having unmedicated births and I LOVE feeling my muscles. So to be numbed, I felt like I missed the entirety of the feeling of relief after birth, that magic that sends you into your super human power. I didn’t have that feeling after this birth.
I wrote this,
“I’m so sad I can’t stop mourning and replaying this experience in my head
You can have a plan and it can all go to shit
How will you respond?
I can’t forgive myself. I’m in the darkest place I have ever been. I absolutely hate the fact I succumbed to fatigue that was temporary and lost faith in my body and got an epidural. I cheated myself. I cheated my daughter, I cheated my family.
I’m literally heart broken”
Now looking back I am sad I wrote this. I question even sharing this. But I hope it helps other people that are coping with birth stories that didn’t go the way they wanted them too.
Yes I was heartbroken and yes I learned so much. But like I said earlier, I know this was all in gods/the universe’s plan. And I got to have this experience. I got to learn what it’s like to labor for 24 hrs and be at that level of exhaustion and get an epidural. I got to feel my pelvic floor with the epidural. And now I can relate to my patients even better. Because yes with an epidural you still feel the pressure and you can still control your breathing pushes. It’s magical. So I have come a long way since Jaylas birth. Do I wish things were different? Sure. But I am 100% happy that I have my story to share.
I hope by sharing this you will feel empowered to do your own healing after birth. I hope by sharing this you will see that every story can be spun into a positive story to some degree. Because at the end of the day life is only as good as we choose to see it. I hope by sharing this, you too see the benefit of pelvic floor physical therapy in preparation for birth.
If you know your ready to prep your pelvic floor for birth sign up for a discovery visit here.
Here is 1 Year Old Baby Jayla!