Everyone’s birth story is unique and so was ours. I read a lot about births and the possibilities while pregnant and I want to add to the many stories out there. Not every birth is easy and perfect and whatever your’s turns out to be is how it was meant to be. We went into our birth without a plan, accepting that whatever happened was the plan. I’m grateful we took that approach as I have no disappointments and emotions the experience. It happened as it should and we were thrilled to meet our little boy!
Throughout my pregnancy there had been concern over a low-lying placenta. Around 30 weeks or so I was told that my placenta was at 1cm (2cm is the goal) and that I would be able to deliver vaginally but I would be considered high risk for hemorrhaging and the doctors would have a plan in place to treat that should it happen. As a result I had more frequent ultrasounds to monitor my placenta. At 37 weeks the ultrasound tech told me that my placenta had moved up to the 2cm mark. I was pretty excited and relieved!
There had also been concern over the growth of the baby in the finally weeks of pregnancy. They were measuring the baby every other week to be sure he was growing as he should. At my 38 week appointment, just 2 days before Enzo arrived, they had told me that I was borderline in terms of his growth and that if it continued to slow and fall below the 10% mark I would have to be induced. The idea being that he would be full term and would grow better outside versus in. At that same appointment they checked me and told me that I was slowly moving along with a bit of dilation. My doctor told me I could go into labor at anytime and even joked I could have an Easter baby (we missed that by about 5 hours).
The next morning, Friday, I woke up to some spotting. I immediately called the doctor and was told not to worry, it was normal and a result of Thursday’s exam. As the morning wore on I had some cramps and more spotting and bleeding. I lost my mucus plug and got the sense that it didn’t look quite right. The doctor had said not to worry so I didn’t. My girlfriend came by with some things for the baby and I shared with her what was going on. She thought for sure I was going into labor. I had thought I was having contractions but they were also irregular and hard to time. By mid-afternoon everything had stopped and I felt completely normal. I texted Michael and we agreed it was just a false alarm.
That night we laid low, made a healthy version of chicken broccoli alfredo pasta, watched a movie, and went to bed early. We had planned on a Saturday date day the next day and were looking forward to it. Around 1:30am I woke up out of a sound sleep (with the snoogle) to some cramps. I got up and went to the bathroom and was alarmed to see more blood. It was hard to qualify it as spotting but I did. Back to bed I went. I tried to get comfortable but really couldn’t. An hour passed and I headed back to the bathroom, more cramps, and more blood. I was really starting to get nervous but it was 2:30am and I figured I could make it to early morning. I fell back asleep and when I woke at 5:30am I was experiencing bad cramps and a significant amount of bleeding. I woke Michael up and we immediately called the doctor and were instructed to come to the hospital.
We showered, took out the trash, loaded the car with our hospital bag and car seat just to be safe and off we went. We did fail to stop for breakfast. What a fail. We also placed bets on if this was “it”. Michael thought we’d be coming home, I was just nervous. Neither thought we were going to have a baby.
When arrived we went right up to labor and delivery as they were expecting us. My doctor wasn’t on duty but the attending who was took amazing care of us. The first order of business was an ultrasound. Everything looked OK on the ultrasound but they also really couldn’t see all of the placenta because of the baby. Our doctor told us that with the amount of bleeding I was having they couldn’t send me home and it was likely I had a placental abruption. At 38 weeks the baby was considered full term and there was no reason to risk it. Let’s get him or her out.
At 10:30am they started the Pitocin. Michael made arrangements for my parents to come into town and let everyone know what was going on. Pretty much, cancel your Easter plans. We’re having a baby. I was doing well on the Pitocin with no drugs for a while. The doctor asked if I wanted an epidural or another drug but I felt ok and wasn’t ready to make a decision. A little while later I was dilated 2cm and begging for an epidural. Thinking of going to 10cm with nothing sounded horrible. About 45 minutes and 15 strong contractions later, they gave me the epidural. This was a little scary as I really didn’t know what was going on and you can’t move during contractions. They administered the epidural and after that both my stats and the baby’s dropped. They stopped the Pitocin and let everything settle down before starting it back up again. Around 5pm they came to check me again, 4cm. The doctor thought I would deliver right around mid-night and we’d have an Easter baby. She came back at 7pm to find me 9cm dilated. The fast progression was another sign of a placental abruption and I think everyone felt relieved that they induced me.
At 7:15 I was 10cm and we started pushing. With each contraction the baby’s heart rate was dropping so everyone was eager to get him or her out. They gave me an oxygen mask that I wore throughout the delivery and had off and on all day. Given the situation we were told that if they felt a c-section was necessary they would just take me to the operating room and go for it. No discussion. Also around this time our room filled up with doctor’s and nurses-the labor and delivery team, and a team of NICU doctor’s and nurses. In all there were about 20 people in the room. I started pushing and with each push the baby’s heart rate would drop. I kept pushing but the baby was slow to come out. I was told they would try the vacuum but if it didn’t work then it would be c-section time. Without much discussion I was also given an episiotomy. That is a snip you won’t forget. The vacuum was set and I pushed as hard as I could. Thankfully with a strong pull from the doctor the baby came out. A boy! I’ll never forget his sounds, and the way he looked in that moment. And the look on my husbands face. Never.
The cord had been wrapped around his neck so they immediately cut that and he was taken to get checked. Michael went with Enzo and the doctor took time to pull out the placenta, stitch me up, and get me settled before reuniting me with Enzo. I however, never took my eyes off my new baby on the table right near me. Waiting for him to be given to me was the longest few minutes of my life. The doctor examined my placenta and felt I had an abruption ( the placenta separates from the uterine wall).
Despite the abruption my recovery was the same as a normal birth. Enzo and I were given plenty of skin to skin time. Michael sat with us staring at our beautiful baby. We took our time and at about 11pm we headed over to introduce Enzo to his grandparent’s. We spent the next couple of days navigating some feeding issues and I’ll share those in a separate post.
Enzo’s birth was a scary experience at times and something I had not considered a possibility when thinking about our baby’s birth. Thankfully my recovery was normal, and all things turned out well. Feeling like I was in good hands with a confident doctor and team made all the difference.