I had every intention of blogging through my pregnancy and then getting the birth story up AND THEN blogging about my comeback to running, but here I am, almost 4 weeks postpartum and doing my first post in many months! I’m writing up a “quick” birth story for anyone who is interested in how my 3rd baby entered the world and then hope to get right into blogging again about coming back and how my running is going. (And for anyone who wants to see about life and running before then, follow me on Instagram as that is my main social media account right now!)
Ryles entered the world 2 weeks early, just like his older brother. The birth was similar in some ways (vaginal, no epidural, extremely painful delivery!) but also different (middle of the night, exhausted, starving momma this time around).
I’m going to start by going off on a little tangent and say BRAVO to all moms for carrying and delivering babies regardless of how the process goes. I think one of the worst parts of pregnancy for me is realizing around 8.5 months that a baby is coming out and it’s going to be painful and scary at some point and your birth plan is most likely going to go right out the window. I made it easier on myself with my 2nd and 3rd child by saying “this is what I want to happen in an ideal world, but I’m ok with anything that has to happen to result in a healthy baby and mom in the end.” Before having my first child, a daughter, I wanted a perfectly magical, natural labor. After taking birthing classes I felt like I knew exactly what labor would be like and I WAS GOING TO DO IT SO WELL! Then I ended up having a long, painful labor that ended with an epidural and I quickly realized I knew absolutely nothing and every labor is different and you really can’t prepare much for what it will really be like other than mentally preparing for ANYTHING. Epidurals happen, c-sections happen, blood transfusions happen, newborns in the NICU happen, the list goes on and on – you are NOT LESS of a woman or mother or person for the way you choose to have your baby or how your body chooses to respond to labor. We are all SUPERWOMEN!! Moving along…
I had a strong feeling on the Sunday evening before I gave birth (the next Friday) that I had a small, high, amniotic fluid leak. When I would go to bed at night, I would feel almost like I peed my pants a little, but I knew it wasn’t pee. I told my mom who urged me to go to the midwives on Monday. I had an appointment on Thursday and decided to wait until then. (I don’t want to recommend this, it was actually a poor decision on my part that turned out ok, but once your water is broken at all, you should go see your doc/midwife because of the risk of infection). Thursday rolled around and I brought my hospital bag to my appointment. I see the midwives at the hospital where I deliver and I just knew I wouldn’t be going home. I was right. They confirmed I had a leak and I would have to be induced Thursday evening.
I was a little disappointed to be induced. I felt like I did something wrong. But then I remembered what I typed earlier – we are all awesome and having a leak and being induced is not my fault and I’m not “failing” at anything. I did request the midwives check to see if there was a low bag of water that needed to be broken since I felt the leak was high and the baby was still surrounded by plenty of “water” and labor wasn’t going to progress quickly like that. I wasn’t feeling like I was in labor at all. I thought if they would check that and break my water my labor would start to progress. But they recommended not checking due to risk of infection and they would start me on Pitocin. I agreed on the Pitocin and reminded them in a *perfect world* I wanted a natural, vaginal delivery but to offer me an epidural when things got rough and let me make a decision then.
I had lunch at noon that day before my 1pm appointment and when I was waiting for a room to clear (2:30pm) they asked if I wanted to get a snack before they induced me. I assumed I would have a room soon and the induction would be quick, having me eating dinner by 6pm so I said I was fine. I didn’t want to feel full during my labor. Well, that was a horrible idea because I was STILL waiting for a room at 6pm and got started on Pitocin at 7pm. To make a long story short the Pitocin did nothing and I was still waiting for noticeable contractions at 11pm. I was on a clear liquids diet so kept requesting italian ice and gingerale to give me energy.
Living the granny lifestyle these days, I’m accustomed to a 9-10pm bedtime so by 11pm I was really wanting to get the show on the road. I was exhausted, starving, and worried the process might take all night and I didn’t feel like my body or mind would be able to handle it. I asked if I was still on a low dose of Pitocin because I was literally feeling nothing but Braxton Hicks feeling contractions. No pain at all. They had been increasing the dose every half hour and said I was up to a high level (still half of what is “allowed” but most people don’t go past the dose I was being given and nothing was happening). The midwife ended up coming in and I asked her to please please PLEASE!!! check to see if I still had the low bag of water that needed to be broken. She agreed and my instincts were correct. Baby was still hanging in tons of water so she broke the water right then, at exactly midnight. Within minutes, the real contractions hit pretty hard. It was now officially Friday morning and I knew my baby would be born sometime on 3/25/16!
I decided if all went well and was normal, I was going to approach this labor like a race – most specifically a marathon. There was going to be the part that was comfortable, then it would be annoyingly uncomfortable, then there would be pain, then it would get unbearable and I would want to throw in the towel, but if I could pass that point (which is the “transition phase” of labor I would “see the finish line” (pushing) and be able to make it through.
Luckily, that scenario is exactly how labor went. When things got really bad, the midwife offered the epidural and I said, “I feel like this is going to be less than 3 hours and I know I can deal with 3 hours of pain so let’s go without it.” I hit many points where I thought I would throw up, then I was sure I would pass out. Strange things crossed my mind like, “will I die?” or “will my baby die” and then “what will happen to my baby?” Most of this time I was laboring alone as the midwives are very much into letting you labor as you wish and not interfering. This is one of the reasons I chose the midwives. My husband was pretending to sleep on the couch, knowing I am independent and like doing hard things on my own!
When labor started to seem unbearable I reminded myself the finish line was approaching. I had the advantage of knowing exactly what the “transition phase” felt like from my previous 2 children and knew I was there. When I was ready to push, I buzzed for the midwife and nurses and they came to my room fairly quickly. My husband then got up and joined me and it was go time. I was so tired I started to worry I wouldn’t be able to push the baby out, but on the second contraction after the urge to push, I was holding baby Ryles in my arms. 2:44am, 7lbs, 8oz, 20 inches long. I had 2 hours and 44 minutes of real pain then I had my reward!
People say you forget the pain of labor, and that happened after my first child (labored for 35 hours and had an epidural with her for the last 12 hours). I also forgot the pain almost immediately after my second (he was quick and came just before lunch when I had high energy levels and high spirits and I didn’t have time to get an epidural as I was 10cm and ready to push when I arrived at the hospital). But the thing is, I can still imagine and feel the pain of this 3rd baby, even though the pain subsided moments after giving birth. So, don’t believe everything you hear about childbirth and never believe every labor will be the same!
Later that morning after I had about 30 minutes of sleep, the whole family joined us at the hospital and we got a family picture. I recovered really quickly and was walking around, using the restroom unassisted and doing all the things I needed to do in the first hour or so. Yes, I got LUCKY! I was able to leave the hospital the next day to join my other kids and parents at home and start to learn what it feels like to be a family of 5!
Thank you so much for all of the love and encouragement and I will blog soon about my return to base building, then real training, and finally back to competitive running! Spoiler alert: I’m “participating” in a race 5 weeks postpartum.