After 16 hours of Labor, an unexpected hospital transfer and an unmeasurable amount of faith and strength I didn't know I possessed, we welcomed our beautiful baby boy a few days early on December 26th at 5:58pm at a healthy 7 lbs 14oz. This little bundle of joy entered the world with such a strong presence and now 3 weeks have already flown by and we have been learning and loving him ever since!
My parents flew in for the birth, so we picked them up around 7pm on the 25th. My due date was December 28th, but I had a feeling this baby was going to come earlier.
We got home from the airport, had a huge dinner and right after eating my mom touched my belly and joked "Grandma is here, you can come now baby." Ha, ha very funny mom (I thought to myself) and we all laughed and went to bed, the end... not
I woke up at 1am with some pretty intense contractions that seemed to be getting stronger and closer together. Seems like Grandma had the magic touch!
I'd had a few nights of "false labor" already so I didn't want to get my hopes up just yet, in case this was more of the same. The contractions started picking up in intensity and suddenly I threw up everything I had for dinner (I know, TMI)
THIS IS NOT A DRILL ! I started freaking out and getting a bit anxious / nervous, but thank God for my amazing hubby who never left my side during this whole process.
My birth plan was to labor at home for as long as possible and then head to the birthing center where I would finish out laboring with the guidance of some awesome midwives and hopefully give birth to my son naturally in a birthing pool. "Serene and spa" like, thats how I pictured it and for the most part it definitely started out that way.
We arrived at the birthing center around 4am and I was already 5cm dilated. "Amazing! I'm half way there" I kept telling myself. By this time my contractions were super intense, I had a birthing playlist that helped get me through the first few hours. Singing the songs on it helped me feel relaxed and reminded me to breathe slowly in between contractions. After a while though I didn't want to hear any music. I didn't want to hear anything, really. It was hard to focus on anything but the pain as I labored for a few more hours in between the bed, the floor, the swing and a birthing tub. All the while my hubby kept supporting me and reminding me to breathe throughout intense contractions.
When my midwife rechecked me I was now 7cm dilated and all seemed to be moving in the right direction, I was so ready to meet my baby boy! With each contraction getting more intense I kept reminding myself that he was almost here, that this would soon be over...but then my labor stalled.
A few hours passed and I was still just 7cm dilated, I started to get so frustrated with myself wondering if there was something I wasn't doing correctly, if my body wasn't functioning in these moments the way that it should be. Getting back into the birthing tub calmed me down and helped with the pain from the intense contractions but it also slowed down my contractions which made them less effective. My midwife explained to me that I basically needed my contractions to be stronger and faster in order to fully dilate to 10 cm, but for some reason my labor was stalling at 7cm for HOURS, and my baby, although positioned head down, wasn't low enough for delivery yet.
It was getting close to 12pm (I'd been awake and in active labor since 1am) and I was exhausted, hungry and frustrated. At this point we had a few more options: try laying on my side with a 'peanut ball' in between my legs to help encourage the baby to get lower, have my water broken in the hopes that would also allow the baby to put more pressure on my cervix, or transfer to my back up hospital and get Pitocin to help speed up my contractions.
Initially I was scared to transfer to a hospital, I felt like in a way I would be failing, like I would be giving up on my efforts to have a natural water birth. I was also scared of having too many medical interventions thrown at me all at once and potentially ending up having to get a C-section. We weighed our options along with the benefits & risks.
First I tried laying on my side with the peanut ball but after a while I was still at 7cm, then I had my water broken and still remained at 7cm (all while having excruciating contractions). At this point my last option was to transfer to our back up hospital. Since this wasn't technically an emergency that meant getting back in the car and potentially sitting through LA traffic while my hubby drove me to the hospital all while my contractions intensified and my threshold for pain decreased.
It took around 20mins to get to the hospital and what felt like FOREVER to get an epidural.
Let me tell you, by the time I got to that hospital room I was in so much pain I wanted all the drugs available to numb me and get this baby out! Obviously joking, but I definitely wasn't going to pass up on the epidural right now. I remember looking at the hospital clock and it was 1pm. After the epidural was applied, my legs and pain went numb and I was in heaven. After almost 12 hours of laboring naturally this was a welcomed refresh, I felt like I could relax, get some rest before pushing baby out and even, dare I say, enjoy it.
I was given Pitocin which effectively sped up my contractions and before long I was 10 cm dilated. IT'S SHOW TIME! Thank God I only had to push for what felt like 5 mins and my baby boy was out! I wasn't aware at the time because I felt nothing thanks to the epidural, but the doctor explained to me that my little boy's shoulder got stuck on the way out. Thank God she was able to get him out quickly and successfully, because that could have been a huge emergency with potential need for surgery to get the baby out safely.
It did give me a second degree tear (ouch!) but I got a beautiful, healthy baby boy!
I remember before going into labor praying to God that he would strengthen me and continue to be with me throughout my labor but also that he would grant me the labor and delivery that was best for me, and I truly believe that he did.
My parents flew in just in time to be here and support me through the process, and I know now that my labor stalled at 7cm the way that it did in order for me to transfer to our backup hospital and be surrounded by a medical team to help safely deliver my baby boy when his shoulder got stuck.
As intense as this whole experience was, I'm so grateful that God saw me through it and in the process showed me how strong I can be.
I'm amazed at everything our bodies go through during pregnancy, labor, delivery and recovery. As scary or painful as it may seem in the moment, It's truly such a miracle and blessing to become a Mama.
I hope you guys enjoyed reading my experience, I would love to hear yours in the comments! Don't forget to follow me on Instagram to stay connected. @SimplyBiancaAlexa