Any doctor, doula, or midwife will tell you not to create a birth plan. Creating a ”plan” will only set you up for disappointment when something doesn’t go accordingly. Instead, create a list of “wishes” and “would be nice” items you can share with your healthcare providers as "birth preferences."
So that's what I did.
Let me preface my story by sharing that I did plenty of research around childbirth and what to expect before my due date. I also took a course on the Bradley Method to further prepare me for labor. With that in mind, I created my ideal birth preferences to print and share with the hospital for all scenarios - vaginal and cesarean birth.
Well...it didn’t go as planned.
While induction was not what I wanted, like, at all, my OBGYN recommended we not go over 41 weeks due to potential complications. My pregnancy was normal and low risk, but the doctor urged that nonetheless, we should not go longer than 41 weeks for the baby's sake.
And just like that, we made it to 41 weeks.
At exactly 41 weeks pregnant, I went to the hospital for a scheduled induction. Our induction was set for August 13, 2020 at 4:30PM.
Due to COVID restrictions, we were instructed to call two hours ahead of our scheduled induction time to ensure there was a room available for us. That morning I spent the day eating very little and resting very little (despite how important I knew both of those things were) because my nerves were wrecked.
Calling at 2:30PM turned into calling back at 4PM, which turned into calling back at 5PM, only to finally go to the hospital at 6PM and wait for another hour before we were admitted.
Here's how my birth went:
6PM | We arrived at OSU Wexner Center with a packed suitcase, a cooler filled with snacks and beverages, and a yoga mat for potential on-the-floor birthing positions. Our doctor advised us before our due date that leaving our room after birth even for food (due to COVID-19) would be restricted, so we came fully prepared.
7PM | After going through metal detectors and checking in, we waited in the waiting room with our luggage and face masks on until we were taken back at 7PM.
8PM | As we get settled into our delivery room we get comfortable. I change my clothes, the nurse comes to hook me up to the machines and I receive an exam to determine my dilation. I have been 1cm dilated and about 80% effaced since my 39 weeks doctor appointment. As I am getting hooked up to the monitors I ask our nurse "was that a contraction?" because I could feel some cramping in my belly for the first time, to which she responded "yes." Because of that I really think if I wasn't induced I would have gone into labor that night naturally.
Our nurse is extremely kind and informative. Jorden was the main one to enforce our birth preferences were followed so as the nurse explained the process he was following up with plenty of questions.
After explaining the induction process she says we should buckle in for a long night, as she will likely not be here for our delivery and there would be a shift change in the morning.
8:30PM | The suggested plan for our induction was to first insert a Foley ball - which is a ballon (for lack of a better term) they insert to soften the cervix. The Foley ball helps us know how dilation is going without the need for constant exams; the ball with fall out when I am about 5cm dilated. While I have heard horror stories about a Foley ball and associated pain, I had some mild cramping while they inserted it but it honestly was not painful. - and I have a very low pain tolerance.
9PM | With the Foley ball in, the doctors start a Pitocin drip. I feel mild cramping at this point but nothing I have to focus too hard on.
10PM | And just like that, they increase my Pitocin drip from 2 to 4. They did not ask if I wanted to increase or even mention it when they entered the room, Jorden had to ask what they were doing. - One thing we discussed before delivery was that Jorden would ask all the questions and ensure we knew what was happening with each step in the process. They want to increase the drip by 2 every half hour moving forward.
We brought items to create a relaxing ambiance in our room; Jorden pulled out our Bluetooth speaker and birthing playlist, turned on our battery-operated candles, and we dim the lights as soon as I get settled. Each nurse that enters the room mentions how relaxing it feels.
10:30PM | The nurse wanted to increase the Pitocin again, but Jorden stops her to ask to wait a full hour before another increase. My goal is to go as naturally as possible during this delivery and giving my body more time to adjust to the Pitocin will hopefully allow me to do so.
11PM | Pitocin increase to 6 and I am now really starting to feel intense contractions. The hospital doesn't have machinery available for me to move around the space freely or take a shower so I have to unhook myself from the monitors each time I need to go to the restroom. At this point it constantly feels like I need to sit on the toilet - not even to actually pee, it just feels like I need to be on the toilet.
11:30PM | I have been bouncing on the birthing ball for a while now encouraging our little one to come down. Jorden escorts me to the bathroom for the millionth time because my contracts are intense and we notice I am bleeding. There is blood running down my leg and a trail from the hospital bed to the toilet. Jorden calls in the nurse to check on me while I am still on the toilet.
The nurse comes in and tugs on the Foley ball while I am sitting on the toilet. It fell out with little effort. That means we are now about 4-5cm dilated. The nurse is so surprised my labor is moving so quickly.
Contractions are intense at this point. I have uncontrollable full-body shakes and can barely keep my eyes open because I need to focus on the pain. Breathing through them is the only thing that is working. I try listening to my affirmations playlist and meditations but can't even focus on them while they play. I continue my routine of trying to sit on the bed, move to the ball, unplug from the machines and move to the bathroom, then back to the bed again.
MIDNIGHT | At this point, I am sitting on the bed trying to figure out a position that feels comfortable. I suddenly start to ooze fluid onto the bed; it almost feels as if I am uncontrollably peeing. We call the nurse and she confirms my water broke and we're about 7cm dilated at this point.
I mention to Jorden that I think I may need an epidural. He questions me on it, because he knows how much I wanted to go natural, and gives me a few more minutes to think about it.
12:30AM | I cave and opt for an epidural. The nurse and Jorden sit in front of me as I sit on the bed for the doctor to administer the epidural. I was still shaking uncontrollably at this point. The nurse urges the importance of sitting still but my contractions are back to back and I cannot stop myself from moving my head every time a contraction hits.
It feels like a cool flush of water crawling up my spine as the epidural is administered.
Once the epidural is in I was told to lie on my back for 30 minutes to ensure the meds will disperse evenly and work properly. Let me just say, lying on your back while in pain is a unique kind of torture.
As it nears 1AM I feel numb on one side and yet have complete feeling on the other side. The nurse forces me to lie on my left side in hopes that the epidural will disperse where it hasn't hit yet. The pain is truly amplified because it is so focused on one area. My tremors continue as I lie on the bed and I plea to Jorden because it doesn't seem like the meds are going to work.
1:15AM | A second dose of epidural is administered to numb my left side. I honestly do not remember this part, I must have blocked it out! Per Jorden, I let him know at this point that I was feeling better and we attempted to watch The Addams Family.
2AM | At this point, I am confined to the bed because of the epidural, and Jorden and I are both exhausted. I have the nurse assist me in putting a birthing peanut in between my legs and try to fall asleep.
I continue to toss and turn (or attempt to do so with numb legs) because I feel so uncomfortable. The nurse told me the next step in our process would be to let her know if I get the urge or feeling that I have to poop. And now we try to get some rest.
4AM | I wake up Jorden and let him know I am feeling pressure in my butt. It doesn't feel much like I have to go to the bathroom, just a lot of pressure.
A few minutes later the nurse comes in to do a cervical exam. It takes only a few seconds of the exam before she asks "Are you ready to have this baby?"
"Really?!" I proclaimed, so surprised we were there already.
She reassured us it is baby time and things start moving. They page the doctor, wheel in carts and carts of equipment, and a handful of people enter the room - including a medical student who asked if she could join and observe to which I said yes.
Jorden mentioned to the doctor before we start that, if I have the opportunity, I would like to pull our daughter out of me and into the world. This is another piece listed on my birth preferences that I had forgotten about, thankfully Jorden is of sound mind throughout all of this.
4:29AM | I start to push. With coaching from the nurse I was told to (on their command) push into my bottom with each contraction. I could feel a small cramp with each contraction despite the epidural. My feet are in stirrups and Jorden is by my side holding my hand. He shares how surprised he is that I am calm during this process, engaging in small talk with him and the nurses between pushes.
Attempting to push with an epidural was such a strange sensation. I could not feel much but could feel pressure in my bottom when I pushed.
They asked Jorden if he wanted to take a look "down there" while I am crowning and he decides to take a peek. It looks like "hair stuck in a drainpipe," he remarks.
5:29AM | And just like that, the doctor told me to reach down and grab my baby. I was able to pull her out and a big gush of fluid came out with her, landing on Jorden's shoes, shirt, and I'm sure the doctors as well.
I pull our newborn daughter to my bare chest for our Golden Hour. I cannot stop looking at Rosemary then to Jorden and back again while saying "We have a baby!" to Jorden over and over again. Jorden and I are both teary-eyed and overwhelmed with all that just happened, thankful our little girl is safe.
Everything is hectic at this point. While I hold Rosemary the doctor and nurses push on my stomach to encourage the placenta out, which was very painful, actually. The doctor let us know I have a mild tear that requires stitches and she stitches me up while we soak in the fact that we are parents now.
For 30 minutes I get to enjoy our little one on my chest with dad by our side. I don't even notice that I am still in stirrups and the doctor is stitching me up. We then spent the next 30 minutes breastfeeding for the first time.
Rosemary finally got to go into Jorden's arms after we feed and they shared skin-to-skin contact for another 30 minutes or so.
The nurses then weighed Rosemary and gave her the first dose of meds in our delivery room.
We call our family to share the news. Because of COVID-19 we were unable to have anyone in the delivery room with us, or even in the waiting room so a phone call and photos were shared with family instead.
After the commotion of delivery and cleaning up Rosemary, I let the nurse know I had to use the restroom but my legs are still a bit numb so I get a catheter for relief. We then get packed up and head upstairs.
Rosemary was born at 5:29AM on Friday, August 14th weighing 8lb 3oz and 20.5in long. We are overjoyed at welcoming our little girl into the world and cannot wait to see who we become as parents.
Want to hear more about my pregnancy journey? Start here.