Birth Stories

Kristin Was Flexible When Things Didn't Go As Planned

  • When did you realize you were really in labor?

    During a visit to my OB, she discovered that my water had broken at some point in the last few days, but I still wasn’t in labor. So she performed a membrane sweep, and sent me and my husband home to finish packing before coming back to the hospital that evening. When we got to the hospital, my contractions were much more painful and hurting in my lower back, so I knew I was actually in labor then.

  • What was the most challenging thing about going natural?

    I had planned to go natural from the beginning, but as it turned out, my baby truly was too big for my pelvis. I labored without meds for 20 hours and for an additional 3 hours with an epidural with no progress of the baby’s head moving down in the pelvis. Talk about discouraging! It was also disappointing that my water broke early, putting a time limit on my labor. However, my doctor was great, and we really tried everything to have the labor go the way I wanted. We made gradual decisions to intervene and try to progress things before finally resorting to a c-section. I was put on Pitocin to make the contractions stronger, then an epidural to try to relax the muscles more, and finally the c-section was the only option left. It was the right time, too, because I developed a chorioamnionitis infection just before the surgery.

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  • What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?

    I read all the things—articles online; birth stories from other mamas; and five books, my favorite of which was Mama Natural's book. I also took a birthing class led by a local doula/L&D nurse that was so fun and informative for me and my husband to do together. I drank red raspberry leaf tea nearly every day starting sometime in the second trimester, and I really tried to eat the recommended amount of dates, though I admittedly struggled with that one. I had regular weekly chiropractor adjustments and monthly massages. I walked nearly every day (1-2 miles), and I kept up a short (10-15 min) daily yoga routine for as much of the pregnancy as I could. I also hired a doula, and that was one of the best decisions ever!

  • What surprised you about your birth?

    I was surprised that I could actually grow a baby that was too big to birth vaginally. I didn’t have gestational diabetes or anything like that, and my husband and I are both fairly small people. We were both 6 lb 14 oz at birth, but our baby boy was 9 lb 3 oz! I am disappointed that the birth didn’t turn out the way I wanted, but I have peace about the decisions we made, and I’m really grateful for that!

  • Get as much information as you can from sources you trust. Don’t stick your head in the sand and allow others to drag you along through this process. Be willing to be flexible as the situation changes
  • What pain relief strategies worked best?

    My husband or the doula would rub my low back during nearly every contraction. I had to have it; nothing else was as effective, but eventually, my back got sore, so it wasn’t as nice. I’d say concentrating on my breath, breathing slowly, and focusing on relaxing my jaw and hands were also helpful to make it through.

  • How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?

    Surreal. It’s still hard to believe he’s ours. We haven’t gotten to bond much since he’s still in the NICU, fighting off the infection, but we’re getting there. When I first hear him cry during the c-section, my husband and I both burst into tears!

  • What did you name your baby, and why?

    We named him Jack because we think it’s a masculine name that isn’t too weird but isn’t overused either.

  • What advice can you give to other mamas who want to go natural?

    Get as much information as you can from sources you trust. Don’t stick your head in the sand and allow others to drag you along through this process. Be willing to be flexible as the situation changes (I know that is very hard for me). If you have a team you can trust (doctor, doula, husband, in my case), you will be able to make decisions you feel comfortable with when things don’t go as planned.

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