It’s hard to know where to begin the story of how baby Tate came into this world. No matter how much I remember and repeat it I can’t possibly express the magnitude of the life-changing event. I guess I should start with our plan for Tate’s arrival. My husband and I decided that we would like to try to have our son as naturally as possible. We signed up for Brio method birthing classes and started making our plans. The birthing classes were 2 hours long every week for 12 weeks. It was intense. We talked about things I had never even thought about. We learned so much. We were ready.
Our baby Tate’s birth story starts after our doctor told us my blood pressure was too high on Friday morning. She told us to start considering induction because of the possibility of developing Preclampsia. We spent the weekend dealing with the fact that our rigid birth plan was being flipped upside down and inside out. We went to bed on Sunday night anxious about our Monday morning follow up.
When I awoke I felt peace. I really felt like if the doctor felt it was best to induce, then we would go ahead with it because it was what was best for the baby. We went in to check my blood pressure and it was still too high. She checked my progress and I was only 2 cm dilated and 30% effaced. She told us to be at the hospital at 8:00 PM to to start Cytotec to soften my cervix. It was so surreal walking out of the office and realizing that the next day we would be meeting our little man.
We arrived at the hospital right on time. We came in and they got us settled in our room. The nurse administered the Cytotec around 10:00 PM. After that, all we could do was try to get some sleep. At two in the morning, I woke with some pretty serious contractions. I couldn’t sleep so Steve my husband suggested I get into the tub (p.s. if you’re pregnant and can get a room with a tub, do it! I don’t think I could have done it without one.). I didn’t really sleep (nor did Steve) after I went in that tub.
My doctor came at 7:00 AM to check my progress. When she examined me, I was 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced. Then she broke my water. (This was such a disconcerting feeling. It felt like peeing out gallons of hot pee involuntarily.)
As my contractions immediately intensified, I went back in the tub. They were really strong and painful in my back for the next few hours. The contractions were also double and triple peaking, so when the pain would start to go down, it would peak again before I had a chance to catch my breath. Steve would talk me through these, helping me to remember to breathe and to remove as much tension from my body as I could. After an hour or so, I had to get out of the tub so that the nurse could check the baby’s vitals. As she was doing her checkup, I told the nurse that my back was killing me (to be honest, I was begging her to let me get in another position because I was sure I was going to die of misery). The nurse suggested I labor on my hands and knees to turn him around because she was afraid that he was facing the wrong direction (head down but looking at my tummy instead of looking at my back). At that point I was 5 cm.
After what felt like just a few seconds of laboring on my hands and knees, I started feeling the need to push. Need is the wrong word… I felt like if I didn’t push, the world was going to end. I had my husband call the nurse back into the room. I was scared at how fast it was all happening. When she checked me, I was dilated to an 8. The desire to push was the craziest instinctual feeling I’ve ever had. Everything was moving so fast, which was great, however, my OB didn’t expect me to be pushing until later in the afternoon so she was not at the hospital. The nurses had me put all of my energy into not pushing and breathing lamaze style to slow down. Steve was repeating the breathing pattern the nurse suggested, so that I could follow along with him. Finally, after what felt like thirty years, the doctor came. They flipped me on my back and told me to start pushing. Steve had one leg, a nurse held another, and I placed my hands behind my knees. The doctor told me to start pushing when I felt the next contraction. With each push I could feel real movement. I was aware when his head passed through and then his shoulders. My husband said it was 20 minutes of pushing but to me it felt like 2. Our sweet baby came out screaming and beautiful.
They placed him on my chest immediately and I just took him in. He was amazing. I couldn’t believe that I just had this baby. The little person who had lived inside me for so long was really here. Steve and I immediately started studying his features, trying to decide whose features he had inherited.
It was the most intense and surreal experience of my life and truly amazing.
The whole thing although hard was so incredible. It exceeded our expectations, especially after our birth plan was changed before labor even began. Not only was I on cloud 9 because I got to meet our son, but I felt so empowered that I was able to get through the labor without any pain medication. It was such a rush of emotions and so rewarding to walk away from the situation with the most perfect baby I could have ever imagined.
I feel so grateful for doctors and hospital staff that had a hand in our birth experience. My doctor was supportive of our wanting to do it without pitocin and pain medication and did everything she could to make it a good experience for us. The nursing staff was understanding and never pushy about our wishes. They asked me at the very beginning not just what the plan was, but how they could best help us achieve it. And to my amazing husband, Steve: there is no possible way I could have done it without you. You were a support in every possible way. You encouraged me through every difficult time and talked me through it all. I couldn’t have asked for a better coach and husband.
More Birthing Stories: My 55-hour Labor