It’s been over a month now that my baby girl Madison was born. I have been trying to get back into some semblance of a routine, but that has proven to be quite difficult between nursing the baby and trying to keep up with the toddler. Little by little, though, we are finding our way, it will just take some time.
I did want to share Madison’s birth story because it is a fun one. Madison decided she wanted to prove everyone wrong. If you’ve been following me for some time, you know I was diagnosed with a short cervix at about 20 weeks which put me at risk for going into preterm labor. I was placed on a modified bedrest and had to see a high-risk ob every other week until I reached 34 weeks for bi-weekly ultrasounds and to perform a fetal fibronectin. It had me terrified for half my pregnancy that something could go wrong and at worst, I could lose the baby. So when I ended up at my regular OB/GYN appointment 2 days shy of 41 weeks I was surprised and frustrated, to say the least. I was hoping to have had her prior to 40 weeks, but that did not happen.
At that final appointment, I was scheduled for an induction on June 30th because the doctors did not want me to go any further past 41 weeks. I, of course, did not want to be induced. I wanted for things to happen naturally and for Madison to pick her birth date, so all week long I was trying out ever old wives tale in the book. I tried bouncing and doing hip rolls on an exercise ball, I walked in the middle of a South Florida summer around the block until I couldn’t walk anymore to help convince her to come out. I tried castor oil to stimulate contractions. Finally, (and what I think did it), I tried evening primrose oil the night before my induction.
At 12:30am on June 29th, (the morning before my scheduled induction) I was woken up by a strong contraction. It was like nothing I had ever felt before, but I had thought a few times before that I was in labor so I didn’t think anything of it right away. I tried to go back to sleep, but then another hit, and then another. The started coming on every 4 minutes and lasting about a minute, and they were pretty strong and pretty consistent. I waited around the house for a few hours to see how consistent they would be and to be ultra sure that this was really it. Finally, I felt like it was time to head to the hospital. We dropped Sebastian off at Nana’s house and made our way.
At triage, I was told I was in labor but was only 2cm dilated. I didn’t know how this was possible because that’s what I was at my last doctor’s appointment. The nurses were able to stretch me a little more and I was admitted. Either way, I was about to be induced the following day, so one way or the other, she was coming out.
My original plan was for no medications, but since I was having a VBAC, my doctors warned me that I would have to be monitored. I was strapped into a fetal heart rate monitor, as well as a belt to monitor contractions. I had an IV inserted because I also had a positive GBS exam so I had to have antibiotics administered every 4 hours. When everything was strapped onto me, I had no room to walk around. I was uncomfortable and constrained to a 2 foot by 2-foot square, so I decided instead of trying to tough it out with no meds that I would request an epidural. I already had a sense of what labor was like so I felt just fine requesting pain medications.
Once the epidural was in, I got some sleep. That was basically the last time I slept for 2 days. More on that in a bit. At about 10:30 am, I was ready to start pushing. I pushed for about an hour and a half and my baby girl came into this world at 12:03pm with zero complications. She did have her cord wrapped around her neck, but my OB very quickly slipped that out and all was fine. I also experienced a second-degree tear that I did not feel at all. It did take quite a bit of stitching, but I was able to get skin-to-skin time with Madison and initiate breastfeeding right away while my doctor repaired me. I did experience some pain afterward. It was very awkward to sit afterward because of the stitches, but that healed relatively quickly and wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the abdominal pain from a C-section.
All in all, I have to say that my VBAC experience was pretty awesome, even if it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I am satisfied with the decisions that were made and how everything happened. The only thing I hate is how hospitals treat patients that are supposed to be “resting”. I did not sleep until my last day at the hospital and that was because I told my nurse enough was enough. My room was like Grand Central Station with a different person coming in at all hours. So between trying to get breastfeeding established, taking care of a newborn, and then having a different nurse coming in to check my vitals, the babies vitals and every other thing they came in to do, I could not get any rest. I would start to fall asleep or finally get the baby asleep and someone would come into the room to wake me up or wake the baby up. It was absolutely ridiculous. If there is one thing that hospitals need to change, it is that. They really need to allow their patients to sleep. The final night I was there I finally had an amazing nurse who understood and came to me when she came on shift to tell me, “call me when you’re up for your night feedings so I can check your vitals then and not have to wake you.” This nurse understood and she was amazing!
We did have some issue at the beginning getting breastfeeding established, but it had a lot to do with my confidence. I made an appointment to see a lactation consultant who gave me some tips and assured me that the baby was drawing enough milk, and everything has been smooth sailing since. Madison has not taken a bottle of formula and I am so beyond happy about that. This child has cooperated with my plans fully. She waited until the very last minute to put things into place, but I was able to experience a vaginal birth, I’ve been able to exclusively breastfeed her and I really can’t complain too much. She also seems to be very taken with me because not only can I not put her down, but nobody else can hold her either. She is just now starting to let my husband hold her for a bit or is allowing me to put her in her swing, but I’ve had to be attached to her this whole time, which has made getting things done difficult. I have had to use my carriers to get things done, but even then I feel hindered a bit.
But here we are at a month and a half old already and every day we are learning something new about each other and how to get things done. Sebastian has been a great big brother. He wants to help with everything, even with things he can’t do. Because of this, I have to keep a close eye on him because he wants to try and do things he can’t do and could hurt Madison. I keep catching her in her crib or playpen when I put her down a moment. One time I caught him in her crib trying to carry her which scared me. I tried to explain to him that he can’t do that, but he just wants to help and doesn’t understand why he can’t.