The Birth of Lincoln | Birth Story

{Written by Jennifer Mills}
I knew I was pregnant before the test came back positive. Even after the first was negative, I knew it was too early. I was determined this pregnancy was going to go much smoother, and I would be healthier than I was with Lilly. Pregnancy is hard, birth is even harder, but I rock at birth!

My determination led me to my Doula, Lauren Letterman. She would be my advocate and make everything go smoothly. In so many ways she did. For months she assured me things would play out peacefully, and she pointed me in the right direction when I had questions or pregnancy ailments. I started a home study she provided me with called Hynobabies.  I wasn’t sure about Hypnosis during childbirth, but I enjoyed the positivity it helped institute throughout the last trimester as things got hairy, the relaxation techniques it provided, as well as how much it refreshed my memory about pregnancy and birth.

Then came the gallstones that hit me like a ton of bricks. I was thirty seven weeks, and Lauren had every encouraging word and helpful recommendations that helped me through yet another obstacle. Shortly after, a midwife that worked alongside mine delivered a few different views about my birth plan I wasn’t prepared for. Along with the gallstone results, she informed me ACOG recommended I be induced at thirty nine weeks or have a C-section due to gestational diabetes, Lilly’s previous broken clavicle (which they referred to as shoulder dystocia), and the lingering gallstone pain that could return or get worse. I broke.

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Welcome to the world, Lincoln!

 

I didn’t want anyone telling me what to do. I wanted to be left alone and birth in peace. I reached out for a second opinion from a highly recommended OB the midwives sent me to. She was already naturally minded and trusted in a mother’s instinct to give birth. She confirmed it was okay to go till forty-one weeks before being induced and cleared me of the shoulder dystocia labeled on my chart because Lilly had popped her clavicle on the way out, not actually gotten stuck. I ended up going back to my original midwife and rescheduling the induction. I compromised with Kyle and the doctors and agreed to be induced a little over forty weeks, if I hadn’t gone into labor before then.

I tried every at home remedy for induction I felt safe or comfortable doing, including having a membrane sweep at 39 weeks + 3 days. Nothing happened over the next five days and my induction day crept to a sluggish halt. Forty weeks and one day had never come so slowly in my life. I had been 2 cm. 50% effaced at my first sweep. I prayed it had done something so the induction would go as smoothly as Lilly’s. We had an appointment with my midwife that morning. Once again I asked her to check my progress and make one last ditch effort at throwing me into labor with a sweep so I could avoid a pharmaceutical induction.

I left the office feeling hopeful. I informed my midwife I would see her soon at the hospital. My parents were on their way, Kyle’s dad and grandmother weren’t far behind, and Lilly was at daycare until my parents could get her. I knew things were falling into place.  I could finally relax. The hard part was yet to come, so Kyle and I went home to pack and lay down before the craziness began. Not long after we got home, and I got comfortable in bed, did contractions start. I had been getting cramps and intense Braxton Hicks for weeks, especially after my first sweep. These were a little bit different and caused almost painless vice-like pressure in twenty minute intervals. I took a shower, drank water, and laid back down to listen to a hypnobabies track before noticing the pressure of the contractions becoming more intense and ten minutes apart, still not painful beyond minor cramps. I texted my mom, informing her and luckily they were almost to our house. After my parents arrived, Kyle and I took a twenty minute walk in the sunny, yet cold weather as the pressure waves spaced out between ten and fifteen minutes. Surely I could make it five more hours before my induction.

IMG_3099-001Kyle’s dad and grandmother got to the house not long after.  I was able to sit on the yoga ball and visit with everyone before Kyle and his dad left to get Lilly. Kyle’s grandmother was talking to me as 3 contractions griped me within 9 minutes of each other, 3 minutes apart. I smiled, and nodded as I whispered to my mother how far apart they were. I stood up from the yoga ball, needing to remove myself from company.

At the moment I placed one foot in front of the other, my waters flooded my pants. I calmly stated, “my water broke” as I walked up the stairs to my bedroom, not even sure if anyone was paying attention or even noticed. Sure enough it had, and I frantically called Kyle, Lauren, and my midwife to see what I should do since contractions were so close together. I was sure my baby would wait for induction before deciding to come. I wasn’t ready to go into labor at home now. Kyle’s grandmother went outside to inform Kyle of what happened since he didn’t answer my call and had just pulled up. My mother was attempting to help me get ready as Kyle stormed upstairs to whisk me away to the hospital before I gave birth on the side of the road.

Three minute apart contractions put the fire under everyone, even if they weren’t super painful. The midwife on call was ready and waiting at the hospital and my faithful doula was not far behind us. The contractions continued throughout the very long 30 minute trek to the hospital. The nurses admitted me and set me up for a 30 minute monitoring session on the machines, just as Lauren met us in our room and the process began. I was in a bit of shock I was actually in labor without being “induced” and elated the contractions weren’t taking me down with them…yet.

I knew the short breaks I was getting between the 1 to 4 minute contractions would get shorter or non-existent, and I was ready to get the show on the road and have Lincoln out safely. After the monitoring, answering questions, and confirming I was in actual labor at 4 cm and 80% effaced, Kyle, Lauren, and I headed out to the halls to walk. I knew mentally I couldn’t take the discomfort of a long labor, and I wasn’t giving up until I had nothing left.  I wanted to get things going quickly, and I was excited to have my husband and doula there to lean on. It didn’t take too many laps around the ward of leaning on Kyle as Lauren massaged my lower back and hips before contractions became too cumbersome to move through or be in public. The next 2 hours consisted of different positions that Lauren recommended.

IMG_3105-001The birthing ball, shower, and failed tub time, which ironically I hated yet had wanted the most, things really started to become intense. I spent a large portion of active labor in the shower. Kyle keeping the warm water on my lower back and breathing through contractions as Lauren encouraged me to relax and let each one go. Letting each wave pass and not hanging on to it I found most helpful and progressive. Shortly after, the midwife checked and confirmed I was 8 cm. and zero station. We were almost there!

I don’t remember everything I said to my birthing team. I’m sure some of it made them shake their head, roll their eyes or laugh, but they coached me in the final hour of getting to 10 cm. All through the painful positions, and “roaring” as Kyle put, it Lincoln decided he was ready to welcome the world. With Lauren on my left and Kyle to my right, she set me in a full on lunge and helped me position in just the right way to bring Lincoln in a better position, which were far from a walk in the park but did their magic. I couldn’t give up now, I was so close to having my baby in my arms. It took every ounce of concentration I had to breathe through the waves. Talking, thinking, and acknowledging anyone besides the physical sensations were next to impossible.

My midwife walked in as he was peacefully crowning. *Haha* Maybe I sounded peaceful, but in my mind, my body was warring with itself, and I didn’t care what happened to me as long as he was out and safe. The 20 minutes of pushing lasted as long as the 40 weeks of pregnancy, and Lincoln squeezed his way into this life at 6:38 pm. Weighing 9 lbs 12.6 oz. I think I screamed “Okay give me my drugs now!” before my midwife was even able to place him on my chest. “Jennifer, reach down and hold your baby” barely registered as I heaved a sigh of relief that I wasn’t pregnant anymore. He was as purple as I’d ever seen a baby, and although I heard Kyle and the nurses gasp at how big he was, I was sure my diet and exercise had kept him at seven or eight pounds.

The midwife stitched up my minor tear as the nurses dropped the first and welcomed pain medicine in my hand. Lincoln was taken and placed on the scale as I lay watching everyone marvel over his birth, “Nine pounds, twelve point six ounces!” she announced. I could have sworn I heard her wrong.  Surely I hadn’t carried a nine pound baby, and I worked too hard to keep his weight down! Nope, he was a whopper, for me at least. He did break his right clavicle, but is otherwise healthy as a horse.  He has had no blood sugar problems.

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Photo credit – Jennifer Mills

Lauren was a God send, and not only helped Kyle and I feel comfortable through my last trimester, labor and birth, but undoubtedly helped quicken the process, so I wasn’t stuck laboring all night or forced to face anymore intervention. I ended up having the best possible birth in almost every aspect.Our families arrived 30 minutes before visiting hours ended and Lilly got to meet her little brother for the first time right at her bedtime. Needless to say she wasn’t too impressed and just wanted her Na-Na all to herself. Forty-eight hours has come and gone and I am still pondering if I will ever do it again, even after I swore I was done and I’d rather have a hysterectomy. My big baby boy is here safe and sound, and our family couldn’t be happier!

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