8 Years Later, Her Birth Story

Friday, August 29, 2014
It was an extra hot summer in San Luis Obispo and naturally, our condo didn't have air conditioning. I was 24 years old and married a little less than a year. Ryan was fresh out of law school and I had recently wrapped up my teaching job. For the first time in my life, my only real responsibility was to wait for our baby to be born.

It was August 16th, my due date. I woke up......and...nothing. I heard friends talk about Braxton Hicks Contractions, but I didn't think I was even having those. I spent most of the day walking around downtown SLO, getting coffee, and stopping in to say a prayer at The Mission. I watched other Moms push babies in strollers, and couldn't wait for that to be my life. The day was eventless, and by evening, labor didn't seem likely. I was still determined to do anything within my power to go into labor, so I/we continued to try all the things one does when they want to go into labor. Except castor oil, never tried that.

(28 weeks pregnant with Riley. Taken by Ryan)
I think it was near 8pm that evening when I heard a funny popping sound. Ryan heard it too. We looked at each other, and I'm sure one of us said, "oh shit*!" Our suspicions were correct, my water broke. It was really more of a trickle than a gush of water, nothing like what you see in the movies.The panic and regret started to set in..."why did I think this was a good idea?!?"

I called my (amazing!) Dr., and because I was gbs positive, I had to go to the hospital for antibiotics. There would be no laboring at home, which is how I envisioned my birth story would start (ha!). We also called our doula to let her know I was in the early stages of labor. She would meet us there when I needed her.

Getting checked in at the hospital made me nervous...I just don't like them (who does?). The labor and delivery unit however was warm and friendly, with the exception of the grumpy nurse that took my vitals. If this hadn't been my first baby, the grumpy nurse wouldn't have bothered me, but she did. She didn't like that I wouldn't put on the hospital gown. I hate those gowns, they make me feel like a sick patient. Next, a new nurse came to put in an I.V. This was a nightmare. She messed up twice and the antibiotic was extremely painful going in. Finally, it was time to check dilation....and I was at a big fat zero.   

 A few hours passed and contractions started to pick up. In preparation for the birth, we had taken bradly classes, and I read and listened to all the hypno-babies tapes (on my walkman!), but all of my new found knowledge wasn't doing much to get through the contactions. Things were getting a little too painful for my comfort so we called our doula. As soon as she got there, she immediately had us walk the hospital halls, bounce on the labor ball,  and labor in a hot shower. The best thing about our doula was her experience and emotional support.  

After a loooong, exhausting night, 7am rolls around and it's time to get checked. I'm feeling excited and motivated..."I'm doing this!" I thought. Then the nurse announces, "1.5 cm dilated." Nooooooo! Worst.Feeling.Ever.

If I didn't have a doula, I would have given up right then. But she coached me through the disappointment, and we carried on. We walked more, we labored in the shower more, we bounced on the labor ball more, and eventually I made it to 6cm. The nurses filled the labor tub and I got in. The warm water was a nice relief. 

Two hours passed in the tub, and I got checked again. 7cm. Nooo! Only 1cm in 2 hrs? And the contractions felt stagnant. "Just give me a c-section," I irrationally cried. I was in major meltdown mode complete with ugly tears and a lot of despair. Being awake for 22 hours isn't good for anyone, let alone a first time pregnant mom. Our doula saved the day again and saw me through. But we knew we needed to alter the birth plan a bit. I didn't have a physical birth plan written out, but the goal was a 100% natural birth. 

Since I was so close, the plan was to get a small dose of pitocin to help with dilation, and a shot of stadol for a little relief. It was a good decision. If I didn't have a supportive doctor and a great doula, I think they may have given me a c-section at that point. The stadol experience was strange. I would fall asleep between contractions, have a detailed dream, and then wake up 3 minutes later for the next contractions. Repeat.

The pitocin did it's job. It only took 30 minutes before I went into transition. It's hard to remember all the details of what going through transition was like (for the best), but I knew things were getting serious because my body started to involuntarily push. My dr. said I could stay in the tub for the delivery, but I was hot and having been in the tub for 3 hours, was ready to get out.

I got on the hospital bed and finally made it to 10cm.  I started off pushing all wrong, but a quick, informative pep talk from the nurse, and I figured it out. Pushing wasn't painful, in fact, it was a relief. Our doula was cheering me on and it wasn't until later, that I realized she was also busy firing away pictures with my camera...it was a bit of a shock to accidentally stumble across those images a couple weeks later (not to mention, I don't know where they are at the moment). Forty-five minutes later, my dr. said to reach down and pull her out...and I did! What I would give to be able to travel back in time and experience that moment all over again! 

She had dark hair, olive skin, and was perfectly content to be next to my skin. She was born almost exactly 24 hours after my water broke at 8:21pm and was 8lb. 4oz. She was an easy baby and in those first few months, I didn't understand why people said being a parent was difficult (Trust me, now I know! My boys were not easy babies!). And while I was madly in love with her, I suffered terribly with postpartum anxiety in the year that followed her birth. I hope to write about it soon. 

Next up, Luke's birth story. And you can read Dominic's, 100% medicated, epidural birth here: Part 1Part 2.  

*ok, I have to admit I feel a bit guilty using bad words on the blog. So sorry! Just because this is a true story, I thought it best to keep it real.  


  1. She looks so much like Dominic in that photo of your husband holding her! Great birth story :)

    1. just seeing this comment Hafsa--she does! I tell her that all the time too :)


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