With Marlow’s arrival getting closer and closer, many people have asked about Maddox’s delivery. Like most people, I remember it as a complete whirlwind, but here’s what I remember!
Maddox was born at 1:42 am on September 26, 2013. His due date was September 21st . That Tuesday, the 24th I went into my doctor’s office, concerned I hadn’t felt Maddox move all day. After an ultrasound and fetal heart check they determined everything was fine but he was basically out of room. Under the doctor’s advice (not my midwife) we checked into Northside Hospital that night to try to start the delivery process. Around 9pm I was given Cervidil to soften my cervix, because I wasn’t dilated or contracting (Maddox clearly wasn’t ready to make his entrance!) That night in the hospital was the worst. I couldn’t get comfortable, the nurses came to check on me every few hours, and I hardly slept at all (if any).
By the next morning, I had started to dilate and was having small, consistent contractions. My original goal had been to have a natural, drug-free delivery. After discussing everything with my midwife, we decided against Pitocin and instead to do everything possible to increase contractions naturally. This included constant walking/movement, lying in certain positions, sitting on an exercise ball, and other medical but non-drug alternatives. (Feel free to ask questions if you want more specifics).
Luckily, all our efforts worked and I progressed slowly throughout the day! Unfortunately, due to all our efforts, lack of sleep, and intense back labor I was exhausted! I tried different positions, taking a hot shower, laying in the bathtub, and various breathing/massage techniques to cope. But eventually I decided to change my original drug-free plan and get a “walking epidural.” That was the best decision for me! It allowed me to sleep for about 3 hours. When I woke up I felt rested, but by that time I was in full-blown labor! The epidural had worn off, and I had the intense urge to push! Around 11pm I couldn’t take the back labor anymore, and I told the nurse to call in my midwife. The labor pain was unlike anything I ever expected. I had expected labor pain to be intense contractions around my stomach/diaphragm that would come and go, but that wasn’t the case at all. All my pain was concentrated in my back. It was intense, constant shooting pain and pressure that felt like I was being ripped open from the inside out. There was never any relief or moments to catch my breath as I had assumed I would have in between contractions.
When my midwife came in around 11:30, I started to push. Maddox hadn’t progressed far enough down, and I still wasn’t completely dilated yet, but the uncontrollable urge to push took over. With my mom and Josh each holding a leg, I started pushing (against my midwife’s advice to wait a little longer). After over two hours of actual pushing, repeating many times “This isn’t going to happen… He’s stuck… This isn’t working… and… I can’t do this” they finally saw the top of Maddox’s head! At that point I leaned back on the bed and said “SO PULL HIM OUT! GRAB HIS HEAD AND JUST PULL HIM OUT!” I’m pretty sure everyone in the room laughed as my midwife explained that it wouldn’t work like that…I wasn’t done. Soon after they convinced me to keep pushing, and a few minutes later Maddox was born! He came out calm and serene with eyes wide open! He didn’t make a sound (which scared the hell out of me) and I swear he looked right at us! Maddox weighted 9lbs 1.2oz and was 21in long. He also had a head full of fiery red hair!
We were very lucky, having had no complications, and Maddox’s heart rate stayed steady and calm through the entire delivery! The pain was unlike anything I ever imagined, but I had an overall feeling of surreal calmness throughout the delivery. I was surrounded by extremely supportive, loving family, had an incredible midwife and I couldn’t have done it without them! Did I follow my original “birth plan”? Not exactly. Do I wish I had gotten an epidural for the actual delivery? Maybe a little, but I’m happy with all the decisions I made at the time! Mostly importantly, I’m glad Maddox was happy and healthy!
So my birth advice. Make a birth plan if you like, but don’t be disappointed if things don’t go according to plan. Listen to your midwife/doctor. Accept support from those around you. And look forward to your own happy outcome! Every birth is different, so we’ll see how it all goes with Marlow!