Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Birthing Story

This is long, so if you don't feel like reading a lot, you can exit now :-)

Pregnancy and giving birth are experiences that go beyond what words can describe. Yes, there is discomfort and pain, but that is DEFINITELY not what I think of when I think of those things! (Don’t ask Josh, though, haha…) When it came time for Josh and I to decide what kind of experience we wanted to try to have for the birth experience, I came to the decision that I really wanted a natural birth. We signed up for the Bradley Birthing class – 12 weeks of 2 hours a week. That ended up to be an… interesting… experience, but we learned quite a lot from it, and felt quite prepared for a natural birth, even though we opted not to go with a midwife to help us through. I wanted no induction, no medication, no interference, just my body doing what God made it to do. That’s not how things turned out. Though at times I think, If we would’ve just done this or that, maybe I could’ve still had a natural birth, I know that we made a wise choice in order to get Jordan into our arms. This is our story.

Josh was gone for MAD (Music and Drama) camp the week of June 12-18, so my mom came to stay with me to help out since I was so far along, and to be there just in case I went into labor. None of us really thought I’d go into labor that early, though, of course! :-) Friday, June 17 the MAD crew trekked to Lincoln, as they performed at a church in Lincoln this year instead of Omaha. My mom also considered going home early – praise the Lord that she didn’t!

Around 11:00 that Friday night I was lying in bed wide awake and annoyed, because I was so very tired. By 11:45 my back was really starting to hurt and all of a sudden, just before midnight I felt this weird, strong, pulling feeling and the back pain rose… I was pretty sure it was a contraction, but I didn’t know if it was a “practice” one or the real deal. I hadn’t really felt my Braxton Hicks, so I thought maybe I was just starting to feel those as the weeks closed in on my due date (July 3). Every time I looked at the clock, there was an 8 at the end of the time, so my contractions were 10 minutes apart. I started to realize these could be the real deal with their regularity. I texted Josh that I was having contractions and he asked me all the questions to help me think through if they were “real.” By that point they were a little less regular, so I told him maybe not. I told him to stay there and go to sleep.

My contractions continued, though, and got stronger and more difficult to bear as the back pain became overwhelming. I tried lying in bed for quite a while, but was thrown into motion as soon as each contraction came – usually I went down on all fours, which relieved the pain the most. I tried a bunch of different positions by myself and started making regular trips to the bathroom with each one. Later I realized this was because my water had broken around 2 am – oops! I knew my mom would be up to go to the bathroom by about 4 am, so I let her sleep and continued laboring. I got out my Bradley birthing class books to try different positions and read because I was still doubting I was in real labor (looking back, I can’t believe that! Lol). I also researched online, no surprise if you know me!

Around 3 or so, I realized I was probably in real labor, and that I had no bag packed for the hospital, so I started getting my things together. I tried a shower and a bath a couple times, but they didn’t really help. When my mom woke, she was very confused as to why I was up, and was very shocked when I told her I had regular contractions! They were up to about 6 minutes by then, I think. She told me I should call the after hours hotline, so I did, right away. The nurse told me that it would be a good idea for me to come in within the hour, no rush, though. I called Josh and told him I was in real labor and we were going to the hospital and that he should leave Lincoln right away. (He drove through some rain, and drove pretty fast… he didn’t tell me that till much later, though :o)) At this point the most relieving thing for me was walking around through each contraction, so I spent a lot of time pacing. My mom and I finished packing my bags and she loaded the van – off we went to the hospital!
Checking in!

Ready to go!

We checked into the hospital just after 6 and Josh arrived before we even settled in the room. My mom headed back home and I filled Josh in. The nurse took my vitals and I had some progress, but wasn’t very far. I was encouraged by the progress, though. I continued to pace through most contractions, then Josh suggested some different positions we had learned in class. The back pain was becoming more than quite unbearable by mid-morning, but neither of us came to the realization that this was because he was posterior, duh, (or maybe we could’ve done some more positions to turn him!) I asked Josh for an epidural a few times, but he did a great job encouraging me that I could do it without and helping me to just breathe through each contraction, only a few minutes apart by this time.

Mid morning I started to feel a really strong urge with each contraction and my back pain was much, much, much more than I could bear. The nurse came in upon hearing my loud noises and realized I was feeling the urge to push and that was not good. They checked me and I was 4-5 cm dilated, so she helped me remember how to lift my head and breathe to avoid pushing… but the urge was so strong and after awhile I just could not NOT push any longer. I was far from relaxed and far from allowing my body to progress because of how tight I was holding everything in. I begged for an epidural, and the nurse told Josh that it might be time to let me get one. We talked and he knew, I was done. After what felt like forever longer, they came to give me the epidural, which I somehow managed to sit still through, and once it kicked in, I was so glad I got it.
I really wanted a natural birth, but the pain, the pushing, the lack of relaxation, and lack of sleep & energy all together were not going to result in baby progressing; it was the best choice.

A lot of the rest of the morning is a blur to me, especially because I had not slept in well over 24 hours. I progressed some after the epidural, but not a whole lot. They wanted to break my water (which I had not yet realized was long broken) or give me Pitocin. Josh and I discussed and decided that we were good with letting my body labor naturally longer. I was able to rest a little, but never really slept as the back pain was still there through contractions. Josh was able to take this opportunity to eat a little and take a shower, though, for which he was thankful. My epidural also wore off on one side temporarily, which caused a lot of discomfort again, but they got it corrected. Early afternoon during a check we finally realized that my bag of waters was definitely not intact and I connected that to my early morning trips to the bathroom… (I was glad to realize I had not been peeing myself!! Lol!)

Finally, late afternoon, I was fully dilated, but I was not yet really feeling an urge to push, even with the epidural backed off – which in turn allowed the back pain to return. After a little while they wanted me to try to push through a contraction. I did, and wow! That felt so good! I started to feel the needs to push and I started trying to move baby down. After an hour, he had not moved down despite all my pushing and was still posterior, so we okay’d them to give me some Pitocin. In between then and the end I violently vomited multiple times... a nice red vomit from the red popsicle I ate... :-/ I also had to have some oxygen at a few different points as my pushes made Jordan's heart rate decrease, I think... They were near the end we're pretty sure.

I continued to push, and could definitely feel the contractions grow stronger with the medication, but he was still not moving down, so it was decided forceps were needed. They got the forceps and put them in place – OUCH – and then told me they were the wrong size. WHAAAAAAT?! They took them out. At this point they told me the NICU team would have to take him into the adjoining room when he came out to check him really quick. I cried because I really wanted him on my chest right away, but wanted to make sure he was okay, too…

They put the second set of forceps in place – YOWZERS! –. Once they got them on Jordan’s head and turned him, I felt SO much better! A few more pushes and he was barreling down. The nurse made me pause for a few pushes as he crowned so I’d have the strength to get him out, then I pushed a few more times and out he came!

Jordan’s gorgeous and yucky body graced the eyes of all 11 people in the room with us at 7:33pm on Saturday, June 18 and I could not have been happier. I was instantly in love with the tiny human they held up for me to see! As the NICU team whisked him away, I wailed (in movie-ending-like-fashion, as Josh described it), “Jordan, his name is Jordan!” The nurse that had stayed past her shift to be with me and meet our son especially smiled, as she had asked me for his name a few times to no avail, hehe!

I sighed as I heard Jordan’s tiny little scream from behind the door, and they checked him and he did not have tachycardia and was fine. When they brought him out of the room, I told them to go ahead and measure him and then they brought him to me. The moment he laid on me and winked his little eyes can hardly be put into words; I fell even more in love with my son. Holding his newborn 6lb 8oz, 18.5 inch long tiny body is something I will never forget.

Other notes:
He latched on to nurse well in the beginning, but after his little man surgery he struggled. I ended up choosing to help him latch after he dropped close to 5 pounds after almost a week at home because he would only scream & not nurse, but he weaned off of it well by a couple months (I think, I already can’t remember how long it took :o)).

It must be noted, that I LOVED my nurses at UNMC. They were so helpful and wonderful!

Another very neat thing during the day was also that an old friend was at UNMC for her residency, and when she saw my mom in the hall and found out that we were there she requested to be involved in my labor and delivery. In the end, she probably saw more of me than she wanted as she held one of my legs while I pushed my placenta (as Josh was in the other room with Jordan) and was there as they brought Jordan to do skin-to-skin with me, but it was such a neat experience to have her be a part of, and I was thankful to have another familiar face around as well.


  1. Hey, I just realized I had no idea what your birth story was! I'm glad all went well even if it wasn't what was planned :). Happy for you guys!
    Thank you for your gift to us as well, It was super helpful! Kirsten and Jeff

  2. Beautiful story, Sharalee. I just discovered your blog today and I love reading birth stories, so I was excited to see you'd shared yours. Even though it wasn't what you had planned, so much of your birth experience WAS natural! You are so brave and such a rock star. I did not have back labor, but after experiencing non-back-labor pain, I can't imagine how excruciating back labor must've been. You should be proud of what an amazing job you did. -Lindsay

    1. Linday, thank you so much for reading my post, taking time to comment, and being so encouraging!! I am SO super proud of what I did, and hard as it was, I'll do it again! :)