Marleigh James - Birth Story
I don’t even know where to start on the events that happened a year ago. It feels like Marleigh has been a part of my life forever, but then it feels like just yesterday I was in labor. You know the cliche “You won’t remember the pain once you see them”…. THAT IS 100% true. However, I wasn’t always in pain during the labor, just pre-labor. I guess it is time to just start from the beginning.
The Night Before
On September 20, 2018, Glen and I were heading to bed. That entire day I was doing everything to kick start labor. I went on a walk up a giant hill and then continued to walk for hours, I had a salad with a vinaigrette dressing, I bounced on a ball and did laundry and watched tv, I did yoga moves that were supposed to help, and I even spent some time with my husband. I googled “How to kickstart labor” and went with it. I tried everything, I mean EVERYTHING. (Except Castor Oil, I have heard too many negative stories so I stayed clear. However, Mac and Cheese with BBQ sauce - yup I did it.) I was scheduled to be induced the next day but I really wanted to go the natural route. Since I was already 40 + 6 weeks and had GD, they did not want to wait too long. They let me go as long as they felt comfortable. The next morning at 6:00am, I was told to wake up and call our hospital to see what would be a good time to head in that day for our induction.
I went to bed and was getting ready for the next day.
The Start of it All
Around 1:27 am, I had a weird pain shooting through my back. I woke up and it just felt weird. It wasn’t the pain that they described for contractions, but it hurt SO BAD. It happened about every 8 minutes. I did not have any contractions or Braxton hicks prior to this, so it all just happened. Every 8 minutes, I would have this super uncomfortable feeling. I woke up Glen and expressed my concern and he asked if it was constant and happening every 2/3 minutes (which is wasn’t) so he rolled over and went back to bed.
I, unfortunately, could not go back to bed. I woke up took a shower, started making food, watched tv, tried to sleep on the couch, but no matter how I laid, stood, walked or whatever, every 8 minutes I was in pain and could not get comfortable. So, I just kind of sat around and timed the contractions. It was a long 4 and 1/2 hours, but my contractions didn’t really speed up. Finally, at 6am I was calling the hospital to see what time they wanted me to come in.
The L&D at the hospital was overfilled with ladies in labor. Apparently I later learned that Marleigh was born on a day that had a record number of births. Pretty cool. They had no rooms available and they had no overfill rooms so they were waiting on my induction. They wanted me to call back later that evening to see if they were ready for me. I was so stressed, in pain, and tired. I wasn’t too concerned though because my contractions were still minutes a part. All day, I was in pain. They started happening more frequently, like every five minutes, and each time I would squeeze Glen’s hands. Poor guy, he felt so helpless but he was literally my rock. My contractions got so bad to the point I would fall to the ground in pain. I knew something wasn’t right and I couldn’t bare it any longer.
Heading to the hospital - The first time
I went into L&D and told them my concerns and pains. She did all the check ups and told me that my contractions were every 5 minutes. She checked me out and noted I was 1 cm dilated and not fully effaced. She did explain that based on my ultrasounds, I was experiencing back labor. A baby is supposed to come out like superman and Marleigh was backwards, creating the pain. Let me tell you, it hurt. I kid you not, the pain was awful. They did not have any rooms available and since my water wasn’t broke and I wasn’t dilated enough, they sent me home to take a bath, eat some food, and then head back around 5pm. They were hoping a room would open up by then. I did exactly that but around 3pm, I couldn’t wait because my contractions were now every 3 minutes and the pain was severe.
I told Glen we had to go back and we did just that! (Also, my hospital was literally at the end of my neighborhood. It was 2 minutes away, maybe a 10 minute walk!) My parents were getting picked up by friends in the neighborhood and just made it when we were loading up to head out. I walked in and L&D luckily had a room for me. I got dressed in the gown and got into the bed.
Admitted in the hospital
I wanted an epidural. I always knew I wanted this and it was part of my birth plan. I totally give all the credit to the mamas that do it natural - I don’t think I could. Between the back labor and contractions, I was ready to be done with the pain. The anesthesiologist told me the epidural would help with the contraction pains, but it wouldn’t get rid of the back labor pain. I was okay, as long as it would calm down a bit for me. He came in and did the epidural (honestly, was less painful than I expected for those who are worried). He left the room and I waited for the pain to ease. I couldn’t wiggle my toes, but I still was in pain every 3 minutes. WHAT THE HECK! My midwife came in to see me and was concerned when I was still bright red and in pain. She quickly realized the epidural didn’t full work. It stopped at my knees and didn’t go all the way up. I was still feeling it ALL. They called back the anesthesiologist and he did another dose. I laid on my side to help it spread a bit. This extra dose totally did the trick, maybe a little too much. I felt absolutely no back labor, no contractions, and well honestly NOTHING. I couldn’t move my toes, my legs, or anything.
Waiting for Marleigh
I took a nap and rested while I could and waited for me to dilate and be 100% effaced. They put the catheter in and I felt NOTHING. He said I would feel pressure and then said all done, so I can’t really let you know much about that. Since I had such a strong epidural, my contractions did began to slow down. They had to give me Pitocin to kick start them and get my body back into labor mode. My water never broke so the doctor came in to break it. He said he was going to pop the sack to let the fluid drain by making a hole but since she was ready and bulging, one little knick and we had ourselves a water show. We all laughed because it was the funniest thing and the doctor was not expecting that! Birth is pretty, isn’t it?
Finally around 9:15 pm, my sweet nurse came in to check on me and noticed I was ready to push. Glen had left to pick up dinner, so he sped back for us to get going. While we were waiting, my nurse noticed that I still had no feeling whatsoever in my legs. She asked me if it would be okay to lower my dose and help me start get some feeling back in my legs. This was to help me with labor and let my body do its thing. I agreed to lower the dose and feel some pressure if it meant helping with my labor to be more smooth and quick. Glen finally got back with his dinner but it was go time. Once he got there, she said we were going to do “practice” pushes. They were getting me ready for labor and in my head practice just meant practice. They were not practice, they were pushes for actual labor. Since my legs still did not get movement back just yet, she needed some help moving them into the stirrups. Glen had one leg and since we had some friends visiting and they were in the room, the wife helped. We thought they would have time to leave the room, but nope. I was in labor and they were stuck. I can’t say I imagined Marleigh’s birth that way, but it was a funny memory and a good story. The wife was by my side the entire labor and the husband was off in the corner playing spa music and staring at the corner to keep the mood calm.
LABOR IS A GO
I always imagined birth was like the movies with all the sweat and screaming and hard pushes, but really mine was so calm and peaceful. The spa music made me relaxed, the screams were non existence, and. I felt empowered and beautiful. She asked many times if I wanted a mirror to watch, but I passed. That was just something I wanted my husband to see and experience for himself. As for the pushing, for each contraction I would push really hard (kind of like I was constipated) and then I would rest and just sit and wait for the next. My husband was encouraging me and we held on tight to each other. It was us in that moment and the start of everything. I did have to figure out a way to push since I had no feeling in my legs. I started feeling the pressure in my shoulders and chest to help me figure out the best way to push her out. After 10 pushes and 40 minutes, the loudest cry came (seriously she has the most powerful lungs) and Marleigh was born.
Meet Marleigh James
My husband was mesmerized, I was in shock, and the room was full of tears. Marleigh was born September 21, 2018 at 6 pounds and 6 ounces, her lungs were so strong, and her body so small at 17 inches. They placed her on my chest and I stared in awe at the sweet girl I had just given birth too. The pain I felt was completely gone and replaced by sweet memories of my little girl. Our lives were completely changed that night but it was one night I will forever cherish. Our sweet Marleigh has brought our family so much joy, challenges, and good times. We are so blessed to be her parents.