Sebastian's Birth Story

aka When Natural Birth Goes Awry

I had been having timable contractions in the evenings for a couple days leading up to Sebastian's birth. They would always start at night and would last for a couple of hours before dying out. After I wrote my blog update on the night of the first, they started up again. I timed them, Alex and I getting increasingly excited that this might just be "it".

Around 4:00 am these contractions began to fizzle out as well and in a fit of frustration I went to bed. Alex came in the room and I just lost it. I cried out of my continued frustration and with that, at 4:45 I felt a big gush. This just made me cry more, "I just peed my pants!" Alex quickly corrected me after looking that no, my water had just broke.

And did it. At that point the contractions started getting a bit stronger, though still not painful, and with each contraction there came another gush of water. We must have gone through 5 bath towels.

We had instructions to wait to call the hospital at 7am if my water broke after 10pm and my contractions weren't within 5 min of each other. Since they weren't we just laid around waiting for 7.

At 7am Alex called and we were instructed to come in. I quickly showered, called my mom, and off we went to the hospital.

My regular midwives weren't going to be with me. Meredith was on vacation and Leora had been on call the previous evening so she was only going to be checking in on me once. Luckily the other midwives were just as awesome. I was checked and it was determined that I should be admitted because my water had broke, otherwise I probably wouldn't have been able to stay. They did like that I had measured 3cm at my appointment the day before.

At this point my contractions were still mild, feeling like a bad period cramp which was the norm for me pre pregnancy. I was able to move around, joke with my husband and mom, and even eat a little. I was checked internally and found to be 5cm. I also had a forebag of water that hadn't broke yet but we decided to wait it out.

Around 3pm or so I started feeling a new and bad sensation. I started feeling a lot of rectal pressure that also radiated into my back. This was the start of back labor and little did I know how hard that would be.

One thing I had requested in our birth plan was to not be monitored with the EFM, however the hospital had a different idea. I felt totally trapped by the EFM which was strapped on to me every hour. It was something that was making me very irritable.

I tried the tub at least three times but I didn't notice any difference in pain relief once the back labor really kicked in. This was disappointing considering we were really looking forward to utilizing the big, gorgeous tub.

Around 5pm I was checked again. I was still only 5-6cm dilated which was upsetting to me since I thought all the now uncomfortable contractions would have done something. At this point I consented to having the forebag of water ruptured in order to help labor along. It helped alright, it helped the contractions strengthen and I immediately threw up. Contractions became terribly painful at this point and sadly none of our back labor tricks seemed to help.

At 6pm I was feeling massive rectal pressure and a need to push. They checked me and I was still at 6cm. At this point the only place that provided even a modicum of relief was the toilet. However, sitting there all I wanted to do was push. The feeling was overwhelming as was the pain. Contractions were right on top of each other. My husband felt that I was experiencing transition and indeed I went through all the emotional and behavioral cues we were taught in our Bradley classes.

At 6:30 I reached my breaking point and requested Demerol. I felt that with a bit of "help" I could get through the rest of it. The lack of sleep the night before and back labor was wearing on my strength. Sadly the Demerol did nothing which wasn't surprising as drugs have weird effects (or no effect) on me.

At 6:50 I was checked again. I was at 8cm. I still had a lip of cervix which neither the nurse nor the midwife could manipulate out of the way. Because I still needed to push they decided to let me try and the midwife would try to manipulate the cervical lip.

At 8:20 I was still pushing which honestly was the only relief. The manipulation of the lip didn't work and they found the baby had his head cocked at an angle besides being sunny side up. They had me turn to a side lying position which was excruciating. As each contraction peaked all I could do was scream and push. I was told not to push but I literally could not control myself. It was primal at that point with contractions happening one on top of another.

The side lying position hadn't moved the baby so the midwife tried to turn him manually. This also didn't work. At this point it was suggested that I be put on pitocin with an epidural in order to allow me to fully dilate since I was still stuck at 8cm. If this didn't work we would be facing a c section, my worst labor nightmare.

I agreed and the anesthesiologist was called. The next half an hour was awful. All I could do was sit on the toilet and push. The nurses kept telling me to breathe out and resist pushing but I couldn't.

Once the epi was administered I could actually rest and the constant need to push was gone. I was put into the side lie again and within 45 minutes I was fully dilated and the baby had turned and moved into 3+ station. I didn't even need the foley catheter it happened so fast.

Pushing was easy. I could feel the contractions enough to know when they were building and knew how to push thanks to our classes and to the fact I pushed earlier in the evening. After two hours if pushing, Sebastian came out into the world at 12:42 am on July 3rd. He was crying even before his body was out and was the most beautiful pink color right off the bat. He scored 9 out of 10 on his apgars though some of the nurses felt he should have scored a 10.

While I was loving and admiring my baby the scene around me was a bit frantic though I wasn't aware of it. Apparently I was loosing a lot of blood and they were worried about hemorrhaging. My husband is still freaked out about it. I also had a second degree tear I sustained at the very end of pushing.

Regardless of it all, I am so grateful for my little boy who is the most beautiful thing on the planet. I can't even express the love I feel for him.

Am I disappointed that I didn't have the natural birth we so hoped for? Yes, and no. I think I definitely could be if I hadn't been faced with the impending c section an issues with my labor. People are correct when they say, in the end you do what will bring your baby into the world safely. I am comforted with the fact that I labored for over 18 hours with excruciating back labor med free. I am comforted by the support my mom, husband, and dear friend showed me during this labor and by them telling me how proud they were of me. Most of all I am comforted by my son lying in my arms sleeping peacefully as I type this. He was worth it all.


koyn said...

Jennifer, How wonderful he is here. You definately were thrown everything that could possibly be thrown at you but it sounds like you handled it all beautifully. I am so happy for you and your husband. Congratulations!

shawnandlarissa said...

Congrats momma! You handled one of the most difficult physical challenges you may ever face with grace and brought a healthy boy home. I'm proud of you!

Mari said...

Congratulations, Chrys! I'm so happy for you. He is perfect and so beautiful and you did great!

Lindsay said...


Danse said...

Congratulations and thanks for sharing your story. He's beautiful!

Sara said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story!! It really comforted me to hear that even when you plan to go natural things can go differently but still have a positive experience! You did awesome!! Congrats on your little boy, he is gorgeous!!

Serendipite said...

I think the threat of a c-section would make me choose an epidural as well. I'm glad you both are okay and I am so happy you shared your experience!!

Eris1995 said...

Congratulations!! He is beautiful.

SFNewzGirl said...

Thanks for sharing your birth story Chrys! I'm glad everything turned out just fine and you have a beautiful, healthy boy. :)

jessica said...

isn't it just fantastic?
you did a wonderful job, chrys... he's here, healthy and perfect.



K. said...

As a back labor survivor, I feel your pain, LOL. I'm so proud of you for going so many hours that way--it is nothing short of awful, and I, like you, wanted a natural birth but stalled as well--there is just something about that back pain that does not allow you to relax. I am so happy for you, and glad to hear you handled everything so well. Congratulations--your little man is so handsome!!!


ONCE upon a time.... said...

it is amazing how closely your birth story mirrors mine.....i, too, had excruciating back labor....at 6 cm i also felt a primal urge to push, and it was such a relief from the pain....i had to take a dose of med (can't remember the name) to get relaxed after 20 hours of labor...and in the end, I got my sweet littl baby boy who just turned 1! It is amazing being a mommy, isn't it? congrats on sebastian--he is so incredibly precious and your blog brings back great memories of the first few weeks of my son's life! enjoy it--it really does fly by! :) ~camille