MACKENZIE ISLA’S BIRTH STORY, APRIL 2018
At 8:30pm on Sunday, April 15 I went to the bathroom and noticed my mucous plug had come out – slightly tinged pink and goopy. At 9 pm contractions like my previous Braxton Hicks started again, I’d been having them regularly for probably 6 weeks. I had a feeling they might be early labor so I timed them and they were 20 mins apart for about 2 hrs, then became irregular so I went to bed after taking a partial dose of NyQuil for the cold I had caught from Moira. I also kept hydrating incase they were BH to try to get rid of them. I was a little freaked out because I was just shy of 38 weeks and was fully expecting to have more time and I had a cold so I wasn’t feeling well.
I woke up around 2am to a more period cramps type contraction in the lower abdomen, so again thinking this is like my first baby and is early labor. I got up and made the mistake of checking on Moira in her bedroom and she of course woke up while I was in there because she was also sick and probably not sleeping well. So I cuddled her for awhile but she wouldn’t go back to sleep so we ended up being awake for about 2 hours, which never happens for either of us in the middle of the night. Walt got her to go back to bed around 4am. By then, my contractions were uncomfortable and harder to sleep thru, but I was exhausted so I managed to doze between them. When I’d wake and feel one I’d take very deep slow breaths in all the way to my uterus and pelvic floor and on my exhale I’d mentally say “relax” and try to soften every part of my body. This helped me to deal with the discomfort and annoyance and go back to sleep again right after. I finally woke up around 8am for the day and continued to feel them until just after 9am. I chugged 2 CamelBaks of water and moved around the house and they seemed to just stop. So I then assumed it was false labor.
I had a few more random ones so I ran a tub while my brother watched Moira and I took a quick bath and kept chugging more water. They went away again and around 11:30am I put my daughter down for a nap and did dishes and laundry and finally laid down myself to nap. I woke up around 3pm after hearing my daughter wake up. What a gift of a long nap for both of us! But I then woke to another contraction similar to the ones I had in the morning. I had a few more as I was getting lunch for us.
Around 3:45pm I felt a contraction that was painful and caused me to lean forward and concentrate and breathe deeper and slower in order to manage. I started timing them and they were mega erratic…. Intervals of 7, 9, 5, 11, 4.5, and 3 mins apart. They were definitely making me question what the heck was going on because they felt like active labor but were so irregular. I stopped timing them and was texting with my doula and sister. I got in the shower and chugged more water, I stayed in there until the hot water ran out. When I got out I was not managing the pain well mentally during the contractions and had to stay in child’s pose on the floor with my head elevated. Moira came in trying to play with me a few times and even gave me a pretend sip of tea from her toy tea cup. I was having lots of self doubt at this point about my ability to do another unmedicated labor and delivery, especially because I was run down and congested from the cold we all had. Encouraging texts from my doula, Emily, helped.
My sister texted me around 5:40pm that she was coming over because I said the contractions hurt and were lasting a full minute – she was my de-facto doula for my first child and is an amazing masseuse. I called the doctor right then because I had a feeling this was not false labor but I wasn’t sure, especially because I was comparing to my first labor where I was insanely nauseous and this time there was no nausea. She told me because my first labor was pretty short (less than 8 hrs of active and pushing) that this one would go quickly so even if it didn’t seem like real labor now because of the irregular intervals that it would probably turn fast and baby would arrive before I know it. She told me to come in soon. I was talking and my voice started to quiver and the next thing I knew I was in tears telling my doctor that I was worried about bringing a newborn into a house full of sick people. She reassured me that my baby would get my antibodies and everything would be OK and that she would see me soon. Funny enough, the same doctor that caught Moira was on call this night as well.
After I had that good cry and my sister arrived to apply back pressure during my contractions, I felt SO MUCH BETTER. I forgot how much the back massages helped manage the pain of the contractions, it was a world of a difference. I was normal again between contractions and was packing my hospital bag, blow drying my hair because I didn’t want wet hair at the hospital, and saying good night to Moira as my husband got her into bed early.
We left the house around 7pm and in the car I had a few contractions that super sucked because sitting during a contraction is hell for me – and then I told my husband that I no joke could feel my baby’s head trying to push her way out. I was sure she was ready to come out right then, so I had to use all my willpower to NOT push and just relax my body as the contractions happened. We walked into the hospital and had a few more contractions before I got to the L&D check-in desk. They were really really close together at this point.
My doula was there waiting for us and while my husband tried to get us checked-in and I was repeatedly telling everyone that I was ready to push, my water broke during the next contraction as I leaned against one of the hand railings against the wall. It was luckily not a huge gush but a decent amount and I remember thinking “oh good, I don’t feel it on my shoes thankfully, my leggings much be pretty absorbent.” While the dang nurses were trying to get my husband to find my insurance card I was repeatedly saying “My water just broke, I need to push now.” A nurse finally brought me into a room only a few steps away and they got me onto the table to check me.
At this point there are a ton of nurses in the room, maybe 4 or so, it seemed chaotic. The nurse that checked me finally says “I can’t find the cervix” – which struck me as such a weird thing to say. My mind immediately went “What? Is my cervix still posterior like it was days ago at my OB check up? How can I sustain this level of labor if it’s not even ready? Am I going to have to get an epidural bc of fatigue or even a c-section?” After a few minutes of being in my head and them helping me to sit up, I finally asked “So what is going on with my cervix???” She answered that it’s gone, you are fully dilated. Oh thank goodness.
So I continue asking – probably 20x – if I can push now – and I feel like no one ever answered me. I just had nurses trying to stab me repeatedly in both arms to get an IV in and of course my veins kept rolling just like my first labor. They were desperate to get an IV in me because I was once again GBS positive – but the dose takes 4 hours so why on Earth were they so hell bent to get this IV in me now when it would basically be useless? My doula was clutch at this point, offering various comfort measures to keep me relaxed.
I look to my left and finally see my doctor come into the room. She comes over and tells the nurses to skip the IV and let’s go right to the pushing. THANK YOU DOCTOR! She then tells me that after delivery they are going to stab me in thigh with a pitocin shot to help the uterus contract back down since I won’t be getting it thru an IV. Great, go for it, I say. I ask her if because I had an episiotomy my first time will I likely need another – she says no.
After a quick coaching on pushing she tells me to grab onto my legs. I’ve been waiting to push for more than 30 mins and all of a sudden I start saying I can’t and I’m so tired – exhausted from doing my best to NOT push. I seemed to lose my confidence momentarily and after some encouragement from my birth team I begin pushing. After the first push she was crowning and within a few more half pushes, because I was tired and had to take breaks, she was born. I want to say it was 5-7 minutes of pushing at most. I had a small tear in a similar location as my previous episiotomy so she stitched me up as I took in my newborn daughter.
Mackenzie Isla (pronounced “eye-la”) Secora was born 15 days before her due date on Monday, April 16, 2018 at 7:42pm after less than 4 hours of active labor, weighing 6lb 2oz and 19 in long.
Because I was GBS positive and didn’t get any antibiotics before delivery, we needed to stay at the hospital so they could monitor Mackenzie for 36-48 hours. Because she was in the birth canal so briefly she wasn’t exposed to the bacteria for long and luckily needed no treatment – and we were released before 48 hrs thankfully. But on the flip side, because she was in the canal so briefly she didn’t get a good squeeze of fluid out of her lungs and stomach, so she was coughing it up for the first 2 days which made her very upset and cry like a pterodactyl.
The worst part of the whole thing would have to be the contractions postpartum during nursing – the pain was intense and made me nauseous so the nurse got me heat packs that made a world of a difference. Extra pain killers did not help. I was told repeatedly by everyone I told about it there that the contractions to shrink the uterus back down while nursing are worse with every subsequent pregnancy. Thankfully they only lasted 2 days or so. A lactation consultant also gave me the advice to empty my bladder before nursing to help ease the pain.
My recovery has been much better postpartum with a tear than it was with an episiotomy and we are all doing well at home. Mackenzie is an efficient nurser and so far a good sleeper, which I am grateful for. My 19 month old, Moira, has been adjusting really well to having a new baby in the house, so that is a huge relief as this was my biggest anxiety during pregnancy.