My Birth Story
When I fell pregnant I went down this rabbit hole reading about birth plans, watching birth vlogs and researching different options that were available to me. I very quickly started formulating my own "birth plan", knowing that circumstances could deviate me from this plan, but hopeful that I could experience birth in the way that felt best for me.
Pregnancy, birth and parenting is such an individual and personal journey. I do not believe that there is a "right" way and I think there is lots of judgement on choices that women make. You want a scheduled caesarian? "Go right ahead". You don't want to breastfeed? "Who cares - fed is best"! There are so many ways to handle and go about your pregnancy and birth, that my choices and "wants" were what felt best for me and my body. My "birth plan", was that I wanted a vaginal delivery, not to be induced and to try my best to do it naturally without medication. I truly believed that mentally and physically I was strong, that I was capable of this plan, and knowing my body and how it reacts, I felt it would be best for me.
My pregnancy was super smooth with no complications. I knew that the baby would be late and I was mentally prepared for that. I wasn't expecting to walk into my 40 week check in with my OBGYN and be told that my health insurance had not renewed their contract with the hospital and that in 2 days time I would not be covered financially for birth. I was given three options; Option 1, find a new OBGYN and hospital to deliver at. Option 2, wait for baby to come naturally and pay out of pocket (Kaia's entire birth cost close to $90,000). Option 3, get induced that night and have the baby in the two day window period where I would still be covered financially. I felt backed into a corner. At 40 weeks pregnant, I wasn't in the head space to go and find a new OBGYN and hospital. We also could not afford to pay out of pocket for the birth, so we decided to go with option 3 and get induced that evening. Birth plan out the window!
I have never responded well to medication. The strongest meds that I take are, Panado and it does the trick. When I went in for my induction, the amazing nurses told me that the induction period can take 2-3 days and is usually quite a lengthy process. They would be inserting a small balloon type contraption next to my cervix and give that 12 hours and then would look at starting Pitocin. I mentioned to the nurses that my body reacts quickly to meds and that I thought it could potentially happen sooner. I guess she thought it was wishful thinking on my part as a mom who wanted her baby out. When I arrived at labour and delivery, I was hardly even a centimeter dilated. Baby girl was not ready to come out at all and was snug as a bug in my belly. I started mentally preparing for a LONG few days.
I had the balloon inserted and was told to try and rest. Fast forward 4 hours and the nurse asked me if I was feeling anything? I was feeling absolutely nothing. Less than 5 minutes later, contractions started and not the kind of contractions I had read about with birth (the slow pain that comes in bursts and starts every 10 or so minutes and then gets closer and closer together as you get ready to deliver). I went into immediate hyper contractions (uterine hyperstimulation), which were a 10 in pain level and they were non stop with zero reprieve. I stood in the same hunched over position for 90 minutes in complete agony and had no time to process what was happening. The nurses mentioned that with some women, the medication can cause severe hyper contractions and after monitoring me for an hour, that is what I was experiencing. I was in this place of so desperately wanting to deliver this baby without medication but medication was already part of this process and the pain I was experiencing without any breaks was unbearable. I asked for the epidural and it was the most relief I have ever felt in my life. I was told that the epidural could slow down labour but I once again reminded them that medication doesn't mix well with my body. I tried to rest and get my mindset right for a long haul process. Fast forward another 3 hours of a much happier me, and the nurses were struggling to find the heartbeat consistently on the monitors, only to check me and see a head emerging. I was so ready to have the baby, that within 5 minutes, the hospital room was FULL of nurses, my OBGYN had arrived and we started the pushing process. All of this, just 9 hours after induction.
12 minutes later, Kaia Dee Kravitz was born.
Part of my original birth plan was wanting delayed chord clamping, immediate skin to skin and to try breastfeeding. I hoped that with my delivery plan going out the window, I would still be able to get part of my birth plan, post birth. Unfortunately this would not be the case. Kaia was born with the chord tightly wrapped around her neck which meant that my OBGYN immediately had to cut the cord herself. Kaia wasn't breathing well when she was born. She did not get placed on my chest but rather got taken to the lights where the nurses placed tubes and suctions down her throat to try and clear liquid and fluid. She had arrived too fast! Her coming so quickly also meant that I tore, badly. The entire 45 minutes that the nurses were working on Kaia, my OBGYN was working on me, stitching me up and putting me back together. Due to the epidural and the fact that I was locked in on Kaia, and praying she was okay, I did not notice too much of what was happening to me. The nurses told me that they were planning on taking Kaia to the NICU to monitor her. One nurse suggested that they first try skin to skin with me, while monitoring Kaia, as it has proven to regulate babies breathing and it was worth a shot. I am so grateful for that one nurse! They finally placed Kaia on my chest, one of the greatest moments of my life. After 45 minutes of skin to skin with me, while monitoring Kaia, her breathing completely regulated and going to the NICU was not necessary. All monitors, tubes and chords were removed and we were finally left alone to soak up our baby girl, the gift we had been given, and enjoy the moments of a family of 3.
As a mom, all you really care about is a happy and healthy baby, in your arms, at the end of the birthing process. While my birth story is so far from what I had originally hoped for, the end product was all we cared about. I am so grateful that, Kaia was healthy and finally in our lives.
My real trauma was a result of the birthing process, my postpartum journey. But that's a story for another day.
Until next time!