Our little angel is six months old today, and I couldn't wait a minute longer to share her incredible birth story! If you love reading birth stories and hearing all the details, this post is for you, if you'd rather not read that much (no hurt feelings) there will be a video of the day in the next post that might be more your speed. Disclaimer: the story contains allllll the details and please don't think I didn't enjoy being pregnant, in fact I loved it and miss my bump, but by 40ish weeks the hormones and swelling took over. ;)
If you were following along on Instagram and/or Facebook you know we waited an extra long time to meet this little nugget. 42 weeks to be exact. She decided to wait until the very last possible minute to make her grand entrance...that's my girl! I'm going to back up a few days before Iris was born because I feel like it's an important part of the story and it explains some of what happened on the day of her birth.
A little backstory...I'd wanted to do a natural birth in a birth center, with an option to do a water birth, for years before we got pregnant. Dave and I had both studied the process and really felt like that's what was best for our family. Side note: if you haven't watched The Business of Being Born on Netflix, do it now! We watched it when we lived in Alaska and it definitely helped our decision for a natural birth.
So, since I was so set on a natural birth, once I hit full term I started to panic just a tad. Although I think it's great everyone has the option to do as they like and some people have a wonderful experience being induced and using medications, it's just not what I wanted. And I've heard a lot of times if you get induced it can make it really difficult to not end up getting other medications. Again, totally fine and I think every mom needs to do what's best for her and her family, I'm just stubborn and this is what I had my heart set on.
At 41 weeks I went in for a Biophysical Profile and a Non Stress Test (NST) to make sure Iris was still thriving and had enough fluid. She passed all the tests with flying colors, which was great but she wasn't showing any signs of wanting out of there. By this point, actually about a week or two before her due date, I had become extremely annoyed with any and all well meaning texts and phone calls asking for updates (sorry friends and family, still love ya!). The waiting at the end is such a mind game as it was and I was doing everything I could to take my mind off the ticking clock. Hormones weren't helping either...I remember walking through Costco with Dave for a few more freezer meal items and telling him I felt like I'd just be pregnant forever. Like, this was my life now, we'd never have a baby, and I'd just go on carrying around a bowling ball belly for the rest of my life.
I went in that Tuesday, the 30th, ten days past my due date and they checked me for the first time and I was 1cm dilated. ONE! So discouraging. Back to walking, eating pineapple, and bouncing on the yoga ball I went...
We went back to the birth center that Thursday, just two days before I was 42 weeks. They scheduled an induction, did another NST, and then checked me again and I was only 3cm and I cried. And I couldn't stop crying (awkward). I'm pretty sure the midwife and her student thought I had lost it...and I'm pretty sure they were right. I was so frustrated and seeing what seemed like everyone I knew go into labor, some who weren't even due yet and I didn't understand why it seemed like I wasn't progressing at all. Being induced in a few days seemed more and more likely. They tried to strip my membranes, but I wasn't far enough along, so they gave me a balloon catheter (I'll let you look that one up on your own, but you probably don't even want to know) and it was more painful than I expected. I cried again and they thought it was from the pain, but I was still spiraling from the frustration (I hate you hormones). I waddled out (SO uncomfortable) and went home for lunch and a nap. The catheter ended up falling out before I could go for a walk with it in like planned. I guess that means it had done it's job, but I felt like I'd done all of that for nothing. I had cramping with it in, but as soon as it fell out it seemed as though I was back to square one.
Friday morning, the 2nd, they had me wake up at 6am and drink caster oil. I was a dummy and thought I'd cover up the taste by putting it in my favorite smoothie. Let's just say I haven't had that smoothie for six months now. Every now and then I think about it, or the taste just comes to me, and I shudder...it was like drinking gasoline. DIS.GUS.TING! I laid back down and prayed it would bring contractions.
I went in for a NST later that afternoon because Iris hadn't been moving as much as usual. I was a pro at drinking apple juice and eating granola bars and telling the midwives exactly where to place the moniter to get her heartbeat by now. The midwife on call came in to check on my progress with the NST and she asked how the contractions were going. I told her I hadn't had any, with probably a quiver in my voice because the sentence made me so mad. She pulled the charts closer to her eyes like she was seeing them wrong and said, "Did you feel THAT?" I said, "What?"...she squinted at me like I was messing with her and told me I had some big contractions showing up. I didn't feel a thing. She looked at my records and said the past couple of tests had been showing contractions and she thought this, combined with the fact that Iris was getting still (a sign of oncoming labor), were good signs. I wasn't buying it.
She checked me and said I was still only a 4, whomp whomp, but I wasn't phased this time because I expected it. No amount of walking or yoga ball bouncing had given me any kind of feeling like something might be happening. Their midwife that works in conjunction with the hospital came in and discussed how the next morning would go. We were scheduled to be at the hospital at 10am and she would meet us there. Once I was at the hospital, if my water broke before I checked in I could come back to the birthing center and go on as planned, but otherwise I would be induced and have the baby at the hospital....
...to be continued. Part Two!