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Isaac's Birth Story

In honor of my eldest’s 4th (WUTTTT) birthday rapidly approaching on June 3rd, I thought I’d share his birth story with you. Both my boys’ story were not at a all what I had anticipated, but they’re both the best surprises I’ve ever had. 

We were fresh little newlywed lovebirds, and never saw what was coming. I had been sick with a little cold, and more exhausted than usual, not at all anticipating what that day would look like. One Sunday morning in September, I fell asleep in church and felt like I would vomit even considering my coffee. For Brennen, those were two pretty big clues that what he suspected was true. A few months into marriage, we were going to have a baby. We got home that afternoon and he announced he would be purchasing some pregnancy tests, so I could either tell him which one to buy or he would figure it out himself. A couple hours later, we looked at each other with feelings of joy and shock, staring at the two pink lines. Once the shock wore off all I knew was I needed pancakes a quickly as possible, so we took care of that. Suddenly everything made sense.

 Photo by Eliane Claypool Photography

Photo by Eliane Claypool Photography

 

Throughout my pregnancy I had known I wanted an unmedicated birth with a midwife. I had really wanted a doula and a homebirth, but financially it was impossible for us and I didn’t know any doulas to refer me to. The pregnancy went perfectly, everything was wonderful and Isaac was growing right on track. On my “due date,” May 18th, I was only a little uncomfortable. I did not feel ready. I didn’t feel like he was ready. So the day came and went. But when 41 weeks hit, I began to be stressed. The word induction started being mentioned, and the pressure felt very real. Still no signs of labor, but 3 cm along, we moved on with life. That is, moving on with life while doing allllll the things to get things rolling. I was exhausted, stressed, and nervous; all while trying to “relax and be,” letting my baby know it was safe to come. 

 41.5 weeks at a wedding trying to dance my big bump off.

41.5 weeks at a wedding trying to dance my big bump off.

 

 

When other mamas who were “due” after me began having their babies, yet I was still prego as could be, I cried while doing hip swivels on my birth ball. We went to a wedding and I danced with my bump as much as possible through my cankles and frequent potty trips. 41 1/12 weeks hit and still no signs of labor, yet still 3 cm dilated. Posterior they said, it’s what’s holding him up. If he can turn, he’ll come right along. I chose to have my membranes stripped three times, along with a castor oil milkshake a few days before 42 weeks, all to no avail. So along with all the things to get labor rolling, I started all the things to try to get him to turn to anterior. 

42 weeks came on a Sunday, and the induction was scheduled to begin that night. I called all day and asked to please push it further out. We walked all day long, climbed stairs, and I rolled on my ball while watching Top Model. Since I was 3 cm the midwife felt comfortable moving the induction to the morning so I could sleep at home that night. At 6 am, we showed up at the hospital. I had hoped we would arrive and I’d be at a 4 or 5, and then maybe we could go home until active labor hit. Butttt nope. I was admitted and external fetal monitoring was attached, along with an IV. They started with pitocin at about 7:30/8:00, increasing by 2 every 40 minutes. After a few hours I still couldn’t feel any contractions, so we decided to do a Foley bulb. The bulb lasted about an hour before coming out, and got me to 5 cm. Once it came out, contractions were rolling right after another. I remember going from thinking clearly, making jokes, wondering if I was feeling a contraction, to suddenly barely being able to breathe. Due to his posterior position, I was experiencing intense back labor, and never felt a rest. Poor Brennen had no idea what to do, and I had zero ability to communicate. I got on my ball and just tried to breathe and remember it would not last forever. 

 

 About to begin the induction, trying to look happy that Brennen is taking my picture.

About to begin the induction, trying to look happy that Brennen is taking my picture.

After about 8 hours, I was about a 6/7 (two midwives checked and each one had a different answer). I chose to allow them to rupture my bag of water and then used nitrous oxide at that point, which helped some, but not a lot. I did not love feeling out of it, and it increased some nausea I was experiencing. After a few hours of using the nitrous, I was still only 7 cm, with a completely posterior cervix. That means my cervix had not moved forward at all, due to the posterior position of Isaac. At that point, around 10:00 pm, I decided to get an epidural. I was so exhausted and in pain with the constant back labor, my midwives and I agreed that to preserve the vaginal birth an epidural was a wise choice. 

Once the epidural was placed, we rested and slept. I remember feeling somewhat alone with the epidural. I was having a hard time truly sleeping (hospitals are pretty noisy and I had lots of wires and things attached to me) and while Brennen slept, I really wanted to verbally process everything from the day. I wanted to talk through all the things I wasn’t able to communicate through pain, and and talk through the choices I had made and would still need to make. While he (and I) truly needed sleep, this is where a doula would have been so helpful. All through the following hours Isaac’s heart rate went back and forth, and the nurses would rush in and flip my position every 30-60 minutes. I cannot say how thankful I am for this team, without them taking the time to do what they did I certainly would not have had a vaginal birth.

After a couple hours his heart rate began dropping with every push. The midwife was concerned, and I was determined. In the moment, I just wanted get through it. I was so close, and I just knew in my heart that he could do it. We just needed time. The midwife came in and said I had three pushes to see how he would do. I remember grabbing her hand, looking her in the eyes, and saying, “we are thinking positively about this birth and you will too.” She grinned and nodded her head, and said that’s what she wanted to hear. His heart did beautifully for the next three contractions and she felt comfortable moving on. Around 3:00 am I was finally 10 cm, but he still was posterior and so high up we decided to let my body labor him down and get closer without pushing. Around 3:30, we started pushing. 3 hours later, he still wasn’t past my pubic bone, and we found his positioning was even more skewed. If I had been able to stand, this may have been easily solved, but with an epidural that was impossible. At 7:30, they called in the OB’s to use forceps. There were so many people in the room. My midwife on my left, Brennen on my right, the NICU, the nursery, anesthesia, OB’s, nurses, and students. All there for safety and to learn how to use forceps. 

A student of the OB went first, and I almost told her to stop. I could see her struggling. Then the OB went ahead, and I suddenly heard a snip. I looked at Brennen and asked, “did she just cut me?” Then lay back in a feeling of defeat. I had been cut, and there was nothing I could do about it. I looked at my midwife and saw anger and sadness in her eyes. However, I had a task at hand, I needed to get my baby out

 | James Isaac Finchum | 6/3/14 | 8:10 AM | 7 lb. 8 oz. | 20 1/2 " |

| James Isaac Finchum | 6/3/14 | 8:10 AM | 7 lb. 8 oz. | 20 1/2 " |

 

After lots of pushing, finally, my Isaac emerged at 8:10 am, pink and perfect. He went onto my chest and nursed as I was being sewn back together. A star shaped scar is now what remains. 7 lb., 8 oz., and 20 inches of perfection. I immediately noticed his tongue tie, which we finally reversed at 9 days old, and it completely changed our breastfeeding experience.

 

My postpartum experience was difficult, but we made it through together. Isaac was strong, and we were strong together. He is special and full of life, an explorer and pioneer. He cherishes anything he can discover or experiment with, just wanting to know more. He is a thinker and contemplator, and loves to teach others what he knows. He cares deeply for anyone and wants to know that the people he loves are safe. The ability to freely discover, touch, and explore is vital to him thriving. He will be most frustrated when he feels unheard or misunderstood, and will need time of quietness and solitude to recover. When he gets those two things, he’ll be filled for days. 


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I cherish you my sweet explorer lover boy. You are everything I hoped for and more in my first born. I am so thankful. Happy 4th birthday sweet boy, I would birth you a thousand times over to have you with me.


 
Betsy Finchum