We did everything we could to have a home birth.

Then we did everything we could to have an unmedicated birth.

Then we did everything we could to have a vaginal birth.

Then we needed a c-section.

Friday, June 15, the day before our due date. I’m still recovering from a cold and hoping the baby will hold off until the end of the weekend.

At 9:15PM, while laying in bed, I feel a warm trickle running down my leg. “Did I just pee myself? Not surprising.” I thought. But as I got up, went to the bathroom, changed underwear, and did the same song & dance 2 more times, I realized this was not a case of incontinence.

I contacted our doula (Jenna) and my husband (Teddy, who was out walking the dog) to let them know I might have just peed myself, or my water might have broke. Jenna advised us to eat a good meal, prep for a good sleep, and to contact our midwife (Valeriana). I let Valeriana know as well and then we had phone calls with both Jenna and Valeriana advising us on next steps. I took 2 shots of vodka to try to sleep. Around midnight, I was able to doze off and by 2AM was awake and working through contractions. I let Teddy sleep while I worked through them myself since they weren’t that bad at this point and I knew sleep was priority for both of us, so if I couldn’t get it at least one of us should. By the time Teddy woke up around 6AM and we started tracking contractions together, they were already picking up to 6 minutes apart. (EARLY LABOR, WHERE DID YOU GO!?)

As was our plan, Teddy made me super nutrient-dense scrambled eggs with lots of butter. It’s a good thing we did, because shortly after I ate them I had lost my appetite already. Labor was progressing at what seemed like a really quick rate.

Teddy and I continued to time and work through contractions. We did really well! I must say, I did so good at relaxing and surrendering into my contractions that it was totally doable. Some of the things we tried were: Teddy rubbed lavender essential oil into my feet, I took a shower while Teddy sprayed warm water on my lower back, movement, always always vocalization.

Contractions continued to build and get closer and closer together. Teddy fed me water, coconut water, laboraid, and frozen coconut water cubes I had prepped beforehand after each contraction. It had been a few hours since I had the eggs for breakfast, so Teddy made me a super nutrient-dense cacao-avocado daily harvest smoothie with added nut butter. It was delicious but I had no appetite and had to force myself to drink it because I really really wanted to try to have a needle-free birth, and that meant no IV. But not long after drinking the smoothie, I threw it all up plus more from the intensity of contractions.

Once contractions were over a minute long and less than 4 minutes a apart for over an hour and a half, we thought it might be time for our doula, Jenna, to join us.

Jenna arrived around 2:45PM and it was so great to have another support source to help us through contractions. She also took over contacting Valeriana from then on about when to come. We continued working through contractions — really well I might add! — and they continued to intensify. Jenna was so good at providing counter pressure to my lower back during contractions, which helped a TON. Jenna and Teddy fed me miso soup, spoonfuls of nut butter, and lots of liquids. I made the mistake of downing a ton of water instead of the little sips we were doing, and had episode 2 of vomiting.

Valeriana arrived around 7PM and saw that labor was progressing beautifully. Around 8pm (I think?) she thought it was a good time to check how far dilated I was, and maybe would be time to get in the birth tub. I lit up at the thought that we might meet our baby in just a few hours. When she checked me, I was 5cm dilated and the baby was still high. So it was not time to get in the birth tub as that could slow down labor if you get in too early.

At this point, we strategized a few different options with our doula, and went with the miles circuit to try to bring baby down in the right position. We did the miles circuit and I was even able to rest a little in between contractions during that. Our midwife gave me a homeopathic remedy during that as well. The miles circuit worked and baby was in a better position! But then very quickly started spinning the other way again. Jenna and Valeriana began speculating that maybe there was something up with the umbilical cord, some reason the baby wanted to go the other way.

Before moving to our next strategy, we checked my electrolyte levels and found they were too low. So we decided to give me an IV. It was getting close to midnight by now. I also opted for antibiotics now since it had been so long since my water broke and I had previously had a positive GBS test. (Side note: if my water hadn’t broken, I wouldn’t have needed the antibiotic because I was doing the hibiclens protocol all through labor and had received a negative GBS test at my last check earlier that week. But broken water changes things as it becomes more susceptible to infection.)

So I was hooked up to an IV, received the antibiotic and fluids and continued working through these horrible contractions. The intensity was awful but the timing of them was sporadic, which was kooky at this stage of labor.

Next I got in the tub (regular shower tub!), now that it was safe to immerse myself in water since getting the antibiotic. I was probably in the tub for about 2 hours and this was in the worst physical agony of my life. It was in the tub that I became set on transferring to the hospital for an epidural. At 4AM, I got out of the tub and we got ready to leave. My midwife and doula wanted to make sure I felt like I gave 150% before transferring, so I wouldn’t feel disappointed in myself. I assured them, I’ve given 150% no doubt in my mind.

Teddy packed our bags (we didn’t pack them ahead of time, intentionally) and we all took an Uber to Woodhull hospital which was about a 10 minute drive. The Uber driver was very nice and apologetic about going over bumps as I worked through contractions in the back seat.

We arrived at the hospital around 4AM Sunday. Once we got to the hospital, there was a lot of waiting, which was complete agony for me, but I also had a sliver of relief knowing we were one step closer to an epidural.

Valeriana transferred all of my prenatal records over to them upon admittance. She had everything organized and it was all very smooth and impressive.

We finally got a room at the hospital. I was given IV immediately and they took blood immediately. One of the hospital midwives came in to check how dilated I was and I was 9 cm!!!!! We couldn’t believe it! Jenna and Valeriana were happy, but I was so upset because they told me if I get to 10 before I’m able to get in for an epidural, I wouldn’t be able to get one.

We had to wait awhile for blood test results to get back and for the anesthesiologist to be available. A couple HOURS later, we were transferred to another room. Still no epidural. Still no idea if I had dilated further and would be allowed to get one or not. Finally got the approval for an epidural, but then a doctor came in to check me and said I was 10cm. So we tried pushing for a bit and forgot about the epidural.

Hospital staff were coming in and out of the room and some were really upset at me for trying to push while they weren’t in the room. One of several nuances of being in a hospital and reason we wanted a home birth.

A different hospital midwife introduced herself and checked me and said I was only 9cm, maybe 9.5. So I wanted the epidural again, but they tried to talk me into working through the contractions. At this point I said “LOOK AT MY STOMACH. THIS BABY IS IN A WEIRD POSITION. IT’S NOT COMING OUT ANYTIME SOON.” The doctor looked at my stomach and gasped, “YOUR BLADDER!!!!”

MY bladder was so full that I legit thought it was the baby’s butt. Remember that I had been leaking amniotic fluid this whole time since my water broke Friday night. I couldn’t tell if I was peeing or if it was amniotic fluid half the time. I wore adult diapers through the entire labor! (Good thing I accidentally bought 4 boxes instead of 1 in my labor prep.)

So they put in a catheter and released 800cc of urine!! Idk what that means but the medical staff seemed to think it was absurd.

They thought my full bladder might have been holding the baby from being able to drop, and that after releasing it the baby might slide right out.

We tried that and it didn’t work. Baby’s position didn’t change. So FINALLY I got an epidural at 9AM Sunday morning, after 33 hours of working through contractions unmedicated. I was so happy to get some relief at this point. They also gave me some pitocin to try to get things moving. After about 3 hours, there was still no progress in my dilation or baby’s position.

Then the baby’s heart rate started dropping. The surgeon rushed in saying we needed an emergency c-section. I asked to get our midwife and doula (they had gone in the waiting room to rest while I let the epidural & out do their thing.) And seconds later, the baby’s heart rate was up again. But our midwife looked at the printout of the baby’s heart rate and pointed out fluctuations that she didn’t like. She told us we should get a c section now while everything is calm, instead of waiting until it’s an emergency. She could tell by the baby’s heart rate patterns that something was wrong and causing the baby to be in distress any time they tried to drop.

So we made the decision to get a c section. Teddy and I both cried at the realization of how we had gotten from a home birth to a c-section. But we were ready, and it was really the best case scenario for us given the circumstances.

Teddy was allowed in the operating room with me. It all went pretty quick. I was hooked up to more machines than I could ever know the names of. At 12:53PM, someone announced, “it’s a girl!” We both cried of happiness.

We would do it all again for our sweet baby girl. ❤️

Special thank you to Valeriana and Jenna, who we would have had a totally different labor & c-section experience without.

6 thoughts on “Waverly’s Birth Story

  1. Merc,

    I truly am at a loss for words—Waverly’s birth story was filled with so many unexpected twists and turns. You were having contractions for 33+ hours unmedicated; you are such a strong person! Thank you for sharing your story. Waverly is beautiful and I’m sure it was all worth it!

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  2. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story! I was moved while reading it ☺ I wish you a lot of happiness to both of you 💕

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  3. Really beautiful! My story is so similar to yours that I related a ton to so much of what you wrote. I’m so happy that things turned out well for your family! It seems like you were able to find a lot of peace in your plans changing, which is something I still struggle with some days 2 years later. Every time I read another similar account it makes me feel a little better! I appreciate you sharing.

    Here’s a link to my story if you’re interested 🙂
    https://lacyjarvis.wordpress.com/2016/11/04/these-bones-will-sing/

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    1. Just read your story. Amazing. You put into words so much of the emotion I felt. I love that you grew up with a midwife Mom and attending home births! I also planned meticulously for our homebirth. I had quit my job and preparing for the home birth was pretty much my main focus my whole pregnancy. My midwife and doula were huge helps in helping me cope with what had happened. We found out my umbilical cord was short and a c-section was unavoidable. I’m glad I got to experience labor first and exhaust all options so I know in my heart it was a necessary cesarean. Thanks for sharing your story, too. You’re a birth warrior and so so strong.

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