Total Labor: 7 hrs and 39 minutes
Delivery: Birth Center/Unmedicated
Feeding: Exclusively breast milk for first 6 months. Stopped nursing at 22 months
It was 3 a.m. Wednesday, August 23, 2006. I was 36.3 weeks pregnant. I had just stopped working the previous Friday because it was simply getting too hard. I awakened to pee. Then, I had to pee again. I couldn’t understand why I had to pee so much. I then wondered if my water had broken so I called my Doula, my cousin Erica. My husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, was stationed in Italy so I was home alone. I was on the phone with my cousin when I felt the urge to pee again. This time, I had bloody show. I hung up with her and called my midwife. She told me to come in. I then called my husband to tell him that I thought it was time.
Side note: On Monday, August 21st, I had SO much energy. I went to the mall to shop for an outfit for my baby shower on August 26th. I started getting tired and decided to head home. I got home and didn’t want to get too comfy because I had to return the rental car. So, I dropped off my bags and headed to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. I stopped on the way to get some banana pudding from a seafood restaurant that I loved. Well, by the time I returned the car I was too tired to move. My cousin’s aunt had to come get me. She saw me and said: “I think it’s about time.” I wasn’t due until Sept. 19th and told her that I was just tired. I got home and started having contractions, about 7 minutes apart. I wasn’t uncomfortable so I had some tea, took some Benadryl and went to sleep. I cannot remember for the life of me what I did on Tuesday, August 22nd.
Back to the story. My cousin picked me up and we were on our way to the Bryn Mawr Birth Center. I was contracting but still wasn’t uncomfortable. We reached the birth center and there was a full house. The midwife checked my fluid and my water had indeed broken. She checked the heartbeat and we headed downstairs, where the birthing suites were. Because all three birthing suites were occupied, I went into the living room area, which could be converted, if necessary. I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth. I was hungry and was going to walk to Wawa with my cousin. It was 6:30 a.m. I started feeling the contractions and the midwife wanted to check me, just to have an idea of where I was. I was 4 cm and she told me to hold off on the walk. I was fine. I got in bed and talked. My aunt came and called my husband to provide updates. At 8:30 a.m. I started vomiting. I said to myself: “I must be transitioning.” I was 6 cm. I was sleeping between contractions but VERY uncomfortable during them. (Oh, they gave me a shot of something to alleviate the vomiting. It didn't work.) I was checked again at 9 something and I was 9 cm. At 10:20 a.m., I felt this incredible pressure. My cousin looked at my face and ran to get the midwife (she has 3 kids of her own and guess she knew the look). The midwife came in and asked if I was ready to have a baby. My cousin jumped behind me and my midwife told me to push with my next contraction. I yelled: “I’m not ready.” She laughed and said: “It’s kind of late for that.” I started pushing at 10:30 a.m. My son was born at 10:39 a.m. 3 contractions and 9 minutes of pushing. My husband was on the phone and my aunt took some great pics of him coming out. He weighed 7 lbs. 5 ½ oz. and was 19 inches long.
My experience was great! The birth center was wonderful. I think they thought I was going to be disappointed because I had to deliver in the waiting area/extra room. I was fine. A lot of family members came and one of my best friends and her husband also visited (one of them was going to be LJ's pediatrician). The staff joked every time the doorbell rang knowing it was probably for me. I took my little boy home at 11 p.m. that night. My family really came together. I had NOTHING for him but was so content and sure that everything would work itself out. My sister Jeannine was already at the apartment anxiously awaiting our arrival. The cat was a different story. He was freaked out. Up until then, he was my baby. And guess who still went to her baby shower, with baby in tow, on August 26th, 1 day after my 30th birthday.
Total Labor: 21 hrs and 52 minutes
Feeding: Exclusively breast milk for first 6 months. Stopped nursing at 26 months.
It has taken a while for me to write Miss Savannah’s birth story. I realized I needed time to get beyond my postpartum complications to share her precious story. I was about to turn 40 and decided to get my tubes tied. Two nights later, I craved sushi. I awoke wondering how weird it was that I actually wanted sushi (because it is not a fave) and decided to take a pregnancy test. I took 6 more- all were positive. I was definitely pregnant. You know how they always say every pregnancy is different. Well, let’s just say LJ would not be here if Savannah came first. I was exhausted. I had this really weird hip pain after driving. With LJ I craved bananas and milk. With Savvy, onion rings. It was a VERY rough pregnancy. I was due May 6th. I stopped working in the beginning of March. I had wonderful coworkers though. Anything I needed help with, they were there.
On April 17,2017, I went to my last maternal fetal specialist appointment, you know, because I was having a geriatric pregnancy since I was over 40 (I find this insulting). I had been to the hospital 3 times after finally being admitted. I had to BEG the doctor to look at my labs, because I sensed something was wrong, and I was getting worse. He finally looked and said: “I don’t know why you haven’t been delivered yet”. So, it’s go time. I was to receive pitocin for 12 hours at one dose and it would be increased every 30-60 minutes after that. By the 20th hour, I was beyond uncomfortable. I asked myself: “What would I tell my clients?” I would tell them that they needed some rest. So, I got the epidural and was pushing an hour later.
The midwife came in to see me crowning. My nurses, though wonderful, told me to push with my next contraction. I nicely, okay- not so nicely, reminded them that I had an epidural and could not feel my contractions. I didn’t even know I was crowning, which most mothers experiencing an unmedicated birth would PROBABLY feel, you know, that “ring of fire.” It was the most uncontrolled delivery ever! I pushed her out with 1 push. So yes, I got some rest but my vagina has NEVER been the same. I received many, many stitches (apparently too many to count), compared to the 3 I had with LJ. And yes, I let the student midwife deliver me. I did not care for the midwife on-call. I’m pretty sure she knew it too.
Savvy did stay in the hospital for an extra day due to high bilirubin levels, but it was precautionary. LJ had spent about 1 month in the hospital due to hyperbilirubinemia, so the doctor just wanted to be safe. Savvy was the biggest shock of my life, but a wonderful blessing. She weighed 7 lbs 15 oz and was 20 inches long. Everyone who meets her, loves her. Thank you to my partner Anthony, Jeannine, and Adina for keeping me laughing, taking pictures, and just being there for me. And what was most special was having my grandmother at the house when we arrived home. She lived in Philadelphia.
As I mentioned earlier, it took some time to write Savvy's story (a whole year). I was diagnosed with Postpartum Cardiomyopathy 5 weeks after Savvy was born. I had a life-threatening case and am still healing, physically and emotionally. I often feel guilty that I don't have more details included in Savvy's birth story. Please know that she is truly adored, despite this slight.