My Birth Story:
It was Friday July 19th 2013, my estimated due date.. I was 40 weeks pregnant and so ready to have our little boy. I had been having back labor for 4 nights straight, getting no sleep and in a tremendous amount of pain.. id have contractions back to back consistently anywhere from 3-5 minutes to 5-7 minutes apart, but come morning time they would subside.. only to begin again around 8pm the next night and last all night again letting me get absolutely no rest because the pain in my back hurt so badly. I knew this could go on for days and days and was becoming very discouraged that my body would never progress on its own and id have to be induced the following friday (7 more days of sleepless nights seemed unbearable).
Thankfully, i was so exhausted I stopped walking and going to the gym a few days prior to my due date.. i knew id need to conserve my energy for labor. That evening at 12am (so technically it was now Saturday morning) I was trying to go to bed and started having back labor pain again. I woke up around 3am noticing my contractions were 3 minutes apart and so bad that i had to stay on all fours to get the babies head off my spine so i could feel some relief. I got into the bath to see if I could make them go away (at this point I just figured they were early labor or false labor contractions again just like the last 4 nights.. so i might as well try to get rid of them). I began to notice they were really close together and not just in my back and radiating down my thighs but also in my stomach (like braxton hicks but with a little pain). I know you arent supposed to check your own dilation but since i knew how to (i had done "natural family planning" for a year checking my cervix to know when i ovulated, as a natural means of birth control.. so we would abstain when i ovulated) so I figured instead of going to the hospital and being sent home for false labor id just make sure i was actually dilating. You have to be careful to make sure your water hasnt broken (due to risk of infection) and be very sterile ( i read alot of forums about how its way more sterile then intercourse so for anyone who thinks its unsafe, then they're saying sex isn't safe either). Anyways, I felt comfortable enough to check to be sure.. I knew the previous monday at my 39 week and 3 days appointment the dr tried to stretch me a little and wrote in my file i was at 2cm, although she told me i was really 1 to one and a half cm). When I felt my cervix i was definitely dilating.. it felt completely different than what i had felt before and i knew i was 2cm without a doubt. I woke up my husband and told him this was it and i was really in labor. I told him I was dilated more, we both were so excited and started to get ready for the hospital. As i took a shower and shaved and got my things together, the contractions started to slow down a bit and were less painful (I guess adrenaline and excitement/stress can do that to you). I still tracked the contractions and they were 5 mins or so apart. We called the dr around 430 or 5am and she told us to come in. We cleaned the house, had all of our stuff packed up in the car, i was all ready to go! When we arrived it was about 6am and my contractions were hurting way less at this point. I began to wonder if yet again, theyd soon stop all together. They put me on a monitor and checked my cervix within 15 minutes of me being there. The nurse told us she gets off at 7am (which means she had been working all night) we quickly realized we got the wrong nurse.. she was impatient, mean, cold, and clinical. She checked my dilation and said you are a stretchy 2 cm.. which you were on monday at your last visit, thus you are not in active labor you are still in early labor and could be like this for weeks or days. I quickly shared with her that i was actually 1-1 1/2 cm at my last visit, i also shared i had been in so much pain the past few days from back labor... she didn't care and her response was "mothers have to pay their dues". We couldnt believe that came out of her mouth when i was on the verge of tears. I think because I wasnt in unbearable pain like at home, and i had put makeup on and done my hair and looked too decent to be in labor she didnt believe me.. even though the monitor showed i was having regular contractions. So they sent me home. Didnt even have me walk the halls for an hour to see if I progressed.. i was so heart broken and discouraged. How could I possibly go another day in pain like this and with no sleep?
The moment i hit the parking lot i was in unbearable pain again. I couldnt even walk to the car, my husband had to run and go get it for me. Once i got in I was in so much pain I started crying.. "how could they not admit us", i said in tears. "i cant do this, im in so much pain". My poor husband didnt know what to do. He dropped me off at our home and went to get me a smoothie and himself a bagel. He thought maybe if I ate something Id feel better. At this point it was now 7am.. the contractions were now 2 minutes apart and excruciating. I called him within 5 minutes of him dropping me off crying in agony. He came straight home and put me in the bath. I labored in our bathtub for 2 1/2 hours. He put down towel for me so i could get on all fours in the tub and rock (thats all that helped take away some of the back pain i was experiencing). I began to feel dizzy and light headed from the heat so we tried to take me out of the bath.. bad idea.. the contractions intensified times 10! They were so bad i couldnt handle it. I got back into the tub and my husband went and got a fan to put in the bathroom angled at my face. This helped with the nausea and dizziness a little. He tried to get me to drink some fluids like water and the smoothie he had gotten me, knowing if I went into active labor that id need energy. He texted my aunt whos an OB and my best friend Kelly whos a Dula and asked them what to do. I was in so much pain, moaning, crying, and not able to talk that he knew I needed relief and SOON. They both advised him that he needed to call the dr again and let her know how much pain i was in. He called and told the Dr. that hes never seen me this way and that im a strong woman and theres not way im not in labor and that they need to check me again. The dr. told him to come in again and that shed give me a shot for the pain if i wasnt dilating still. We got back to the hospital around 10am. This time i had wet hair and no makeup on from laboring in the tub, my eyes were swollen from crying and i was a hot mess... lets just say, this was a completely different girl they had seen walk in just 3-4 hours ago. This time we had a really sweet nurse named Penny, she saw me crying and took good care of us. She monitored my contractions and within 15 minutes knew i was having really close (2-3 mins apart) and strong ones. My husband and I were praying that theyd admit us this time, we were asking jesus for grace and to please please just admit us. She checked my dilation and said i was 3 cm!! YAY~! This meant that my body was progressing and that theyd have to admit us! Wooohoo! I started to cry and was so happy, i thanked Penny over and over...she was the angel that helped me that day. She took us to our room and got me all set up. I told my husband i just wanted to rest and not have anyone come to the hospital just yet. I wanted to try to sleep so id have energy for later when id have to push. Keep in mind i hadnt slept at all in 5 nights now.. along with being in pain, its exhausting and draining to say the least. After getting all hooked up and calling our family, figuring out our cord blood etc, it had been an hour or two by now. The dr. came in (Dr. Johnson.. my dr was not in that day so she wasnt able to deliver me.. its a group so its whoever is on call that day) she said she wanted to check me (I was now 4cm or so) and then she suggested breaking my water to speed things up. I said if they wanted to break my water that id like an epidural first (knowing that contractions usually get way more intense after your water breaks, and knowing the excruciating pain from back labor,.. at this point i just couldnt even bare the thought of it).
The anesthesiologist came in and I explained to him my families history with epidural sensitivity. My mom and sister both were numb all the way up to their neck from an epidural and had to have them turned off. My other sister was too numb to push so they ended up turning hers off as well. So I shared with him id like to get a very low dose and that i could always up it if i needed to. He explained to me that they start people at a higher dose and can always go down lower if its too much. He shared that most people get a level 10 to a level 15 of an epidural. Thats the average and the norm. So I told him i was okay with a 10 but to stay near by just incase i had a bad reaction like the rest of the women in my family. It was instant relief.. the best feeling EVVVVER. I had been having weeks of low dull back pain and 5 nights of excruciating back pain along with crazy contractions.. my body had been through the ringer, so to feel instant relief, was heaven. It was like the first time in 9 months that i felt normal again. My body wasnt in any pain or going through any discomfort... hallelujah! About 30 minutes later i started to feel weird, my neck and chest were numb, my ears were all foggy and it was hard to hear what people were saying (as though they were plugged), and i felt like i was on drugs a little bit. I asked the nurse if i could go down a bit on the level of the epidural they were administering. She called back in the anesthesiologist and he put it down to a 5 for me. It stayed this way until way late into the evening when i started to feel everything again. I asked him to put me up to a 7 but he insisted to go to at least a 10 so we settled on 9. So i was at a 9 for the remainder of my labor and delivery.
Im unsure of the exact times because I didnt write anything down, and lets face it when you are the one in labor everything is somewhat a blur.. especially time. I believe around 5pm "ish" i was 6.5-7 cm already. Everyone had now arrived to the hospital and came too see us (my sisters, my parents, my in laws and brother in law, and a couple of my best friends). For the most part, i had a great labor and delivery.. there was one scary incident during labor though... the nurse was trying to empty my bladder with a catheter (since you cant walk with an epidural you cant go to the bathroom on your own) she told me to raise my butt up and hold it there while she changed the pads underneath me. I was sort of on my back (which during labor they dont want you on your back at all, they want you to stay on your sides until pushing).. next thing i know alarms are going off and my babies heart rate is dropping. She immediately calls the dr who is unavailable because shes delivering.. a bunch of people rush in to help.. one nurse puts an oxygen mask on my face, another nurse tells me shes going to inject me with something to calm my uterus so its stops contracting to give the baby a break for a second, i knew what she was giving me (i had seen my sister given this injection during her labor and knew it causes your body to start shaking uncontrollably.. thank God i had known that or I wouldve been terrified and panicked). The other nurses were reaching in trying to see if the baby had a cord around his neck (thank god for an epidural at this point). No one knew what happened. Everyone asked the nurse that was in there with me prior to this happening what could have possibly changed so rapidly to cause his heart rate to drop like that.. she said she didnt put me on my back, and said i was definitely on my side .. ..which wasnt true but i didnt want to get her in trouble.. after all she was the angel that admitted me. I just left that little secret between the two of us and knew she probably learned real quick to not do that to anyone ever again, because man, that was scary. My poor husband had been sleeping and woke up to a bunch of people rushing in, a loud alarm going off, and nurses all around me hooking me up to things, shoving oxygen on my face, and trying to feel for the baby... and then me shaking uncontrollably from the injection. He stayed strong and was calm, which was so nice because the last thing i needed was for either one of us to panic. The nurses said it helped that we both remained so calm because it helped the baby calm down. Thank God! The dr. came in and said "that can't happen again.. if it does then we might need to rush this baby out".. implying a c-section (i think).. as if it was my fault lol. So again we prayed that his little heart would stay strong. And it did, it never dropped again. Although every nurse would comment on how intense my contractions were and how i had a super strong uterus because it never gave me a break.. my contractions were 2 minutes apart lasting 1 minute my entire labor after i had been admitted that morning at 10 am. They never slowed down and they were really intense. Its a good thing i decided to get an epidural because I dont think I could have done that! NO breaks??!!! Crazy. They kept telling me i must have a really strong baby because he wasnt in distress at all even though he wasnt getting breaks from the contractions either.
A couple hours later they checked me again and I was now only 8cm, so the dr. said if I didnt start progressing quicker that they might need to give me pitocin. I reallllly did not want pitocin so I asked everyone to pray that my body would start to progress on its own. At this point i started to feel really nauseas again. I think my body was going through transition trying to get from 8 to 10 cm. I kept telling my mom and husband i was going to throw up but couldnt. Finally i did. Since I hadnt eaten anything all that came up was a little stomach acid. The nurse said they could give me zofran to help with the nausea so i didnt throw up during pushing. I knew zofran would help since i took it for several weeks in the beginning of my pregnancy for morning sickness. I felt relief within 20 minutes of them hooking me up to Zofran via IV.
I asked everyone to leave the room except for my mom and husband so we could sleep and get some rest since neither of us had for several nights now. We slept for about an hour and the dr came in to check me again. I had progressed!!! Woohooo, she said i wouldnt be needing pitocin! AmEN! I told her we had all been praying for progress.. she now said okay, now lets pray then that this baby moves down on his own. So at this point i was 9-10 cm, but baby was still at -1 i believe (they wanted him at 0 or +1 or +2 before i started to push). The dr. told me to let her know when i started to feel a huge urge to have a bowel movement. She also told me she wanted me to be able to feel my contractions so that I could push efficiently, so she said she didnt want me to be able to up my epidural at all or even push the button for a tiny bit extra. I didnt think this mattered until 10 mins or so later when i began to feel every single contraction again.
I started feeling my contractions (not in my back at all but low low in my abdomen). I couldnt feel my whole stomach contract but my lower belly and hips (especially the right hip) started to kill. I had to start breathing through my contractions again and kept asking everyone to stop talking so I could focus. They hurt like hell and i wasnt expecting to feel that pain again after getting the epidural and now my dr was telling me she didnt want me to up it at all, even though i was at a lower dosage than average. I felt my contractions for about an hour to and hour and half before i started to push. I laid there just breathing through them and having my sister tell me when my next one was coming and when i was past the peak. I never had a huge desire to push or felt like i was going to have a bowel movement, but i did start to feel a little pressure down there so i finally told the nurse to have the dr just check me. Two other nurses came in and said we could do some practice pushes before the Dr comes in. So next thing i know ive only done a couple practice pushes on 2 contractions and they can already see the babies head!! They tell me im a great pusher and that this baby is coming QUICK and that i need to stop pushing and wait for the Dr. to come. The dr. comes within 5-10 mins and tells me to do a couple more pushes so she can see my progress and how im pushing. Within a few more contractions my little boys head was right there and everyone was telling me he had brown hair! I was so excited and not feeling any pain at all. My dr. even commented during pushing "oh this is a great epidural" lol. She told me for the next contraction only push 70%.. she said im just going to give you a tiny episiotomy.. i pushed a little and heard a snip (but didnt feel it) and next thing i know my little boy is out! It only took 15 minutes of pushing once the Dr was in there!! 30 minutes probably from when they had me do my first couple practice pushes. Pushing actually felt so good! It made the pain from the contractions fade away since i was using the contractions to push. I cant explain it, but it felt good!
He came out crying right away! He had a big loud voice just like his momma! They placed him immediately on my chest as my husband cut the cord. I started crying and said "he looks just like me" haha. He was so perfect, i remember the way he felt right there on my chest, all warm and hearing his cry made my heart so happy. I just stared at him and my husband in awe, i couldnt believe he was ours. I will never forget the moment i saw his face and the feeling i had with him laying on me skin to skin. I will never forget the way he smelled and the warmth of his body and how when i talked to him and said "its okay, its okay, its your mommy and daddy, hi sweety" over and over he seemed to calm down and know my voice. I have never experienced anything like that moment in my entire life. Its so surreal to think about and brings tears to my eyes while typing this. He was so perfect, so tiny, but so strong and alert. We couldnt believe it. He weighed 7 lbs 4 oz, was 18.5 inches (later we found out he was really 20.1 inches at his dr visit that week.. they said they measured him wrong or he was probably tensed up), born at 12:03am, July 21st 2013. I almost had him on the 20th (; So from start to finish my labor was about 24 hours. I started on July 20th at 12am and had him july 21st at 12:03am.
Cash Denham Armstrong
(we had his name picked out for over 4 years, we both always loved the name Cash, my husband is a musician and Johnny Cash is one of our favorites, so it was fitting for our little family. Denham is my maiden name, my hubs wanted his middle name to be Denham just like my husband has his moms maiden name. I thought that was sweet, so it was easy to pick this little studs name).
Seconds after his first breath