For months I envisioned how the birth of my son would go. I wrote down my “birth plan”, practiced visualization techniques, read tons of books on natural birthing, listened to podcasts, all gearing up for the big event. Throughout my pregnancy I exercised, did yoga, ate well, and tried to do all the prep work I could. At the same time, I’m the type to just let nature take its course, and I knew this was something I couldn’t plan out perfectly. I knew a birth plan was really just a wish, but I didn’t expect my birth story to take all of the crazy turns that it did!
I share this to possibly help shed some light on real life situations when it comes to labor and delivery. And even though mine didn’t go exactly how I wanted it to, it was such an incredible and beautiful experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. The outcome was better than I could have ever imagined! My perfectly healthy baby boy.
When I was pregnant I was fascinated with other women’s birth stories, and tried to expose myself to all different possibilities. No matter how these babies get here, it’s an amazing miracle!
So how did Ivan come into this world? …..
My due date (Monday, Jan 28th) had come and gone. I was getting a little antsy but trying to just enjoy every last moment of him inside of me and just relax. The calm before the storm.
Wednesday morning I woke up with some clear liquid in my bottoms that seemed a little more than usual and a little more watery than what I had been used to. And I’m positive it wasn’t pee! I thought it could maybe be a slow leak of my amniotic fluid. I called in to the nurse line at the hospital and they said to just monitor it throughout the day and call or come in if more was leaking or I just wanted to be checked. I had been cramping since Saturday but no real contractions yet. So I waited it out the rest of the day.
Thursday morning I thought I maybe had a little bit more leaking, and I was nervous of going too long if it was the amniotic fluid. As I was walking over to the grocery store I started feeling stronger cramps that were about 8-10 minutes apart and lasting about a minute. I could walk and talk through them but I didn’t know what to expect, so I called the nurses again. They said that I should come in within the next 2 hours just incase it was my fluid leaking.
So I got my items from Vons and then headed back to our apartment. Rich and I started packing our things. We got all set to go and it definitely felt surreal. We were finally going to the hospital! The last time we would leave our apartment without our little man.
We checked in and had to wait for a bit. It was fun to see the pregnancy tour groups going through and I could tell they were all excited to see someone checking in to have the baby! It felt like just yesterday I was in their shoes, and now here I was full term!
The nurses first wanted to check my amniotic fluid to see if it was actually leaking or not. She probed me and ran the test and found it was not my water leaking. I was a bit confused.
Then they did an ultrasound and couldn’t find amniotic fluid to measure, it was all baby in there! So they announced my amniotic fluid low (probably due to just being over my due date) and weren’t going to send me home until I had the baby. Then they checked my Cervix….. I wasn’t even to a 1 yet! She said I was maybe 1/2 a centimeter, but I think she was just being nice. I was so disappointed! They said we needed to do some sort of induction method to soften and open up my cervix. My body seemed to be contracting fine, but not dilating. They used Cervadil in the form of a little mini tampon. They stuck it up there and said to wait 12 hours. At this point I was already getting some pretty consistent contractions that were getting more intense. Twelve hours seemed like forever but at this point I didn’t really have a choice!
They got us into one of the postpartum rooms to get started. I got hooked up with an IV attachment on my arm and into a gown and diaper and the waiting game began! We watched the Tomb Raider. Probably a bad choice. As I was going through contractions and she was getting stabbed by things haha. Maybe should’ve chosen a bit calmer movie.
About 2-3 hours into it I went to the bathroom and the thing fell out! They said it was fine and we would still wait for it to work its magic. I was determined to labor naturally as long as I could, hoping my prep work would come into good use.
The contractions kept on coming, longer, harder, more frequent. It got very intense. Rich was by my side the entire time. We dimmed the lights and had some calming music playing. He would massage my legs and feet and back while I breathed through the pain. He was good at distracting me and easing the pain. I went into the shower at some point and that felt really good. I wish I had the option of a bath to labor in but my hospital didn’t offer it.
We got out the birthing ball and I would just rock back and forth on it. I threw up a couple times which was horrible. I tried cold rags on my neck and shoulders, counter pressure, the whole shebang and labor was far more intense than anyone could ever describe, but I still felt empowered for the most part with all the breathing practice I had done. The hard part was not really having a break! The contractions were coming strong and hard about every minute.
The nurses finally came in to check. After 18 hours of unmedicated laboring I was only at a 3!!! I was shocked. I thought for sure I would be further along than that. I was so disappointed.
At that point I was so ready for the epidural. I had no strength left in me. From the point of that decision and actually getting the epidural felt like forever! They wheeled me up to the next floor for the labor and delivery room. I was in so much pain sitting on that chair. I was shaking really badly and starting to go pail. As soon as we walked into the room I threw up all over the floor. Then getting ready for the epidural I was trying so hard to control my shaking. The guy was talking forever about the procedure and I was just so anxious to get it going. Finally they put it in. The needle didn’t hurt at all compared to everything else going on! Within about 5 minutes I felt the relief. Part of me was disappointed I couldn’t progress further on my own, but I was relieved to get some rest.
We were both finally able to get some sleep. I had a spot that kept hurting so for the next 6-7 hours I slept and alternated sides as the contractions came and went. They came and checked me after about 5 hours and I was finally at a 9! So we got ready for the pushing. I pushed hard for about 2 hours without a lot of progress. Then I started feeling the pain again. Pain that came on full force, dilated at a 10 while pushing. The epidural had stopped working!
I couldn’t push anymore the pain was so strong. I breathed through the strong and constant contractions for about an hour while they figured out the epidural. Then it started to kick back in and it was go time. I had an orange popsicle in the mean time. Kind of random but it tasted good! I pushed for another hour. We had the squat bar out, grabbing the sheet for leverage, side lying, we were trying everything. They said they could see the head and I got so excited!!! He was almost here! I was determined.
Then the midwife came back in and I knew something wasn’t right. She said it was time to consider a C-section. They said he had been trying to squeeze his head down for the last hour or so but just wasn’t making any progress or descending lower. I had also developed chorioamnionitis (an infection that effects the placenta from long labor), and a fever. They put a little metal heart rate detector into his head and found his heart rate was dropping with each contraction which made us all nervous.
I was crushed. I started crying. After 30 hours of hard labor and this is what it was going to come to!? I asked their opinions. How serious this was. How much more time did I have to try and push? I wanted to know my options. While they were talking to me I was pushing with all of my might through the contractions. They said I could try for another 30 minutes but then it was time to head down to surgery.
So they left the room and I gave it my all. From squat bar, to side lying, back and forth, back and forth. Then finally Rich looked at me and I just knew. He asked the nurses if we could have a minute. He asked how I was doing and I just cried, knowing that I had given it my absolute all and there was no way around it. I decided to go for the C-section. I felt it was best for me and the baby, and now I’m so grateful for this modern medicine miracle! Rich held my hand as I cried. I had so many fears about a C-section. How will I ever recover from that? Will I be able to have a VBAC? Then I kept telling myself, I’m going to meet my baby, he’s almost here, and all that matters is that he’s safe and healthy. It’s going to be ok. I could see the end was near and that was what I needed.
So as they wheeled the bed down to the operating room I was trying to suck up my tears. My whole body had the shakes that I couldn’t control. I was completely exhausted and trying to fight back falling asleep on the table. I felt my entire lower body go numb. It was pretty crazy. I was lying on the operating table with a blue sheet in front of me, rich holding my hand, shaking, and fading in and out of sleep, barely able to keep my eyes open. I waited to hear his cry. After what seemed like too long, my fears turned into tears of joy. We heard the cutest little whimper cry. I can’t even describe the joy. It was amazing.
Rich walked over to meet our son. Then I started feeling super nauseous. I knew I was going to throw up. They got me a little bag and I threw up the only thing left in my stomach, the orange popsicle. As I’m throwing up I look over to my right and see Rich holding our baby boy. My heart melted and even though I was in the strangest little time warp of craziness, I had complete peace right then as I saw him. I was at peace with the C-section, I was at peace with how the series of events happened. It was over. I was alive, our son was alive, and we had amazing care from the entire staff involved.
He was here and thats all that mattered. They wheeled me to the recovery area and I got to watch Rich hold our baby for about an hour. It was the sweetest thing. I was still shaking like crazy and pretty out of it.
I finally got to hold my little man. Rich placed him on my chest for some skin to skin time. I was so overwhelmed with love it was incredible. I just melted instantly and started talking to him. It was the sweetest moment that I will never forget.
Meet Ivan Wolf Motzkus. Born at 8 lbs, 21 inches.
Lots of hair, perfect skin, and the sweetest little eyes, nose, and lips.
Our hospital stay was full of sleepy cuddles, skin to skin, breast feeding, and recovering.