Birth Story: Imogene

I shared recently about the scary start of my pregnancy with Imogene, bleeding and threat of loss. I was terrified for weeks. We didn’t tell a lot of people until I was around 20 weeks along, when I finally felt like I could breath a little easier.

2019-05-23_0001.jpg

Aside from the bleeding early on, my pregnancy was wonderfully boring. Until around 30 weeks when some bloodwork revealed that I was extremely anemic. My midwife let me know that I couldn’t legally deliver at the birth center, as was our plan, with such low levels. We all felt confident my levels would rise quickly with high quality supplements and diet.

When my levels were checked again at 37 weeks, they were lower than before. I was so disappointed. I spent the next couple weeks trying everything and thinking about what our Plan B would be. At 39 weeks, with my iron levels still dropping, I made the decision to switch to a traditional doctor for what would be a hospital delivery.

I was so disappointed to be leaving the care of my midwife, where I spent hours chatting and pouring my heart out, where my kids received all of their care and the women who had delivered both of the boys. My first OB visit was dismal. They had no idea who I was or why I was there, asked me about my move from Texas (?) and made me feel so uncomfortable. I called my midwife and cried on the phone. She encouraged me to meet with another provider and said she’d call her personally to talk about my history (have I mentioned how much I love my midwives?)

This second meeting was much better. At this point I was just over 39 weeks and when the doctor checked me, I was 4cm. She encouraged me to let her sweep my membranes, insisting it would put me into labor. I was pretty sure it wouldn’t work, but she was certain it would. What followed were two brutal days of irregular, strong contractions, but with no progress.

2019-05-23_0002.jpg

By Friday evening, I was so exhausted and worn out and just ready to be done. I knew I probably had another week before anyone would be willing to induce me (I’ve been induced each time) and felt so discouraged. Saturday morning at 5am, my phone rang and it was the doctor. She said she was shocked that I hadn’t had the baby and offered to induce me that morning. I was surprised and thrilled!

Austin and I leapt out of bed and packed a few things for us and for the baby, called my mom and made breakfast for everyone. What a strange morning, knowing it was our last with our little gang of three! My mom arrived and we headed for the hospital at 7:30am. I felt strangely guilty, my other kids were all born at 41 weeks, and this time I was only 40. I hoped the baby wouldn’t be tiny.

The hospital was quiet and peaceful. The nurse led us to a room way at the end of the hallway and we hung out while they monitored the baby for a while. The doctor came in and I asked her to break my water, instead of using any medication to start labor. She agreed and asked if I wanted any pain medication. Weeks before I had decided that if I had to birth in the hospital I would get an epidural. I laughed and jokingly asked if I could just get the epi right away, before I was even in labor and the nurses agreed. Again, that feeling of guilt crept in and I almost changed my mind. The anesthesiologist came in and asked how often I was having contractions. We all laughed and I told him I wasn’t even in labor. Getting the epidural certainly wasn’t fun, but it was so nice to be all prepared for labor before it got started.

And yeah, it felt weird and like “cheating” to get an epidural, but it was also AMAZING.

The doctor came in soon after and broke my water at around 11am. I could feel that contractions were picking up soon after that, there was no pain, but I could feel pressure. Austin and I were able to relax and visit and I took a nice nap, arguably the best sleep I had had in months.

2019-05-23_0003.jpg

My sister Erin came shortly afterwards. Our nurses were amazing and pretty much left us alone, which is exactly what I wanted. They asked if I wanted a hospital gown on and I said no. Leaving my own clothes on made a big difference to me for some reason, I think it made me feel more in control.

Everything moved along very smoothly, just like clockwork. All of my labors had been pretty fast, and I was paranoid that this time things would drag since I had an epidural and I was earlier than with the others. But that wasn’t the case.

At around 3pm I started shaking. We called the nurse in and she said I was going through transition. I could barely talk, my teeth were chattering and I went from hot to cold in seconds. Although I couldn’t feel what was happening, my body knew and my mind knew. I could hear everyone talking, but I felt myself drawing in and getting ready. It was such a strange feeling.

The nurse checked me and I was 7cm. She told me she’d tell the doctor to come in again and check in an hour or so. I nodded, but then knew that wouldn’t work. “No, it’s going to be soon!” I said. No one questioned me, and they didn’t check me again, they trusted my body and my gut feeling. They called the doctor right away and set the room up for delivery. I loved that even though we were in the hospital, it all felt very calm and peaceful. Two nurses and the doctor came in and quietly stood back to let me decide what I wanted to do.

“Are you ready to push?”

“YES!”

After a few trial pushes, we all knew it was time. The doctor turned to Austin and asked if he’d like to deliver the baby. He said yes and she gave him a quick lesson and then backed up to let him take over. This was my favorite part of her birth. She was still involved, but completely hands off since everything was well.

With my other births, I’ve felt completely out of control and out of it during pushing. I hate it and push recklessly to just get it over with. Because of the epidural, I felt like I could take my time and be more intentional and efficient when I pushed. It felt like it took forever, but really, it was only 15 minutes before she was born.

2019-05-23_0004.jpg

Imogene Fallon Miedema was born at 3:43pm. Austin delivered her and passed her to me, her big fat face and chubby cheeks reminded me of my other babies right away! She had a full head of dark hair which is very different from our other babies!

2019-05-23_0005.jpg

After each of my other births, I’ve hemorrhaged badly. It’s always been a very scary experience and makes the first moments after birth hectic and chaotic. This time, they were able to start Pitocin through my IV just before she was born so that I did not hemorrhage at all! It was amazing! No hemorrhaging and no tearing made those first few moments so lovely!

An hour or so later, we asked to have her weighed and measured, as I was pretty sure she was our smallest baby (remember, she was “early”). I was shocked when they told me she was 10lbs!

2019-05-23_0008.jpg

I won’t go into the details here, but Lulu’s birth was also a hospital/epidural birth and it was not a good experience. This left me feeling really anxious and nervous for Imogene’s birth. It was such a lovely surprise that it was so wonderful. All of the care providers at the hospital were so thoughtful and respectful, I felt like they had our best interest in mind, they wanted to make sure the baby was healthy (obviously) but also knew how important it was for me to have the birth that I wanted.

2019-05-23_0014.jpg

The next morning the kids came to meet her and were all so happy to have a new little sister! Our sweet girl completes our family so perfectly, we love her more than I can imagine and I’m so grateful for her!

2019-05-23_0016.jpg