After 72 hours of labor, Lauren’s hope for a natural birth was turned upside down.
"It is okay to grieve the birth story you thought you would have, while also honoring the birth story you have"
My name is Lauren Nix and my daughter's name is Penelope, we call her Pip for short. Our journey together has been a blissful one during pregnancy and AFTER birth but our birth story was a wild ride to say the least.
I was seeing an OB for my first trimester and I started to get some red flags from her in terms of what I was getting out of the experience. I have a stepson but technically am a first time mom so I had tons of questions but didn’t really know how to ask them, I was not being empowered. I started doing more research and ultimately decided with my husband that I wanted an unmedicated, natural birth. I was in my second trimester and it was at this point that I switched to a midwife at a birthing center. We did all the things to prepare for the birth we wanted! Hypnobirthing classes, spinning babies, hired a doula, was drinking red raspberry leaf tea etc. etc. I waited to go into labor on my own which happened right at 40 weeks and 2 days on a Tuesday.
I started cramping and had early labor signs on a Tuesday evening. I was excited but knew I needed to manage the discomfort and get my mind off it since my body had never been through this before. I knew I needed to conserve my energy so I tried to get some sleep that night. I woke up with definite contractions, they were inconsistent but strong. So I labored all day on Wednesday and at that point my midwife wanted to check me so we went and met her at our birth center. My contractions were strong and getting closer together/more consistent, we checked my dilation that evening but I was only at a 3. My midwife gave me some sleep therapy and we went home. I was able to get SOME rest that night (I do not think my husband did though!).
Thursday came and my doula came over early in the morning to help me labor — we headed to the birth center and labored all day Thursday and only progressed to a 4 by that evening. We tried everything that day, walking, lunging, squatting, a warm bath, sitting on the toilet, castor oil, nipple stimulation etc. We were sent home AGAIN Thursday evening with some sleep therapy and sheer determination to have this baby vaginally.
I woke up Friday tired and a little discouraged but gained momentum again with the support of my husband. He encouraged me to walk, eat, drink, and kept my spirits high. We labored at home for a while that morning and then headed back to the birth center for the third time in three days. We checked my progress and I was still at a 4. After another day of laboring I looked at my midwife and my husband and told them I was tired and thought we should head to the hospital. I cried. I felt like a failure. I felt betrayed by my body, but we knew and talked about this as a possibility- especially because we had no idea what my body was going to do!
We got to the hospital Friday evening, my contractions were strong and coming every 1-2 minutes, but then I would stall for a while. We were hopeful that a Pitocin drip would help speed things along and the chance of a vaginal birth was still possible at this point! The hospital at that point then started to put me on everything I was originally trying to avoid but knew I needed some assistance to achieve the end goal - healthy mom and healthy baby. We were given an epidural, put on Pitocin, fetal heart rate monitor, contraction monitor, and IV fluids. We continued on! For another 12 hours! By 6am on Saturday morning the Pitocin wasn’t helping and I had only progressed to a 5, Pip’s heart rate started to dip with my contractions which became worrisome. We were tired, both of us. I had pushed us to a point where we couldn’t handle the journey together anymore. We needed a different kind of birth than the one we planned.
By 7 am Saturday morning my husband and I were being prepped for the OR. By 8 am I was laying cut wide open on an operating table hearing my sweet baby girls cry for the first time. I wasn’t put under so I did get to do skin on skin immediately after she was pulled from my body; it was in that moment of her being placed on my chest, safe and healthy, that she was the only thing that mattered to me in the world. I was able to let go of any expectation I had before I started my labor and birth journey.
My 9 pound baby girl with a head full of blonde hair was safe and sound in my arms. The hospital stay was rough and I was pumped so full of fluids it was hard to move around during the stay. It was not the recovery I had hoped for but I started to think about that C-section and that fresh scar of mine as a life saving measure for my girl and I. It was the furthest thing from what we wanted or expected but it’s our story, and it’s special/unique to us. We labored for 4 days and gave it hell!
She is now one month old and I am still healing, but the fourth trimester together has been blissful. I have realized that no matter how you birth you are still birthing the child you created and carried in you for almost 10 months. Nothing will change that. It’s all messy and beautiful and completely out of our control. The other thing I have learned from this experience is that it is okay to grieve the birth you thought you would have while also honoring the birth story you got. Our journey together as mother and child is not defined by our birth story, the story together that really matters begins after birth and it is beautiful.
"On the 8th day of Jack's life, he experienced complications and passed away. The heartbreak engulfed my body but my baby was at peace and not experiencing any discomfort or pain anymore. As difficult as this experience was, I am not the only mother to experience it, nor will I be the last."
"To all the mommas who give birth, adopt, foster, who love their babies in heaven, who yearn for pregnancy, who are now empty nesters, and those with a full house, you’re all super heroes"
"I just remind myself to take it day by day and whatever happens happens. But by far, the most interesting and confusing time of my life, was when I first found out I was pregnant."