Birth Stories

Patrick’s Birth Story

Nashville doula
With my doula, Katie

My newest lil man has arrived!!!! Such an exciting time! I’m gonna try to get all my thoughts into one place (mainly for my own reference/memory keeping hahaha — you’ll have to excuse the punctuation — i had to type it in ‘thought’ format! ha!

Sooo let’s see… we found out about Mr. Patrick in November.. It made going home for Thanksgiving a lot of fun. We had Sadie do both the family announcements. At the in-laws we had her say (and she’s got a very dramatic flair so this was extra fun) – “Wait a minute, Erin needs an extra plate because she’s eating for two!!!!!!” Then at my parents’ house we had her deal out Dutch Blitz cards to herself, Zach, Mom, and me (while Dad was standing nearby)and she said (again with the hilarious dramatic tone) “Wait a second, only FOUR people can play this game but there’s FIVE people here counting the new baby in Erin’s tummy!” hahah… announcements are fun

Definitely a busy pregnancy. Connor was fairly freshly a two-year old; we got an 8 week old the end of July and a 4 week old lil boy in September. I was pretty physically tired the first trimester—but was that pregnancy or having pseudo-twin infants plus a nursing toddler?? Or, likely, a combo of all those factors! Haha Connor weaned himself around 30 months during my second trimester. It was fairly abrupt. He still nursed 4-6x a day, dropped to twice a day for a week or so and then was done. A few weeks later he asked to nurse-nurse again, but I had to tell him it was “all gone”. He wasn’t worried, he said “daddy’ll fix it”. I told him daddy couldn’t fix this, and so he asks “needs batteries?” Haha, hilarious. For a few months after that anytime we’d be around nursing moms he’d point to my chest and say “mommy’s all-gones” ha!

Anyway, I’d spent a fairly dedicated year (and quite a bit of time after that) digging into research related to nutrition (both prenatal and post) and the effect on neurodevelopment , microbiome, preeclampsia, and (not relevant for this pregnancy of course but very relevant for our lives as foster parents) drug-interactions with brain development and possible ways to counteract effects etc. yeah PhD! Haha Plus, it’s fun to answer the phone as Dr. Erin McCoy! Ha…… I guess I’ll always be a nerd 😉 So anyway, I was a lot more diligent about nutrition this pregnancy (I had tried to do well with Connor but was coming from a rather uneducated or at least undereducated…. Or at least not-updated point of view.. But I knew I wanted to do whatever I could to avoid preeclampsia again. Thankfully for Connor it set in fairly late and he was delivered fairly naturally, though augmented with pit, at 38w5d. Nevertheless, I had tons of swelling even at the mid 30weeks with him(rings didn’t fit and I bought fake ones that I found this pregnancy that are too big even for my thumbs!). This time I had minimal swelling – rings fit the whole time, ankle bones visible the whole time etc! I ate well –high in good fats, and tried to get most of carbs through fruits/veggies besides the occasional indulgence) and stayed full and ended up being pleased with my weight gain while knowing I was consuming beneficial nutrients

I found an amazing doctor/hospital combination that I felt confident in trusting the advice and confident that barring true physical necessity that it would be easy to achieve what I wanted from my birth plan (even with an hour drive)! Ha. That, plus knowing that one or two of my good friends were going to serve as my doula(s) and remembering what an awesome labor partner Keith was with Connor’s delivery I looked soooooo forward to Patrick’s birth! And then Patrick kept the anticipation up! Hahaha… (Connor was 10 days before his EDD) so I guess Patrick thought he’d try to even it out and come 9 days AFTER his EDD. I was having several days of prodromal labor— nonpainful contractions averaging every 10 minutes or so starting Thursday night (with a few hours break Friday morning) — they were only barely noticeable but I did start to get pretty sore below my belly button. Wednesday at my regular appt (according to the EDD this was 41w1d) I had my membranes stripped (I wouldn’t recommend this prior to 40w, and I was already 3-4cm dilated and 70%effaced— and having the prodromal for the past 4 days, so I knew I was a good candidate) — plus, since Connor’s placenta had been likely partially calcified I wasn’t comfortable going more than a few days longer even though I suspected this time the placenta was in a lot better health. Nonetheless, I left the appointment at 4pm and drove back to pick up PLM at my friend’s house where I stayed to chat for a while. I was cramping and bleeding, but the only noticeable part was right there below my belly button where I’d been getting sore from all the prodromal. I headed home and made dinner — chinese dumplings and ginger salad yummmmm… and could only eat half of it (that never happens! Ha) — started timing a few (which was frustrating b/c I’d been timeable for the last 4-5 days!!!) ha…. But these were more noticeable which was a good sign…. Started making plans for the boys, but the great timing was my parents were already headed up (they’d planned that a few days before) and were only an hour away. I finally decided this was 95% real deal and called to have Katie, my doula, come onover. I was mostly kinda pacing around.. I had Keith cut up some watermelon for me! He did it artistically haha. Katie made me a fresh labor- aid drink and helped with verbal encouragement, & a rebozo from time to time. and mostly liked to be in the dark bathroom by myself this time. Around 11pm I decided we should go to the hospital… they were about 5min apart, but I wanted to be on the safe side b/c I wasn’t real keen on the idea of doing transition in the car. I figured we could walk around the parking deck when we got there.. so, right before we got in the car I puked and puked and puked (sooooooo glad that wasn’tin the car!!!) Katie quickly helped me get cleaned up before we loaded up into the car. An hour in the car in labor wasn’t as bad as I thought… I just ate a bunch of watermelon and pulled up on the handle above the door during every contraction (which were still about 5min apart)and sang really loud to my “Bens”CD (ben folds, benkweller, and ben lee) — it has connor’s fave song on it, but he was riding with my parents so we skipped that song since I’d heard it for an hour straight that day driving to and from my apt that afternoon! Bahah

Anyway, we get to the parking deck and I quickly decide that there’s no need to walk around the parking deck, that they were still consistent and not slowing down. Since it was 1am we had to go through the emergency room exit and they had me get in a wheelchair to ride up to L&D (ugh… sitting is not comfortable!), but as soon as I got to L&D they let me back up. And they were awesome (yeah for NE AL Regional Medical Center!!) They waited til I was between contraction to have me lay down to check (and I was at 6cm! yeah – it was 1:20am at this point so Thursday morning now) and let me right back up… even for the 20 min mandatory fetal monitoring on admittance they allowed me to stand! (hooray!!!!) (let me just say I totally totally understand why women who “have to” or are forced to/encouraged to lay on their backs get an epidural — that issooooooooooo uncomfortable! – but once back upright much better. The position that my body kept putting itself in (there’s really no other way to describe it) was

standing up and leaning over something. Katie (doula) and Keith took turns pressing my hips together —— This brought a similar comfort as it did with Connor’s labor – although with Connor I had lots of back pain and I wasn’t having any this time…. It was only uncomfortable below my belly button— increasingly uncomfortable, to be honest, but very localized to that region. Nonetheless, the hip compression (and the occasional rebozo) still felt really nice.

So they got the labor tub filled up and I got in… and it was HOT! (course I’m a big wimp when it comes to water temp and it couldn’t have been more than 102, but boy it felt really hot… so I only got partially in (ha!)) — I got on my knees and hung over the side of the pool (so basically the same position that I’d been in the whole time) — I kept thinking to myself “I need to change positions maybe, I don’t wanna slow things down by staying in one position” and every time I thought that I’d think “okay, I’ll change next contraction” and this cycle repeated itself.  I never did change positions.Haha.. They were coming pretty quick (I have no idea really – you lose all track of time when in labor) but definitely  getting stronger and really burning that region of my uterus below my belly button….Katie and Keith rotated the hip compressions while the other kept a fan on my face and wiped my face with a towel and gave me my water bottle between nearly every contraction (drinking water while laboring —- awesome! Ice chips are ridiculous!). Then I thought “Okay, by the time I get to transition the pool will have cooled down enough that I can turn over and get a little more in the water”….. In walks the doctor – this was just thrilling to me! I was really really glad that he was there b/c I felt 100% comfortable with his views on birth,  Even though the hospital was being great, I really wanted it to be him instead of another OB. I glanced up and exclaimed “It worked!” –

meaning the membrane stripping. He laughed and agreed. And then I had one more contraction……… a big one……. And I felt like …… well, I felt,for lack of better words, like I had to poop! Which, you know what that means —-à URGE TO PUSH! Wowzers, that was an incredible feeling, like you cannot stop it!

So a quick flashback to Connor’s birth – which I’m now realizing that I never had an actual urge to push with him —– I had thought I did a few times so I had gotten checked several times.. 8cm, 9 1/2cm, nearly but then with cervical lip (frustrating)…. And so once the cervical lip was gone (which I had those few contractions on my back — owwww owwww owwwww!!), then I was instructed (or at least ‘permitted’) to push….

Patrick’s however, was totally different…. I was still thinking that I was waiting for transition so I could get in a different position when the doc had walked in (great timing doc!). and after that brief greeting, one contraction, and then wowzers pushing was happening!!!!! Actually more precisely, crowning was happening! – now!   Hospital policy is that it’s a labor tub and not a birthing tub, so I needed to get out  (ha) which was actually fine with me, although I needed some help… I got on my feet (still leaning over) and remember the flurry of activity – gloves going on – doc reaching underneath just in case — Keith standing in front of me, Katie to the side… Someone said, “Okay, can you just put your legs over” to which I giggled and said sarcastically “I have legs??!?!” So Keith bear hugged me and lifted me out of the pool (my hero!) with Doc underneath in case. I then (in between contractions apparently (and thankfully)) hopped onto the bed and got back on my knees and leaned over the head of the reclined bed. Two contractions, pretty high-pitched screaming honestly, rim of fire, and out barreled my 9lb8.1oz big ol Mr.Patrick! 3:37am (a little over 2hrs since we’d gotten to hospital). I rolled over and got him up on my belly (his cord was a little

short so that’s about as far as he could go) and laid there sort of in a daze… I couldn’t believe he was already here (well – already as far as labor, not as far as duration of pregnancy hahaha)… I really had been thinking I’d have hours of labor left before I’d be getting to hold him, yet there he was! And lots (well, compared to Connor) of black hair.. and boy, oh,boy, REALLY long fingernails – he looked so clean since all the vernix was gone since he was so mature in the womb.. and big!. Soon after an (yes, again another nerd statement is coming) absolutely beautiful looking placenta was delivered. Haha… then I got to scoot him up and get a closer look and see all his beautiful little details. Thanks to the baby-friendly status of the hospital there was nothing going on except him on me (no weights or baths or removal or anything… just awesome) —- well, one thing going on was stitches, but skin-on-skin with baby wasn’t interrupted so I barely noticed that. For 2 hours I just held him, nursed him, looked at him… my parents and Connor came into see him (mom was planning to be in the room when he came, but… ummmm…. Refer to the paragraph above – kinda took me off guard so I didn’t know to tell her to come in from the waiting room …oops)… after the 2 hours I had to get up to pee! (I had probably had 1million gallons of water during the labor and after) ha… so I let them weigh him, measure him, and do his footprint and vitamin K – I’m a big fan of vit K!) and that was it… no fuss about anything else and then he was back on me.  We headed to the recovery room where we stayed til the next afternoon sleeping, nursing, and taking one zillion pictures of course!

Soooo soooo sooooo super fantastic!

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Marcie Hadley, CD(DONA), PCD(DONA), CLC, and LCCE(LAMAZE), has been serving families since 2010. She especially enjoys getting to know her families, meeting their unique needs, and sharing evidence-based care information. Marcie has worked with unmedicated, medicated, C-section, family friendly C-Section, and VBAC labors, Her postpartum experience includes working with families of first children to families of 10. She has worked with mothers who have experienced postpartum depression and illness following birth. Her goal is to empower mothers in their own mothering wisdom.

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