In this series we share birth stories of all kinds from mothers around the globe — with the hope that they inspire, educate and inform expecting mothers. Interested in sharing your birth story? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can read more birth stories here.
Baby’s Name: Charlotte Grace
Mother’s Name: Taylor
Birthdate: May 17, 2016
Location: Altoona, PA
Baby’s Size: 7lbs 10.5 ounces, 20 1/4 inches long
May 16th, my due date and my first day on maternity leave, I just knew when I woke up that it was going to be “The Day”. I had been a hot mess for at least two weeks. Nervous, anxious, excited, and so ready to not be pregnant any more. On this specific Monday morning, I woke up with a new calm that I hadn’t felt in quite sometime. I had a crazy energy and some low back pain that felt different than ever before. My weekly baby checkup was that afternoon, so I decided to clean the house, do some laundry and finish packing my hospital bag while having a dance party to JT’s new hit “Can’t Stop The Feeling”. (I’m seriously convinced this is what put me into labor- I was breaking it down) Along with my new-found calmness came an overwhelming feeling of happiness. I had a wonderful pregnancy (aside from insane rib pain and some anemia) and I was going to enjoy my last moments with this beautiful little girl growing inside of me.
My husband came home early from work so we could go to my 2:00 appointment. By that time, the “low back pain” I was having started slowly creeping towards the front of my belly. I knew that these were contractions, but they were pretty sporadic. I had been having Braxton Hicks for awhile, so I didn’t want to get anyones hopes up. At this appointment I was 3cm dilated and fully effaced (which I had been for 2 weeks!) and my doctor said to be ready because this was probably going to happen in the next few days.
Around 6pm, I knew that real contractions had started, but they weren’t consistent just yet. We tried to keep ourselves busy with dinner and packing up all of our stuff, just waiting. At 8pm, they were getting stronger and consistently 5 minutes apart. My plan was to labor at home for as long as possible before going to the hospital. At 11pm, it seemed like it may have been a false alarm as they contractions seemed to be letting up some. I was so bummed out. I decided to go to bed hoping tomorrow I might have more luck.
At 1am, I shot up out of bed with the worst contraction I had felt yet. It was all along my back and left side, and they kept coming. We called my doctor, dropped Bruno off at my in-laws and headed to the hospital.
We got checked in by 2am, and I labored in bed for awhile while we both tried to get some rest. At 7am, I was still at 3cm, so they suggested they break my water and start a small dose of Pitocin. I was bummed, because I knew that my chance for needing an epidural was probably higher with Pitocin, but I agreed because I was also fearful of being sent home or being in labor for hours on end. We didn’t have a specific birth plan, but I knew that I wanted to try to go as natural as possible. I was trying to go epidural free, because I was afraid of not being able to move around while in labor, that it wouldn’t work or that it would prolong my labor.
Let me tell you, those Pitocin contractions are no joke. They were so strong. As the morning went on, I was barely getting 30 seconds between them. Josh was helping me breath through them and my parents and in-laws stopped by for a nice distraction. By 11am, I was exhausted. Nothing was helping and I wasn’t able to walk around or get into the shower because of the Pitocin drip. I asked them to check my progress and I was only at 5cm. FIVE!!!! That was heartbreaking. I had read so many birthing books about laboring without an epidural and letting your body relax into the contraction to speed up dilation- I thought I was relaxing!!! After 5 hours of those contractions I decided to get the epidural so that I could get some rest. I didn’t even feel the needle and within 30 minutes I was feeling great. It felt amazing to get some rest and relax. I could still feel some pressure with contractions, but no pain at all.
Around 12:45, the nurse came in to insert a heart rate monitor on the baby’s head because the one on my belly kept sliding off. When she went to insert it she said, there’s no need for this, you’re 10cm and ready to push! I DILATED 5 CM IN 45 MINUTES! We could not believe it! My doctor came in at 1:30pm and I started pushing. It was the most calm, surreal experience. We were talking and laughing between pushes, so excited to meet our baby. I pushed for a little over 20 minutes and then our lives changed forever. Charlotte Grace Edmiston was born on May 17th, 2016 at 1:59pm. Our little Charlie girl. The most beautiful sight we’d ever seen. It was the most incredible experience.
Looking back, I wish I would have labored at home for awhile longer. With this being my first pregnancy, I didn’t know what to expect and once the contractions started getting strong and close, I felt more comfortable being at the hospital. All throughout my pregnancy, people thought I was crazy when I told them I was going to try to go epidural free. As much as I LOVED that epidural at the time, I will still try to go without one with any future babies. I would have loved to experience a Pitocin free and epidural free labor, but I’m so happy that everything turned out the way it did.
I feel so grateful for our labor and delivery experience. We had the best support system and such a calm, peaceful environment to welcome our little love into. I still remember every detail of that day- the best day of our lives!
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