Larisa’s Story

May 2, 2017

My entire second pregnancy could be described as Overwhelmed with Anxiety.  I had discovered I was pregnant (surprise!) right after accepting a new job and while struggling with sleep issues with my 13 month old. I was anxious about the reality of having two children under two years old – I felt I would never sleep again! I was anxious about leaving my eldest overnight for the first time when I gave birth.  I was anxious about being Group B Strep Positive – my first labor had gone incredibly fast and I was worried I would not get in both rounds of antibiotics and have to be hospitalized longer.

Through all of those fears, my delivery experience was strangely full of peace.

We had decided that if he was born on April 2 – my dad’s birthday –  his middle name would be Jeffrey, in honor of him. I remember thinking the morning of April 1st that it looked like this would be a baby full of God’s Peace (Jeffrey means “God’s Peace).

I had been having contractions for several weeks, so I wasn’t surprised to have them off and on all day.  After putting our daughter to bed, I realized that my contractions were becoming more regular, although still 10-15 minutes apart.  As we sat and watched Netflix, I became more aware of them and we decided to try to get some sleep and see where things went.  I texted our friends who were going to watch our daughter to give them the head’s up that things might be starting.  I was really anxious about having people come over and it ending up being a false alarm.  At the same time, I wanted to be sure to get to the hospital in time to get two rounds of antibiotics.

I lay in bed while my husband slept, realizing that my contractions were getting more intense, but I didn’t want to get overexcited.  After an hour of contractions clearly getting closer together and more intense, I got up and started to get some things ready to go “just in case.”  After a few intense contractions, I woke up my husband and told him I thought it was time.  We timed a few contractions and they were 5-7 minutes apart.  As my husband observed me, he realized that things were moving quite quickly.  I was still afraid of having people get up in the middle of the night for nothing, but he assured me going to the hospital was the right move, so we contacted our friends and doula.  As soon as our babysitters got to our house, we headed to the hospital to meet our doula there.  We parked the car at the hospital, as I insisted that I could walk and we took our time getting up to labor and delivery, needing to stop several times for increasingly intense contractions.

After getting checked in and getting the antibiotics started, my doula arrived.  I was at 4 cm.  That was very significant to me as that is where I was at when we arrived at the hospital with my first, and my baby was only a couple of hours away at that point.  After the initial hour of monitoring, my doula asked me if I wanted to move around, but I couldn’t get off the bed, my contractions were so intense.  They were coming on top of each other. She started a bath, with the hope that some hot water would slow things down, but in the back of my head I knew I wouldn’t be making it into the tub. I could feel exactly what was happening, my baby was going to be coming quickly!  It was so similar to my first birth.  I looked up at my husband and doula at one point and realized that they also recognized how similar to my first delivery things were going.

I was finally able to get up and go to the toilet, at which point, my doula pulled the labor nurse aside and let her know how my past delivery had gone and that the speed of progression had caused fetal distress (they ended up using suction on my daughter to deliver her as quickly as possible).  When I got back from the bathroom, the nurse tried to check the heartbeat of my baby.  I realized that she was becoming distressed as she called for the midwife.  They were having a hard time finding the heartbeat.  I realized what was going on, but couldn’t really focus on much more than getting through the pain.  They finally got the monitor set, but the baby’s heart rate was dropping rapidly with each contraction and they were coming right on top of each other with no break in between.  I could see the heart monitor and started praying that God would protect my baby.

After breaking my water to move things along, the nurses and midwife worked to find a position that would lessen the distress on the baby while also preparing for an emergency C-Section.  I told them I felt like maybe I could push. My doula assured me that I was a good pusher and that everything would be fine.  I was only at 9cm and the midwife was trying to help me stretch that last cm, which was incredibly painful on top of the pain of the contractions.  After a few minutes, the midwife calmly told me that they were moving towards C-Section and that it was very likely that I would need to go under general anesthesia since it was so urgent.  I really didn’t want that to happen, but resigned myself to whatever needed to happen for my baby and it was clear that I wasn’t quite ready to push him out. Through this all, I felt at peace with whatever happened, trusting that our baby would be ok.

At some point, the midwife had administered something to slow down my contractions.  We found a position on my side that the baby was happy with and his heartbeat increased.  At the same time, the contractions stopped all together.  It was such a relief!  Just to have some time to rest and wrap my mind on what was going on.  At that point, the OB rushed into the room and the midwife let her know that everything was under control and she wouldn’t be needed.  I remember her saying “well, now I know I can go from sleeping in my bed to the hospital in only 13 minutes!” This is the first time I realized that things were under control and I was truly able to relax!  She assured me she would be around until I delivered, just in case, but felt confident that I would be having this baby vaginally.

I had a 30 minute break before the contractions started again.  As they started it was clear that they were not coming on top of each other any more, they were about a minute apart, which seemed so much more manageable, getting that moment to breathe in between!  A few minutes after the contractions started, the urge to push was unmistakable.  I was ready to go!  After about 15 minutes of pushing, he was born and immediately placed on my belly!  Such a joyful moment!

I was so grateful that I was able to hold him immediately after birth.  He was a champion breastfeeder, searching for my breast and latching on very soon after delivery.

Through all of the anxiety and uncertainty of my pregnancy and delivery, I was so at peace to hold this bundle in my arms and name him Edwin Jeffrey.



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