Oliver's Birth Story
Up front I’m going to let you know that, if you’re a regular reader here, this will be a longer than normal post. So go grab something delicious to sip & snack on, sit back & enjoy the ride all the way to the birth of our son Oliver.
P.S. sometimes pregnancy is a little gross - so just be prepared to hear things like mucus, discharge, etc. :)
I haven’t talked a ton about my pregnancy - and that was on purpose. Social media has a weird way of making people believe they can and should comment on any and everything. It gives everyone a voice to speak on any topic that’s available to them, even if they shouldn’t.
I had heard about several women who talked about their pregnancy journey’s and received unsolicited comments and advice from strangers. I didn’t want that.
Now, some people can argue that - if you’re putting it out on social media that you’re opening yourself up to that type of behavior. But, I see it differently. I’ve always come from a place of service on social media, this blog, the podcast and my weekly letters. I share my stories and experiences in hopes to inspire or motivate someone to think a bit differently about how they can apply it to their own life.
But, pregnancy was such a personal experience for me and I was not willing to open myself up to any opinions or advice. I wanted to walk through this journey with loved ones.
So, while we’ll be moving on to talk about the birth story - I just wanted to address why I didn’t talk much at all about my pregnancy.
Tuesday February 26th
I made the choice to work up until I delivered Oliver. At 37 weeks I slightly regretted that decision as putting on clothes, driving and walking around at work became a chore. I’m not sure how other women feel but by 37 weeks I felt like my belly was going to explode. I truly couldn’t believe that I could technically be pregnant for as long as 5 more weeks. The thought of that was hard to grasp, a bit scary and a bit “I’m over this now”.
At my 39 week appointment with my midwife she checked my cervix and said I was 2cm dilated & 70% effaced (or thinned out). She also noted that this didn’t mean much. Some women could stay at this stage for weeks or could go into labor tonight. There really was no telling or predicting. All she knew was that I had made progress from the week before.
She also did a membrane sweep - this procedure gently lifts the amniotic sac away from the cervix and could induce labor within 24-48 hours.
This appointment was earlier in the day so afterwards I went back to work and updated my boss on what my doctor had said. I had asked if it would be okay if I worked from home the rest of the week so that, should I go into labor, I’ll be closer to the hospital (7 minutes from my home) & Albert (he works 5 minutes from our home).
Thankfully she was understanding and said that it would not be a problem.
Nothing happened for 2 more days.
Thursday February 28th & Friday March 1st
These two days were business as usual except they had one thing in common - my mucus plug started to slowly come out.
The mucus plug is exactly what it sounds like - a thicker than normal discharge, usually with a brown or dark reddish tint, that blocks the opening of the cervix to prevent any bacteria from entering. For most pregnancies, the release of the mucus plug is a sign that labor is right around the corner.
Also, I’d like to mention that literally all of my family is on standby waiting for any sign that I may go into labor. My parents live about 2 hours away, I have 2 sisters that live in New York - 7 hours away, and another sister in North Carolina - 9 hours away. Everyone was going to do their best to make it if they could - but because labor timing is so unknown, nothing was a guarantee.
My parents knew that if all went “normal”, as in, I don’t go into labor & deliver him within 2 hours, that they’d be able to make it. And my sister Kendra (one of the sisters living in New York) had agreed very early on in my pregnancy to be my doula/labor coach and so I needed to at least let her know of any symptoms or signs as early as possible.
Well, on Saturday - her and my parents got the text they’d be waiting for.
Saturday March 2nd 4:00am
March 2nd was my due date. Early on in pregnancy, I never thought I’d actually reach my due date. I’m not sure why I thought that - maybe it’s because I felt like my belly was so big, or he felt really low on my pelvic floor - I don’t know. But I remember making bets with my family around the holidays of when I’d go into labor. None of us thought that I’d still be pregnant when March 2nd rolled around - yet here I was.
At this point sleeping in the same bed with Albert was uncomfortable. He’s pretty tall and takes up a lot of room and well, I was 9 months pregnant so I, too, took up a lot of room. So, I decided to sleep on the couch. Now, don’t go thinking anything negative about why the girl is on the couch and blah, blah, blah. The couch was WAY more comfortable than our bed and the cushions gave my back more support than sleeping in an empty bed. I gladly took the couch.
This morning, I got up for one of my many bathroom trips. And (sorry - this is another gross thing) when I wiped it was the last pull of the mucus plug. The first two were significant but this pull was thicker & a darker color. Okay sorry - I told you there would be some gross stuff but, it’s significant because at the same time I was feeling lower abdominal pains and these were the signs that made me call my midwife to make sure everything was okay.
After I talked to Lily - literally the midwife sent from heaven, seriously - and she said it sounded like I was in early labor and that she wanted my contractions to be 5 minutes apart consistently for 1 hour before I came into the hospital. She told me to eat something, count the baby’s kicks to make sure he’s moving appropriately and call her back if I didn’t feel 10 kicks in an hour.
Needless to say, I didn’t call Lily back. At least not until way later.
Hearing Lily say that I was in early labor was crazy for the lack of a better word. I had been waiting for this day for 9 months and now that it was here I didn’t know what to do. The contractions were tolerable at this point. I texted Kendra and said “you don’t need to jump in the car this second but you’ll need to come sometime today.” Because there wasn’t a lot of time to waste with Kendra since she had a 7 hour drive ahead of her, she got on the road by 8:25am. Me and Albert went for a walk, got breakfast at First Watch and went back home.
I texted my parents soon after talking to Kendra and my parents arrived in Columbus around 12. I was still having contractions but they were about every 15 minutes apart. Needless to say, I had awhile to go. These contractions were a bit more painful than what I was experiencing at 4:00am - I couldn’t talk through one and needed to focus on my breathing. But still, it was a waiting game.
Kendra finally arrived. My mom was with my Dad at their hotel and the contractions were still happening. At this point I had been in early labor for about 13 hours. The contractions were even a bit more intense than what I was feeling at noon. But they were still about 10-12 minutes apart so there was nothing I could do but breathe and try to relax.
At this point my contractions were pretty inconsistent. I was having them and they were vey intense - way more than a period cramp- but they weren’t at the same time intervals. Sometimes they would be 25 minutes apart, then 15, then 9, then back up to 12, etc.
My mom decided to come back over once I had a few contractions that were 6 minutes apart.
I had to breathe very heavily and I had to moan/yell to get through these contractions. I couldn’t talk and I couldn’t walk while having a contraction. Laying down made them feel so much worse so I was just circling the island in my kitchen. Around and around and around and around - stop, breathe, yell, around and around and around some more.
This went on for hours.
Sunday March 3rd - 4:00am (24 hours of early labor)
I was still circling the island. Anytime I sat down the contractions felt way more intense and they would drift farther apart. So, instead of having a contraction every 6 minutes when I was circling the island - they would go to 12 minutes or 15 minutes apart.
Nope - not today. So I kept circling.
Then, there was a period of time where most of my contractions were about 5 minutes apart so I called the hospital again. A different midwife called me back and, not that I want to say anything negative but - she was less than helpful or supportive.
Regardless, she said if I was feeling ready I could head into the hospital to be checked.
When I arrived the contractions were extremely painful. I squeezed the hell out of Albert’s hand, held on to the wall, cried, yelled and breathed. This was the point where I was hoping that this was the most painful they’d ever get. I couldn’t imagine more pain.
I’d also like to mention here that up until this point I still hadn’t completely decided about whether I was going to have a natural birth or get an epidural. I never made a firm decision on this during my pregnancy because I had no idea what to expect in terms of the pain. I didn’t want to be locked into one decision when maybe the opposite was the better choice.
But in the doctor’s office right then, I pretty much knew that if it got any worse I wouldn’t be able to make it through without some pain management.
This doctor’s visit was frustrating. I don’t know if it was frustrating because I was in so much pain or because they truly weren’t being helpful. They hooked me up to a monitor and noticed that while I was having consistent contractions - they were varying from 5 minutes to 10 minutes apart. They did a cervical check and I was 3cm dilated (CRAZY that I only dilated 1cm from Tuesday the 26th to Saturday the 2nd) and about 80-90% effaced.
But, because I wasn’t having consistent 5 minute contractions they sent me home. And I cried, a lot.
My mom had my dad come and get her because none of us had gotten any sleep since Friday night. And so, we start walking out of the hospital and Albert and Kendra go to grab the car from the garage. I could not & would not walk that far so I sat and waited for them to come pick me up. While I waited I had another contraction.
They come and pick me up - maybe a 3 minute wait in total- and I have another contraction.
We drive home (I live 5 minutes from the hospital) and had another contraction once we parked.
I decided a hot shower would feel really good so I took what I assume to be about a 10 minute shower and had 3 contractions in the shower.
Albert and Kendra start winding down for bed because they wanted to try and get some sleep since we knew the baby would be coming at some point.
I, too, got in bed and tried to lay down. But I never went to sleep because from this point on everything intensified.
Basically, right after that shower my contractions got stronger, more intense, were happening for shorter periods of time and were closer together. All of a sudden I realized that I was consistently having them anywhere from 1-3 minutes apart.
Uh, say what?!
I was just trying to get to a consistent 5 minutes but, now I’m at 3 minutes apart?
This is a perfect example as to why I never made a decision about an epidural - do you see how fast things can change? Do you understand how quickly your birth plan (or what I call birth intentions) can go out the window? When these contractions were happening I wasn’t sure if an epidural was in my future even if I wanted one. I wasn’t even sure how far away we were from Oliver joining us.
I texted my mom and told her about the contractions and she was at my doorstep in less than 5 minutes.
I screamed Albert’s name because I was in so much pain and he was in such a deep sleep. I needed everyone to wake up - now. I needed all the attention, support and energy I could get from these 3 people.
Kendra got her homemade massage oil out and started doing counter pressure on my back. Albert and my mom were both giving me encouragement and telling me how strong I was.
And truthfully, at this point I lost all sense of what was happening. The pain was so bad and unbearable and they were coming so fast and frequently that I couldn’t focus or worry about anything else. They say to breathe and think about how your body is made for this - and that sounds great - until you’re in it.
I begged Albert to call the midwife because I literally wasn’t sure how else I was going to continue.
It’s a weird thing to be in so much pain but you physically can’t give up. I can’t think of anything else in life where you’re in so much discomfort but you literally can’t stop.
Albert called the midwife hotline and had THE MOST FRUSTRATING CONVERSATION with the operator as I’m screaming in pain. Finally I hear Lily’s voice and I lose my shit - as in, I’m crying so hard and so loud because I needed to hear Lily’s voice. She’s been there for me throughout this pregnancy since I’ve been in Columbus and for some reason I just bonded with her.
To know that she was the on call midwife and she’d actually be the one to deliver my baby was the security and reassurance I needed.
Lily said I needed to come to the hospital - so we all grabbed whatever we could and were out the door.
8:30am (28.5 hours of early & active labor)
Again, time is lost on me at this point. But I got to the hospital, went to triage where Lily checked my cervix and contractions and said that I was staying and they weren’t sending me home this time.
Right away they rolled me up to my delivery room where Lily looked me square in the face and said “what are we doing for pain management?” And without a second thought I told her I wanted the epidural.
It’s a blur but, after awhile I got the epidural and took a really long nap.
From 8:30am until 4:55pm -ish not much happened. I slept on & off, I continued to get my vitals checked and they checked my cervix to see if I had progressed any further.
I did not feel any pain but I did feel the pressure of my contractions. It’s like having an extreme urge to poop but you’re not allowed to go to the bathroom.
Around 5 I started to feel a bit of pain and wondered if the epidural was wearing off. They said it was the very beginning stage of wearing off and if they gave me more I wouldn’t be able to effectively push.
They needed the baby to come down the birth canal a little bit more before they felt comfortable with me pushing. But, by 5:05 I told the nurse that the pressure was too much and I feel the urge to push.
She went and got Lily and she came to check me. She said I was 10cm dilated and that we were about to have a baby.
We started pushing and I’ve never had to use so much energy and positivity as I did in this moment. Each push I felt like I was giving my all and yet, Lily still asked for more.
At one point Kendra said she could see Oliver’s hair. WHAT?!
I continued to push and then Lily said something along the lines of “Laura, we’re really close. Your baby boy is right here. If you can give me everything you’ve got, we can get this done in 2 pushes.”
I didn’t say this out loud but my body was like “hold my beer.”
6:06pm (38 hours of total laboring)
Because in 1 push Oliver Kenneth Adom was born.
Right away he was put on my chest and I felt the biggest sense of relief physically, emotionally and mentally. I was so happy - happy that he had finally arrived, happy that I no longer had pain or pressure, happy that I didn’t have to push anymore, happy that Lily was the one to help bring him into the world and so much more.
While I’m doing skin to skin with baby Oliver I started hemorrhaging. According to Lily I had lost a significant amount of blood but she was able to make the bleeding stop.
Of course a few things happen after she’s done - I birth the placenta, the umbilical cord is cut, they take his measurements, weight, etc.
Lily asks what I want to eat and I say an extra cheese, pepperoni & mushroom pizza.
From here on out, it is rest, recovery, pizza eating, baby holding & chit chat until I am taken to my recovery room.
So, why am I sharing this? Because it’s the type of post I wish I would’ve read before I had my baby. I read & listened to numerous birth stories and none of them sounded anything close to what I went through. Even when I talked to friends and family - no one had the type of long early laboring experience that I did.
And, I understand that pregnancy and birth are unique to each woman but it never occurred to me that my experience could happen. I wasn’t at all prepared for that - and maybe you can’t be. But, if there is a woman out there wondering what labor & birth is like - this is one of many versions.
The question that keeps circling in my head is - would I do this again? And I don’t think I know the answer quite yet. Do I want another child? Yes. Can I imagine going through this exact same laboring experience? Not right now. I think I’ll revisit this question later - there’s no rush and I’m overjoyed with learning and loving Oliver right now.
And, me and Albert have talked about how we want to share about Oliver online. We don’t intend on sharing photos of him on social media right now or anytime soon.
But, we did want to share just a few photos of him here on the blog. Plus, he’s 1 week old today!
Thank you to everyone who has expressed love and well wishes to us throughout my pregnancy and on this new journey of parenthood. We are so grateful for it all.
Laura, Albert & Oliver (aka Baby Taco)
Oliver Kenneth Adom - Born March 3rd, 2019