Birth Story- Malakai Benson
Here’s my version of the events leading to the birth of mister Malakai…Ben is also going to write one from his perspective which I will post once he’s finished….
Wednesday July 15th we had the appointment I mentioned before and I was still at 4cm. I was so surprised that all these contractions had not gotten me any further, but I was effacing and there was more bloody show afterwards. We decided to schedule our weekly appointment with another doc since mine would be on vacation next week and we also scheduled a “just in case” induction for her first day back on July 27th. What a crazy feeling that was.
Due to the forecast of more very hot weather, Ben and I decided to go out to my parents’ place and spend time by the pool and enjoying the a/c. My parents went to the coast so we were hanging out with my siblings. I was having some of my usual false labor contractions all afternoon. I took a nap around 4pm and took it easy inside the rest of the evening.
I had my first big contraction at 7:30pm and suddenly knew that this could be the real deal. It was such intense pain that I was in tears. Ben sat with me and we found something on tv to distract me from the pain while we timed them. They quickly went from 4 minutes apart to 2-3 minutes apart and I had to change positions frequently to ease the pain. Ben called my OB’s office and the on-call doctor told us to go in to Labor & Delivery. This was that “not going until I can barely walk to the car” scenario I was waiting for after two other false alarms.
We got to the hospital around 9pm and checked into triage. I was still at 4cm but this time baby’s heart rate was getting really high with my contractions. They monitored him for a while and he finally tolerated them better. They suggested I walk a bit before they checked me again. I was in so much pain that I started talking with Ben about the possibility of medication to get me through. Especially since things were progressing slower than expected. I knew I didn’t want an epidural but I wasn’t confident that I could handle a long labor after how exhausted I already was.
I couldn’t walk any longer and I had to use the restroom terribly. We came back to triage and requested a birthing ball as I didn’t want to sit in bed and slow things down but my legs were cramping and shaking so I couldn’t walk or stand. They brought me the wrong kind…a really tiny one for laboring in bed so I just sat in the bed. They monitored me again and checked and I had progressed to 5cm. The nurse talked with the on-call doc from our group, Dr. Lee, and he instructed them to admit me.
FINALLY! We were so excited that it was finally time to meet our son. We were admitted into one of the beautiful Labor & Delivery rooms at Sacred Heart Medical Center and as soon as we got all the formalities out of the way I got into the jacuzzi tub for some relief. Ben called our parents and let them know we were there, it was about 11pm at this point. Unfortunately we had to grab all our stuff and move next door after a bit due to the tub in our room leaking!
Ben counted with me through each contraction to help me keep my rhythm. This isn’t something that we practiced, in fact we didn’t have much of a plan but had gone through the natural birthing class and used what we learned as it became something I needed. He did this counting all night long and I was contracting every 2 minutes and sometimes closer all night.
My mouth and throat got really dry and I was getting really exhausted. I moved back and forth from the birthing ball to the tub. Being in the bed, even sitting up was excruciating on my back. At around 1am I was still only at 7cm so I asked Ben if we could talk to the nurse about pain remedies. I apologized over and over and was so diappointed in myself but I needed some help. I knew I didn’t want an epidural and the best option was to administer Stadol by an IV. I hadn’t needed an IV at all during labor because our hospital doesn’t routinely give them, which I loved. So they put in the IV and gave me a dose of Stadol and also some fluids. It did take the edge off as it was meant to and more importantly it allowed me to actually rest between contractions, which I wasn’t able to do at all.
Because I had taken medication they had to monitor Malakai a little more often. He was doing just fine and I HATED having the monitor on during contractions. Especially because he moves so much that the nurse had to push the disc on my belly pretty hard.
At one point I had gotten too warm in the tub and moved to the labor ball…and started to feel nauseated and before I knew it I was vomited and then dry heaving. I asked the nurse if it was normal and she assured me that it was and happens all the time. I proceeded to apologize to her for the mess. She was so sweet and I still need to do something as a thank you for how patient she was with me. At one point I was dry-heaving and contracting at the same time and I swore I had pulled a muscle in my stomach it hurt so badly!
I had another dose of Stadol around 3:30am as the first dose had worn off. Again I was able to rest some but it didn’t do more than take the edge off. I was still moaning, groaning, and sometimes yelling through the contractions. Throughout labor I had somehow developed this way of communicating with Ben while keeping my rhythm by either shaking or nodding my head. When I shook my head in disagreement it was either because I was having trouble coping with the pain or whatever Ben was doing wasn’t helping (counting, rubbing my back, etc). If I was nodding in agreement I had my rhythm down and was telling myself I could do this thing! It was kind of weird, but it worked.
At one point Ben had developed the hiccups and I kicked him out of the bathroom of the labor room until he could get rid of them because he couldn’t count right with me and I was getting increasingly frustrated while feeling bad for him at the same time and I just couldn’t deal.
Once I was to 9cm I felt a slight urge to push and much to my surprise the nurse said it was okay to push some through the contractions if it felt good. The best position was sitting on the toilet but I wasn’t allowed to push. I asked if they had a birth chair that was similar but they didn’t. I was pretty disappointed as I feel like I would have had a lot of success pushing in that position. They broke my water shortly after and the progression to 10 was pretty quick.
I started pushing at 5:20am but things were fairly slow going. Dr. Lee came in to check on me at one point thinking that he’d be staying to deliver the baby but they couldn’t even really see baby yet. He asked when I had last emptied my bladder and it had been quite a while. He suggested that they empty it for me with a catheter. I was very hesitant and asked if I could try on my own, but I couldn’t. The catheter between contractions was not my favorite experience, but I was able to get back to pushing Malakai down and out.
Pushing was so difficult and kind of scary. One of the hardest parts was catching my breath between each push. I tried a couple positions. I was in the bed but it was set up more like a chair. At one point I kneeled on the lower part at the end to squat but baby wasn’t doing well with that position so they made me turn around. I used the squat bar in a couple different ways. I’d either squat my legs on the bed and hold on to the bar with my arms and then lay back on the bed to rest in between. I also had a sheet wrapped around the top and put my feet on the sides of the bar with my rear on the end of the bed. The position I used the most was to hang on to Ben’s hand and the bed with my feet up on the bar and hanging off the end of the bed over the lowered part. At the very end they brought up hand bars to give me more leverage and I’m sure Ben was happy about his hand getting a break.
Just before 7am Dr. McCarthy, my OB, came in. She was on call that morning but not until 8am and when she heard that I was in labor she came in early to deliver our boy. I was so glad to see her!
Once they started to get everything ready for Malakai to be born there was a flurry of activity and about 10 different nurses in our room. I asked what was going on and I just happened to be delivering during a shift change!
When it came time to push Malakai out my body was beyond exhausted but I was so motivated by knowing that I was about to meet my son. Ben was so encouraging and I couldn’t have done any of it without him. I felt Malakai’s head crown and was resting when I couldn’t tell if I was contracting anymore. I felt so much pressure everywhere I didn’t know when to push. I wasn’t on a monitor anymore so a nurse was feeling my belly to tell me when to push him out but I wasn’t contracting. My doctor told me that if I felt like I could push that I could try without the contractions since they weren’t coming. Three more HARD pushes and his head was out, then another push and his shoulders and then the rest of him slid out.
Feeling him come out was the biggest physical relief I’d ever felt. Suddenly he was on my chest and Ben and I were both crying with joy. Ben kept saying “He’s here, he’s here!” I honestly can’t type it out without tearing up at how wonderful that moment was. There were a million people all around me but I only saw Malakai and Ben, our little family. Ben cut the cord and then moved to my other side so the nurses could do their thing.
I tried to breast-feed immediately and Malakai latched right on but was just looking all around. He had a perfect latch but wasn’t suckling yet. I just let him hang out there for a while to get used to things.
We both kept looking him over as they administered pitocin into my IV because my uterus had stopped contracting and I needed to deliver the placenta as well as have my uterus contract and start going back down to size. They were about to have me push to deliver the placenta so Ben took Malakai, but I barely started to push and the placenta was out. They then started working on stitching me up and massaging my uterus. I didn’t even feel much with the stitching, all the pressure pretty much numbed things down there. The massage on the other hand was very painful and I couldn’t help but groan and moan every time the nurse did it. They were afraid I was bleeding too much at first but thing slowed down and I was fine.
While Ben was holding him he started to suckle his hand so he brought him back to me to try feeding again. He latched and didn’t suckle again at first. I switched sides and he immediately started feeding! I of course began to cry with joy, what a beautiful thing!
Everything after that was a bit of a blur. Ben helped the nurse weigh, measure, and bathe Malakai. Ben and Malakai had some skin-to-skin bonding time while I ate breakfast and I fed him again while daddy ate. We were in the labor room til just before 11am. Once I got all showered we were taken to the mother/baby room.
We settled in there and called our immediate families to let them know we were ready for them to visit. We texted the rest of our friends and family and told them they could begin visiting at 4pm. We ended up not really needing that break since I couldn’t sleep from all the adrenaline. Ben took quite a few short naps. He was so exhausted he could barely keep his eyes open. I didn’t even know how tired he was all night and am so blessed to have had such a great coach through the process.
We had visitors trickling in and out until 10pm that night. Every nurse and CNA we came into contact with was so wonderful. The nurses that ended up changing shifts throughout my delivery even came back to meet him and congratulate us.
I was advised not to sleep with him in my bed if Ben and I were both sleeping, but when I was feeding him I fell asleep a few times. He was perfectly fine and it was the most blissful feeling I’ve ever had- napping with my new son.
Ben and the nurses would have to help me out of bed and bring Malakai to me as the stitches and swelling made it very difficult for me to move much. I was given percocet for the pain and ibuprofen for the swelling. They made icepacks out of baby diapers by opening the lining, filling them with water and then putting them in the freezer. Those things were heaven sent. If we had an ice machine at home I would have been making some myself!
We decided to be discharged the next day because recovery was going smoothly for me and Malakai was perfectly healthy. We had a few more visitors that morning and took our time getting ready to go home. Malakai LOVES his carseat and fell asleep immediately when we put him in it.
All three of us are home and doing wonderfully. I’m taking the recovery process as slow as possible as I tried to do too much my first day back and had quit a painful spasm in my stomach. I will continue to blog about our day to day experiences and will probably change the name of my blog as soon as I come up with something clever enough 🙂 I’ve never really liked the title I have but couldn’t think of something to replace it.
Thank you all for reading and for all your support. Here are some pictures from the hospital.