Slow and steady labor progresses over a number of days; baby Milo is well worth the wait! (3/23/22)
Thank you to mom Alexis for sharing her birth story of baby Milo with us today! Congratulations to both Alexis and Jon on the birth of their son! And thank you to doula Tara for her heartfelt support!
"On Saturday 3/19 (39 weeks, 4 days), I woke up early and took my siblings and mom to their final basketball game of the season. I was having Braxton hicks since I left the house around 7:30. I noticed at the game they were pretty consistent but kept it to myself because after all, they were still “fake contractions”. Throughout the day they continued and I let myself ignore them for the most part. Jon and I decided to grab dinner at one of our favorite restaurants since we knew soon we’d be welcoming baby. At dinner I noticed some subtle cramping accompanying the Braxton hicks. Jon and I finished our dinner and decided to grab dessert to go at Whole Foods. I had to use the restroom and that’s when I noticed the tiniest bit of pink tinge when I wiped, barely noticeable but noticeable to me! I told Jon and we both became anxiously excited over the fact that this was probably an early labor sign. We decided to text my homebirth midwives just in case and she let us know some other signs to look out for. Just after falling asleep I woke up feeling incredibly nauseous and threw up my whole dinner. I text my midwife knowing it wouldn’t wake her but just wanting to keep her in the loop. Over the course of the night I faded in and out of sleep noticing those subtle cramps. When I got up to use the restroom, I noticed more of that pink tinge. I had butterflies knowing this was definitely more than Braxton hicks. I knew how important rest was during early labor so I forced myself back to sleep.
By Sunday morning 3/20, I decided to track a few of my contractions. They were averaging 30 seconds long every 10 minutes. I focused on getting rest and Jon realized our hose attachment for the birth tub didn’t fit so off to Lowes he went. I kept in contact with my doula, Tara, and she gave me some exercises to do when I was no longer able to rest. Throughout the day contractions would get as close as 8 minutes and then get less consistent. By evening I decided to do some of the exercises; we tried the abdominal lift and tucks during contractions and the miles circuit. That night, rest became more difficult. Contractions grew stronger and I wasn’t able to sleep through them for the majority of the night. Some lasted 60 seconds, most 30, and at times became as close as 5 minutes apart. I tried to take a bath to slow contractions down and relax but they were stubborn and kept coming.
Monday morning, 3/21 I already had an adjustment scheduled at my chiropractor and an appointment with my midwife. My adjustment went great, everything was in alignment. When Jamie came for my appointment, mine and baby’s vitals were all good. We decided a cervical check may just disappoint me so I tried to stay positive and rest as much as possible. Contractions were constant yet inconsistent. They’d grow closer then spread apart but they never stopped. By Monday evening I had to focus a little more through them. I set myself up on the couch like the night before, knowing I couldn’t get comfortable in bed anyway and I didn’t want to wake Jon in case baby was coming soon. I paced through contractions all night, focusing on my breathing.
By 5am, now Tuesday 3/22, I had been awake all night. Contractions were stronger in intensity and getting closer and longer. I was averaging about 50 seconds 4 minutes apart. I kept in contact with Tara and we decided I should call Jamie. At 6am everyone was getting ready to head to me. I woke Jon up and he started getting things ready. As all the lights were on and the realization hit me that everyone was coming to help bring this baby into the world, I got nervous. I didn’t want everyone to come and for labor to stall. Of course, contractions then started to space out a bit. Jamie, Danette and Tara arrived as the sun was rising. Jon had taken our pup to stay with my mom. It was beautiful and sunny out with enough wind that it didn’t feel unbearably hot. Jon and I took a 30 minute walk around our neighborhood and intermittently timed my contractions. At some point we decided to do a cervical check, I was at a stretchy 4cm, everyone seemed optimistic. But, the day turned out to be less eventful than I hoped. Contractions were strong enough I couldn’t sleep much through them (the theme of the last few days) but baby must have been really cozy because he was not ready to come out yet. I was nauseous all day and wasn’t able to eat or drink much. After lots of abdominal tucks with Tara, birth ball exercises, and more spinning babies sprinkled with a few minutes of rest throughout the day, the birth team decided to let me have some space. Jon and I tried to relax but the exhaustion was really starting to wear on me. Around 7pm, Jamie stopped by to check our vitals. Although I was over being in labor for this long, baby was doing great and our vitals were good. We decided to check me again; still a stretchy 4cm but baby hadn’t descended at all. We had a hard conversation about my progress. Baby and I were healthy so Jamie was happy to support me in continuing to labor if I wanted, but non emergency hospital transfer was an option. Although we had prepared for a transfer out of caution, I didn’t imagine I’d be thinking about it. I realized that after 48 hours awake, I wouldn’t be able to get through an unmedicated labor. I was beyond tired, I was frustrated, and I didn’t know how much longer labor could go on. I also knew I wouldn’t get any sleep that night based off the relentless contractions I’d been having. Jon and I had an emotional conversation debating what to do and ultimately decided I needed to go to the hospital, get an epidural, and sleep so I could have my baby.
Jamie faxed over my care records and called the hospital to let them know I’d be arriving. Tara met us at home, we talked about what I felt comfortable with in the hospital setting, and made our way to Health Park. I tried to eat something light before we left and threw up right as we were walking out of the house. Contractions never stopped and were still coming on strong. When we arrived at 10:30pm, I made my way to triage and waited a painful 45 minutes for a room while trying to get through my contractions. Once I was seen, they checked me and I was at a 5/6cm and baby was stationed at a -1. I felt good things were moving but ultimately I needed pain relief and sleep. Right before we left triage I was hit with another intense wave of nausea and threw up. In our room, Jon and Tara supported me as the nurses came in and out and we waited for the anesthesiologist. The lack of sleep hit me harder than ever, I was struggling to cope through contractions yet barely awake or cognizant. Around 1 or 2am the anesthesiologist finally arrived. Relief set in fairly quickly and I was finally able to sleep. Every hour Tara helped me switch sides I was lying on with the peanut ball to help baby keep descending. After I got some rest we were shifting positions every 30 minutes. Contractions had spaced out while I was asleep but I wasn’t deterred. I knew that could be normal and more importantly I knew I needed to sleep to get through active labor.
Tuesday morning, 3/23 I was paired with an amazing day nurse that was respectful of what I wanted and extremely supportive. We decided to start a low dose of Pitocin to help pick things back up which I was on board with knowing if baby’s heart rate became abnormal, we would turn it off. Everyone was optimistic baby would come before evening. Throughout the day, Tara helped me with as many positional changes as I could manage with an epidural. In between, I was able to rest which felt amazing. The hours crept by and we gradually increased the pitocin to help contractions get more consistent and closer together. By 10:30am I was at 8cm and we decided to let things progress on their own a bit before talking about breaking my water. Around 12:30pm Tara came to help me shift positions and we noticed some clear fluid, my water had broken on its own! The nurses came in to confirm since we weren’t 100% positive and sure enough, it had broken. My nurse noticed the fluid was meconium stained and let me know because it was medium-thick the nicu nurses would be present for his birth just to make sure he looked ok. I wasn’t too concerned knowing meconium wasn’t that uncommon and baby’s heartrate remained healthy. At this point, we were waiting for me to complete dilation and then prepared to wait for baby to labor down before I had to think about pushing. Although I couldn’t feel anything, I had a good amount of mobility in my legs so we worked through different exercises and spinning babies positions to help baby descend further over the next few hours. They told me to pay attention to pressure I may feel and if it was constant that that was a good sign my body wanted to push. It was getting close to 7pm, the end of my day nurses shift and I was starting to feel that pressure but it was subtle. It was really odd for me to know I was progressing but not feel the sensations, I felt disconnected from my body in a way. They checked me a final time and I was finally complete and baby was in a good position to push. Baby’s entire journey here was slow and trying and this stage of labor was no exception. After an hour and a half of pushing,
baby’s head was barely crowning and I was reaching exhaustion. My day nurse decided to stay late to see baby’s labor through and I was so appreciative. I was surrounded by medical staff called in to help brainstorm different positions to help me progress. I know Jon was overwhelmed by the large amount of people in the room but I was so focused on working to get baby out that I barely registered the room full of people cheering me on. At almost 2 hours and 30 minutes of pushing, Milo was born at 7:53pm on Tuesday 3/23. He weighed 8lbs 8oz (technically 8.9 oz which they rounded up to 9oz on his birth certificate) just like his mom and dad and was 22in. long. A long journey for the sweetest blessing.
After 3 days in the NICU immediately following Milo’s birth, we were able to bring him home as a family of 3. Our birth story had a lot of challenges and unexpected turns, more even after he was born. The support we had from Tara the entire time and even now, 4 weeks postpartum was incredible. Our experience wouldn’t have been as positive without her and the Mindful Birth team!
Authored by Alexis Bacarella
First time mama to sweet baby Milo
Join us in congratulating this sweet family of three!
Our doula best,
Tara + the Mindful Birth Doulas