Play the slideshow below for the photo documentation of Jazlyn’s birth and first few days (thanks to our doula for taking the pictures with my husband & I).
My Birth Story
On March 15th, 2014 my life changed forever when my baby girl Jazlyn was born. It had been a long nine months of watching everything I ate, mentally and physically preparing myself for an experience I was once terrified of, and on top of that, the longest I had been sober since high school. I was huge, I was uncomfortable, I was finally ready to be done with pregnancy and meet my baby. My husband and I prepared the best we could for an all natural birth, but unfortunately our baby had other plans. Labor started off with mild cramping around 3pm on Thursday the 13th. It took a few hours for me to realize these were more than just pregnancy cramps, but I stayed calm, took my dog for a walk, baked some brownies, and even waited till my husband got home from his racquetball game around 8pm before I told him my suspicions. It was then that we both got really excited but we took it easy and tried to enjoy our last night alone together. When I realized I was not going to be able to get any sleep that night we called our doula to come over around 1 a.m. to help us get through the labor process. Around 4am when my contractions got much closer, about 2 minutes apart, we decided it was time to head to the hospital. Something must have been in the air that night because the hospital was full of deliveries. When I first arrived they checked my dilation and I was at 4 centimeters and then one hour later I was at 5. My labor kept progressing well through the morning. I spent most of the time relaxing in my hospital room’s jacuzzi tub which was lined with LED candles and with my favorite music playing in the background. My husband was absolutely amazing as he was right by my side massaging my back through every contraction, and when I needed a break from the water we would slow dance or just laugh together, it truly was magical. It was also great to have our doula, Carolyn of Doulawise, there through the whole process. She provided confidence, support, and gave my husband much needed breaks. And the midwives and nurses at Denver Health Hospital were so accommodating and supportive that at times I felt like I was getting royal treatment at a spa.
I was as relaxed as could be considering the contractions were greatly intensifying as I got further along. And then after about 16 hours or so of waiting to push at 8cm, everything began to change. We realized that my body had stopped progressing, the contractions and exhaustion were starting to become unbearable, and my baby had turned into an unfavorable face-up position. She wasn’t going to come out on her own. We tried a number of natural induction techniques from breaking my water, aromatherapy oils, and even the use of a breast pump before I finally gave in to an Epidural and Pitocin to try to chemically induce dilation. I only had 2 more centimeters to go, but after trying everything, nothing was working. Then I had one of the strongest intuitions I ever felt, that a C-section would be necessary. It was the last thing I wanted, but I knew at this point it was the best and possibly the only option left. Thankfully my husband, doula, and the medical staff all agreed and before I knew it I was whisked away to the operating room. I began to cry for the first time, and then started shaking uncontrollably. The doctors told me the shaking was normal, due to the hormones, drugs, and anxiety. But even so, it was scary being strapped down in a crucifix position, almost completely naked, under the bright lights, and surrounded by a room full of strangers covered in gowns and face masks. I asked the anesthesiologist if I could have some music to calm my nerves and thankfully he agreed and grabbed his personal MP3 player and played Bob Marley over the speaker for me. I instantly stopped shaking, at least for a few tracks. When they finally let my husband in I barely recognized him in the face mask and scrubs. It was far from the intimate experience I was hoping for, but when I saw my baby’s face for the first time I knew it was all worth it. She was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen.
People immediately feel sorry for me when they hear how long I labored for. But honestly you could have told me I was in labor for 10 hours and I would have believed you. I was in another world where time moved fast and getting my baby out safely was all I could focus on. However I certainly couldn’t have done it without my husband, doula, the jacuzzi tub, and the wonderful staff of Denver Health. And if I have another baby one day, I would certainly attempt another all natural vaginal birth again. I’m thankful for (most of) the experience, and of course thankful to now have a happy, healthy, beautiful baby girl.