This week is a big week with Calihan turning one. I really wanted to share our birth story because it’s an important day in our lives. Before diving too deep into everything that happened, I want to let every woman who is about to give birth know that this is not normal! We had a very unique experience and a slightly traumatizing one to say the least. We are so thankful that everyone is safe and healthy, and this is a time we can look back on and laugh now.
I was actually being induced for numerous reasons on October 1st. We had a pretty relaxing day, I ate quite a bit since I heard you can’t eat once you’re in labor and I like my food (I’m sure if you follow me on Instagram you know this). My induction was set for 9:30pm, and we arrived in Grand Rapids quite early so I jokingly asked Lyall to drive me to the hotel I was a manager at to wave “goodbye” as I knew I was about to go on maternity leave. After the drive around, we checked in at the desk at the hospital, went to our room, and I took so many photos of the set up for a baby.
Once we were all settled in, our nurse came in to check vitals and start Pitocin to make sure my cervix and everything was ready for labor. Here we go! (so we thought). Contractions slowly trickled in and were slightly uncomfortable yet, bearable.
Leading up to any woman’s birth there are many appointments you attend and they get closer and closer as the due date is near. At these appointments, many conversations happen on how the birth is envisioned. My last few appointments I mentioned to my doctor that I was not interested in the epidural. I said that I am not against it, and I’m not for it. I’m just neutral. I wanted to see if I could make it without it, and if I didn’t that would be alright also.
Fast forward to when the contractions were steadily ripping my insides, I was for the epidural. My doctor came in at 4am and let me know she was there to break my water. I was specifically told by my cousin that I should make up my mind before she breaks my water because that’s when the contractions get quite painful. I asked her for the epidural and she joked with me saying
“You’re laughing, smiling, and talking. You don’t need an epidural.”
then she popped my water. (Insert freaking out laughing but also trusting her)
I laughed a little and thought yikes, ok. I knew she was trying to help me live out the plans I really wanted and she was incredibly encouraging to get me through it all.
I also knew what was coming though.
I endured close to 7 hours more of contractions before they were so close together, and so painful that I couldn’t take it anymore. I was only dilated to 3 cm at 11am and the pain was not worth having knowing that I was not dilating.
I ended up getting the epidural at 11:15am and by noon I was FINALLY dilated to a 10.
Here we go! (nope again)
I was pushing properly and his head was right there. Our doctor was even playing with his hair (strange I know but it kept me incredibly calm in the moment). The epidural ended up failing in one spot on my hip and thank goodness it did! My contractions started going wonky and they were no longer showing on the monitor as full contractions, as well as irregular. The issue with this is you are supposed to push when you are having a contraction. Luckily, since the epidural failed in the one spot, I could feel contractions in my hip. I had to mention to the nurse when I was having a full contraction so they could help me push.
So close so close. (wrong again)
Calihan decided to turn. He ended up being stuck under my pelvic bone and no amount of pushing was getting him out. His heart rate was steady so she let me keep pushing as she was trying to turn him at the same time. I pushed for 3 hours, in and out of consciousness. In between those 3 hours, Lyall handed me apple juice because I was not staying awake and I instantly threw up all over myself and some of the equipment. So embarrassing.
My doctor could see I was running out of energy and she said we will have to start helping you because he’s right here just needs the right movement to get him out.
She ended up grabbing the vacuum (tool to assist) to help deliver him. The issue now was that his hair was so thick that she could not get the vacuum to grasp his head and using it too many times can cause brain bleeds, etc. She ended up using the vacuum multiple times until finally she looked me dead in the eye and then quickly at Lyall and said
“I’m trying to save you both so I need you to give me everything you have in you on this next push”
I did not think anything about saving lives until this moment. I honestly blacked out but from Lyall’s side of view this is what happened next:
Our doctor attached the vacuum, and I had a nurse holding up my left leg and another nurse holding up my right leg. Lyall was next to my head on my right side.
A contraction came and the doctor shot a quick serious look at another nurse that was standing in the back that ran over, shoved the nurse standing on my right out of the way, shoved Lyall (he landed on the little couch) and then jumped on me with her butt in my face SHOVING on my stomach. Let me remind everyone that you are numb from your waist down. I could feel every finger when she pushed on me. I can’t even compare the feeling to when they check you after you give birth.
This all happened within a matter of seconds.
Next I knew Calihan was on my chest.
I was honestly traumatized. The whole night and day leading up to those last few seconds were incredibly calm. I was exhausted in the last three hours, but never panicked. Those last seconds happened and I told people for months there would not be a second child.
Calihan did have a small mark on his head for awhile, a cone shaped head, and did have to go through multiple screenings for head size. Luckily, he’s healthy as can be. Just a little birth mark above his eye from it all.
I’m slowly forgetting everything as time goes on, Lyall actually had to remind me of a lot of the details before writing this and recording the video.
This is probably because my mind wants to forget but Calihan is absolutely worth it all.