"I Never Felt so Spiritual and Alive!"
By Abby Moore, Grayville, IL
I have been meaning to sit down and type this out since the day that Carson was born, but, ya know, two kids and all of that. I think I’d like to start by saying that my labor and birth experience with Carson was a life-saving experience. Not in a physical way, but in an emotional way. It has permanently changed the way I live and view the world!
Throughout my pregnancy and for several months before, I seemed to just be going through the motions each day. Taking my life one day at a time, not really doing or feeling anything, just trying to get from sun up to bed time. I’d not always been that way, and I’d honestly say the beginning of this feeling was at the time of my miscarriage in August 2008. At that time, I had “known” for several years that my fertility was very poor due to polycystic ovary syndrome. So when I found out that I was pregnant, I was obviously surprised, but also terrified, and sad because by the time I knew I was pregnant, I was having a very long, “lingering” miscarriage. It seemed to go on forever, though it was just a few weeks. After that, it seemed I couldn’t really think of anything else besides having a baby. Fast forward a year later, still no pregnancy. The first seemed to be a fluke. In comes Clomid, but that is another post. Two cycles later, YAY! Baby! After an uneventful pregnancy that went post dates, and an OB that scared me into getting induced when I didn’t need to be, who THEN preceded to mishandle my induction and delivery in such a way that my daughter and I both experienced physical trauma, bring on the postpartum depression. I had hoped for a natural birth, and what I got was the furthest thing from it. And the baby that I had seemed to cry uncontrollably, inconsolably, for hours. This was July 2010. August came, and we found out that my husband’s grandmother had stage IV cancer. Devastating. She was the glue of the family. By this time we also found out our daughter had severe digestive food allergies and sensitivities. A lot on our plates to say the least. But it was December 2010, that dealt the heaviest blow: My mom, my best friend, whom I saw every day and lived only blocks away my whole adult life, passed away suddenly after a massive heart attack. I pretty well turned my feelings off at that point. I found out I was pregnant in March and was shocked and so scared. I didn’t think I could handle anything else, especially without my mom to support me through it, and my daughter was barely 10 months old! If there was anything left to feel, they went to the closet after Grammy’s death in March, my Grandmother’s late stage cancer diagnosis in July, which was preceded by my husband’s grandfather’s death (Grammy’s husband) in July as well.
Now, I know that got windy, but it’s so important to the story. My kids and my births are so very important to me!!! I would do ANYTHING for my kids (including endure that horrid induction all over again if I had to.) I think that is why Carson’s birth was so important. I thought being pregnant was the last thing I needed that May of 2011. But God knew it was just what I needed to heal.
I had a severe diastasis recti during pregnancy (having babies very close together, and babies that grow very quickly can cause large spread in the two columns of abdominal muscles, causing no support and organs to “sag” directly against the skin.) I was uncomfortable, afraid to have another experience like my first, chasing a toddler, irritable uterus (constant and incessant Braxton Hicks) and not really dealing at all with all of the heartbreak of the years past. Toward the end of my pregnancy, I began to worry incessantly about going over too far and requiring another induction. My 24 week ultrasound had revealed a baby that would have been estimated to be about 12lbs at birth (97%) and because my daughter had a shoulder dystocia charted, my doctor was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to birth my second one. However, she was willing to let me try to labor and birth (this is the only true way to diagnose a shoulder dystocia-in labor) At 39 weeks 3 days, I agreed to a membrane sweep to avoid a real induction. By 39 and 5, I thought I had an infection in my uterus, and we packed up and went to triage that night. I didn’t feel contractions, I felt soreness and irritability. I had been 5 cm for about two weeks, with a bulging bag of waters. Nothing was happening, no infection, baby was fine, so home we go in the middle of January with an ice storm coming. We know sooner get on the interstate than contractions start and are about 6 minutes apart, all the way home. This continues for about an hour at home, so we head back to the hospital and call my doulas! I was in labor! Hoorah! Me and my crew roll in there and start my antibiotics (Group B strep) AND NO CONTRACTIONS on the monitor. UGH….My fear of the hospital had really taken over at that point, it was obvious. But I knew if I left they would begin again. I had to get out of my own head. So we walked the halls at 1 am, all four of us & no real pattern began, still 5 cm. I decided to bounce on the birth ball and use the breast pump that my doulas recommended. After about 15 minutes, I got a good pattern going and away we went! Around 7:30 am I was breathing through contractions and loving every minute of my natural labor! When they moved me to a room at that time, they checked me and I was 8cm and 100%. Yes! Total cake walk so far. I sat in the recliner and listened to my Ipod while my support team laughed at me for yelling over my music in the headphones and had snacks. But, I was at another stall. I walked the halls, and pumped some more, and the pattern picked back up. I knew at that time that my mind had to get past what was going on, and I needed to intensify things to avoid Pitocin. I asked my doctor to rupture my membranes since they had been bulging for quite some time. Well, it was a good idea, until she couldn’t rupture them with the hook. I had a very tough sac, and I could feel the snag and tug, but they wouldn’t burst! She at that time used a fetal heart electrode and they finally trickled! But after all that action, I back slid to 6 cm. (however, my team decided that would get in my head as well, and decided not to tell me about it-great decision!) Away I went with the walking and pumping again! It was about 11am when they checked me again and admitted the back slide, and explained that I was now back to the 8cm. I felt so spiritual, I had intense feelings, period. The tears flowed with the music “Dark Before The Morning” by Josh Wilson was on repeat, and I prayed, a lot. I have never been high, but I would guess that is what it felt like. Hyper sensitive, more awake than I’ve ever experienced. It was then that I got very fearful. Why was baby not descending? Why was it taking so long? Was my child stuck again, was I facing the same trauma as I was with my first. At that time, I was very withdrawn, I was doing big work, and couldn’t string my sentences together. I could only say “I’m afraid baby is stuck” My team took it as fear of my previous labor getting to me, and encouraged me by saying “This is not Mallory’s birth” and “this is a different pregnancy, different doctor” but what I meant was that intuitively, I knew baby should’ve been born already. I knew something was holding things up. I had been laboring on the birth ball and standing by the bed at that point. Things were intense, I was almost ready to push, but I didn’t feel the need to…my doctor asked if I’d be willing to change positions to encourage baby to turn. I agreed to get on the bed and try the squat bar, but not much change. I tried all fours, but this killed my diastasis. What would I do then if baby was stuck? That had been my plan to dislodge! My OB suggested I lay on my side and put my foot on the squat bar. At that point she discovered a second bag of waters and asked if she could rupture it. When she did, WHOOOO! There was that urge to push I wanted! But baby wasn’t really coming after several pushes, and it turns out I was right: baby was stuck, the same way as my first. But my OB handled it like a champ! (my babies try to be born occiput right; OB #1 didn’t bother to see this and just cut me and sucked her out sideways, fracturing her collar bone and causing my a 3rd degree tear when I birthed the shoulders) My doctor manually turned my baby as she cheered me on: “Push Abby, this baby girl wants you to push!” (No one knew the gender, but I believed her haha) “This beautiful baby girl has some hair for you, Mom!” Then finally, she said “ABBY, REACH DOWN AND BIRTH YOUR BABY!” And I did. I hooked baby’s armpits with my fingers and pulled baby onto my chest. I hugged so snuggly I thought baby would suffocate. I NEVER felt so spiritual and ALIVE. My whole body tingled with delight! I rubbed baby, and the nurse lifted the blanket to check if the cord had stopped pulsing so my husband could cut it. It was then that she said, “Only one problem with this baby girl, It’s a BOY!” We had all just went with the girl thing! My 8lb 20in handsome little cube of love was the reason for all of this emotion, all of this release. He made it possible for me to feel so powerful, awe struck and intensely AWARE of my body and feelings. He was the miracle that I needed. He was my recovery, my band-aid, he was what I found when I searched my soul. I had no stitches, Baby Boy Moore had no trauma, and we went home 24 hours later to the most beautiful big sister in the world. My birth experiences were and are as different as my kids have turned out to be. And each experience has changed my life for the better. I will never under appreciate what this little man brought me through, and I will never forget that GOD is in control, he is responsible for the gift of natural birth, and he knows our needs even when we do not.