Mama Katie Clark of Clarks Condensed shares the hospital epidural birth stories of her two sons on the Honest Birth birth story series! Katie was induced with her first son and went into labor on her own with her second!
Hey mamas! Welcome to the thirteenth post in my Honest Birth series! I’m excited to share another real mama’s birth story, because I think it’s so important to share our childbirth experiences with each other. My goal with this series is to provide a place for women to share their birth stories without holding anything back, as well as compile stories for pregnant mamas to read in preparation for their own childbirth experiences. Every mama is different and every birth is different, and I believe that when we share our stories we help each other.
Today I am featuring my friend Katie! Katie and I grew up in the same hometown, but we didn’t know each other (and somehow, we still haven’t met in person!) We’ve followed each other’s blogs for years, and we’ve become good blogging friends! Katie writes the blog Clarks Condensed where she shares parenting tips, yummy and easy recipes (this one is my FAVE), and cute craft ideas! She and her husband have two little boys and they live in Colorado. Today she’s going to be sharing the birth stories of both of her boys!
Ready to read her stories? Here we go!
The Birth Story of Jack Clark
People sometimes say that when you have a really hard pregnancy, you have an easy delivery.
Well, I don’t know how true that really is – but in the case of my first born, Jack, it thankfully was.
My entire pregnancy was full with all day, every day sickness, prenatal depression, and just feeling pretty crummy about 99% of the time.
When I went in to my 39 week appointment, and the doctor exclaimed, “Oh, we won’t be seeing this baby for at least two more weeks” and that he was “almost always right about this,” I about burst into tears.
So I begrudgingly went home believing that I wouldn’t become a mother for a few more weeks and tried to make the best of it.
I didn’t even do any of the “labor inducing” techniques because it just seemed hopeless!
Well, three days later, Forrest (my husband) and I went out to eat at Red Robin. I got a hamburger with pineapple, because I’d heard pineapple can help move labor along. Afterward, we went over to play disc golf at a local park, which made me exhausted, so we went home.
I was starting to feel a little bit sick, and I kept feeling like I had to go to the bathroom. I started to think that maybe I had gotten food poisoning from Red Robin, and I just hoped I wouldn’t feel sick for long – especially if the baby was going to come anytime soon!
Forrest and I settled in for the night and decided to watch 27 Dresses. After a little while, I realized that my stomach cramps were coming at oddly consistent intervals, so I went under my blanket, pulled out my contraction counter and started counting them.
Sure enough – I was having these cramps every three minutes apart. Since everything I’d read up to that point said you have to go in if your contractions are that close together, I told Forrest I thought I was in labor, and we headed to the hospital.
When I arrived, the contractions were getting stronger, and I was not feeling super comfortable. They brought me to triage and monitored me for a few hours – unfortunately, after a few hours, I was still just at a one.
The nurse said she could give me some morphine to help with the pain…little did I know, that was going to stop my contractions altogether! I wish I’d realized that, because I would have declined it. But it all worked out. They sent us home around 3 in the morning, and I was fortunately able to sleep for awhile.
I woke up around 9:30, and I was having some lighter contractions. They were still close together, so we decided to go walk around the mall, get some Chick-fil-a breakfast, and then headed to the hospital again.
When we got there, the nurse checked me and said, “We’ll just say you are a three so you can stay. Your doctor was thinking of inducing you today anyways.” That was the first I’d heard about that plan, but I was just happy they didn’t send me home again!
They quickly sent us to our labor room-at this hospital, you stayed in the same room the entire time for labor and recovery, so we were excited about that. The room was huge-it seemed bigger than our house (which was very small at the time, haha).
They gave me a little bit of Pitocin, but my body seemed to start to progress on its own. I soon requested an epidural, which brought me a lot of relief. I literally couldn’t feel a thing for the rest of my labor!
At one point I guess they thought I wasn’t breathing well, so they gave me some oxygen-but I honestly don’t even remember that part! I do remember them letting my husband have my meal, since I couldn’t eat, and I was super jealous because I was starving.
I was checked in around 11:30, and around 3:30, they said they were going to break my water. That was the strangest feeling! But within just a few minutes, I went from a 7 to a 10, and they told me to hold off on pushing until the doctor got there.
Somehow, I was able to do that until about 4:45 when he arrived. He had me start pushing around 4:50, and after three pushes, he told me to stop. At the time I didn’t realize it, but he decided to give me an episiotomy and then he proceeded to use forceps to birth Jack into the world.
At the time, I didn’t care, and I was honestly just confused at what was happening. He told me afterward that I would have been pushing for hours, so he wanted to help me out. Fortunately, I didn’t have a bad recovery from the episiotomy, and Jack didn’t have any issues from the forceps.
Hearing Jack cry for the first time was an incredible moment. I couldn’t believe he was there! The doctor kept saying how much hair he had, and how he was a blondie. Forrest cut the cord, and they took him over to be weighed and cleaned off. This was right around the time they started really encouraging skin to skin immediately after birth-I wish we’d been able to experience that, but I was kind of out of it either way.
They asked me if I wanted to meet my son, and they placed Jack in my arms. I couldn’t believe it-he was here! After all the sickness, depression, and just feeling pretty miserable for nine months, this perfect little baby was here. I fell in love with him instantly, and I knew without a doubt that he was supposed to be in our family at that time.
I was able to start nursing him right away, and I felt like I was treated like royalty the whole time we were in the hospital. I spiked a fever after giving birth, so they had to put Jack on antibiotics for the time we were there, but he handled them like a champ.
Jack was a dream baby in the hospital, and the nurses kept commenting on how he was the best baby in the nursery. I had to agree! In the middle of the night after he was born, I was holding him, and I remember distinctly hearing the words come to my mind, “God gives us what we need”, and I’ve never forgotten that-Jack was exactly what our family needed.
The Birth Story of Oliver Clark
In many ways, Oliver’s pregnancy and birth were similar to that with Jack, but there were a few stark differences:
The first one was great, but the second two were just about enough to send me into a crazed frenzy!
Up until about 36 weeks, my pregnancy had gone fairly smoothly (just that lovely all-pregnancy-long morning sickness I had with Jack). Just a few days before I was 37 weeks along, we found out that Oliver was in the breech position.
I actually had a feeling going into his appointment that this would be the case – just call it mother’s intuition I guess. However, it was still a blow to my plan.
I had a failed ECV a few days later, but he eventually turned on his own right before 38 weeks. That’s when we found out he was IUGR (intrauterine growth restricted), which basically means something with my pregnancy or him was causing him to not grow the way he should.
To make a long story short (which you can read from some of the links above), I made it to my 39 week appointment, where the doctor swept my membranes (though not before I was 10 minutes late, got a scolding by the nurse, and then got scolded again because I forgot to uncross my legs while she took my blood pressure, causing it to give a false reading that was in the 150s!)
However, she didn’t tell me she was doing that – and if you’ve ever had them swept, you’ll know that was a painful surprise!
But, within about five minutes, I started getting crampy, and by the time we got home, I was having what I felt were beginning contractions.
After awhile they wore off, so I let Forrest leave to go work for my dad. Jack and I watched Master Chef Jr, and my contractions started up about 3-5 minutes apart. Forrest was on his way home with a pizza. By the time he got home, they were starting to hurt, so we ate some pizza, and relaxed for a little bit. Sometimes they came frequently and then sometimes they stopped, so we just held out for awhile.
Around 11 PM, we called my mom and she came over to watch Jack. Thank goodness we lived near my parents this time around! When she got there, even though I was feeling super uncomfortable, she said, “You don’t look like you are in labor! I bet you’ll be back!”
And she was right.
I went and got checked into triage, and because I hadn’t made any progress from earlier, the doctor (who happened to be my least favorite doctor in the practice) wanted to monitor me for awhile. A nurse came in and announced she thought Oliver was breech again – which sent my blood pressure through the roof.
The doctor came in and did an ultrasound, and thankfully he was still in the right position! Unfortunately, I hadn’t progressed any so I was sent home.
But not without the nurse scaring me half to death by saying, “Well he’s really high. You could have a cord prolapse if your keep continuing to progress without him dropping. Well, good luck!”
Uhhh, yeah. Not helpful!
Anyways, I went home, still having contractions, and literally as I got in the car, they got so much worse. By the time I got home, I was in so much pain – I wasn’t getting any sleep. I took a shower, tried to lay in a bunch of different positions, and finally at about 7:30, I decided we needed to go back.
My mom had ended up staying the night, and this time when I got up to leave she said, “Now you look like you’re in labor!”
Right before we left, I noticed some blood in the toilet, which concerned me a little bit. As we drove to the hospital, I felt a bit more, though I was mainly focusing on trying to get through those horribly painful contractions. I had only contracted for a little while with Jack before I had my epidural, and I had definitely never felt anything like this.
We got to the hospital, got checked into triage again, and the nurse looked under the sheet and said, “Uh oh. There’s a lot of blood,” and she immediately admitted me. I was pretty freaked out at that point, and the doctor (who I was SO happy to see – I had loved her when she did my ECV) came to see what was going on.
She first announced that I was a “7 with a bulging bag”, and she said the blood was a little more than they liked, but they would keep an eye on it. I wasn’t hemorrhaging, which was a relief.
She said if I wanted an epidural, I needed to say now…and I did! They got met set up in a L&D room, and I got the sweetest nurse. She was so encouraging and kept saying, “You should teach pain management courses. I don’t know how you are staying so silent.” Apparently I just like to suffer in silence, because I was NOT prepared for the contractions I was having!
She also told me to be prepared for the possibility of the epidural not being in full-effect, which wasn’t something I wanted to hear. Fortunately the anesthesiologist came in pretty quickly and got it in without any issue, and it went into effect super quickly.
I finally was not feeling like I was going to die. I was still bleeding quite a bit, and the doctor was getting a little more concerned, but still didn’t think it warranted a C-section. She decided to break my water, and said she’d be back in a little bit.
Well, as soon as she left the room, I felt like I had to push, so the nurse ran and got her. I had gotten to a 10 right as my water broke!
The doctor came in and had me started pushing. She was very calm, and the whole room was so peaceful. I pushed for about 30 minutes, and my sweet Oliver was born with a full head of hair.
He was so tiny and sweet, and I was handed him immediately. Both Forrest and I started crying – there was such a sweet spirit in the room, and I knew he was ours. They let us do skin to skin for awhile, and then they went and weighed him – he weighed in at a whopping 5 lb 7.7 ounces – but he was perfect!
I tore along my episiotomy line, so the doctor stitched that up. She also showed me my placenta and pointed out the clots and dead tissue, which she felt was why Oliver was so small at full-term. She also said that the bleeding was actually because my placenta had partially started to abrupt, which was terrifying to hear. I was just grateful it hadn’t gone south – especially later after I read more about placental abruptions!
In the end, everything went well – Oliver nursed well, I was able to spend two wonderful and peaceful days with him. Jack was over the moon when he met him and even tried to share his popcorn my parents bought him with Oliver. Ha!
It was certainly an eventful pregnancy toward the end, and even though there were a few issues during labor and delivery, his arrival was truly one of the most spiritual moments of my life. I truly believe we never get closer to heaven than when babies are born!
Weren’t those stories wonderful? Thanks so much to Katie for sharing her stories on the Honest Birth series! Fun fact: her oldest son has the same birthday as my son, just a year earlier! Make sure you check out her amazing blog, and follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, and let her know you loved reading her stories! And don’t forget to check back again next month because I’ll have two more Honest Birth posts going up!