Mama Liesel Teen of Labor Teen shares the epidural-free hospital birth story of her son on the Honest Birth birth story series! Liesel went into labor on her own, labored with a little Nitrous Oxide and Fentanyl, and delivered her son vaginally!
Hey mamas! Welcome to the twentieth 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 Liesel Teen! Liesel is a labor and delivery nurse and new mom to an adorable one-year-old boy (who is just a few weeks younger than my one-year-old son!). She is from North Carolina, and in her spare time she enjoys reading, learning how to cook, and spending quality time with her husband, Bryan. Liesel recently started, Labor Teen, a blog that is dedicated to creating up-to-date information for new mamas regarding pregnancy, birth, and postpartum issues. Today Liesel is sharing the vaginal hospital birth of her son!
Ready to read all about her son’s story? Here we go!
The Birth Story of Baby Boy Teen
ALRIGHT. My Birth Story. Wowza. What a day.
Let’s start from the beginning.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11th 2017
I woke up that morning, two days before my due date, and just felt different. It’s hard to explain. The whole day I remember feeling as if I was in a fog. I wasn’t having ANY painful contractions at all at this point, but my body knew something was up. Baby was kicking a TON, and I was just DONE being pregnant.
I had done some research on multiple methods of putting myself into labor, so I woke up that morning with the intention of doing EVERY single one of these things that day. Gosh darnit, I was going to give it my best shot! I had an induction scheduled for Friday evening that following week, but I truly wanted to try and go into labor myself. Basically, what I did throughout the day was:
- Power walked around the mall for a few hours
- Ate an entire pineapple
- Went to see a reflexologist
- Bounced on my yoga ball for a few hours
- Ate extra spicy jalapeno poppers
- Had sex
I went to bed that night around 2am (I worked night shift at the time, so I was used to staying up pretty late) and kept waking up to intermittent cramping. I kind of felt like I was just starting my period. I still was able to rest, but it was annoying.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12th 2017
7:30 AM: POW! I woke up with the biggest contraction ever. A few days prior to this I had some painful “contractions” (or what I deemed as contractions), but as soon as I woke up from this one, I knew it was game day. It felt like nothing I had ever felt before.
My husband was still asleep next to me (he had stayed up late as well until about 2am), so I decided to let him sleep in unless things really got awful fast. I figured if we were going to be up all night together for labor, I wanted at least one of us to have gotten enough rest the night before. Aren’t I a nice wife? Ha
So, while he slept, I called my doctor to let her know what was up, took a bath, and did a load of laundry. I also called out of work, as I was supposed to work that night. I mean, I was going to be there, but not working.
10 AM: Bryan finally woke up on his own. My contractions were regular at this point coming about every 5-7 minutes, at moderate intensity. I knew they were nowhere close enough for me to feel as if I needed to leave for the hospital. My house is also only 5 minutes from my job, so my plan was to wait until I literally could not stand it anymore.
He woke up, and I calmly said “Good morning. So, I’m having contractions and I’m pretty sure we are going to have the baby today.” His eyes got really big, and he shot up out of bed. He asked me what he should do, and I said “nothing, I’ll let you know when we need to leave”.
12 PM: My contractions were still about every 5-7 minutes, and not really increasing in intensity at this point. I was doing my best to keep hydrated, as I knew dehydration is one of the main causes of false labor. I did have some thought around the mid-day mark when I doubted this was the real thing. I mean, I was HURTING, but the L&D nurse in me kept saying: “Yeah, but they aren’t close enough together, and they aren’t really increasing in strength.” I was fully prepared, especially after a 6-7 minute stretch without a contraction, that I was wrong…and these contractions were just going to piddle out.
Around this point I took another bath, did a few other position changes (hands and knees, pillows between my legs etc.), and ate a light snack (plain rice and a few crackers was all I could stomach).
4 PM: I texted a co-worker of mine (Meghan) who was heading into work that night, and asked her to come check me at home to determine how far I was dilated. I had a few sterile gloves at home, actually, and TRIED to check myself, but I just couldn’t get a good reach. By this point my contractions were getting a little more frequent (3-5 minutes) and finally starting to increase a bit in intensity. I took a shower, sat on my yoga ball, and did some more hands and knees throughout each contraction.
I will add…I had an inkling during the last few weeks of my pregnancy that my baby was lying posterior. This simply means baby is facing your front instead of your spine! Posterior babies are more common with first time moms and can be responsible for longer labors and/or intense back labor. I had felt a TON of limb movement towards the front of my stomach all throughout those last few weeks, so this is what led me to believe he (or she, I didn’t know at this point!) was OP (occiput posterior).
This was totally a mental block for me. I had seen countless moms have horrible back labor, resort to receiving epidurals, push for hours on end, only to end up having C-sections. My mom had a C-section with me (for a possible OP lie), and this was something I truly wanted to avoid at all costs. Of course, if there was truly a need for surgery, I’m all for it. But, I wanted to give myself the best shot possible at delivering vaginally, because I was worried I would end up in a C-section like my mom.
6 PM: Meghan arrived at my house and checked my cervix. I was 4 centimeters dilated, about 60% thinned out (effaced), and I THINK -1 or -2 station (I can’t exactly remember). I was hurting a good amount at this point, but my contractions were still about 3-5 minutes apart. I was happy with her check, however, because I knew at 4cm if I went up to the hospital, my doctor would directly admit me to L&D.
By this point, my husband was getting anxious and extremely antsy at home as well, and we both decided that I would wait a little while longer, and then head up to the hospital sometime after shift change (7pm). My water was also still intact, and I decided that maybe all I needed was to have my water broken…and maybe that would speed things up.
9:15 PM: My contractions were definitely increasing in intensity at this point, and they were only around 3-4 minutes apart. We left for the hospital, and arrived through L&D triage. My doctor came in to check me, and I was 5cm, 80% effaced, and -1 station. I was definitely happy with this change. She also mentioned that my water was bulging, and would be very easy to break. My triage nurse (the same one who came to my house!) started an IV on me, drew blood, and walked me out to labor and delivery with my labor nurse, Beth.
One of my good friends, Nicole (another co-worker), came up to be my “doula” as well, and this was right around the time when she showed up to the hospital too! This is the part of my story when the times turn ISH….my contractions were really picking up speed and intensity, and from this point on things totally get a little blurry!
10 PM-ISH: My doctor came to break my water! And guess what happened…THINGS GOT WAY WORSE. Let me break it down for you. Many people report contractions increasing in pain after their water breaks. This is because a HARD baby head is now pushing on your cervix, instead of a softer balloon-type bag of water. Make sense?
Anyway, since I got my water broken I decided now would be a great time to hop in the shower. My back was KILLING me. All I wanted was to rock back and forth in the shower, with the hot water running on the small of my back. I think I hopped in and out of the shower a few times, just because I could NOT be still.
11 PM-ISH: I had Beth check me again around this point, and I believe I was 6cm, 100% effaced, and 0 station. I was really having a hard time just coping only with position changes/water therapy so I decided I wanted to try some Nitrous Oxide.
At least it was for me. Poor Beth got the entire system set up, and I only used it for 5-10 minutes and then trashed the whole thing. I was doing a really great job with breathing through my contractions, and the large mask that comes with the Nitrous Oxide totally threw off my game. Not only did I NOT feel any sort of pain relief, it was actually making it worse because I felt like my breathing was all crazy with that mask on. I almost felt claustrophobic.
11:15 PM-ISH: After we decided that the Nitrous was no good, I decided that I would labor for a bit longer on my own (as long as I could), and then opt for a dose of IV pain medication. I was really having a hard time relaxing during my contractions (as we all do), and I knew IV pain medication could really help me relax. I figured, maybe this would speed things up a bit, as my body (and my pelvic floor) would get a little relaxation…and this would help my cervix to dilate. (Spoiler alert…it did!)
11:45 PM-ISH: IV pain medication time (Fentanyl). Beth checked me again right before, and I was 7cm, 100% effaced, and 0 station. I stayed in the bed for awhile, and I was finally able to SOMEWHAT relax in-between my contractions. I was very foggy with this med on board, and I don’t remember a whole lot in the hour it was effective.
One thing I do remember VERY CLEARLY, was Beth holding my hand very lightly and sort of stroking it while I was miserable and “drunk” in my Fentanyl cloud. This was so comforting to me, and it’s so funny how that’s exactly what I needed at the time.
I’m definitely the type of person that needs touch and sweet “mommy” sayings when I’m not feeling well. I’m sure it’s just because this is how my own mom comforted me when I was I was a child. By sitting there with me, stroking my hand, and speaking softly to me, I realized Beth was my “mom” during those hours I was in the process of becoming a mom.
1:00 AM-ISH: IV pain medication had totally worn off, and I was hurting more than ever. I just could not sit still. I also had been feeling nauseated the entire day, and complaining that “I just wanted to throw up, so I won’t feel sick anymore”. I tend to get extremely nauseated whenever I’m in pain, and I HATED the constant feeling of nausea that day. (I even tried to take some Zofran at home to relieve it, but that didn’t do much).
Well, I threw up FINALLY at this point in the bathroom, sitting on the toilet into a puke-bag. Nicole was sitting in front of me, and I remember just holding on to her, and just crying that I was in SO much pain.
1:30 AM-ISH: I. was. dying. Hurting SO bad at this point, and I seriously could not sit still. I remember looking over at my husband, and he was in the corner of the room pounding his fist against the wall because he was so upset at seeing me in so much pain. Beth checked me again at this point and I was 8-9cm, 100% effaced, and 0 station. We both decided that it had been enough time, and I wanted to try and get another dose of IV pain medication. She gave this to me at this point.
1:50 AM-ISH: 2nd dose of Fentanyl had worn off already! (This happens A LOT, the second dose is not nearly as effective as the first) Beth checked me again and I was 9.5cm, 100% effaced, and 0 station. I knew I was out of options at this point, and I was LOSING my mind. I still had HORRIBLE back pain, and I was hung up on the fact that baby was still OP. I kept telling Beth, “I can’t push an OP baby out, maybe if I get an epidural, I CAN PUSH AN OP BABY OUT”. I was SO stuck in my head that he was OP and I just wouldn’t be able to push him out. Beth assured me that I was freaking 9.5 cm, I was almost done, and I COULD DO THIS.
2:15 AM-ISH: Still freaking dying, I was losing my mind and telling Beth that I couldn’t do it anymore, and I NEEDED an epidural, I didn’t care if I was complete or not. Literally almost everyone says this when they are fully dilated (or close to it).
Beth checked me and I was still 9.5 centimeters, but we got on hands and knees and I pushed a little bit just to see if I could get that last little bit of cervix to go away. As soon as I started pushing like this on hands and knees, I felt IMMENSE rectal bone pain. I swear that was the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. It did not feel good to push, as I had always thought it would, and I was so upset because I doubted my ability to deliver this baby vaginally.
Beth assured me that I needed to try again, and that I could, and I WOULD be done soon. It was SO hard, but I did it. A few more contractions came, and I pushed on hands and knees through that immense pain, and my cervix finally was 10cm.
2:35 AM-ISH: I flipped around to my back, because I could not push on hands and knees any longer. I pushed like this for only a little while, and baby finally spun and was no longer OP. I felt the “good” urge to push, and I continued to push like this until Beth was ready to call my doctor for delivery.
2:55 AM-ISH: My doctor arrived, along with Meghan (my triage nurse, and home-checker), and a newborn specialist for baby! I pushed a few times with my doctor, and everyone in the room. I totally recall screaming my head off during one contraction like someone was murdering me. That intense vaginal pressure and pain is no freaking joke.
3:00 AM: I vividly remember looking up at the clock on the wall, seeing the time at exactly 3:00 AM and saying to myself, “I’m DONE with this, I’m having my baby with the next contraction.” And guess what…I did!
My next contraction, I grabbed my legs, pushed with every ounce of strength in me, and his head came out.
I looked at his face while his body was half-out, and was SO excited because I would finally know if he was a boy or girl! Finally, he popped all the way out, and I remember my husband crying and saying “It’s a BOY!” I was SO happy.
He cried immediately, and I reached down for him and wanted him right on me. My husband cut the umbilical cord a few minutes after delivery, and my baby boy was finally here.
After delivery, I felt like superwoman.
I was SO happy that my baby was here, I had a little boy, and I had actually delivered him vaginally without getting an epidural. That feeling right after delivery is something I will never forget. Think of the most immense pleasure you’ve ever felt, and times it by 1000. It was pure bliss!
Flash forward, now 16 months later, and I think I love him more each day I’m with him.
It’s so interesting, because going through labor myself has completely changed the way I practice as a labor and delivery nurse. I can truly empathize with my patients on a level that I never could before. I value my job on a deeper level. I felt what role Beth played for me, how I felt I truly could not have gotten through without her, and realized that my job is so much more than I thought it was. Supporting a woman as she becomes a mom is such a special gift, and it took me having my own baby to realize this impact I have as a labor and delivery nurse.
I’m so proud to call myself an L&D nurse, and I hope you’ve enjoyed my story!