In utero Brickelle liked to sleep more during the day and was more active at night. She was also hard to wake up to get variance in her heart rate. Mary Anne referred to her as “lethargic” and because we were not getting much variance in her heart rate we decided to have a bio-physical exam the day before the 40 week mark. Brickelle took her time giving us the response we wanted but she eventually did and she passed the test and looked to be in great health, my fluid levels were also perfect.
The next day, June 11, I had my 40 week follow up with Mary Anne and Brickelle was once again hard to wake up and get varied heart rates. Mary Anne remarked that the sooner she came out the better and we discussed things I could do to help get labor started. That afternoon I started black/blue cohosh, rubbed clary sage on my belly and pumped my breasts but the only thing that produced pressure waves was walking on the treadmill; however pressure waves would stop after I stopped. The next day I went and had an acupuncture treatment to help induce labor. I did not feel any change while laying on the table with needles in my feet, back, hand and forehead but the next evening I did notice a change in my pressure waves and I felt more crampy. I called Mary Anne that evening around 9:30 pm when my pressure waves were about 5.5 minutes apart for an hour. Mary Anne encouraged me to rest and said pressure waves may slow down, she also reminded me to stay well hydrated but she made it clear I could call anytime and she would come whenever I needed her. I was excited but wanted to try and get some rest and I listened to my hypnobabies cd.
I was up on and off throughout the night, again noticing the change in how pressure waves were feeling from the “practice waves” (A.k.a. Braxton hicks). I held out as long as I could and then paged Mary Anne at 4:30am when my pressure waves were 4-5 minutes apart and more intense. Mary Anne called when she was on her way and I informed her that I had not lost my mucous plug but I did notice some pinkish discharge. Once Mary Anne arrived she examined me and I was 3 cm dilated. A little while later my mother-in-law, Sharon, and my good friend Dawn arrived. Mary Anne informed me I could be at this stage for a while but it was my decision if I wanted her to stay or not. I rested on the bed for a bit and she examined me again at 8am and I had not progressed so I told her to go ahead and attend to her other clients and I would call when there was a change. I did not have much of an appetite but I slowly forced down a greens/fruit smoothie. Mary Anne encouraged me to try and ignore the pressure waves and get things done if I had anything that I needed to do around the house. I told Sharon, Dawn and my husband Mark that I didn’t think I could ignore the pressure waves. We talked about going to the mall to walk around but as soon as we decided to go I threw up. I wasn’t about to leave the house at that point. Mark and Sharon ran to the store to pick up a few things and in the mean time Dawn took good care of me and massaged my back. During that time my pressure waves also picked up and I was having one about every 3 minutes. We got back in touch with Mary Anne and she was back at the house around 12:30pm. By then I was 4cm dilated and a little disappointed that I had not progressed further. Not long after I tried eating a saltine cracker but threw up again. At that point I was just trying to stay hydrated with water and Gatorade but the Gatorade was not very appealing to me. I threw up again after eating a popsicle and one other time after that. I lost all sense of time but at some point I received my first dose of antibiotics because I was GBS positive. Mary Anne’s assistant, Kelly, had also arrived. I don’t know if it was because of the back and forth to the bathroom but I never listened to my hypnobabies cd but I did focus on staying relaxed, keeping my mouth relaxed, humming through pressure waves and just trying to let my body do what it needed to do. I felt most comfortable sitting on the ball or standing and pacing. I began having intense back labor and found myself wanting to be alone during pressure waves. I would go into my bathroom and lean over the sink and rock and hum. I was not progressing much on my own and Mary Anne had to manually help me dilate. I did not feel anything when she did that. Later when my water had still not broken she asked if I wanted her to break it. I was ready to do whatever it took to help things progress further and gain I did not feel much of anything. I was expecting to feel a change in pressure after my water was broken but never did. Around 4:30pm I was able to get into the birthing tub which felt great and I was given IV fluids. The warm water felt so nice and I was able to really zone out and relax in between pressure waves. The baby was doing great and I was burping some. I tried drinking more water and eating crushed ice but I was in need of some glucose through the IV and that was helpful. My loving husband held cold washcloths to my head and my friend Dawn rubbed my back but I did not want to be touched at all when having a pressure wave. All I felt was intense back labor and I would try and relax and float in the water through a wave. I had a hypnobabies track playing in the background but to be honest I kept thinking “This is not quick, easy or comfortable.” I was praying to God to give me strength. I was getting a little concerned that this baby did not want to come out. Around 8:30 pm, I all of a sudden instinctively flipped over and started pushing. I did not really feel the urge to push but I just did it and pushing felt better than feeling the pressure wave/back labor. I pushed for a quite a while in the tub and the baby was crowning, however, Mary Anne asked how tired I was and gave me the option to continue pushing or get an episiotomy. Mary Anne rarely performs episiotomies so I knew it might be a good idea if she was even suggesting it, plus I was exhausted and wanted this baby out. So I was given some Oxygen and I got out of the water and moved to the bed. I was not even thinking that the episiotomy might be uncomfortable. Mary Anne cut me and I felt a sharp internal pain at which point I screamed so loud I scared myself. Thankfully it was a one-time thing (for this birth, hopefully I won’t need another one in the future) and was quickly over. At that time I had Mark, Mary Anne, Kelly, Sharon, Dawn and my neighbor Emily cheering me on, saying they could see the head and Brickelle was almost here! I pushed maybe 5 more times and my beautiful baby girl was born at 9:46 pm. Mark caught her with Mary Anne’s help and brought her to my chest. It was the most amazing moment ever!
Brickelle Reece Ballinger weighed 8 pounds 5 ounces and measured 20.5 inches long. She nursed immediately without any problems. Soon after, Mary Anne told me to push once more to birth the placenta and it came out with ease. Everyone left the room once it was clear me and baby were fine and Mark and I were given some alone time with our new baby girl. A little while later everyone came back into the room and that’s when Brickelle was weighed and measured. After that Mary Anne gave me some shots to numb the area which she needed to stitch. I still tore after being cut (2nd degree tear) so it was not the easiest to stitch but Mary Anne assured me it would heal perfectly. I was also informed I had a very thick perineum so I am glad I went with the episiotomy. Once everything was cleaned up and everyone left (except Sharon who stayed to help out the first two nights) we went to bed at 2am. Mark and I were in awe of our precious baby. I am so grateful for the wonderful people I had surrounding me. Birthing was hard work but so rewarding and I am extremely proud of myself. Hopefully I will have the chance to birth again in a couple of years.