My Birth Story
At 5:00am on Wednesday, January 31st, my boyfriend, Jesse’s alarm went off for work. I was 40 weeks 3 days pregnant. As I laid in bed listening to Jesse’s alarm going off, I began to have lower back pain… some pretty strong pressure where I could not get comfortable even if I tried different positions, so I got out of bed and started walking around the kitchen. I was going to make Jesse a sandwich for work... but my back pain quickly turned into contractions and before I knew it they were five minutes apart. I remember waking Jesse up saying, “I think I’m having contractions” and I will never forget the look he gave me. He was a deer in headlights. After my indecisiveness, I told him that he should probably call into work. As he got everything ready, I naturally decided to take a shower, because who doesn’t want to look somewhat presentable and have silky smooth legs during delivery. Why, who knows, maybe it was the nerves that kicked in. By 5:45am we were on our way to Maple Grove Hospital, which was only about 5 miles from our house.
Arriving at the hospital, I was in pain. The contractions were getting intense. Now, I had a game plan not a birth plan. By game plan, I mean that I didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment if my perfect birth plan went to crap. For example, natural birth vs. medications and vaginal birth vs. c-section. Hence, why I called it my game plan. I was ready for anything to change depending on how I was feeling and/or for the baby’s safety. Once, we arrived at Labor and Delivery, they placed me into a room in order to monitor my contractions, baby and myself. By this time, I could not even sit. I remember crying and being in so much pain that it was taking my breath away. I called the nurse and she checked my cervix and sure enough, I was 3.5cm dilated. She said, “We’re going to have a baby today” as she walked out of the room to get the other staff to set up my delivery room. Next, we were in the delivery room and again, I was so uncomfortable, not being able to sit down, hunched over the bed, crying. Finally, the nurse asked if I wanted pain medications and you bet your ass I got those medications. I was given Fentanyl to ease the pain and shortly after the Anesthesiologist was there to give me an epidural. My epidural however was placed incorrectly and was numbing my right side more than my left. This is actually more common than I thought. Even with adjustments by the Anesthesiologist, I still felt more numbness on the right. But I finally had some relief and could relax.
As my family and friends (Jesse, my mom, my best friend Ashley, and my cousin Jessica) showed up to be in the room with me for the birth of our son, I suddenly felt something pop and felt warm. This was around 10 or 11am (I think). Sure enough, it was my water that broke and it was meconium stained. The baby had gotten stressed at some point during my labor and defecated. This bought me a whole bunch more of people in my room aka NICU team. Due to the meconium staining my doctor did not want the baby to cry immediately after delivery until his mouth and nose were suctioned. This prevents the baby from aspirating any of the stained amniotic fluid.
As my labor carried on, my contractions were unbearable. Now, mind you I am totally the type of person to swear and yell when I am in pain or just in general… I literally could not speak let alone breathe. My back pain was off the charts. I mean 10 out of 10 pain. And I am an ER Registered Nurse… unless you’re dying 10/10 pain is just wild to me if someone tells me their pain is that bad. Yet, there I was, 10 out of 10 pain. No I wasn’t dying but I sure as hell never endured pain like this in my life. In that moment I realized, I have back labor, something that NEVER even crossed my mind. The only time I really got relief from the pain during labor was repositioning with the peanut ball and the boluses of the epidural. I don’t think I spoke or even opened my eyes during my entire labor. I am so happy my family and best friend were able to entertain themselves for hours, because I sure as hell wasn’t!
After HOURS, 13 hours to be exact, of repositioning, crying, and not being able to breathe through my contractions, it was finally time to push. My baby was almost here and I was so exhausted, scared, and excited all at the same time. And to be honest, I just wanted the pain to end. I pushed for 20 minutes, felt the burning ring of fire (ladies, if you’ve had a vaginal birth you know what I mean), and out he came. He was face up, which was why I was experiencing back labor. His head and back were pressed against mind causing my back pain. Now, I still did not have my eyes open at this point. The doctor had to tell me to open my eyes to look at my beautiful baby boy. As soon as I opened my eyes, I cried uncontrollably. As they laid him on my chest and he started crying, I couldn’t believe he was here. It was almost euphoric holding him. HE WAS HERE. Dax Sterling Altenweg, born at 7:12pm on January 31st, 2018. The pain was worth it. He was perfect.
A special thanks to my love, Jesse for being so supportive during my pregnancy and labor; to my mom for being so amazing and supportive my entire life, as well as not fainting during my delivery; my best friend, Ashley for taking off work, being there for me for 14 hours and giving me foot rubs; my cousin, Jessica for your love and support, driving 4 hours from Iowa to Minnesota and making it in time for the birth; and my dad, thanks for being in the room (behind the curtain) and all your support. Lastly, thank you too all of our friends and family for the gifts, meals you made, the time you took out of your days to visit and the love you give to Dax. I love you all so much!
I can’t wait to do it all over again.
Thanks for reading!