Haleigh's Birth Story

Meet Miss Haleigh Lyn Mayes! Our little bundle of joy finally arrived on Jan. 4, 2017 at 11:22 am.

She weighed 7 lbs 8 oz and was 18 1/2 in long.

I can hardly believe she's here! It was quite a journey...

From the get go I knew my due date would be a little off, just because my periods are very irregular and I don't keep track ... sothe doctor used the sonogram to estimate the due date and it was projected to be Dec. 31, 2016.

We planned around it, husband took off from work, family came to visit aaaand ... nothing. No sign of baby. I had many sleepless nights, Braxton hicks here and there but no signs of real labor. I felt so tired and disappointed - I was sure I would go off on the next person who told me how big I was or if they asked me if I was ready to have this baby. I mean, seriously! For weeks I got asked daily if I was in labor or if I had a contraction yet.

I get how friends and family are so excited and mean well but it kind of got me a little antsy there for a minute. So I got to 40 weeks and I started to have mild to moderate contractions at night, lasting through the morning, until around 10-11 am and then they would stop completely. I went to my OBGYN and he gave me the dreaded "Oh, you'll know when you're in labor" speech. He also asked me if I would be open to induce at that point. His concern was for the baby to get too big and that the risk of still birth rises after week 41.

Now, I'm not a doctor and have no degree in medicine but I truly felt I wanted things to progress naturally, however I was getting concerned about how all this false labor was affecting the baby. The doctor scheduled me to be induced on Jan. 4th but on the morning of Jan. 3 I cancelled and had them reschedule me for the following week so I could labor naturally. He agreed but asked for me not to go past 41 weeks.

I got emails with horror stories about induction and cesarean rates. I got horror stories from mom and dad (who are doctors) about labor stalling because the baby couldn't descend having the cord wrapped around the neck and all sorts of nightmarish scenarios. I think at one point I freaked out and reached out to my sister in law for prayer because I was just so beat - I felt so stressed and I felt that the stress was stalling the progress of my labor.

We had an impromptu prayer meeting at my house on Jan. 3 (I say impromptu because my husband forgot to mention to me that the prayer group would meet at our house, I thought people just wanted to come visit real quick ... happens a lot with my hubby LOL!) and right before my husband and I went walking around the neighborhood. I started to feel some mild cramps and by the end of the prayer meeting I felt like my body was doing something. That was around 6pm, by midnight I was having contractions every 5 minutes for at least 1 hour so I called the hospital. I told them my pain level was 4 and the nurse said for me to wait a little longer, to come when I couldn't talk through a contraction. And sure enough, I waited a few hours longer at home and by then I was sure these were not going to stop and they were no Braxton hicks - these were waves of pain that started at the back bone and radiated to the front. It also felt like when you pull a ligament when you switch positions on the bed but on both sides simultaneously and it takes your breath away. It builds up, peaks and goes down ... sometimes abruptly and sometimes gradually. My goodness, it was real and this was labor for sure.

I woke up my husband at 2:30 and asked him to take me to the hospital right away. I didn't want it to get so bad that I couldn't walk into the hospital or have the baby in the car or something, given that this was my 4th child.

We showed up to the triage first and they told me I was only 3 cm along. That in order for them to consider me in labor they would observe me for an hour and I would have to progress to 4 cm at least. I about cried right there because: 1) I never had been to a triage ... I didn't feel like I had enough privacy to labor. 2) What if they sent me home? I already couldn't take the pain! I had been laboring at home standing up, on my knees, took a hot shower ... I mean, this was the end of my endurance and I wasn't even dialated enough to be considered in active labor! 3) I was scared but welcomed the pain. It was weird ... I told myself that my body was meant to do this and that the pain meant a step closer to having the baby. So I relaxed as much as I could through the waves of pain, commanded my body to open in Jesus' name and asked my husband to hold my hand and pray me through every contraction. The poor thing did it, but the position they had me on the bed sucked! Made the pain worse. Standing up and kneeling were the least painful positions I found while laboring ... midwives know what they're talking about for sure.

Anyway, they had to monitor me so I was in my back, uncomfortable, praying but praise God I went from 3 to a 5 in just an hour! So they kept me and wheeled me to one of the labor rooms.

Nice quiet room, all prepped :) I was happy but at that point my contractions were killer so I asked for an epidural. I had not slept in 5 days at that point, hadn't eaten and didn't have the strength to get through it, really. My husband tried to get me to hold off and do it naturally but I had only progressed to 6 in a couple of hours so I was done. I told him I didn't care for a natural birth anymore!

I patiently waited for my epidural and then I told my husband to find the nurse and get me one ASAP! Turns out there was a shift change and it would take a while for the anesthesiologist to come by, also, they needed me to go through at least 1 bag of IV fluid before they did the epidural. It was a very, vary painful wait.

My doctor was actually on shift and came by to break my water, then the anesthesiologist came

And did the epidural. But, turns out that it works with gravity so I had to lie on my back for it to work. I was golden for about an hour and then the nurse came and shifted me, sat me up and did something to where I felt a little shift or pop in my back (she said sitting up would speed up labor), and then to my horror, the epidural stopped working.

I was numb from my knees down and on my right side but I felt everything on the left, and the fact that I couldn't feel my right side didn't take the edge off the painful contractions at all. I felt like screaming at my nurse but contained myself and asked for the anesthesiologist. She checked me and said that I was already 8-9 cm so they wouldn't have him come back because then I wouldn't be able to push.

I was in utter shock and horrified. The pain was insane, literally in every sense of the word. I had never felt anything before with my other 3 deliveries because I always had an epidural and no problems, I didn't even feel but just pressure when pushing and now I was in the middle of transition and feeling every bit.

My husband was like: "it's alright, you wanted a natural birth, you can do this" and I had a mini panic attack. I started crying and shaking from the pain. I was strapped to the bed, unable to move my legs but feeling everything from the waist up. Couldn't change positions, nothing.

Then I felt the most insane pressure in my tail bone, Like I literally needed to poo. It was bigger than the pain of the contractions, it was bigger than anything else. I couldn't even feel the contractions because all I felt was this pressure. I told the nurse I needed to push and she kind of half-heartedly encouraged me to push. They were waiting for my doctor to show up. I told them I NEEDED to push like now and they changed the position a little, propped my legs up and let me push through the contractions.

Pushing felt good, it felt awesome. It gave me something to focus on, and I didn't feel the ring of fire ... I just needed the baby out. I pushed for about 20-30 min and out came Haleigh.

I had a tear but wasn't that bad, my doctor stitched me right up (I didn't feel much of it, just some minor stinging). The bad thing was that I was still numb from my knees down so I couldn't get up and walk, couldn't scoot up the bed, nothing. I had to get a catheter to empty my bladder and that was no fun at all.

They brought my little Haleigh and we did skin to skin for about an hour, then they took her to get cleaned and do some tests. They were very respectful of my wishes and I really liked that the staff was very friendly. The only thing was that the nurses come and go like every 30 min it seems. I wasn't able to get any shut eye so my husband and I talked about it and asked to be discharged the next day (my husband had to go back home and stay with the kids so that our toddler didn't feel unsettled by the abrupt change in routine).

My kids absolutely adore their new little sister and I can tell they will be the best of friends! There's something very soothing about recovering at home ... I am going to be honest and say I'm still in pain, obviously recovery isn't a walk in the park and it's hard to rest when you have 4 kids but my husband has been very supportive, my mom is helping out for a few more days and my older kids (ages 13 and 10) have been helping with chores like champs.

I'm so thankful, very blessed to have this little girl join our family. I learned to not judge women on their birthing choices. I really wanted a natural birth, visualized it, spoke it, prayed about it and everything. Be careful what you wish for hahaha! It was insane. Yes, your body is made for it but you need support and you need a midwife and doula that knows what she's doing. I wasn't prepared that way ... I chose an OBGYN that was supportive in my decisions and didn't give me too bad of a hard time when I canceled the induction in favor for letting labor progress naturally (although the doctor laughed at the fact that I had the baby the same day I was scheduled to be induced).

Maybe if I had a doula and I wasn't strapped down, glued to the monitors I could have labored better or made it without anesthesia. Which, I kind of only had anesthesia for an hour and a half, so between me being 6 cm and 8 cm, after that it wore off! Ugh!

I hated the pain, but you know what really worked for me to get through my hardcore contractions: reminding me that I would feel some pressure, just waves of pressure.

Things everyone raves about but you don't really need:

- Makeup (forget it!)

- Birthing gown (I didn't even think about looking for clothes in my bag, hospital gowns were fine with me)

- Music (my mind went blank from the pain. I couldn't even form coherent thoughts)

- Essential oils: no time for this ...

Things you really need:

- warm socks

- snacks for husband or birthing coach

- charger

- lanolin or something to soothe your breasts in preparation for breastfeeding

- baby mittens

- your favorite toiletries

So now I'm just recovering and being grateful that I have such a beautiful family.

More to come soon!

- Gina

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