Today I am excited to share Holland’s birth story! She’s my fourth baby, and as I expected, came into the world with her own unique birth story. Let’s get into Holland’s birth story part 1, the lead up to delivery day!
Let’s go back. All the way back to my due date with Holland. At 40 weeks pregnant, little did I know I still had 2 more weeks to go. While I was past due with Hunter and Zoe and ended up being induced with both of them, Nova came on her own 1 day before my due date. I realized after the fact that Nova’s birth totally made me think that Holland’s would be similar. I kind of though she would arrive sometime in my 39th week of pregnancy and it would be fast and furious like Nova’s birth (check out Nova’s birth story part 1 HERE and part 2 HERE). As you’ll read, that wasn’t the case!
On my due date I had a midwife appointment. I was still feeling good at 40 weeks pregnant! Jacob + the 3 kiddos came along and it was the first time in this pregnancy that I had been checked to see if my cervix had made any changes. It really hadn’t made progress towards labor. I was 1 cm dilated, about 60% effaced, baby girl was almost at 0 station and my cervix was very posterior. That meant when I was being checked the midwife had to basically reach behind baby’s head to find my cervix. It was quite uncomfortable! As the midwife was checking me she asked if I’d like my membrane swept and I quickly told her NO, just get outta there!
We left and had another appointment scheduled for 41 weeks. During the time between 40 to 41 weeks the contractions I’d been having pretty much stayed the same. I noticed them every day, but they were never anything uncomfortable or consistent throughout the day. I walked as much as possible and used the extra time to get some cleaning/organizing projects done! We also packed our hospital bag right around 40 weeks… guess we didn’t really think she’d come early!
7 days overdue
At 41 weeks I had another midwife appointment. At this one the talk changed to more ways to encourage her to come on her own. I didn’t want to be induced if I didn’t have to be. My cervix was checked and there was no change from the week before. The midwife swept my cervix and I hoped that would do something! My non stress test (NST) and amniotic fluid index (AFI) tests were scheduled for the next day. After my appointment I left feeling crampy and really tired. I totally expected the crampiness which is why at 40 weeks I didn’t have my membrane swept. However, since I was nearing the end, I was ready to try everything to encourage her to come on her own.
8 days overdue
The cramps and tiredness continued the entire evening, but no changes in contractions. Late the next morning we had the NST and AFI at the hospital. I spent my morning drinking TONS of water. When I had the NST and AFI done with Zoe I ended up being induced that day since my amnoitic fluid levels were low. After the fact I was told that water consumption could make a different with levels, so I made sure to be super hydrated this time around. At the appointment my levels looked great and she was super active on the monitors. The midwife on call came to sweep my membrane again (no cervix change from the day before) in hopes that doing that 2 days in a row would encourage change. We left and I didn’t feel as crampy or tired as I did from the membrane sweeping the day before. That was on a Friday and I was 8 days past my due date.
9 days overdue
On Saturday morning I had mild cramping and was happy to see that I’d lost my mucus plug (sorry TMI, but there’s going to be a lot of that!). After losing my mucus plug the crampiness slowed and I felt pretty good all weekend. Good as in no signs of going into labor!
11 days overdue
My next NST + AFI at the hospital was scheduled for that following Tuesday. I had consistently been going to the chiropractor and massage therapist for the past 5-6 weeks. For my last appointment I scheduled it with a masseuse that I hadn’t seen before. My chiropractor recommended her because she’s worked on a lot of pregnant women with acupressure and reflexology points. On Monday (11 days past my due date) I walked a ton with the kiddos and went to that appointment in the evening. I didn’t know what to expect and I was shocked by how uncomfortable that massage was! I am always down with good pressure during massages (I’m there for meaningful work not just the relax), but there was nothing relaxing at all about this massage. She held pressure points for really, really long times. It felt like my bones were being kneaded and it just hurt. I did my best to just breath and relax, but my body totally tensed up. I don’t regret getting the work done, but just being honest that it did not feel good!
Earlier on that day I received a recommendation from one of the midwives to start alternating blue and black cohosh. These two different herbs can help encourage contractions to start. Jacob picked them up at the store for me and I began alternating taking them that afternoon. I added the tincture in with a little bit of water and took it like a shot. They tasted so gross, like ink. But I kept up with it in hopes of something happening!
12 days overdue
The next day (Tuesday) we went back to the hospital for another NST + AFI. Both looked great (I chugged tons of water again). The nurse told me during the ultrasound portion that she was in a posterior position, so the entire time we were there I laid extremely on my right side with my left leg hanging over to encourage her to rotate to face down instead of face up. I was checked again and this time had made some progress to 3cm dilated! My cervix was still posterior and during the check I had another sweep done on my membrane. My fingers were crossed that since I had cervical changes happening that the membrane sweet would do something! Plus knowing that she was posterior at that time encouraged me to help her rotate into a better position which would (hopefully) put more pressure on my cervix to get labor going.
That afternoon I started back with alternating the black and blue cohosh. I felt crampy contractions the whole afternoon and generally tired, which I knew was standard for me after a membrane sweep. I worked on making dinner and some general house clean up. Whether I had a baby that night or in a few days, the last thing I wanted was to come home to a disaster of a house!
Zoe had soccer practice that evening so I took her and sat watching her for an hour. I was definitely beginning to notice crampy contractions more, but again, didn’t know if it was from the sweep and would fade away overnight. I texted my friend Lisa with an update since she was working at the hospital the next day, and the timing would be just perfect if labor happened that next day. She was our nurse for Zoe. became a family friend and was there for Nova’s birth too. I like to refer to as my nurse-doula friend. Jacob and Lisa are my people that I needed there as my support team.
After Zoe’s practice Jacob and I got the kids down for bed. I worked on cleaning up the kitchen, but really, all I wanted to do was lay in bed and rest. Close to 8:30pm we headed up to bed and put a show on and I laid in bed on my right side with my left leg over to the right just continuing to encourage that turn. We went to sleep a bit before 10pm and I knew that either I’d wake up the next morning and feel less crampy, or overnight the contractions wold intensify and it would be go time.
Well at 11:30pm I woke up and just couldn’t sleep through the contractions anymore. I knew it was happening for real now!
I’m going to leave part 1 of Holland’s birth story here and can’t wait to share part 2 soon!