Duo Ventures

Friday, March 23, 2018

Zain's Posterior Birth Story

On December 29th, 2017 we added another little boy to our family!  Zain is almost 3 months old now and doing great.  He is such a sweet happy baby.

In 2015 I shared Sami's Birth Story & I wanted to do the same for Zain's birth.  My experiences are a perfect example of how different labors can be - even for the same woman.  Given my first labor was relatively quick, I figured there a was pretty good chance that my second labor might be even faster & dare I say - easier.  Well, I should have known better than to have any expectations.

Our birth plan was the same as it was with Sami - we wanted an unmedicated labor with the least amount of interventions as possible (we had read The Bradley Method book prior to Sami's birth).

My pregnancy was pretty normal all the way until my 37 week check up, when the doctor said the baby was measuring 3 weeks ahead according to my fundal height (stomach measurement).  The strange thing was I was measuring ahead on one side of my stomach & normal on the other.  She initially thought it might have been due to my uterus shape.  Apparently I have a "bicornuate uterus", which is essentially a heart shaped uterus.  I had never even heard that term until this pregnancy, when the doctor mentioned they noticed it in one of my early ultrasound photos.  I don't know the severity of mine, but they didn't consider me high risk since I had a normal pregnancy the first time without complications.

So anyway, the doctor assumed I was measuring ahead because the baby was all on one side, but decided to do an ultrasound to make sure I didn't have any extra amniotic fluid.  The tech informed me that the baby was indeed measuring ahead by 3 weeks.  My doctor told me that if he continued to grow at this rate I might need to be induced early.  Of course, that was the last thing I wanted, but there was nothing I could do about it.

On Tuesday December 26th, at my 39 week checkup, the doctor told me I was almost 4cm dilated and that the baby was at a -3 station & still measuring ahead (but growth seemed to slow down a little).  She said we had a few options:

One - we could wait a week until my due date to see if the baby would come on his own, but if I didn't go into labor by my due date, I would probably need to be induced depending on how the baby & I were doing (she said there was a small chance they would let me go ONE more week after my due date, but couldn't guarantee it).

Two - she offered to strip my membranes in the hopes of naturally inducing me more quickly.  After weighing our options, we decided we would rather strip my membranes as opposed to potentially having to be induced the following week.  It was pretty uncomfotable & painful, but not unbearable (nothing is worse than labor anyway, right?).

On Wednesday & Thursday I had mild cramping and mucusy bloody discharge, but no contractions or major signs of labor.  Then on Friday morning around 6AM I started to have very mild period-like contractions that lasted around 30-45 seconds and were about 2-4 minutes apart.  This went on all morning & into the afternoon, and while the contractions became mildly more intense, I didn't feel like I was progressing very much.  In fact, whenever I sat down, the contractions actually slowed down immensely or even seemed to stop.

By 4PM I started doubting if it was the real deal and was convinced I was in "false labor".  My family was convinced I was in real labor & that we should go to the hospital.  I did hate not knowing where I was in terms of dilation, so I finally agreed to go.

My mom, Nader, & I arrived at the hospital around 4:30PM & triage was so busy we waited for 1.5 hours.  Instead of sitting down in the waiting area, we decided to walk around the halls which definitely helped to speed along my contractions.  At that point it was pretty clear to me that I was in real labor.  I would need to stop, sway, & breath every time a contraction came.  In the middle of my contractions Nader would laugh & say I looked like a dormant walker from The Walking Dead.  I told him to go F himself  ;)  Later on, he showed me the video he took of me & it was actually pretty funny - I did look like zombie.  Anyway, I digress...

Waiting to be checked in Triage

When it was finally my turn to get checked by triage, a nurse came out to ask if I could wait some more because there was a girl who just got there who was having contractions & she was still early in her pregnancy.  Of course I said it was okay, so we had to wait even longer.  Finally, at 6PM a nurse came and got us & took us to an actual L&D room since all the rooms in triage were still full.  As we were walking to the room we saw one of our favorite doctors was on call that day.

Once we got settled into our room, she came in to check me & said I was about 6cm dilated, but that the baby was still very high up at a -3 station.  She advised us that she could break my water to speed things along.  Initially, I was against it and wanted to let my body do what it would do naturally, but I was so ready to have that baby that we agreed to have her break my water.  At around 6:30PM she broke my water & by 6:40PM the contractions were already increasing in intensity.  For the next hour I labored on the bed since I forgot my exercise ball at home.

Periodically, I wanted to be checked for dilation but the nurses said they couldn't check me until I felt the urge to push since checking me would increase the risk of infection.  It drove me insane not knowing how I was progressing.  Over the next hour I would feel random urges to push while I was contracting, but not that super intense I HAVE TO PUSH feeling.

At 7:45 I started feeling another mild urge to push & asked for the nurse to check me.  She said I was about 9.5 cm, but that the baby was still high up.  At this point I was so ready to be done, I begged her if we could try pushing.  After several minutes of pushing we had to stop since it wasn't really doing anything as the baby was still too high.  She said I would need to labor more on my own before we tried pushing again.

I was getting so frustrated & felt like it was taking SO long to get to 10 cm.  I kept looking at the clock & thinking back to Sami's birth and feeling like it was going so sloooow this time around.  The transition phase of labor is by far the most painful, and I was in that full stage of "self doubt" where I just didn't think I could do it anymore.  I tried my best to breath and relax through contractions, but all I could think about was how much I wanted it all to be over.  I had that intense back labor again that was centered around my tailbone.  I kept telling my mom and Nader that I was NEVER doing this again & that I was definitely getting an epidural next time (note: I said the same thing while laboring with Sami...oh how time really does helps you to forget how painful it is, ha!).

After another hour or so of contractions I started really feeling the urge to push around 9PM.  The nurse came in to check me & I was finally 10cm.  She called for my doctor and then I started pushing - HELLO RING OF FIRE!  After about 10-15 minutes of pushing, Zain was born!

Not only was he in a posterior position (AKA sunny side up), but he had a double nuchal - which meant he was born facing upwards towards the ceiling with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice.  As soon as he came out, my doctor said, "Well no wonder he took so long!  If he had been facing down you probably would of had this baby days ago!".  Who really knows if that is true, but I'm apt to believe it considering how much longer and more difficult this labor seemed than my first.

As they started cleaning him off, Nader and I were shocked at his light colored hair.  I had envisioned a baby with dark eyes and dark hair, so you can imagine my surprise when this light colored baby popped out.  I remember saying to the doctor, "He's white?!".  My doctor was like, "Well, what did you expect- you're white!".  Everyone in the room had a good laugh over that, but I was seriously in shock.  I guess I figured it was highly unlikely that with Nader's dark middle eastern genes we would have another light eyed baby, let alone a light haired baby, ya know?

While we did our hour of skin to skin, I still had to go through the "third" stage of labor - delivery of the placenta.  I talked about this in my first labor story.  This time around, I was prepared for it...but it still sucks.  They are pushing on the top of your uterus from the outside and digging around in there to expel your placenta and make sure you don't have any blood clots.  I've heard some women say it doesn't hurt at all, but it has been quite painful for me both times.

Afterwards, I had to be stitched up because I had a second degree tear again.  They also had to give me an IV of oxytocin to manage my postpartum bleeding.  I'm not sure if that is standard practice or if I was having excessive bleeding.

I tried latching Zain pretty soon after they handed him to me.  I was incredibly anxious about breastfeeding, since I had such a hard time with Sami (read more on that HERE).  To my surprise, he seemed to latch really well and I felt such a sense of relief.  Little did I know, we were going to have major issues again, but that's another story...

Looking back now, it completely makes sense why this labor took longer and seemed more challenging to me.  From what I've read about posterior births, they generally seem to take longer & can be more difficult due the baby's less than ideal positioning.  Apparently, many babies are posterior at the time labor begins, but only a small percentage are actually born in a posterior position. The majority of babies will flip to an anterior position during the labor process.  A few days after Zain's birth, I read an article about the challenges of posterior births, and I can say that I actually experienced most of the symptoms that were mentioned.  For example, I had the typical "start & stop" labor pattern, back labor, early urge to push, and while my labor was not "long" compared to some, it was drawn out for me.

For perspective - with Sami, my entire labor was about 5 hours from the time my water broke until the time I delivered him and it took about 2.5 hours to go from 3 cm to 10 cm.  With Zain, the entire labor was about 15 hours and it took me about 3 hours just to go from 6 cm to 10 cm.  Giving birth is by far one of the most difficult things you will every do (besides raising little humans), but so worth it!

Welcome to our family Zain :)
Thanks for reading!


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