This story comes to us from one of our very own Snap Moms, Donna Quillian! She wanted to share her two births to show the contrast between “going with the norm” and researching and knowing your options. Here at The Snap Mom, we talk a lot about knowing that you as an expectant mom, or an experienced mom, have a plethora of options! We hope you enjoy this double birth story and are empowered by it!
Hi! I am Donna. It is said that every pregnancy, labor, & delivery are different for every woman. No two are the same. I can attest to that with my own two. I had hospital births that were similar yet very different. With my first birth I had no real planning, very distant staff, and had no clue what I was doing. With my second I was better prepared, had a wonderful nurse, and actually listened to my body. With my oldest, it was such a whirlwind experience. With a very uneventful pregnancy, we had no clue what was waiting for us at the end. The only thing I planned on was getting an epidural because I am a baby for pain.
My water spontaneously broke at 5:30 in the morning when I got up for what I thought was yet another bathroom trip. I was one day away from my due date, I had lost my mucus plug two weeks prior, and had been dilated 2-3 cm for the past month or so. I knew he was going to be coming soon, but I was not prepared for my water to break on its own they way it did. After showering and making sure I had what I thought I would need for my hospital stay, we made our way to the hospital. I think we arrived to the labor & delivery triage around 7 am. They checked me and hooked me up to see how far apart my contractions were. While in triage, Andrew thought his umbilical cord was the best pillow! I had to immediately get on my side, not something easy to do when your hips are separated, & I was put on oxygen. We were instantly taken to the labor & delivery room. Once we arrived into the room, I was promptly greeted by a nurse who told me she “did not allow mothers to scream.” I was shocked. Since I’m such a smart-mouth, I (according to my husband because I don’t remember this) asked her if she had ever had children. Apparently she answered yes she did, & they were delivered naturally. Still, no reason for her to immediately make that comment to me. She gave me no chance to see what my body was leading me to do. After getting ‘settled in’, the fun began. My labor had been progressing at a good rate. I believe it was around 9am when my nurse came to check me, I was at 6 cm and progressing. After about 30 mins of pretty constant contractions I asked for an epidural. So my nurse quickly brought in the anesthesiologist and checked me while he was getting set up. I was already at 7 cm and shaking from the contractions. In the 10 minutes it took to get the needle in my back and give me half of the tester dose I went to 9 cm! Everything was going so fast and I was about to meet my son. I was scared, excited, worried, and every other emotion. After the epidural, an hour passed and I was still at 9 cm. What happened to my quick labor? It was now around 11am, 5.5 hours since my water broke and my labor quickly followed. It seemed the epidural had put my labor in a dead STOP at 9 cm. I was given Pitocin to restart my labor. Nothing can prepare you for Pitocin labor! Finally, after another hour of intense labor, I was ready to push!
I pushed and pushed for two hours. I had an EMS student in the room who was watching his first live birth. Poor guy! He got to witness the mess that is a vaginal, drug-filled, hospital birth. I was given an episiotomy against my wishes, but I had been pushing for two hours with no result. Even though I did not want the episiotomy, I believe this was the thing that kept me from getting an “emergency” C-section. After my son was born I realized why I was having a hard time pushing… both him and I had swollen significantly from either the epidural or the Pitocin, or from the combination of the two. I had such a hard time delivering that I busted blood vessels in one of my eyes. Additionally, I had anemic issues that caused me to pass out multiple times when getting up after birth that were not taken care of until I got to my recovery room. My son had a bad startle reflex and I was accused of taking drugs during my pregnancy. I was told that because I was young (I was 18 yrs old) that they couldn’t believe me. That I had to consent to drug tests for myself and my son or else they were going to court order them. I suspect the epidural/Pitocin caused the strong startle reflex in my son. In the months following I felt so many emotions about my hospital experience. I knew that if I had anymore children that I needed to prepare better for whatever type of birth I would have.
Almost one year after Andrew was born, we found out we were unexpectedly expecting! We got excited. Sadly, one week later, a few days before Andrew’s first birthday, we miscarried. We were devastated. But it made me realize I wasn’t yet prepared for another child. I needed to do some research. After losing a baby, we weren’t sure if we were meant to have more children. We were very hopeful that we would, but did not know what God had planned for us. Fast forward another 10 months. I was planning a baby shower for one of my sisters, giving all my attention to my son and her party. Not paying much attention to the calendar when a few days extra had gone by and I realized I was missing something! Upon taking a test I received a negative result, so maybe I was just stressed from the party planning. After thinking about it, I knew I wasn’t. I went to have the pregnancy confirmed but they told me the same thing, it was negative. I was told to wait two weeks to see if I got my period, if I didn’t, then come back in for a test. Finally after a never-ending two weeks we went back and got a POSITIVE! We were excited, but also very scared. What would we do if we lost this one too?
This pregnancy was different from my first, predictable pregnancy. We were praying that we did not lose this baby too. In this pregnancy we had many scares in the beginning. I got shingles! Yes, the shingles that you get when you are older and had chicken-pox as a child. Then I found out there was a small blood clot between the placenta and my uterus. This could have been the end of this pregnancy. The clot so wonderfully passed without causing another miscarriage. Then my cervix was (as the doctor described it) super sensitive so every movement I made was causing me to bleed. Once again my feelings of losing this baby too came back. I had to have some blood vessels cauterized to keep from bleeding constantly.
About mid-way through the pregnancy things finally started falling into place and I stopped worrying so much. We found out that we were expecting another BOY! I was doing my research on how to labor & birth naturally. I knew after my first experience that I did not want an epidural, but I did the paper work just in case. I like to be prepared and am a nervous wreck if I’m not. I had a great second half of the pregnancy. My time finally came 11 days before my due date. It started around 6:30 in the morning with some mild back pain. I wiggled in bed for about 2 hours getting some naps in before I tried to lay on my side and knew I was starting labor. I got out of bed half expecting my water to break like it did the first time, but it didn’t. After using the restroom I realized I lost my mucus plug so I really figured that I wasn’t going to be having the baby that day. The first time I lost the plug two weeks prior to giving birth. From what I learned, you can take a warm shower and if you are in real labor it will help your contractions regulate (or at least help most women). So I decided to take a warm shower to test my contractions. I was in labor! The shower really did help regulate my contractions. I got out, woke up my husband and son, & started double checking our bags.
I wasn’t paying much attention to how fast my contractions were coming until Jeremy had said something about them seeming pretty close. I finally took the time to focus on my contractions and time them. They were at a steady 3-3.5 minutes apart lasting about 30-50 seconds each! Thankfully we live 5 minutes from the hospital. It was around 10am when we finally arrived to the hospital. I had to wait for a room, so I labored in the check-in office. After getting a room, getting changed, and getting checked, I was dilated to 4 cm. My water broke as soon as the nurse went to check me. She laughed and told me I was there to stay! I told her how I did not want an epidural and about my previous experience with it. She giggled a little and told me that whatever way I needed to labor, she was there. Finally, the nurse I needed!
This little fellow was head down, but he was face up. I had horrible back labor. I could only find relief on the toilet. I didn’t have to worry about things and I wasn’t putting pressure on my bum – where Avery thought was the perfect place to rest. While I labored some, my nurse went to do a few things. I was on my own to labor since Jeremy was waiting for someone to come sit with Andrew. When my nurse returned just after 11am I told her that I might want that epidural after all since the back labor was more intense than my first experience. She put the I.V. hookup in my hand but didn’t connect it. She encouraged me to continue to labor while she did some of my paper work. It was so nice having such encouragement.
So I continued to labor out of my bed. Jeremy finally arrived in the room around noon and I apologized to him because I really didn’t think I could go without the epidural. The back labor was intense. My nurse smiled, told me that I was doing great and if I wasn’t too far along I could get the epidural if that was what I wanted. She checked me, smiled ear-to-ear and told me I had done it! I was almost at 10 cm and could start pushing when I was ready, but to please tell her so the doctor could be there. At around 12:30pm I knew I needed to push. My doctor was across the hall delivering someone else. I had to breath through a few contractions so the first available doctor could rush in just in time to catch Avery! That doctor let me tear naturally. It felt AMAZING not being so drugged up like I was with Andrew. I did end up having similar issues that caused me to pass out upon getting up for the first time, but after that one time I felt great again! I felt ready for a day full of fun!
Andrew David Quillian was born on March 19th, 2010 at 2:07pm weighing 7 lbs 8 ozs measuring 19.75 ins long. Avery Randolph Quillian was born September 19th, 2012 at 12:57pm weighing 6 lbs 14 ozs measuring 19.25 ins long. After my experience with my first delivery, I felt very upset with the way it went. I did not have a birth plan except that I knew I wanted an epidural. My reason for wanting one was that I don’t like pain, but honestly birth is painful no matter what you do. There is no avoiding the pain. I suggest that anyone even thinking about having children, do your research. Know why you want the type of birth that you want, and don’t just do what everyone else is doing. I chose to deliver at the hospital again because of my issues in the beginning of the pregnancy. I did not know how my labor was going to go the second time, and since we had lost a child in early pregnancy before, I was scared that something was going to happen.
I was able to have the birth that I wanted for my second delivery because I actually knew what I wanted, voiced my plan, and did research on the effects of different procedures. The people who are assisting you are also key to having a successful birth. Getting a nurse who immediately, upon meeting you for the first time, tells you she doesn’t like something she assumes you will do is no good. That creates a negative atmosphere and will not result in a successful birth. After my experiences with the hospital births, I would do another hospital birth. I will also be looking into non-hospital birthing, as long as it is something that is good for that pregnancy. I am responsible for educating myself for the well-being of my children and myself. I must make sure I know what I am deciding, and not just go in blindly.