- Haley Williams
When we found out my due date was Christmas Day, we were sure that our baby would come a little early so we could spend Christmas as a family. We were prepared for anything to happen but we were so sure that we would have the experience we wanted at the midwife center. At the center, they do not induce your labor for you. They want to try and allow that process to happen naturally. My due date came and went, we were then discussing our options. As for when you approach a post term pregnancy, they will not allow you to deliver at the center if you reach 42 weeks. We were sure this baby would come by then so we weren’t worried. Well, we were wrong.
By 41 weeks and a few days, our midwives started to suggest trying natural labor induction methods to get labor going. Under the supervision of my midwives, John Paul and i went to the center to try a “Foley Ball” induction. They inserted basically a balloon inside my cervix to start the dilation process. I don’t wish those on my worst enemy. On the way home, i was almost certain It was working. Contractions were coming on hard and fast. I totally thought it worked and that I was in labor. We called the midwife to let her know contractions had started and she wanted us to monitor them until they reached a certain point. Sadly, after about 4 hours of having strong contractions, they completely stopped. We removed the foley ball as instructed and went to sleep. She told us to call in the morning and maybe we could try something else.
That morning we drove in to the Midwife Center and we were so prepared to have our baby. I remember leaving the house saying “Let’s go have this baby!” This time we were trying castor oil. Everything i ever read about castor oil was that It worked every time and moms went into labor immediately. We were not allowed to leave the center for this method because i has to be monitored. I drank the castor oil with apricot juice (It wasn’t even that bad) and they had me start to pump. They say stimulating the breast makes your body think it needs to feed the baby, so it can start contractions. The purpose of the castor oil is to stimulate the bowels, which also starts contractions. Well, that’s basically all it did for me. I was basically just on the toilet and it was ZERO fun. It didn’t start contractions, nothing. John Paul and I sat in the birthing suite alone and had a long, tear filled talk. I was so ready to have this baby and I started to accept the fact that we weren’t having him at the midwife center and that i was going to have to be induced at Magee. I was heartbroken. I had envisioned this water birth at the center my whole pregnancy and It was kinda just ripped away from me. But i just wanted me and the baby to be safe and at 42 weeks, it’s time for the baby to come out.
We went in for an hospital induction the next morning. We thought my water broke, but once i was admitted my midwife explained It was probably just fluid from the other induction methods we were trying. So there i was all checked in at Magee, ready to go!
We started labor at about 1cm dilated. So i had a ways to go. They first gave me Misoprostol to help thin my cervix. i took that and my midwife told me 4 hours later we would start pitocin. She said i might feel contractions, i might not. I didn’t. 4 hours later, they started pitocin and then that’s when it all hit the fan. My midwife warned me that pitocin contractions were much harder and come on much stronger than natural labor contractions. She told me that i might need to get It out of my head that i will have a natural birth, but i still wanted to try. I was given the pitocin at 8pm and i labored naturally until 3 am. Moving around the room, on the birth ball, hanging on John Paul’s shoulders...The contractions were so hard to get through i couldn’t even talk or barely think. I was already getting exhausted. I knew i was ready for some relief. We tried Nitros oxide first to see if it would take the edge off and i could continue without an epidural. Nope. Didn’t even help, not even a little bit. The anesthesia team came right back in and administered the epidural. I was terrified of this thing. But i knew It was the only way i was going to be able to continue.
After i got the epidural, i was expecting this euphoria of pain relief and to feel amazing. Not the case for me. I still felt awful but i just couldn’t feel anything from the waist down. That didn’t last very long as my epidural started to wear off after only 3 hours. I was feeling everything again so they administered more. My body just kept metabolizing the medicine so fast. It wore off again, and then again for the 3rd time. This baby did not want to come out. It took me until 6pm that night to be dilated enough to push.
We start pushing, and pushing was the easiest part of this whole thing. I felt like i was pushing for 10 minutes and my midwife says “we’ve been pushing for an hour, you’re doing so good!” I couldn’t believe i was already pushing for that long. The nurses came and went my whole labor and by the time i was pushing, It was basically just me, my midwife and JP. I honestly couldn’t have gone through labor without John Paul. He was amazing the entire time.
After pushing for a while, they finally had my put my legs up on this giant bar that was attached to the bed with a sheet wrapped around the top. JP called It my “Tarzan rope” (LOL) i basically used the sheet as leverage in order to push. By this time, the epidural had worn off again and i was feeling pretty much everything. I was so ready for him to be out. I pushed for another half hour and then Julian Paul Zollinger was born at 8:39 PM on January 9, 2020. He weighed 9lbs 4oz at birth. All that extra time in there made him a big healthy boy! Pushing him out was honestly the best feeling in the world. So much relief. It was all over. I did it. When they put him on my chest, it was the most incredible feeling that i seriously can’t describe to anyone else. John Paul and i just sobbed looking at our beautiful baby boy.
My labor was long and hard. 29 hours. But I almost felt like i was in labor for DAYS due to everything i was trying to start real labor. But in the end, i would do every single thing all over again if it gave us Julian.