I had the honor to document and support this amazing family’s birth story. Hannah and Jeremy had a long journey to parenthood with a lot of ups and downs. They are an inspiring couple.
Hannah tells her story better than I can. You can read her story in her words below.
12/23/2021 @ 6am • Went into the hospital for our scheduled induction. Excited, anxious, nervous… all of the feelings. Upon checking in and getting settled into our room we got the game plan. We’d start with Cytotec (a medication inserted vaginally in multiple doses to get your cervix to “ripen”). Earlier in the week we were told I was around 80-85% effaced, but we’d soon find out that was incorrect and I was only 40% effaced… I felt like someone had let the air out of my balloon, and I knew this meant we were in it for the long haul. After the first dose we settled in, played games, walked the halls, talked and bounced on the birthing ball. I’d end up getting 4 doses of Cytotec over the next 16ish hours, and made minimal progress. By the time they gave me the last dose I was barely 2cm… and the next attempt to get me to progress was to bring in the balloon. Up to this point my contractions were tolerable and we were really just passing time… but the pain was about to ramp up once the balloon was introduced…
12/24/2021 @ 2:30am • The insertion process of the balloon/bulb took multiple attempts, the poor guy who attempted first was a very new resident and it was apparent this WAS his first rodeo… not going to lie, I breathed a sigh of relief when he left to get someone else ANYWAYS, they finally got it in and at first I was shocked that it wasn’t painful and they even commented that I must have a high pain tolerance because usually by that point women were very uncomfortable. They offered to speed the process up by hanging a bag of saline from the end of it off the bed. It would increase the pain, but I figured since I was feeling decent enough we might as well do it. Well, they spoke too soon. As soon as everyone but the nurse left the room and the nurse was getting the bag of saline ready the first contraction hit. I nearly leapt off the table. It.was.awful. Needless to say I told the nurse to hold off on the bag of saline. Thank God for our doula who helped me refocus on the task at hand… and thank God for Jeremy, as he truly was my rock during this time. Constantly helping me to breathe and focus, reminding me I could do anything for an hour (for several hours ), and being the greatest support I could imagine. I can honestly say this period of labor deepened my love for Jeremy. It was also at this point that I started shaking uncontrollably. It has always been a strong reaction my body has towards pain, and this was no different. After several hours I finally had hit 5cm and the balloon came out… I breathed a sigh of relief and immediately asked for the epidural. I was exhausted and tired of shaking and being in pain… and even though I wanted to make it further without one, I knew it was time just so I could get a break.
The epidural took a couple attempts to get placed, but I was so relieved once it was in. I was able to rest a little, but admittedly this is when things started to take a turn. I was contracting on my own, without Pitocin thankfully. But suddenly our nurse came in to get me on oxygen, we learned that George’s heart rate was dropping with my contractions. We’d begin an hours long back and forth: progress, contractions, George’s heart rate dropping, several people rushing into the room to flip me and get oxygen on me, and a moment where we’d wait for his heart rate to bump back up. It was physically and emotionally draining. With every dip in his heart rate I would fear the worst. Every time they’d rush into the room to flip me meant I wasn’t able to rest. And I was still shaking. Several hours into this, I finally broke down. I asked the nurse to get the doctor (who was actually just a resident) so we could talk.
At this point we had maybe only seen one doctor who wasn’t still a resident. While I appreciated helping the residents get some hands-on experience, I was becoming a little frustrated. My doctor hadn’t been allowed to deliver anymore because of vaccine policies, so we were in the care of a different clinic once I set foot into the hospital. Not having anyone who knew me and my history apart from a chart had been a big fear of mine, and it was for this reason (something going wrong). But one of the 4th year residents took the lead on our case and showed levels of kindness and care that truly made our birth experience.
Here are a few images from their session.
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