Lindsay and James Piittmann welcomed little Oliver James into the world earlier this summer. We were honored they chose Omaha Birth Connection for their childbirth education, birth doula support, and placenta encapsulation needs. You may know Lindsay as a model for Omaha-based online maternity clothing rental store, Borrow For Your Bump. Lindsay graciously wrote down her birth story in July and wanted us to share...
It all started a few weeks ago on that fateful Saturday morning (more like 3:00AM to be exact). I’d gotten up to go pee for the thousandth time that night, and laid back in bed, barricading myself with a fortress of pillows as I did every night with the hope of easing my back pain. Just when I was about to doze off again, I felt that long anticipated “gush” between my legs. My eyes widened, and my mind started racing. Did my water just break? My due date wasn’t even for a few more days, so I should still have time to tackle the mountainous to-do list that I’d created for myself (and my hubby) before baby number two arrived. Was I just getting my hopes up that tonight was finally the night? I turned on the lamp, and decided to go to the bathroom to assess the damage. There was definitely clear liquid present, but it wasn’t as much as one would expect with having your amniotic sac rupture. I walked back into the bedroom and woke my husband saying, “Babe, I think that my water just broke, but I’m not entirely sure.” He didn’t know what to do with that, and neither did I. Should we wake up our two year old to drive across town to the hospital in the middle of the night, only to have them tell me that it’s false labor, and that I should have done more Kegel exercises to prevent me from peeing the bed? I mean this was baby number two…we should know by now what it feels like to be in labor (ha, what a joke!). Let me back up a little bit and mention that weeks before I had been told I was Group B Strep Positive. My doctor said that it would have little to no consequence to the baby, as long as I was able to start IV antibiotics 4-8 hours before giving birth, and to come in immediately if my water had broken to prevent risk of infection. As my husband and I were processing this information through the tired bags under our eyes, we decided that it would be wise to go in to get checked out just in case my amniotic sac had indeed ruptured.
After that, it was “go time” and we began packing our bags, calling our doula, alerting our designated “on-call” childcare provider (aka: Grandma), and I also made sure to shave my legs before heading out the door. At this point, my contractions were consistent but not extremely close together, so the drive was pretty leisurely from Midtown to West-O where our hospital was located. We arrived at the doors of the ER and had them page Labor and Delivery. During the walk from the emergency room to the L&D floor, I made sure to tell the nurse (on several occasions) that I wasn’t even positive that I was actually in labor nor that my water had even broken. She reassured me that they’d check all of that after they got me into a room. I signed my life away on about 83 documents when I arrived, and in return they simply handed me a gown to change into. As soon as I was finished I’d gotten up to use the restroom, and low and behold, it was like the floodgates to the Nile had burst open in between my legs, and all over the floor of the hospital. I looked over my shoulder at my husband and said, “Well…I guess we don’t need the confirmation from the amniotic fluid test anymore.”
At my last OB visit, nearly a week prior to this, I was measured at 2cm and 50% effaced. When they checked me upon arrival, I was measuring exactly the same. Talk about frustrating. A whole week of Braxton Hicks contractions with absolutely no progress to show for it. The nurse suggested that I roam the halls and bounce on a yoga ball to hopefully get things moving. After an hour, they checked my status again, and I had progressed to 3-4cm and 75% effacement. I was thrilled because things were going in the right direction! I told my hubby to take a nap during the next hour or two of ball-bouncing since we’d hardly gotten any sleep. I was excited to see how far we’d come during my next check, but was disappointed to hear that nothing had happened to further my labor. I thought that perhaps I hadn’t been as aggressive as I could have been with the last round of exercise, so I asked to have another hour. During this time, my doula, my husband and I walked the halls with more vigor and began trying squats as well during contractions. After more time had passed, the nurse wanted to check me yet again. This time I was more nervous for the results. What if I hadn’t progressed anymore yet again? Would they begin pressuring me to take interventions that weren’t a part of my birth plan? As I had feared, I was still measuring the exact same as the previous exam. This was the point when the nurse began talking to me about starting Pitocin to get things moving. She was fearful that my body had stalled out, and that I needed the kick-start of more aggressive contractions to move forward. I felt very strongly about avoiding Pitocin, because I didn’t think that I had the strength to labor without any pain medicine if it was introduced. I asked to speak alone with my husband and doula, and my husband and I agreed to decline the Pitocin. The nurse communicated how adamantly my OB/GYN felt about needing to take some form of action, other than the movement and positions that were clearly not getting us anywhere. It was explained to me that there are multiple layers to your amniotic sac (who knew?!) and that it was possible that not all of the layers had ruptured with my initial burst. She suggested using an Amnihook to see if that was stunting my progression in this case. We agreed to give that a try, as it seemed like the least invasive option. As our fingers were crossed, and my legs were very much uncrossed, the doctor was able to snag a final layer of amniotic sac that had indeed been left intact. We once again began pacing the hallways of the hospital with the hopes that this had been our hang-up.
It wasn’t but maybe 20 minutes after the procedure that my contractions became noticeably stronger and closer together. While I was thankful that we were moving forward, that came at a high cost of great pain. I started having difficulty walking through my contractions, so we made our way back to the room where we got out the squat-bar. My doula helped me into various positions that seemed bearable to me at the time. Along with the squat-bar, I leaned up against a high countertop and also moved into the hands and knees position in the bed. Things were moving quickly now, and it seemed like I hardly had any time to rest and regain my strength between contractions. Tears were rolling down my face, but I kept holding on to the fact that soon we would soon find out if our second child was a little boy or a girl. The thought that this agony would soon be over, and the joy of holding our baby were the only two things that kept racing through my mind. I was so thankful to have heat packs, and wouldn’t let my husband or doula stop rubbing my back with their warmth and slight pain relief. I was later told that I used every single heat pack on the entire labor and delivery floor…whoops!
It felt like days until the time finally came where I felt the need to push. This was when the minor panic started to set in. I’d had an unmedicated birth already once before, and could too easily recall the pain that was about to ensue. I recall telling my husband that I was scared, but both he and our doula were quick to surround me with words of support and encouragement. The doctor quickly rushed into the room and got suited up for the grand finale. I pushed for about 20 minutes, and the “ring of fire” was more intense than I’d even remembered. However, my body knew what had to be done, and I kept contracting and pushing through the searing pain. I could see my progression in the mirror at the foot of my bed, and it gave me the momentum to continue. At last, and with one final push, our baby had emerged into this world. When writing our birth plan, we’d agreed to have my husband call out the gender…but as soon as I saw the baby held up to me I couldn’t help but scream, “It’s a BOY!”
We had a son. Those were the words that I had yet to wrap my mind around. They placed him on my chest, and my husband and I embraced each other through tears of joy. Our little boy was so tiny and completely adorable, and my heart immediately melted with love. There are few words to adequately describe the ecstasy that you feel after giving birth, and finally having that sweet baby in your arms. During the next two hours, we held, kissed, snuggled, and fawned over our son. We were able to spend sweet moments of skin-to-skin to acclimate him into this new form of normalcy. While we didn’t yet have a name decided upon, we later chose the name that best suited him, which is Oliver James.
Little Oliver is now 4 weeks old, and the time has already passed like the blink of an eye. As I’m writing out his birth story, he’s currently swaddled in my lap and cooing through his dreams. Our daughter absolutely loves being a big sister, and asks to hold him every chance that she gets. There is nothing sweeter than seeing your two kids love and interact with one another, knowing that they will grow up being the best of friends.
I would like to thank my amazing husband and rock star doula from Omaha Birth Connection, who gave me every bit of love, support, and encouragement that I needed during my labor and delivery. I love you both dearly.