March 15th 2019 at 10:21pm, Ayla Mae Van Gaalen FINALLY made her appereance into the world after a very long, very exhausting, very painful 22.5 hours of labour.
Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
On March 14th, I was 40w3d pregnant and I was SO over it. For the past two weeks I had literally tried everything and anything to induce labour. I ate more pinapple in those few weeks than I’ve ate in my entire life. I drank an insane amount of Raspberry Leaf Tea, I bought Evening Primose Oil and stuck that shit up my vagina in hopes that it would induce labour. I bounced for hours on a yoga ball, I ate SO much spicey food and yet nothing worked. I was convinved I was going to be pregnant forever LOL. My husband called me around 6:30pm that evening and told me he’d be late coming home from work and asked me to call and cancel his massage appointment he was supposed to have that night, but instead of cancelling it I called and asked if I could just come instead and have a prenatal massage because #iwaswillingtotryanything. Fast forward a few hours and half a bag of spicy dortitos later I headed to bed – again convinced I was going to be pregnant forever.
Just after 12am I woke up with what I considered semi painful contractions and now looking back I’m LOL-ing at myself because lorddddd if I only knew what was about to happen but anyways… from 12am to 4:30am I moved back and forth from the bed to the living room, timing the contractions and trying to decide when I should wake Kyle up. My contractions were very irregular – anywhere from 2 to 8 minutes apart and lasting 45 to 60 seconds. When I was up and walking they were much closer together and the second I’d lay or sit down they pretty much stopped. My app kept telling me to “head to the hospital” but I knew it was too early and I wanted to labour at home as long as possible. At 4:30am Kyle’s alarm went off for work and that’s when I told him that I was having contractions for the past 4.5 hours. He was completely shocked and all I was thinking was how the f did you not hear me moaning in pain when I was laying in bed having contractions but ok then LOL. I continued timing the contractions and had Kyle hold a heating pad to my back because the back pain was UNREAL. Back labour is no joke you guys.
Around 6:45am we decided to head to the hospital because at this point my contractions were consistently around 3-5 minutes apart and I was a little worried that my water was leaking because earlier in the morning I felt a “gush” of water a few times and I really didn’t think I peed myself so I figured better safe than sorry.
Around 7:30am we arrived at the hospital and went into triage on the L&D floor where I was hooked up to monitors and the nurse checked to see how far dilated which at this point I was 3.5cm and she said that around 9am my OB would be in to recheck and see if they’d admit me or not. Shortly after 9am my OB came in and while he was checking to see if I progressed. During the process accidentally broke my water, which he said was more than likely because I had a small tear [confirming I didn’t pee myself at home LOL] which immediately meant I was going to be admitted and wouldn’t be leaving the hospital until our rainbow baby was born.
I was quickly moved to a birthing room and Kyle brought up all of our bags from the car. I’ll be honest the timeline is a little foggy because I only had like 20 minutes of sleep that night and the contractions f-ing hurt. A lot. Did I mention back labour sucks?! LOL. Shortly after we moved into the birthing room I announced on Instagram, during my contractions #dedication that we were FINALLY going to meet this little babe. I don’t know how things work in other hospital, but the one I’ve given birth to both my children at, has a nurse stay with you the entire duration of your labour. Our nurse, Amanda was great! After telling her how much back pain I was having she said it was because the baby was sunny-side up and she gave me lots of different tips and tricks to try and flip her so that her face was facing my spine, not the back of her head. I never thought I’d be one of those mamas who wanted to labour out of the bed but because my contractions would stop unless I was walking/moving around, I really had no choice but to be honest I loved being able to move around, walk the halls, etc. I’d say around 12pm I started shaking and my nurse said that was a good sign that I was probably around a 6 which she was bang on! I was SO nervous when I reached this point because with Lincoln, I never dilated past a 6 and I was terrified of history repeating itself. A few hours later she re-checked and at this point I was around an 8 which I was SO thankful for. I just kept thinking omg.. only two more CM until I meet this babe. I can DO this. Even tho the pain was UNREAL I just kept taking each contraction one at a time and I knew that with every contraction I was one step closer to meeting our baby and I swear that’s what kept me going. Funny story: I kept saying after every contraction that “this was the best thing ever” and my husband, nurse and OB all thought I was crazy, but honestly I was just so incredibly grateful. Up until this point my labour was everything I dreamed of. I wanted to go into labour naturally and try and avoid having an epidural. I wanted to have continue progress like I’d been having and damn I was just so proud of myself. Around 4:30pm the nurse checked me and I was 9-9.5cm. I couldn’t freaken believe it, it was almost time to push… or so I thought. Our nurse said that I had to dilate that extra .5cm before I could start pushing and she attempted do a sweep to see if she could get me too a 10, but no luck. My cervix was being incredibly stubborn and wouldn’t fully dilate. At this point the pain was so bad that I truly don’t remember what time everything happened at, but at one point she rechecked me, I’d say about an hour or so later and I still hadn’t fully dilated. Around 6:30pm she called in my OB who pretty much gave me two choices.. he said that I either get an epidural to let my body relax and get to the 10 like I needed, or I could continue doing what I was doing but that I couldn’t tense up because I was running the risk of hardening my cervix [I think that’s the term he used] and that I’d end up having a repeat c-section. The words c-section made me want to vomit because I was SO close to having my dream birth so I decided to have the epidural. Around 7pm the anesthesiologist came and I have never wanted to see someone so badly in my life before LOL. As soon as I had in my head I was getting the epidural I was like WHERE THE F ARE YOU?! I remember I just kept screaming like WHAT’S TAKING HIM SO LONG?! Like calm down Jessica. You’ve already been labouring unmediated for 19 hours at this point, what’s another 15 minutes.
The epidural was something I was never against, I just had in my head I wanted to try for a natural birth but TBH looking back I think it was a blessing in disguise I didn’t dilate fully and required the epidural. My back hurt SO bad that I’m not even sure I would’ve been able to push & once I finally hit 10cm [which was about 2 hours after I had the epidural] I was able to watch & enjoy pushing.
I was the weirdo who used the mirror and absolutely loved every single second of it. My “pushing” experience was so different than what I expected. IDK I just feel like you watch all those shows with the nurse who counts to ten when you’re pushing NOPE not how it went at all. It was more “push until you can’t push anymore. Ok inhale and push again” but mannnnnn was it so cool. Watching your body make progress and again because I was the weirdo with the mirror I was able to see when she crowned and let me tell ya it was the biggest friggen motivation to push her out so we could finally find out the gender!!!!! Forgot to mention that because I was 9cm at like 4pm we all thought this babe would be here SOON so my mom came up to the hospital and was just going to wait around but because things took much longer than expected her and my brother came into the room once I had the epidural and we just hung out until it was finally ready to push and than my brother GTFO of the room cuz EW but my mama stayed and when I was on my final push she pulled out the camera & filmed us finding out the gender and YOU GUYS.. that’s a video I will FOREVER treasure. Besides the fact I was swearing a lot and making weird noises [wtf] it’s still so incredibly cool to hear your husband say “IT’S A GIRL” after I was convinced it was a boy. Anyways after an hour or so of pushing and two tiny stitches later she was here, Ayla Mae Van Gaalen. Born at 10:21pm, 8lbs10oz and 22″.
There you have it folks. My birth story. The absolute best birthing experience I could ever have.
And to answer the question I know so many people are going to ask and/or wonder… was not finding out the gender worth it? HOLY SHIT friends. 110%. I will NEVER find out the gender again and will forever recommend to anyone who asks to do the same.
Any questions? Leave them below or shoot me an e-mail. I’m an open book and will answer any question you might have XOXO