How we decided on a birth center.

First: [great article] Came across this article on Improving Birth, and think it’s a great place to start if you’re interested.

Second: Looking back on posts, I realize I’ve never posted Olive’s birth story. How could this be!

(Insert time-travel story-telling sounds here. You know the ones…)

Olive was born on a Tuesday. Though, birth shenanigans began the Saturday before. I say shenanigans because her bag likely had a small tear and began leaking Saturday afternoon. For the record, this could and was easily confused for sneeze-pee-late-pregnancy-issues. My Doula, April, recommended to “wait and see” if anything else happened. Which was nothing. Sunday came and went much the same way so Monday morning, after Paul checked in to his office, we were off to St.Luke’s Hospital.

Lesson learned: Monday mornings in L&D are packed with planned C-Sections. Got there just in time to get a triage bed (!!!).

After an initial exam to confirm I was leaking amniotic fluid and in way early stages of labor, we waited. And waited. For my OB to come by, do another exam, and confirm the same thing. By now, the fetal monitor started tracking mild contractions. I wasn’t really feeling much, but after years of menstrual cramps I think we get immune, amiright?

Since my labor wasn’t “progressing,” I would be admitted and administered pitocin to “speed things up.” This is the point where I should have started asking more questions, but was just trying to stay in the moment, so I didn’t. Note to self: unless in dire need, just say no.

I wasn’t able to see a clock while in our labor room, so I’m not quite sure how much time passed from the time we were admitted to the time Pitocin knocked me on my ass. After a late afternoon exam to see if/how much I was (not) progressing, someone stated I had to lay on my side to help with dilation on one side. This was my undoing. Wave after wave of Pit-induced horrific contractions ensued, which came with no build-up. It’s what I imagine a lightning strike would feel like. Seriously. With my body not cooperating, I could expect to feel like this for a few hours. Enter epidural. *SIGH* In the meantime, I was given some other narcotic and was able to sit up. Now I wonder, if I could have just SIT UP, would the lightning have continued? Likely, I wouldn’t have progressed enough for the hospital and the meds would have been turned up some more.

So now it’s around dinner time. Everyone is exhausted already. Epidural is in place, and I’m trapped in bed. Surely, things should start happening, right? Well they did. Just not to us.

From what the nurses shared, and later April, was that every room in the joint was hopping. Ladies having babies in the elevator, another just barely making it on the bed, an emergency that turned out well, and all kinds of other chaos. At one point, April and my mom were comforting our nurse, who was frazzled by the emergency. Somewhere in there, a nurse came in to turn off my Pit drip. Turn. Off. Because we were low on the chaos scale. Me, I was likely delirious at this point. My mom, chasing down nurses because Olive’s heart rate would drop a little with the contractions, so shouldn’t the Pit keep going?

Some time later, one of the many nurses came in to let me know what I should be feeling as transition starts and Olive is ready. I’m pretty sure I was feeling the pressure as she was telling me this. On her next check, I told her that I thought Olive was ready. With a slightly disbelieving smile, she did a check, and sure enough, it was time. A few minutes later, my room felt like a clown car full of people in scrubs bringing in carts and trays and turning on lights and prepping the Doctor and everyone get ready. Four sets of pushes later, Olive came into the world screaming, pooping and peeing.

Olive with my mom.

Cut the cord, check the baby, etc etc. One of her blood tests showed something (not serious) so off she went to the nursery for another test and a bath after about 30 minutes in the room. I sent Paul with her while I delivered the placenta and got my three stitches. Teeny tear.

After finally going up to post-partum and eating, we were notified that Olive needed more blood drawn to check for jaundice and low-blood sugar. This is where I now know in my heart that delayed cord clamping would have made a difference. I had this in our birth plan, which essentially was just a piece of paper in my file that no one would really look at. The loss of control of this situation wouldn’t really set in until much later. Surely, the care takers at the hospital would have our best interests in mind, right?

Two days later, still at the hospital because the Pediatrician didn’t like Olive’s blood sugar still. During all this, we kept receiving instructions to feed her formula (which we only did once) to help “get her numbers up.” In our eyes, she was doing well, nursing on demand, had great color, and was active. We just wanted to go home. On Thursday, the entire nursing staff had to deal with us being pissed off all day as we waited for the Pedi to come. Which wasn’t until 5PM.

Just a lot of nonsense.

Finding out about baby number two put me on the path to find a better experience. Upon attending the open house at the San Antonio Birth Center, I felt like I had found my place in so many ways. My insurance is able to cover the visits and delivery after asking for and receiving an exception, which the Birth Center helped me with. Everyone there is great. Both of my parents have stopped in after a visit to the acupuncturist next door – each needed reassurance I wasn’t delivering the baby in a meadow somewhere with incense burning surrounded by chanting women. Or at least, that’s what they probably though the BC was like. Hee! Wonder what they’ll think about encapsulation!

Nineteen-ish days to go. The full moon taunted me this weekend with yucky stomach cramps, lots of Braxton Hicks contractions, and non-stop fatigue. Looks like I have a few more days to continue nesting.



  1. It sounds like your birth center is wonderful. I hope you have a happy, healthy birth for your second child! And, I just googled “encapsulation.” Interesting!

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