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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Irwin

Georgia's Birth Story

It feels strange writing this out when I feel like the whole world watched Georgia’s birth on instagram live. In fact I saved everything on my “Baby Time” story highlight if you’d like to see everything for yourself. 

Georgia was a difficult pregnancy. Covid-19 was in full swing, my mental health was struggling, I developed a subchorionic bleed that lasted until 20 weeks, and SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) was a nightmare. She was in a transverse lie for most of my pregnancy, breech from weeks 35-36 and then finally head down by 37 weeks.

We were planning a homebirth, for multiple reasons. I had spent so much time, money and energy into creating my perfect birthing space. A real zen den; but as is the unpredictable nature of birth, I ended up with a hospital induction instead. 

I had already mentally prepared to go past my due date as my first came at 41&6. Akin to my first, lots of prodromal labor as well. But I was more patient and calm this time around. I had realistic expectations and tried not to get excited about anything until I knew it was real.

Around 2:30 AM on a Saturday morning (40w2d), I awoke to a “Pop” sensation along with a small gush/ trickle feeling, as if I had just peed myself. I put on a pad, and tried to go back to sleep. I knew what this meant. Water breaking without contractions is called PROM. I was now on a clock but things were early and I had time.

By 7 AM I was experiencing light and infrequent contractions. I told my birth team the news, feeling unsure whether or not I had a high leak or if I did just pee myself. My plan for the day was to balance movement with rest to conserve energy. I did some spinning babies stretches, went for a nice long walk, took a nap, and ate some food. MY midwife stopped by in the early evening but there wasn't any pooling fluid to test for rupture, so we were still unsure but created a plan. If things didn't pick up overnight I would head to the hospital, test to confirm rupture, and then re-calibrate our game plan with that information. 

Overnight nothing happened.

In the morning (Easter Sunday) I made my way to the hospital and tested positive for amniotic fluid. I had a conversation with the hospital care team and signed an AMA (against medical advice) waiver to head home. My baby looked good on the NST, no fever or signs of infection, and I still had time to try an herbal induction and continue my plans to birth at home.

Even though I had vowed to never again take castor oil, I decided I needed to at least try for a “hail mary” and do it anyway. I took a regiment of herbal tinctures and castor oil Sunday afternoon. Waiting for the literal and figurative shit storm to kick things off.

Contractions did come. Lasting 45 sec- a minute every 4-5 mins.

Later that evening, (when not on the toilet) I ate oatmeal, pumped for 15 mins, and moved my body. Around midnight, I managed to fall asleep and woke up the next morning annoyed that things had once again stalled.

I made a trip to my chiropractor for an adjustment, and then to my midwife's home to talk about our best options at this point. 

I had been ruptured for more than 60 hours and still no sign of active labor. I could continue to work on things at home, but being a doula I fully understood the increased risks associated with a prolonged rupture and I knew I ultimately wanted to avoid a cesarean; and in order to avoid an infection or fever, I made the painful decision to abandon my dream of a homebirth and plan for a hospital induction that evening.

I went home to grieve. I sobbed. I sobbed some more, and then focused on packing my hospital bag with some last minute amenities. 

Adjusting your expectations when plans need to change is hard. -understatement. 

Due to hospital restrictions with covid I was forced to scale back on my care team. I could only have two support people. I chose my husband and doula. This meant my photographer, cousin/other doula, and midwifery team would not be in attendance. 

It’s bad enough grieving the loss of a dream, and then worse losing the support you were counting on. Whew! I was devastated. 

I allowed myself time to process and feel everything: mad, sad, annoyance, grief, anger, frustration, etc. I was ok with feeling sorry for myself. 

I sat on my deck, ate my weight in cottage cheese (my pregnancy craving) and talked with my cousin over how shitty this whole thing was.

I wiped my tears, put on a fresh Depends diaper, said my goodbyes to (daughter) Willa, and we made our way to the hospital. 

I felt an odd sense of peace and calm. Not sure if that was the universe or the CBD gummy I had taken, but I was focused, ready to do the damn thing, and meet this baby!

Walking back into the hospital, I waved hello and said, “I’m baaaack!” to the staff. I settled into my room, turned on my bluetooth speaker, blasted pop music to set the tone for my induction of labor.

The hospital midwifery team came to introduce themselves. Right out the gate, there was a lot of advocating I needed to do in order to establish my boundaries; but we all ended on the same page. I ordered dinner, ate a carb heavy meal and said, “Let’s start the pit!”

I allowed for one initial cervical check to establish a baseline. I was 3cm/100%/0 station.

Around 7PM the IV was running but I didn't feel much. We watched a movie, laughed, chatted, rested here and there and around 11:30 PM I started to feel a switch. More pressure in my bottom  and ramping up of contraction intensity. Without hesitation I got up, filled the tub and got myself into the water. 

Contractions were coming every 3-4 mins and lasting a minute. Baby was tolerating everything beautifully. I found myself feeling hungry around 1:30 and dove into the forbidden jimmy johns while laboring in the tub. 

Here I was, a plus size baddie laboring in water that my “BMI was too high for” and eating the contraband food I brought when I was supposed to be on a clear liquid diet. I knew hospital policy contradicted my choices but that's the beautiful thing about knowing your rights. You can decline or do whatever you feel is best; and I was doing just that.

I continued to decline every request for a cervical check and trusted my body’s signals. I was hypnobirthing, listening to my favorite vulgar rap and hip hop (way too loud for anyone's liking but I didn’t care). 

Eventually I needed to evacuate the tub when I “gambled on a fart and lost” so to speak. -Hey, it happens!

Getting out of the water around 3:45 AM Tuesday morning I entered “transition”. 

Contractions were now quite painful and required all my focus to breathe through.

Maybe 30 mins later my forebag ruptured in a big sploosh all over the floor. 

I remember hitting an emotional wall and I needed to allow the tears to come. I needed to purge all my rage, fear, frustration and the many months of pent up neglect. It all came out. 

I then felt an overwhelming sense of my late father’s presence in my birth space. He always has a way of showing up in life’s big moments. I was comforted by this and found my bearings once again.

At this point I was standing, leaning over the raised bed and swaying with the contractions. The nurse was squatting next to me and holding the monitor just above my pubic bone attempting to get heart tones. Baby was looking great but being on pitocin required consistent EFM (electronic fetal monitoring). I was uncomfortable and annoyed with the pressure this monitor was creating. I heard a very clear thought that told me, “You don't have to endure anything you do not want.” Which is when I spoke up and told them explicitly that I did not want to be touched there, and to stop touching me. We went back and forth (This exchange is pinned to my instagram page) and ultimately the pitocin was turned off and the monitor removed for a short break. 

I moved onto the bed and leaned over the raised back rest. There’s no better way to describe how it felt other than ‘up and stuck’ (like a Cardi B song). I couldn't decipher why she wasn't moving downward but I was feeling the urge to bear down with contractions. I listened to my body. Everyone was standing around waiting to catch a baby but she wasn't coming.

Eventually moving onto my side I continued to listen to my body and push when I felt the urge.

Around 6:30 I remember hitting the proverbial panic button and felt like I was dying. I started tapping out and asking for fentanyl or an epidural. The midwife asked to check me and I consented. She told me I was at 9 - 9.5 cm and that was all I needed to hear to be OVER it!

I spiraled and felt like I was once again, betrayed by my body. They called anesthesia and brought in fentanyl. As they were drawing up the meds I felt a distinct shift. I looked at the nurse and said, “It’s probably not a good idea to give that to me if birth is imminent?! Because she’s coming!!!”

With the next contraction my body moved her out completely and I swear I can still recall the feeling of her giant head tearing through my pelvic floor as she emerged. 

“Well there’s the problem!” exclaimed the midwife. She was sunny side up. 

I was feeling pissed, yet elated, relieved, and overwhelmed with emotion meeting Georgia for the first time. I told her, “You are so welcome here.”

I could feel the blood pouring from my body and the medical team asking if they could administer medication. I consented of course, and went back to admiring my sweet baby.

I cut her cord when it was done pulsing, and let her do the breast crawl, latching all on her own. 

Shortly thereafter I was wheeled into my postpartum room. I immediately hopped in the shower (Thank God for shower stools!), placed a tucks pad on my hemorrhoids, pulled on a fresh pair of depends, some high waisted compression leggings, a cozy sweater and then climbed into bed to snuggle my fresh new baby. We celebrated with a mason jar mojito -I had been craving all pregnancy, ordered sushi, and sang happy birthday to Georgia over some mini cupcakes. 

It was divine!

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