For as long as I remember I’ve always wanted to be a mother. I had been playing with dolls and mothering my siblings my whole life. My mom was diagnosed with endometriosis at a very young age and was told to have her children right away. I was born in May of 92 and my sister was born in August of 93. My mom had her full hysterectomy at the age of 21. My period started at the late age of 15 and I finally hit puberty. I think I was one of the last girls in my class to hit puberty. I had terrible periods right from the beginning. My mom had me in and out of the OBGYN. By the age of 15 I had two Ovarian cysts rupture and was put of birth control after birth control to try to stop my menstrual problems. I stopped taking birth control by the age of 17 thinking it was creating more problems and I always felt I needed to let my body regulate naturally.
Anyway, I moved to Vermont at 17 and fell in love at Subway in Northfield. Two years later he was accompanying me during my next OBGYN surgery to remove my first wrapped cyst, it had wrapped itself around my fallopian tube three times and the doctor explained had it wrapped around one more we would have lost that fallopian tube and the ovary. The doctor removed and the cyst and found a bunch of endometriosis which they burnt off. I remember him explaining to Gordon and me that if we wanted to have children, we better get started in the next five years. My window of motherhood opportunity could be short lived. At the young age of 20 years old and in college this was the last thing I wanted to hear. I stayed in school using endometriosis for every research project. I put myself on specific diets to keep it away (cutting out anything that helps the body produce estrogen).
Gordon asked me to be his wife the following year.. we married on year four. Gordon had been very clear he wanted to wait to have children and enjoy life without children for a while longer. So…a surprise on our honeymoon he said I know being a mother is important to you and I don’t want you to miss out on that, so we are going to get started right now. We started trying for Mila on our honeymoon in June of 2014. So effin’ cute.
Months went by and I still wasn’t pregnant. I called the OBGYN after many devastating negative tests. The OB said at my age they needed us to try for a full year without intervention. The following month was December and I thought to myself all I want for Christmas is to be pregnant. Christmas Eve rolled around and it was the earliest day I could get a faint positive to indicate we were pregnant. I showed Gordon the test and I think he said, “I will make a bet with you. If you’re pregnant- I’ll do the dishes for two weeks.” It was positive and I was indeed pregnant! Disclaimer: he skipped out on those dishes! I didn’t even care.
I wanted to be pregnant so bad. I started my care with the OB at Gifford that I had been in contact with for my endometriosis. I figured I had to stay with them because of this issue. I was wrong, and by 26 weeks we started talking about my birth plan. We all decided that the midwives would be a better fit for my birth plan. My pregnancy with Mila was so long and so miserable.
I paid for an extra ultrasound to find out the gender by 15 weeks in Burlington with Before Birth and Bonding. We found out she was a girl and we thought she looked like an alien. It was hard to see what she would look like that early in the pregnancy. I do not recommend paying for this ultrasound, LOL.
I wanted a girl because all of Gordon’s family has boys. When we first told the family, they all said, “Woohoo! Another boy!” Me being me, I was like, “No way! We will have the first girl.” I come from a clan of girls.
My birth plan with Mila was to go as natural as possible but I was very nervous not knowing what to expect. I had heard horror stories about giving birth in the car. We lived 45 minutes away from Gifford- so this didn’t sit well with me. That was my biggest fear, having the baby in the car.
I really wanted a homebirth but Gordon felt we lived too far from the hospital. I was so miserable with Mila and swollen that I swore I had undiagnosed preeclampsia. I walked Berlin Pond, a 5-mile road full of hills, for two weeks leading up to her birth, each time giving myself intense contractions. I would also mow our big lawn with a push mower, to give me the same contractions and hopefully send me into labor.
I thought I was going into labor for a week straight at 37-38 weeks. On Sunday August 30th I had thought my water broke in a trickle. I was filling small panty liners every hour or so. I went to the hospital to see if my water had in fact broke, and they told me it was actually from Gordon’s final attempt to give this baby the boot- per my request. On August 31st at 1:00 am I had my first labor contraction that woke me up. I got out of bed and went downstairs to pee. By the next contraction, I knew I was in labor.
I called my mom who was on West Coast time. I told her what I thought was going on and she said let me see you have a couple contractions. I talked to my mom and rocked my way through my first contractions. She timed the contractions as we talked and when they finally reached 5 minutes apart and lasted for 1 minute, she told me to call the midwife and let them know labor had begun.
I called Gifford and they told me to come on in when I was feeling ready. I waited until 5:00 am to wake Gordon up and had him shower and take care of our dogs, so they would be okay until someone could get to them. We headed to the hospital at 6:00 am.
I was only 2 centimeters dilated and the contractions were not coming in on the monitor consistently enough. I was sent home with a medication to help me sleep. They told me to rest up in case I was in labor. They said that if I was in labor, the sleeping pill wouldn’t knock me out. The contractions started getting so strong and intense on our way back home I remember crying to Gordon saying, “We need to go back. I don’t want to be this far from the hospital. I know I’m in labor.”
If you didn’t guess, the sleeping pill didn’t work. We put on National Treasure when we got home- Gordon suggested we try to get through the movie and head back. I had terrible back labor and had to use the heating pad to get me through the movie. I was not relaxed at all at home.
We headed back to the hospital at 11:00 am. By the time we got there around noon, I started bawling, when we entered Labor and Delivery, “Please don’t send me back, I know I am in labor.” They checked us into our own room this time and checked to see how dilated I was. I was almost at 3 centimeters but not quite. They told me I had to be at 3 centimeters or in active labor to be checked in.
They wanted to do what they call therapeutic rest. They give you with a shot of morphine and the hope is that it takes the edge off enough for you rest a bit. I was so beside myself about the morphine because I remember having it for a previous surgery and being so messed up from it. I took the shot nevertheless, and I was able to doze off in between contraction but not comfortable enough to sleep. Even morphine wasn’t touching my labor pain.
The midwife came back after her two-hour lunch and I was so nervous to be checked and sent home again. This time she told me I was close to 7 centimeters and we would have the baby in the next 4 hours. Gordon and I both sat looking at each other with bulging eyes.
I was so relieved to finally have validation that I was in labor. I also remember her asking me when my water broke… I wanted to say, “Yesterday when I came in here lady!” but, I kindly said I hadn’t noticed, LOL.
Things really picked up in the next hour and we labored in the shower. I hung off of Gordon’s body while the contractions radiated through my body. They started in the back really strong and ended in the front of my belly. It felt like a big band of pain every time. I remember only feeling relived when I hung off of Gordon by his neck- doing what they call “the slow dance” while nurses and midwives commented on how cute it was.
I was super annoyed by their presence with this labor. By 8:00 pm I was 8 centimeters dilated and this is around when I started getting really nervous that I couldn’t handle more pain. The pain just kept getting stronger and stronger. I had requested the birth tub after two hours in the shower and slow dancing. The nurse filled the tub with, I kid you not, LUKEWARM water. I was PISSED. I like a HOT shower and a HOT bath even when my body isn’t radiating pain. So… that didn’t last long, back to our room I went.
I was finally 10 centimeters and the fear really kicked into high gear. At 9:00 pm I was starting to say things like, “I can’t do this! If I try to handle any more pain I might die.” I told them I couldn’t handle anymore and I was so terrified of feeling my vagina tear.
I started asking for the epidural and they reminded me that was not what I wanted and that the epidural wouldn’t help at that point because the baby would be here before it had time to kick in. I refused to push until I got one. The midwife pulled Gordon into the hall to explain to him they were going to have someone come in and give me a placebo type of epidural. At that point I was too far along for the epidural to work. Gordon was able to stay in the room and stare at me in the eye, while I tried to hold extremely still to get what I thought was an epidural.
They walked around and I told the midwife I didn’t feel anything, why wasn’t the epidural working? She told me that the baby’s heart rate was dropping and I needed to push her out. It wasn’t about me anymore.
I pushed that baby out in 7 minutes. With two pushes- out came out Mila like a little sunny side up torpedo, leaving me with a second-degree tear. The first push had her head out. I looked at Gordon and said, “I can’t take the pressure” and pushed her out.
I didn’t care about what happened next. They asked us if we wanted to see the placenta, we said no. I didn’t feel much after that so the medication they administered must have finally kicked in. After they sewed me up and walked out I asked if we could nurse while we had skin to skin because I read it was important to nurse in the first 45-60 minutes. She had no issue nursing and I was the awkward one.
We nursed and enjoyed our sweet baby Mila Rae Matheson for 2 years. I remember my friends having babies, but it wasn’t until I stopped nursing that I felt like she was growing into a little toddler and we had finally kissed our infancy goodbye. I started getting baby fever around 2.5 years post Mila. I knew I wanted Mila to have a sibling and after what I thought was a great birth, I wanted to relive that one more time. I hated being pregnant but the feeling of giving birth made feel like Wonder Woman and I needed to feel that again.
Stay tuned for Baby #2’s birth story next week!