Posted by: poofergirlsperspective | March 28, 2010

Mathias Thomas … a birth story.

I have been contemplating writing out the story of how Mathias entered the world for about a week.  I don’t know what my hesitation is really.  I guess part of it is wondering if anyone else will think it is interesting enough to read.  But the thing is, is that it doesn’t really matter if anyone else cares to read it, it is our story … the story that only I can tell … about how that little guy soundly sleeping in the bassinet behind me came to be with us.  It really is a story that needs to be told, even if I am the only one that reads it … because it is his story. 

In order to tell the story of Mathias’ birth we really need to go back to the beginning.  See, this baby and I have been through a lot to get where we are today. 

We discovered that we were expecting Mathias when I was 8 weeks along.  The positive pregnancy test sat on the bathroom sink and I kept repeating “no way”.  I would look at little Evelyn and say it over and over again.  I am surprised those weren’t her first words I said it so many times.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t happy, I just really didn’t expect it to be positive.  A couple weeks before I had gotten a negative test when I was expecting a positive. 

Because our first pregnancy ended with a miscarriage at 10 weeks, with Evelyn’s pregnancy we had weekly blood tests beginning at 6 weeks to check my progesterone levels.  Not surprisingly, with her pregnancy my numbers dropped at 10 weeks.  We increased the progesterone and obviously, she is here today.  I am a huge fan of progesterone testing as a result.  Because I didn’t know how far along I was with Mathias we got in to see the doctor right away.  Our first appointment a week later confirmed that we were 9 weeks into the process of creating a human life.    My progesterone levels were low, but not too bad and so I began the suppositories to increase my levels.  I had weekly blood draws and at 12 weeks we ceased the progesterone since the placenta takes over all the progesterone from that point on.  We started the progesterone up again at around week 24 until week 32 because there has been some research done on low progesterone levels and premature births. 

We had frequent doctors appointments throughout the pregnancy.  Our first goal was to make it through the first trimester with a baby still alive.  We had accomplished that one and so our next goal was to keep the baby inside … we did not want another preemie.  I like to say that I think that there should be a “only one preemie allowed per family” rule.  With Evelyn arriving 8 weeks early and not knowing why (at the time) I was closely monitored.   At 16 weeks I began to have cervical length ultrasounds.  We checked the length of my cervix about every 3 weeks.  By checking the length we knew if that baby was staying in or heading out.  By the end of the baby growing process I think that I had 8 cervical length ultrasounds as well as three or four bio-physical ultra sounds to check on the baby.   At about 24 weeks we also added fibronectin tests everyother week until around 32 weeks.  These tests can indicate if your body is getting ready to deliver.

So all was going well with the frequent doctor visits.  The baby was staying put and growing.  At about 28 weeks I took the glucose test to check for gestational diabetes.  I had passed with Evelyn so I wasn’t too concerned.  That evening I received a call from my doctor saying “you have record-breaking numbers”.  Bad record-breaking numbers actually.  So, began the process of blood testing, carb counting, and insulin shots.  Lots of lots of insulin shots by the end. 

A couple weeks after the glucose testing began my blood pressure rose.  I was kept for monitoring that day and scheduled for yet another cervical length ultrasound which showed that it was thinning and wasn’t as long as we would like.  Long story short, at 30 weeks I was put on strict bedrest … meaning that I could use the bathroom and shower … and I was put on high blood pressure medication as treatment for pre-eclampsia.  It was clear (as much as we can tell) that this was a problem with Evelyn … resulting in her premature birth … mystery solved one year later.

We made even more trips to the clinic in the next two months, some weekly trips and often twice a week.  Each week I had a non-stress test which told us that the baby was doing well.  The bedrest was working and we continued to grow together as the long days passed. 

We had always hoped to make it to 34 weeks which was how far along I needed to be to deliver with our amazing doctor close to home.  At just about 34 weeks we discovered that I was dilated to 3.  Our doctor hoped that we would make it a few more days to hit that 34 week mark and really hoped that we would make it to 35.

Well, 34 weeks came and went, as did 35, 36, 37, and almost 38.  Each visit would bring us a higher dilation number and by a couple days before 38 weeks we had hit 7.  I never really knew how that happened since I didn’t notice any significant contractions, but I was glad to be progressing with little effort. 

Thursday, March 11th … 3 days before 38 weeks we had another appointment … and this is where the true “birth story” begins. 

Thursday morning at 10am we arrived for our scheduled appointment and non-stress test.  The test went fine as usual and we waited for my amazing doctor to arrive.  After a little chit-chat I was checked and was dilated to 7 … up 2cm since Monday.   Previously we had discussed having the doctor strip my membranes to see if that would kick-start some actual labor.  It was decided to do that since it is pretty non-invasive and it is a natural way to try to induce labor.  Being dilated to 7 we all figured it would be enough.  And if it didn’t work, it wasn’t a big deal … we could try again or just wait. 

By noon we were still at a 7 and not progressing.  A discussion with the doctor was had about our options.  She wasn’t completely confident having us leave the hospital dilated to 7 but she would let us go.  Our home is about half an hour away from the hospital.  Our other option was to have her break my water.  If we did that we would have to be open to the possibility of needing pitocin.  We were not fans of pitocin since there are lots of horror stories about how pitocin does help to go into labor, but that it can make labor more intense and the contractions more difficult to manage because they are so fast with little breaks.  She would let us go about 12 hours between breaking my water and starting pitocin.  Since we were dilated to 7 it was assumed that it would go quickly, the idea of having to use pitocin was not a huge concern.  We were left to decide whether to break my water or head home.  

3pm my water was broke.  It was a tough decision but we weighed all the options and the pros and cons and decided that since we were there, Evelyn was home with her Grandma, and we didn’t want a “rush to the hospital ready to deliver” scenario we opted to take our chances with the inducing and pray for a quick and natural delivery.  By the time that my water was broke I was dilated to 8. 

I did lots of walking around to try to get something started.  From 3pm until 10pm I had some contractions but nothing too terrible or very consistent.  The contractions that I did have were back labor.  This terrified me since I had all back labor with Evelyn because she was face up, until I spent an hour getting her in the right direction.  One of my biggest fears was another face up baby and that back labor freaked me out.  My doctor didn’t think that he was face up and didn’t know why the back labor but it was there, even if it was inconsistent labor.  In the end we discovered when he went down he went sideways … which meant I was blessed with both back labor and regular labor in the front.  He wasn’t so nice to me in that regard.

At about 10pm I was given an iv and the dreaded pitocin was started.  This was not what we wanted but it had already been 8 hours with little progress.  I was still dilated to an 8.  Pitocin was about as bad as I had heard.  Every 15 minutes the dose was increased until significant contractions started.   By about 11pm the contractions were strong and difficult.  I was still trying to walk around but soon I could only go a few feet before I was hit with another one and unable to walk.  I tried to labor in the tub which didn’t help with my pain and the iv limited me as far as getting into any different positions.  It was soon apparent that my dream of a natural quick water birth was not going to happen. 

About 3am … 12 hours since my water was broke I began the long and difficult decision to get an epidural.  I didn’t want one but I really wanted one.  The contractions were unbelievably difficult with no rest.  The pro’s and con’s list was long but I knew that I just couldn’t do it anymore.  Still dilated to 8 with contractions every minute the call was made for the epidural.  I signed the paperwork and said to Loren “I am sorry if I become paralyzed but I really need to do this”.

By about 4am the anesthesiologist arrived.  Little did I know when he arrived that he would soon become my new best friend.   Well I should say that “soon” was a little optimistic.  See, it turns out that simply getting an epidural was not in the cards.  After the second attempt, I heard “huh?, I just can’t find a good space … which is odd because you are pretty tall”.  It was then that I remembered … Oh shoot!  I have scoliosis!, bet that isn’t helping!  And so, after a third  attempt that failed, he just did a spinal.  I was told that it would wear off in a couple hours but once it took effect, our new friendship was born.  The pain was gone temporarily and I felt like I could at least think a bit more clearly … it really was great.

I was supposed to try to rest in the next couple of hours, which I didn’t.  I could hear the pitocin continuing to go in and all the other bells and whistles.  I was also addicted to watching the monitors of contractions and the baby line which never wavered. 

Around 7am my doctor was back in and more chatting ensued.  She was just so great.  After a quick “let’s see if you have progressed” … I was still only dilated to an 8.  It had now been 16 hours that I had been dilated to an 8 … that means pretty much all that work for nothing.  Now was the time to discuss our next option, we didn’t really want to, but a c-section was likely in our future.  Our doctor explained that it is likely that my pelvis just isn’t big enough to get this baby out.  She was suspicious of that from the beginning when she learned it took me an hour and a half of pushing (after the hour to turn her) to get Evelyn out and she was only 4 pounds.  But she was hopefully optimistic that it wouldn’t have to end in a c-section.  She was willing to let us stay in labor and try to deliver naturally if that was what we wanted.  We were left to discuss it.

Again, the pros and cons were flown around the room.  We really didn’t want a c-section, much like the breaking of the waters, the pitocin, and the epidural.  I was done and so ready to officially be done with the birth of this baby.  The c-section seemed logical and in my world, the only end to this process.  Loren was more hesitant and thought that we should at least try to push … or give it a little more time.  It wasn’t a fun discussion.  I was just so done.  By now the spinal was wearing off and I could once again feel contractions. 

Our doctor came back in at about 7:30am.  Not having any idea what we had discussed she said “I think that we should just try a little pushing”.  So, I did.  She was trying to see if she could feel the head come down during the pushing.  After the second set (of three pushes) she said “you are looking at me like this isn’t going to work” and I said “ummm … that’s because I have been in labor for over 16 hours and I am still dilated to an 8 … pretty sure it isn’t going to work”.  I added “Can you feel the head coming down at all?” and she said “I don’t know if I just think it is because I want it to, or if it really is”.  I did three more sets and she said “this baby just isn’t moving, though you are pushing great … if it were going to come out it would, and it just isn’t”. 

The c-section was decided upon and the prep began.  Loren was suited up and I signed my life away.  We were brought down to the OR where my life suddenly became a movie.  It was a little surreal but it was calm and I was glad to be there.  My best friend the anesthesiologist was there and he did another spinal.  We were all set up and they brought Loren in, seated him next to me and away we went. 

I mentioned that I just might cry when the baby is out because it had just been such a long pregnancy and we had been through so much to get there. 

Before I knew it there was a baby … our baby … and all the stress was gone.  I had done it, our son was out and yelling up a storm. 

And I didn’t cry … I was just so relieved that he was with us on the outside.   I did plenty of crying later during recovery from the surgery.

And the rest they say is history.

He is a beautiful boy, we are so blessed.  Thanks for reading the story of his birth.



  1. He is so sweet-looking! I love to read/hear birth stories, each one being spectacular in itself! Thanks for sharing.

    I like what Erma Bombeck has said, “…that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God with a miracle.” While I may not agree that it is the ONLY assistance in God’s miracles, it is definitely the most amazing and individually unique!

    Great story telling Steph, congratulations again!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I love birth stories . . . .those little ones are so worth it all in the end.

  3. I love birth stories. I wish I’d written mine when they were still fresh. John remembers every single detail so he could help me if I ever decide to.

    Your labor and delivery with Mathias is almost exactly what I went through with Yvette. The labor. The no progression so they broke water. The labor and no progression so they did pitocin. The exhaustion and readiness to be done. The pain from the pit leading to pain relief in an epidural. The pushing leading to nothing but swollen insides and a frustrated mommy. The c-section sounding so wonderful after so many hours of work and a husband so hesitant but willing to appease a pained and exhausted wife. YES. I know EXACTLY what you went through. But in the end it is so worth it and it doesn’t matter how the baby came out….just that it is healthy and whole. AMEN!!!!

    (oh….the whole “small pelvis” theory?…..not too sure I’d go to the bank on that one. I was told that for ALL my babies.)

  4. What a wonderful story, I am glad you told it and now you have it all down to read and enjoy later. It is still too fresh in your mind right now. My cousin had a new baby about the same time but she decided to deliver at home and her husband delivered the baby. She is about 100 pounds and the baby weighted almost 10 pounds. she said it was a very easy deliveryl this is the second baby that her husband delivered at home. much braver than I could ever be. I am so glad that your son is here and such a fine looking little boy.

  5. Mathias’s birth story has left me at a loss for words. You went through SO much and now you have that adorable little boy to love. Thanks for sharing your story….you wrote it well!

  6. Thank you for sharing that amazing birth story!!


  7. Thanks for sharing. God bless you with your 2 beautiful children…
    Loren’s Mom

  8. I love your story and the photos are perfect. What a handsome little lad you have. Congratulations!

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