I’ve been waiting to share Opal’s birth story. I just haven’t had the heart to admit it’s already been this long, and she’s already four months next week. I am so proud of her, so proud of the 9 months I grew her, nourished her and loved her, while dealing with type one diabetes.
So in celebration of her spunky little heart and her joyful soul, here is Opal’s birth story.
( ALSO- I’d love to share anything I’ve learned about being pregnant with type one diabetes. If you or anyone you know has any questions please reach out! OR if you are curious about my birth plan and how I went about that, please feel free to comment, email or PM me!)
(WARNING this is a birth story/DETAILED)
Early on Friday, May 5th 2017, I had my membranes stripped. That’s where it all began, and it all ended. Little did I know my sweet Opal girl would be joining our lives Tuesday, May 9th 2017, just two days before her due date. Following my sweep on Friday I had some mild cramping; I was already 1CM and 50% effaced, baby was a 0 station and my cervix was moderately soft. So my chances of having a successful strip were about 50/50 at this point. My OB was sure it wouldn’t send me into labor but boy was she wrong.
By 10PM I was having irregular contractions about 7-10 minutes apart. They were mildly uncomfortable, and only got worse as the weekend progressed. They became painful enough I was not able to sleep through them, and woke up because of the discomfort. The contractions stayed 7-10 mins apart all weekend. I was tired, discouraged, and very, very uncomfortable. Not to mention impatient. I was so ready to meet my baby girl.
Wyatt and I walked, and walked and walked some more, we hoped it would encourage the contractions to become more regular and develop a pattern.
(MAY 8th 2017)
Monday came around, I was so uncomfortable, and still experiencing irregular contractions. Wyatt took the day off knowing labor was near, and that I needed him. At 4AM Monday May 8th, we finally checked in at the hospital to see if I was in labor and or dilating. I was dilated to a 3CM- 100% effaced. I was told by the nurse I would most likely have my baby within 24hrs. She was right!
We left the hospital knowing things were progressing and wanted to get things together for the arrival of our Opal Brightly. The day went on, and my contractions became stronger and stronger. By 7PM they were 2-3mins apart and VERY painful. I had spent the day dealing with contractions trying to get my body to progress quicker. My mom, and doula were in constant communication with me as they knew I’d be giving birth soon. I was experiencing back labor, so we decided to pay a visit to a recommended prenatal chiropractor. She was hopefully going to help encourage baby’s positioning and get labor progressing.
By late afternoon I was 4CM dilated, and progressing. I decided I wanted to go home and labor for as long as I possibly could. Wyatt was amazingly encouraging and so supportive. After laboring at home from 7-10PM I decided it was time to go to the hospital knowing I’d have to be at least 6cm! Nope, I was still stuck at 4CM.
We got checked in, my mom and doula met us at the hospital. I was having very consistent, painful contractions 1 ½-3 mins apart. When my mom walked through the door I remember feeling so much emotion and appreciation for her. My blood sugars were running a little bit higher than normal, maybe it was the stress? Or possibly the fluctuating hormones? My body was exhausted, my whole mindset of looking put-together went out the window as I was in a state of discomfort I had never experienced, and all I wanted was an hour nap to power through the next 24hrs.
My first nurse had only worked at the hospital for a year, she was young and seemed very inexperienced. Wyatt was not happy with her care during the first hour of my stay and requested we please have a new nurse (at this point I didn’t care who the heck my nurse was, I wanted rest and comfort!) Turns out, she was the only nurse on the floor. (Straight face emoji). She was offended Wyatt requested someone else, but she seemed to get over it as the labor progressed.
(MAY 9th 2017)
After laboring from 10PM-3AM, my water still hadn’t broken and I was only dilated to a 5-6.
I decided because my water was bulging I wanted to break my water (hoping that it would help move things along). My OB came in around 4AM and broke my waters; I remember feeling such a relief as it happened. I was nervous of course, as the nurses go over risks, but I felt that’s what my body needed to encourage progression.
The nurse (the first one) wanted to put my heplock IV in before things got too crazy; she then proceeded to find a good vein in my hand. She kept fidgeting and telling me I had valves in my veins. She was quiet. She then stuck my the first time, no good, second time, still no good, and a third time, still no good. At this point I was fed up, my hands were swollen from her failed IV’s and I was having more contractions closer together, and more intense. Not to mention I was strapped to the hospital bed on the hour every hour for 10 minutes to monitor the baby’s rate rate to ensure baby was doing okay (being high risk is such a bummer). I was already in the midst of trying to monitor my blood sugars throughout labor.
By 8AM in the morning I had met a new nurse, she was fantastic. She was 100% behind my natural labor/delivery choice, and encouraged me throughout the entire process.
Things began to stall earlier in the morning so they monitored my contractions to ensure they were productive and that I didn’t need pitocin to assist in making them stronger. I ended up passing and didn’t need the pitocin (my contractions were very painful at this point and I could barely hold my head up.) Mind you- I had been in pre term labor all weekend long, experiencing contractions 7-12 minutes apart consistently.
I labored in the tub throughout the entire night. Wyatt brought me water, ice, and my mom brought me hard life saver candies. Those two were my rock throughout the entire labor. Wyatt, I love you.
I used the peanut ball in the shower to lean over to help with the contractions and to provide my body the support it needed to relax. This really helped toward the late morning when my contractions were most intense.
By 10AM things had progressed significantly, I was dilated to a 7, I was finally in the transition phase! This lasted a good hour until I started pushing. I started pushing around 11AM. This was by far the most satisfying part of labor, and the least painful. I recall very vividly feeling the most exhausted, lightheaded, and tired I had ever been in my life. I was hungry, and nauseous, I was worried about Wyatt as he had literally passed out on the couch for a good hour prior to my pushing, his skin color was a shade of white I’d never seen before. He was exhausted, emotionally and physically.
Pushing came around and I felt the most encouraged at this stage than any other point in my laboring process. I tried multiple positions, the toilet, squatting, and lying on the bed with my feet up, knees bent were the most productive, and efficient. I pushed for a solid four hours until Opal was born. The pain didn’t intimidate or hinder me. Because I had been pushing for so long, my body was dehydrated, my energy was low, and I was light headed.
1 minute later. Beautiful, thick brown hair like her daddy, chubby little cheeks, she weighed 8lbs 10oz, and 21 inches long, with pretty olive skin, and a perfect button nose. Our sweet Opal Brightly Backholm entered the world at 3:21PM on May 9th 2017 (Tuesday)
Was it worth it? Absolutely yes. This was the most beautiful, empowering, and humbling venture of my life. She is light, and love, and spunk all in one. And I can’t wait to watch her grow (but don’t grow too fast my little love).
I remember praying out loud during the beginning of pushing, Lord help me get through this, help my body do what it needs to and keep baby girl safe.
The Lord fought alongside me for my natural labor, and delivery. He protected my sweet Opal, and protected my body.
Thank you Wyatt, my mom, and Jesus for holding my head up when it was tired, for encouraging me when I grew weak and weary. Wyatt- thank you for giving me this sweet life, for loving me through the pregnancy, and for supporting the crap out of me when it got tough. Thank for loving us, I love you.
Opal, I’m writing this as you sleep, only ten days old. One day I’ll let you read this, but for now, stay little my love, and know that you are the greatest gift I’ll ever receive. You are precious, loved, and so incredibly beautiful.