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Maverick Vincent Kolesha - A Birth Story (Part 1)

Hi, everyone! Instead of the usual monthly updates, I wanted to share the greatest moment of my life with all of you -- the birth of my son, Maverick. It's a long and crazy story, but it's all so important to me, so I decided to break this into two parts rather than cutting out the details. Read on for part 1 of Maverick's birth story, and stay tuned for part 2 next week!

- Courtney

On that happy day when a little blue plus sign finally appeared, I was so ready and excited not only to have a baby, but I was also excited about the process. I truly view pregnancy and childbirth as a beautiful and natural experience. I wanted to find a place where I felt I could make decisions that felt right for me and my baby. The Midwife Center for Birth & Women’s Health seemed like the perfect place. After learning more about the center and going to orientation, Christian and I believed this to be the right fit. I was excited that the midwives would support my choices and help me feel informed and empowered to do exactly what I felt I should as a new momma. I knew that my “birth plan” should really be called “birth preferences,” but I was excited to plan for a natural and unmedicated delivery at The Midwife Center.

The Midwife Center offers three different birth suites. This was my preference - The Mountain Room!

In the weeks leading up to my due date, I thought every day “this could be our baby boy’s birthday!” in the mornings and “I guess today isn’t the day” each evening. Everyone had been saying “There’s no way you’re making it to August!” throughout my pregnancy, so I had it in my head that this little man would be making an early appearance. I was having contractions that would get intense and then fade completely away for weeks before baby finally arrived. It was a disappointing process! Twice, I went in thinking that I might have been leaking fluid (a funny little bit of foreshadowing!). Both times, it turned out that this was not the case, but the second time I went in for this reason was on my due date! I met with Nia, one of the midwives, and she was able to check me and give me some advice for what was to come. I was 2 centimeters dilated, 50% effaced, and baby was at a -2 station – a promising cervical exam, according to Nia! There was a definite chance of me going into spontaneous labor, but because I had already reached my due date, I wanted to have a plan for moving forward. We talked about some natural induction methods that we could begin trying on the following Thursday, August 8th, when I was just one day shy of 41 weeks. This was a big deal for me because the 41-week mark is when things start to get serious and you’re considered a “high priority” patient. Reaching 41 would mean getting additional monitoring and going for even more frequent appointments to ensure that baby was still doing okay after overstaying his time on the inside. Nia told me I simply had to page the midwife on call on Thursday morning, and so long as there were no conflicts, I could come in that day so we could try to get things moving. We also, just as a precaution, scheduled for my nonstress tests and ultrasounds on Friday (41 weeks) and Tuesday (41 weeks and 4 days), but Nia was confident that I would have a baby before my Tuesday appointments, if not sooner!

On the Monday following this appointment with Nia, August 5th, I needed to get my mind off of things and stay active, so my mom, Emilie, Leah, and I spent a day hanging out together! We had a hibachi lunch, walked around and shopped, and had a wonderful time. We finished the day out at Emilie’s house, and I was getting ready to go home to see Christian as he got home from work. As I packed up to leave, however, I started having more intense contractions than normal. I thought I’d be fine to drive myself home, but as they picked up, Emilie suggested waiting so she and Zeb could take me and my car home. Since he would be home from work soon, I agreed. They stuck around for a while because my contractions were getting stronger and closer together. I had to breathe through them, and it was looking like the time might be here. I paged the midwife a few times to update her, Zeb took Leah home and had his mom watch her while he brought Emilie some things she would need if I was admitted, and we headed out for the center around 11 pm. There were two midwives on call that night. I had been talking with Britt on the phone, but I found out that she had to head to the hospital with another woman in labor who was being transferred, so Jatolloa would be meeting us when we arrived. While I would truly be happy for any of the midwives to be there for the birth of my baby, I had met Jatolloa before after an incident that landed me in triage at Magee Women’s Hospital, so I was overjoyed to have her there! When I showed up, I did all of the standard things (urine sample, blood pressure, listening to baby), and then Jatolloa came to check me – 2 centimeters, 50% effaced, -2 station. I was so sad to learn that my contractions were not helping me progress, but rather, were brought on by dehydration. I got some IV fluids after a traumatic incident where a little accident ended with my blood going absolutely everywhere. We waited around, my contractions slowed and stopped, and I was able to go home very late that night. Jatolloa and I talked before we left, and she said we could stay the course with the plan I had put together with Nia. Still no baby, and the countdown to Thursday continued!

Leah and Gammy at lunch

Parked in the laboring clients spot - sadly we would be heading home with baby boy still on the inside!

I made arrangements with Emilie to come with me for my natural induction on Thursday (if these things worked, I would be in labor and staying at the Midwife Center until we came home with baby!), she arranged for her family to watch Leah, we made sure our bags were all packed and ready to be loaded in the car, and the countdown to Thursday began! While I knew that following natural induction protocol did not necessarily mean we’d be having a baby, it felt good to have a plan to take action rather than playing the waiting game! When Thursday morning came, I was so excited to page the midwife first thing and hear back to figure out a game plan. When I got a call back, it was Kara on the other line! I had my very first prenatal appointment with Kara, so Christian and I felt extremely comfortable with her. How perfect! My excitement didn’t last long, however, as Kara told me she had an induction currently happening at the hospital, and we would not be able to do anything that day. I was devastated! She told me that during my prenatal appointment the following day, at 41 weeks, they could strip my membranes, but that was all she could really offer. I had to call Emilie and Christian to tell them what was happening, and it made me so sad. I was so very ready to meet my baby boy, and now I would have to wait another day before we could try helping him make his entrance. To be honest, I spent the day moping and talking through options with Christian. I had been offered the chance to opt for a hospital induction, but I had my heart set on delivering at the Midwife Center. Unless it was medically indicated, I didn’t want to jump to that option. We talked about the timeline and when our last possible day without baby would be, and we mapped out all of the scenarios that we could imagine. Little did we know, we would not need to do this, and we overlooked the scenario that would ultimately lead us to meeting our son.

Marley was equally bummed that we wouldn't be starting natural induction today. She was ready to meet baby brother!

The next day, Friday, August 9th, Emilie and Leah met me at my house to go to my appointments with me. Emilie had asked me if Leah would need a sitter for the day, but because I was just going in for monitoring, we thought we could just make it a girls’ day and bring her along. We left for the Midwife Center and made it early for my 10 am appointment. Dana, who I had seen for a number of prenatal appointments, brought me downstairs into one of the birthing suites so we could conduct my prenatal appointment and nonstress test at the same time. I was hooked up to some monitors that would track baby’s heartbeat and my contractions, and then we carried out a normal prenatal appointment. At the end, Dana checked me and did a membrane sweep. My check showed some progress, and I was 3 centimeters, 90% effaced, and baby still sat at -2. It wasn’t much, but I was glad to see at least a little change. Baby boy looked great on the monitors, so we were sent on our way! My ultrasound appointment that same day wasn’t until 2 pm at Magee, so we decided to head to the Waterfront to get some lunch and relax in between. When we pulled onto the parkway, it became clear that there would be little time for relaxing (and unfortunately, it was too late to turn back and pick another lunch spot!). There had been an accident in the Squirrel Hill Tunnel, so we waited for two hours in traffic! Leah was such a champ, and only started to fuss as we finally neared the Homestead exit. Emilie and I sang songs to her to keep her as happy as we could. It was pretty hilarious, and any people who might have passed and noticed us scream-singing songs like “Wheels on the Bus” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider” probably got a good laugh. We finally made it, had a quick lunch at Panera, and then had to turn right back around and head for the hospital.

Thankfully, we made it to Magee without incident. I was checked in for my ultrasound by Krystal, one of my best friends growing up, which was a fun surprise! After a long wait, we were brought back to take a peek at the little man! Everything was looking great until it came time to check my fluids. The tech told me they were “pretty low.” She finished the ultrasound, then stepped out to call The Midwife Center. She told me I might not be permitted to leave depending on what the midwife on call said, so Emilie got to calling Christian and Zeb while I played with Leah – I was freaking out a bit and needed a distraction!

The phone in the room started ringing, and the ultrasound tech rushed back in and answered, and then put me on the phone. It was Nia. She confirmed what I had been told about my fluid. For reference, she let me know that “normal” fluid levels would be around 18, and they would normally start getting concerned once levels got as low as 5. My fluid level was 2.1, low enough for me to be diagnosed with oligohydramnios, and the recommendation for a safe and healthy delivery was induction. Of course, the baby’s safety was my number one concern, so I immediately agreed. Nia said she would call the hospital to see when I would be able to be brought in and then she would call me back. It didn’t take long before my phone was ringing. It was about 3 pm, and labor and delivery was full, so Nia told me to get something to eat and check in at 5 pm. The two-hour turnaround was a lot to process, but Emilie and I made the necessary phone calls, attempted to eat a little something, then headed out to the hospital’s main entrance to wait for Zeb to pick up Leah and Christian to meet us before heading upstairs. The guys arrived, got our bags from the car, and we headed up to get things started! I was checked in around 5 pm but couldn’t get a room until around 7 pm. When I was finally called back, we said goodbye to the family that had already arrived, and Christian, Emilie, and I went to get ready to have a baby!

Heading upstairs to check in for induction!

Be sure to check back next week to read part 2 of Maverick's birth story!

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