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Reminisce: Our (Natural) Birth Story

This is a long post, but don’t worry – not as long as Labor and Delivery was for me!

When I told folks I planned to give birth naturally, most responded, “But you’re getting the epidural, right?” I had to inform many people “natural birth” meant NO pain medications! In our birthing classes (waste of time and $!), the instructor (who didn’t find our laughing at the 80s-era birthing videos humorous) had us line up according to our birth plans (full meds, considering meds, and natural birth/no meds), my husband and I were the ONLY couple planning a natural birth! However, due to the lack of preparation from the childbirth classes (other than 10 minutes of “breath in, breath out” practice), when I started labor, I almost bailed on the entire plan.

It was Sunday morning. Baby K was a day late. I woke up to a LOT of blood where there wasn’t supposed to be any. No contractions. I freaked (yep, I did that a lot). Our midwife met us at the hospital; after a checkup, she informed me I was 3 cm dilated, but said, “you could be like that for days.” DAYS!!?! She sent me home where I fretted and lay on the couch feeling uneasy.

Around 9:30 p.m. I had a few mild cramps like period cramps. I thought it was from the baby shifting, or Braxton Hicks contractions. Suddenly, at 10 or 10:30, I got a few more cramps, more severe. So we started to time them. 20 minutes. 15 minutes. 12 minutes. The time shrunk and the cramps intensified. I threw up dinner. About three times. I panicked (again!). I couldn’t remember how to breath. I breathed in when I should’ve breathed out. I continued to feel nauseous to the point of a severe headache. I had Matthew call the doctor – how could he be so calm!? She said to call back when the “cramps” (contractions!) were less than 5 minutes apart.

At 12:30 a.m, I begged my husband to take me to the hospital – I needed the professionals. Now, I figured since the contractions had rapidly approached 5 minutes apart, I’d be done in no time. After all, ALL my friends who’d recently had babies were done in 2-5 hours. Let’s be clear here – labor feels AWFUL! Anyone who says you forget the pain after the baby is born hasn’t met me yet. I have these friends who say: “I wasn’t sure I was in labor,” or “I was a little uncomfortable,” and, “I pushed twice and the baby came out,” and “I was only in labor for 2 hours.” Honestly! My contractions felt like having the worst period, the worst flu, and the worst gastro-intestinal pain at the same time. All while having a 35 pound beach ball sitting on your hips. And they lasted 11 hours!

Once in the hospital (I made my husband wheel me in a wheelchair!), I met Nurse Kim. Thank God for Nurse Kim. I continued to spaz out with the pain, and immediately asked for all the pain medication options available. (No matter that I was the crazy loon who filed a two page, typed up birth plan a few weeks ago!). Fortunately, Nurse Kim knew my intentions to go naturally, so she didn’t paint a pretty picture of the pain meds. Frankly, she made their side effects sound worse than the contractions. I opted to only get some anti-nausea meds and that took the edge off.

However, now it was 1:30 in the morning. I hadn’t slept the night before, so I was getting very shaky. Laboring on hands and knees, or other positions (I will never look at a gym exercise ball the same way again!) sapped my strength. I tried lying down, but that intensified the pain. I asked about medication again, hoping for encouragement to ditch the “all natural” plan. I told Nurse Kim, “I don’t think I can do this!” And she said the most important words I ever heard: “But you ARE doing it, dear!” So I persevered.

My labor was incredibly “textbook.” Nothing worthy of appearing on a reality show. Nurse Kim said I did a wonderful job especially considering I was a first-timer and not on meds. “You’re really working with the baby.” Okay, then WHY was it taking so long? My contractions topped out at 4 minutes apart and came in a relentless wave of monotonous pain. I hardly spoke (I’d read about the benefits to the baby of a “silent birth” and although I wouldn’t say I was silent, I wanted to keep the scene as calm as possible!), I almost fell asleep in the 1 minute breaks between contractions because I was so tired.

As day broke at 7 a.m., I felt the need to push. I was only 9+ cm, but the midwife said go ahead. This was a exciting! Finally instead of gritting my teeth against the pain, I could push back. And, I figured, a few pushes and I’ll be done! I pushed, consistently, for an HOUR! Matthew ended up having to help hold me up (not part of the birth plan), and he became a part of the birthing process, unexpected, but comforting. Finally, my water broke (yes, it took that long!). NOW I’ll be done… but no.
Another hour and the midwife said she could see the baby’s head. Several contractions & pushes later – pop! Out came baby’s head. I had my eyes closed the whole time, because I didn’t want to get grossed out, but I did take a tiny peek. Ick. (Sorry, I don’t find bodily fluids beautiful!) Another push and out came the baby! “You have a boy!” (Later I found out Matthew’s first reaction was “our baby has a squished head!” as the midwife reshaped the skull bones. Thank goodness I didn’t see it!)

My first words were, “Oh thank God, I’m finished!” Then, “I have a boy!” Okay, so it’s true, for those first few moments, I did forget about the pain while I held my warm, wet 7 lb 7 oz baby boy in my arms and looked through tears at my amazing husband! After 11 hours of labor, we had a boy!

Read more about our start into cloth diapers and post-delivery days tomorrow and Saturday!

Tags

Our Natural Birth Story (Baby #2) | A Year with Mom & Dad

Monday 23rd of July 2012

[...] imagined a peaceful, focused labor, much like my first son’s birth (which, although a painful 9 hours of laboring and 2 hours of pushing was very calm, mostly quiet, [...]

Our Natural Birth Story (Baby #2) | A Year with Mom & Dad

Monday 23rd of July 2012

[...] imagined a peaceful, focused labor, much like my first son’s birth (which, although a painful 9 hours of laboring and 2 hours of pushing was very calm, mostly quiet, [...]

Where I'll Give Birth | A Year with Mom & Dad

Saturday 2nd of June 2012

[...] Lowest C-section rate in the area at 28% (which is 5% below the national average I am told). Hopefully I will not even need to think about this as I am planning to have another natural birth! [...]

Where I'll Give Birth | A Year with Mom & Dad

Saturday 2nd of June 2012

[...] Lowest C-section rate in the area at 28% (which is 5% below the national average I am told). Hopefully I will not even need to think about this as I am planning to have another natural birth! [...]

Erin

Wednesday 1st of September 2010

Hm...silent birth...mine definitely was NOT silent! Ha ha.

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