Submitted by : Sarah
My husband and I were very happy when we learned we were pregnant. We had been trying for a few months and had our midwife picked out and everything! We, well I, knew we wanted natural child birth from the start. My husband took a bit of convincing but was very much in support by midway through. We had a very normal text book pregnancy other than I gained a lot of weight. Despite good diet and excercise I gained 50 pounds and our midwife felt that we were too high risk and sent us to an OB. This was a great disappointment for us at 35 weeks pregnant. I became very scared and defensive that I would be unable to have the birth I had envisioned. Indeed we were no longer able to have a water birth but I was willing to fight for everything else. We hired a great doula to help us achieve our desire of an un-medicated, non-interventive, beautiful, natural birth.
The day after my due date I went to bed around 10:30PM. I awoke at 12:30AM to use the restroom but was unable to get back to sleep because my back was hurting so much. I went down stairs and tried to lay on the couch but it was too uncomfortable. I had a “birth ball” and sat there and watched TV for a while. Around 1AM I realized that my back pain was coming and going about every 5 minutes. I went to tell hubby I thought labor had started at 1:30 but he was so asleep he said “Oh good, try to rest as long as you can” and was right back to sleep. Well, I figured he needed all the rest he could get for the work that was ahead of us. At 2:30 my contractions became quite painful and I felt I needed support at this time. I got hubby up and he rubbed my back and helped keep track of contractions. We noticed they were all under 4 min apart now so we called our doula and she said she’d get ready and head out. (We live 40 min from the city and hospital) At about 3:30 we remembered to call my parents because they were going to meet us at the hospital for the birthand they are over an hour from the hospital. So I labored by walking little circles in our living room and leaning on the back of a recliner while hubby rubbed my lower back during contractions. My pain was all in my back, nothing abdominal at all. It was very unusual and not what we were expecting. I was very in control and excited to be in labor but at one point I had a minute long contraction with only 30 seconds inbetween a second contraction and that scared me and I cried a little and told my husband that I was scared and this was really hard. Well since we had taken a Bradley class and he knew the emotional signposts of labor he knew it was time to head to the hospital and I was probably starting transition. We called our doula to meet us at the hospital and off we went.
Everything thankfully slowed down in the car and my spirits came back up other than I did not want to be touched during a contraction. My dear husband had been very good at rubbing and supporting me during them so it was difficult when I snapped at him to stop touching me! As soon as I said it I felt bad and apologized to him, but of course he knew that it was all part of being in labor. I had been moaning loudly through contractions and that seemed to help me stay loose and relaxed. I made sure to keep my voice low and I swayed my bottom so I didn’t clench up and hinder dilation.
We arrived at the hospital at 5AM and discovered I was 8 centimeters dialated. We were very happy with that and knew our baby would be here soon. We went to a room and had to have monitors put on to track the baby’s hearbeat and all that and then they had to draw blood in case of a transfusion. This was really the only thing that bothered me about the transition to the hospital and I refused an IV. I then went to the bathroom and as soon as I sat down my water broke. I am not sure if I actually felt the pop or just heard it but there was a pop and a large gush of fluid, it was very neat! At this point things get fuzzy and I entered “labor land”. I remember coming out of the bathroom and seeing that my parents had just arrived and smiling and telling them that I was having the baby soon and I was glad they made it. I then leaned on a tray, holding our doulas hands and hubby rubbing my back, when that quit working I hung around hubby’s neck and swung back and forth, I then moved to the bed and tried hands and knees but that did not help for long either. Our doula had reminded us that we wanted the birth stool so the nurse got it and put it on the bed so I got up there and the nurse said I was fully dialated and asked if I needed to push. I didn’t, I think it was a few minutes before I felt the urge and when I did there was nothing else I could have done.
I have heard the urge to push described many different ways but for me I liken it to vomiting or having diahrrea. Not that it was bad, but that it was a body reflex and not something I could fight. My husband got on the bed with me and held me from behind while I pushed. I pushed naturally as I felt the urge and the baby was crowning after a few pushes. A nurse had come in and hadn’t read our birth plan or anything and she asked me if I was ready to get down and “be delivered”. That made me really angry and in our video I give her a pretty nasty look and say “what?!?! NO!!!” It makes me laugh to this day! (I feel strongly that the woman births her baby and the doc or midwife is there simply to catch or if there is a problem. And I BIRTHED my baby!)
I remember our doula telling me to look, she had a mirror so I could she the head. It was neat but I was so deep into what I was doing I had a difficult time focusing. I remember the “ring of fire” and thinking to myself, okay, this is the ring of fire, it will pass soon and I breathed/panted through it. The doctor came in and asked me to slow down so he could get his gloves on but this baby was coming on her own! He just caught her and handed her to me. What an amazing moment in life!! We did not know the sex of our baby and I was KNEW it was a boy and didn’t even think to look but my mother sure did! She said “Oh it’s a GIRL!!” I remember saying “What?” and I just laughed. For a moment nothing existed but me and my baby, then my husband, and we had a new little family. Due to the speed of her birth and because she had a hand up by her face, I had a lot of internal tearing to be stiched but thanks to pereneal massage no external tears at all!
My labor was a total of 5 hours 45 minutes with about 15 minutes of pushing. It was completely natural and beautiful and I honestly can’t wait to do it again. Just ignore all those people that tell you terrible birthing stories and know that it can happen exactly like you want. It doesn’t always, but it certainly can (even in a hospital) and have faith in your body. It knows what to do and if your body is anything like mine, your body rocks!!