Birth #3, Natural Birth #1

So here’s my birth story for all who have an interest in birth stories.

First of all, I was 2 days overdue and went in to the doctor for my checkup – quite sick of being pregnant. It’s hard to deal with being overdue when your first two were early birds – S was 6 days early and W was 3 days early. Also when every night for the past week you’ve woken up with false, painful labor contractions that go on for several hours and then disappear an hour before your children get up in the morning. I was becoming quite the grumpy mother.

When the doctor checked me, he said I was dilated to a 4, pretty much completely effaced and he wasn’t sure why I wasn’t already in labor. I had him strip my membranes, which a friend suggested I have done, and he said it was generally pretty effective for starting labor when you are as ready as I was.

Well, several hours came and went and I wasn’t feeling anything at all. I had lost a lot of my mucus plug, but I was sure I still wasn’t going into labor… then around 6ish, I started having very very far apart contractions. I was sure they were just more braxton hicks. But then by 7, they were coming more regularly and were fairly painful and by 8:30 they were coming about 4 minutes apart and I was having trouble reading the kids bedtime stories. At 9:30, they were 3 minutes apart and too painful to talk through, so I sent for my sister to stay the night with the kids and sent for Andrew (who was at work).

I was really hesitant to send for them, because I’d had so much false labor. I kept expecting to stand up and have the contractions disappear, but they kept coming. Andrew got home, we packed everything into the car and we arrived at the hospital and were admitted at 11.

For the first bit I had to sit in the bed while they monitored me and put the heplock in, which was not very comfortable. The nurse said I was dilated to a six at that point, so they were going to keep me. Andrew was doing great at putting counter-pressure on my back and that helped a lot. Then they suggested I could sit on a birthing ball… so I did that for a little while while they finished up monitoring me. I liked the birthing ball pretty well actually. It was much more comfortable than the bed and I could lean over on the bed while Andrew put pressure on my back.

After 40 minutes of that, my doctor arrived, checked me, and I was dilated to an 8 already. The nurse asked if he thought it was ok for me to labor in the shower/bath and he said that was fine. As long as my water hadn’t broken, I was allowed to walk around and do what I wanted, basically. By this time with S and W, my water had broken, so I was glad that it hadn’t yet. I went and climbed in the shower. It felt nice to be in the warm water, but I don’t think it helped my contractions be less painful really at all. It may have been more helpful to be laying in the jetted tub, but I have a phobia of laying tubs. I cannot take baths. It is a really weird fear, I know, but it just grosses me out too much and I can’t make myself do it – even when I’m in a lot of pain apparently!

I labored in the shower for 30 minutes, and then they had to monitor my contractions and the heart rate some more, so I got out, wrapped myself up in my fancy hospital hown and waddled over to the birthing ball again. Contractions were getting really intense now and as they monitored me I was starting to feel some pressure. Not quite to the point of needing to push, but it felt like things were getting close. Contractions were occurring every minute about now and I was just telling Andrew that I was starting to almost get to the point of “I can’t do this any more”. I told the nurse that I was starting to feel like I needed to push and so she asked if I wanted to be checked and I said yes.

My water still hadn’t broken, so I wasn’t sure that I was close to being able to push and also, it had only been an hour and fifteen minutes since I’d gotten there and five and a half since I’d started labor. My labor with S was a thirty-six hours long and with W it was twelve. I got up on the bed and immediately started feeling like I was going to need to push very soon.

The nurse checked me and said I was dilated to a nine and a half. By that time I was really feeling like I needed to push, but I was in an awkward position on the bed and it was just hurting instead. The nurse told me not to push, that she needed to get the doctor and to do Hee Hee Ho breathing while she went to get him (which was something I had not practiced and so I was confused). The nurse demonstrated how to do it through a contraction and then she ran to get my doctor. I was able to breathe through one more contraction while they were coming, with Andrew’s help, because I was starting to lose my focus on what was going on – it was SO painful trying not to push and sitting in this weird half-upright position so that I would feel less like pushing and so it was hard to focus on breathing instead and mostly I was just yelling “OOOWWW! OH CRAP! OH CRAP!”

Ok, this is where it gets kinda graphic, so if you don’t like TMI, you might want to stop here. 😀

The doctor came in and as soon as I saw him, I told him “I need to PUSH!” and so he said “Ok, go ahead and let’s see what happens. What position would you like to be in?” and I said squatting. So they got out the squat bar and put it on quickly just before the next contraction started. At this point, the doctor had not even gotten his gloves on and was just kind of hovering near me. Well, I started to push when he told me to, and I felt the placenta pop out… the doctor and the nurse both yelled “Ok! Stop!” (The doctor tells me that right after he said that he knew I couldn’t stop and that he shouldn’t have said that). It was like trying to stop a freight train, so I was half crying and yelling “I CAN’T! AHHHHHHHHH!!!!” because this is where the water burst everywhere and Thomas came right out of me. I hadn’t even finished the first contraction and with half a push, he was out. There was not a chance for me to do breathing exercises to control the pain at all, so I just screamed instead.

The doctor didn’t have his gloves on yet, so he had to grab the sterile sheet off the gurney thing near my bed, flip it to the sterile side and he and the nurse barely got to me in time to catch the baby with the sheet. Meanwhile, I was standing in this huge puddle of placenta water and blood (normally your water breaks before you push or the baby comes out, so it gets cleaned up); my feet and legs were soaked and I was not sure what was happening any more. Since most women have to push for at least several minutes before their babies come out and experience this sort of gradual stretching and pressure, they have time for their nether regions to get accustomed to the fact that here comes a baby… well, I was feeling pretty traumatized down there, as no part of me had had time to really get ready for the passage of this giant baby and the pain that should have been stretched over several minutes had all just occurred in ten seconds time.

Well, Andrew pulled me back so I could lay down (I was feeling kind of confused and didn’t know what to do anymore) and they handed me the baby and gave me a shot of pitocin in my leg, which I didn’t feel at all (I was bracing for the more pain this would cause, I was pretty well done with being in pain by then). I was then busy helping rub down my little guy as I easily got rid of the placenta (as you can imagine, that took hardly any time at all). I got to cut the cord, which I’d never done before. Pretty cool. The doctor told me I just had tiny little tears, but nothing big enough to stitch. He said it would just sting for a little while, but they’d heal over pretty quickly.

Well, then they took little Thomas over and got him all cleaned up and suctioned out his lungs and whatnot. I asked how big they thought he was, and they all were saying “Oh, probably around eight pounds or so”. I was sure he was larger than that, but since they see a lot more babies than I do, I thought maybe I was wrong. They asked for guesses on the weight and so I guessed eight-six, in line with what they were saying… then they put him on the scale and it flashed “10 lbs 2 oz”.

Yes indeed. 10 lbs of baby just literally fell out of my body. The nurses and everyone were very impressed and I was a celebrity in the hospital for the rest of my stay. “How did you do that?” asked the nurses in the Mother/Baby unit. “You’re amazing!” I guess my body was just built to have big babies because they just fall out of me and do hardly damage (both S and W were almost 9 lbs and took hardly any time to push out as well – around three minutes of pushing for each). I feel like I didn’t really do anything, actually, except for bear the pain – which all natural birthing mothers do. I didn’t have to strain really at all to get him out – mothers who push for hours on end with seven pounders do more work than I did. People who tear hurt a lot more than I did too.

But anyway, I did like having a natural birth. After thinking it over, I realized that most of the unbearable kind of part was just because I was trying to keep from pushing and I was sitting in an awkward position to try to keep from pushing and that wasn’t something I was prepared to handle. Trying to stop your body from pushing a ten pound baby out when it’s ready and sitting in a position that blocks the progress is going to hurt a lot, of course. That wasn’t really anyone’s fault though – I progressed a lot more rapidly than with my other labors as well as quicker than is usual and I had asked that they try not to check me too often, so that was all as it should be.

The rest of the labor was not unbearable though and I was able to breath through most of the contractions. I loved being able to walk around and do what I wanted while I was in labor and then getting up and walking after delivering and being able to feel my body and not having my lungs seize up on me like last time. Thomas was much better at nursing and latching than my other two babies were and he was much more alert and aware. Also, it’s about $500-$600 cheaper to not get an epidural, so there’s that, and I am not a fan of IVs or giant needles being stuck into my spine.

Would I do it again? I think so, though I will definitely have them check me for dilation more often in the future. I think that would have helped a lot to have been able to push right when I was ready.

Anyway, babies are fun and I love my little T! I’m so glad he’s here and I feel quite accomplished having given birth naturally. 🙂 Yay for babies!

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