An "Almost" Unassisted Birth-
I love this birth story and the trust this mama had in her body. I also love the lessons she learned from her birth about trusting herself and the benefits of listening to your instincts. I also love how she enjoys her pregnancy! I think how we view the pregnancy can impact the birth. Beautiful birth!
As far as my birth…it was really awesome. I had refused all vaginal exams at my ob’s office and felt great- I exercised throughout my pregnancy, even doing Body Step classes 2 days before my daughter was born! I never got “tired of being pregnant”. I felt great and was really excited to experience the birth process after everything that I had read. In preparation for labor I practiced relaxing as I was weightlifting (no I’m not that strong; I just like to exercise), especially during the squat tracks. On my due date I felt great- went to the prenatal swim class, had fun, went home and ate Chinese food, and went to bed- and then it happened! (up to that point I had NO contractions the whole pregnancy).
I felt my first mild contraction (like a period cramp) around 11:45 pm and after looking at my pregnancy books decided that I must be in early labor. (they were coming about 10 minutes apart, and it was my due date). I also had loose stools, which I knew can be a good indication that labor is starting. 2 hours later contractions were getting a little stronger, and my husband was still asleep, so I took a shower. I thought that I would be in labor for about 12 hours, so I should let him sleep. At 3:00 am I took a bath and called my doula. Contractions still weren’t that strong- I could talk through them and they were about 6 minutes apart (still not close enough to go to the hospital, the books said!) My doula said that I should get my husband up and call mom and dad. She must have known me better than I did…I was still slightly in denial that this was really labor!
I woke up my husband and as soon as I got out of the bath the contractions got much stronger and closer together. I asked my husband to time them and they were 2 minutes apart, only 3.5 hours after my first contraction. 30 minutes later I felt the urge to push, and every time I did I would instinctively get out of the water and squat on the toilet; that’s just what felt right to me. Otherwise, I laid on my side in the tub. I started to feel her head at my perineum and knew that she was really close to being born. Pushing was a big relief, but my labor even up to that point wasn’t really THAT painful. I didn’t have back labor at all, which I’ve heard can be really excruciating. At 4:30 my husband finally got me in the car (him- “leilani says you need to get in the car” me- “I CAN’T GET IN THE CAR!”) and they wheeled me up to the room on the LDR unit where I declared that I was pushing (much to their surprise). 15 minutes more of pushing and she was out, and the doctor allowed me to birth her into my own hands (probably because I wouldn’t move them, hehe). She was born at 4:56 am, 5 hours after contractions started. There was one point where I thought, “I can understand why women ask for pain medication”, but that was when I was home, and I didn’t have the option anyway. Next time I will stay at home to give birth. I didn’t like being in the hospital at all, and they still charged 2400$ for the room that I was in for 20 minutes giving birth. Kind of annoying. We delayed clamping the cord (thanks to my husband for reminding them) and my daughter was perfect- no jaundice, not even a squished head that I heard so much about.
I kind of wish that I had trusted myself completely and just given birth in my bathroom at home, unassisted, because at the hospital they didn’t let me push squatting, which was how I wanted to birth her. In the end it was okay; I didn’t really even tear, but it was annoying that even in the 20 minutes that I was in labor there they didn’t listen to me or respect my wishes. I like to share my story with other women because I know that even though my experience with labor isn’t typical, the fact that it happened to me means that it might happen to the woman that I tell! And any bit of hope and advice that I can give to others can be encouraging. I am starting training to be a doula so that I can be there for women, no matter what their birth experience is like. Hopefully I will be able to help make it better and more empowering!