(Love the amazing pic? From one talented mama @ peaceloveandleener.blogspot.com!)
I know lots of moms, the vast majority, choose to birth in the hospital with an OB so it is always a joy to have a positive hospital birthing story. This one, complete with a great big baby, fantastic nursing relationship and happy mom is joy to share. Birth where you feel safe, powerful, and respected.
You know the day you wake up and realize that the contraction that woke up from a dead sleep was completely different than all of the prodromal ones you have been getting for weeks, that this was the day you are finally going to meet your baby for the first time?
Well that is how my day started at 0600 on July 17th, 2011. I had been getting prodromal contractions for roughly three weeks, and each day I wondered “is today going to be the day?” and each day that passed I had to remind myself that my baby just wasn’t ready to meet me yet.
Let me give you a little bit of background, Josh and I didn’t find out the gender of our baby much to his chagrin. I also am having a hospital birth at a wonderful hospital and with an excellent OB Doctor, the only downfall is that the hospital is almost an hour and a half away from my house. Why so far you ask, well many of the hospitals in my immediate area are not conducive to natural birth and letting baby decide when it is ready to be born. Thus is one of the reasons why I am going so far away to have this baby, why not just have the baby at home is another question I get. There aren’t any midwives in my area and I really don’t want a homebirth.
So here I was having somewhat uncomfortable contractions at 6 AM, I tried to time them but it is a little hard to do so when you are concentrated on your breathing through each wave. So after an hour and half and a shower later I finally wake up my husband Josh to time each contraction for me, his idea of timing them was using the stop watch on my cell phone and hitting the LAP button each time I had a new contraction all the while still laying in bed. In between contractions I finish my 5 year olds big sister gift I made for her and I try to get a little more sleep, which is hard to do when you are excited about meeting your new baby not to mention a little uncomfortable. After an hour of timing contractions, they were fairly steady at 5 minutes apart and it was time to call the doctor. So I call and he says to come on in since we live so far away, Josh jumps in the shower and in between all of that I am packing a bag for my daughter to spend the next couple of days with my parents since my one sister is off work for the next couple of days. As we head out to the car I call my doula Jennifer, who I knew was in church but thankfully she accidently left her cell phone on and was able to call me right back. Jennifer and I arranged for her to meet us at the hospital, that way she could stay till the end of church service and still have time to meet us at the hospital.
I had no idea how bumpy certain roads were until I was in labor; even the ride home from the hospital wasn’t as bad as going to the hospital had been. Do you remember when you would go on bumpy roads as a kid and you would make a noise like “AHHH” just to hear your voice change octaves while your parents drove ( and you slowly driving them insane?) it felt like that except the AHHH part.
After a quick stop to hand my daughter over to my parents, grab something to drink (I get a Mountain Dew, I have only had 2 since I found I was pregnant back in November and it is my favorite thing to drink of all time) and hit the bathroom, which incidentally you get strange looks when you lean against a display case while having a contraction in the middle of the store. Strangely enough I didn’t have one person as me if I was ok, other than my daughter Katherine.
We arrive at the hospital and walk up to the Labor and Delivery floor, the nurses ask how I’m doing. “Ok considering, how are you?” Seriously does no one ask the nurses how they are doing anymore, I mean come on it is common curtsey to ask back isn’t it? Maybe it is just the way I was raise to be polite, even when I’m in labor. I say that because they all laughed as if they have never heard anyone ask the question back. Josh told them that we are here to have a baby today, or so he hoped as he hustled me further into the L&D floor.
After getting settled in and changed into a hospital gown, both the doctor and nurses come into the room to ask if there was anything in my birth plan that I wanted to discuss. I asked them if they have read it, interestingly enough everyone had read it. They knew that I didn’t want ANY medication, unless I asked for it, and that if I had to have an IV that I wanted a heparin lock on it. No time constraints, being able to move around freely, intermittent fetal monitoring and avoid excess vaginal exams. Once the baby arrived I wanted delayed cord clamping and immediate skin to skin, absolutely no vaccines or eye ointment and we will be breastfeeding.
The doctor (Dr. O’Dear) asked if he could do an exam real quick just to see where I am at, since I had just arrived at the hospital I agreed. After a quick exam, Dr. O’Dear said I was only 2 cm dilated and 75% effaced, I was a little upset. I mean I had been in active labor for the last 6 hours and I’m only dilated to a 2, come on I had been hoping I was at least a 4 or 5 cm dilated.
After being hooked up to the fetal monitor for 20 minutes (the nurse Josie asked first), I was able to walk around, use the labor ball and finish my mountain dew. After a few hours, the contractions were getting worse and I was having a hard time standing due to getting shaky. I wasn’t sure if it was because I was starving and having my blood sugar drop or I was going into the second stage of labor. Jennifer the Doula said it was because I was going into the second stage, I honestly am not sure I was starving and I was tired. After a bit Josie asked if I could be hooked up to the fetal monitor again for about 20 minutes I said that is fine since it had been several hours.
What I haven’t told you is that my contractions were about 7 minutes long at this point and were rarely below a 4. Monitoring strip has a scale of 0-12 on it, 0 means no pain aka not having a contraction and 12 a means holy crap it freakin hurts kind of contraction. Each break between contractions was only 30-45 seconds long, not much of a break at all. Many times women who have epidurals can only tell they are having contraction by looking at the fetal monitoring paper. So what does a woman who doesn’t have any pain relief think about while having long and strong contractions? Well I thought about what I wanted to eat once I had this baby, mostly French fries, every time I breathed in I thought about what my French fries would smell like. After a while I then just started concentrating on my breathing and listening to the encouragement from Jennifer and Josh.
At some point probably about 4 pm I decide I want to lay down, my legs were getting shaky and the contractions were getting stronger. The nurses came in at the point to check to see if they could do another exam, Dr O’dear had been calling about every half hour to see if I had progressed. Eventually I said yes because it had been about 5 hours since my last one, I had only progressed to a 4. Seriously what the heck is going on, these contractions hurt like hell and I honestly could see why people ask for an epidural. Josie wanted to know if I wanted my water broke since it hadn’t broken yet and is probably why my contractions are so strong all around. Yes my contractions were not just front ones but they literally wrapped around my whole body at the hips, not fun at all. So they call Dr O’Dear and tell him that he needs to come in so he can break my water. I know many people are against having a doctor or midwife break their water, but I chose to for several reasons. 1. I was in active labor, and 2. I knew it will help relieve some of the back labor pains I was feeling.
While we were waiting for the doctor to arrive at the hospital, they decided to put my IV in with the heparin in my right hand. Which totally sucked since the first place they had it didn’t work, of course it didn’t work I was getting dehydrated from not being able to drink water and just eat ice chips. I was offered a popsicle but they only had grape and I detest grape. Once the IV was in it seemed like only a little bit before Dr. O’Dear came in.
Dr. O’Dear quickly broke my water and checked me, I was dilated to an 8 (hurray for progress). It felt like seconds after I told I was at an 8 that I felt the urge to push and from what I was told by my doula and husband it happened almost immediately.
After the nurses and the doctor get the bed quickly fixed and I try to move into position, which hurt like the dickens because my sciatic nerve had been bothering me for a while and going to the chiropractor had helped some but not a lot. Dr O’Dear looked at me and said I was the only patient on the floor and I could be as loud as I needed to be while I pushed, so I took advantage of that and did what I call the mother’s roar. You that sound that isn’t a scream not is it a yelling but somewhere in between, that is what I did while I pushed for the 15 minutes it took to have my baby. During a break of pushing I could feel something painful at the top and I tried to point to it instead I poked my baby in the head because he was crowning. What I thought was the doctor poking me for some odd reason around my vagina was in fact the ring of fire, well sort of it only hurt at the top and the bottom not the whole way around.
At 6:06 pm my beautiful son Zane Michael Willis was born, 20 ¼ inches long and weighing in at 9 lbs and 8.3 ounces. They laid him on my belly until the cord stopped pulsing and let my husband cut the cord, I tried breastfeeding Zane but he was to busy looking around. I finally handed him over to the nurse to weigh and measure while the doctor sewed up my 3rd degree tear. When the doctor told me I had torn I about cried, I had a 4th degree tear with my daughter and was hoping I didn’t tear this time.
Zane is now almost 11 weeks old and is now 18 lbs, our breastfeeding relationship is going beautifully and I can’t wait to have another baby my way again. A birth without fear or unnecessary interventions.