You will not even believe this birth story. Really! It is amazing! The female body works and is designed to give birth.
Body Knows Best
This past August my son, "O" joined our family. I've never written out a birth story before, but as I sit here nursing my beautiful blond haired, blue eyed, toothy 9 month old I feel compelled to start typing. I have so many pregnant friends right now, and many of them are, understandably, a little nervous about giving birth. I like to share my birthing experience with them to show the wonderful side of childbirth. Yes, it's intense. Yes, it's hard work. Yes, it's painful. But even more than that, it's an incredible, wonderful, empowering, beautiful blessing! One that I thoroughly enjoy. Yes, I enjoy giving birth!
So onto my birth story… I had given birth twice before, but this time was different. This time I had chosen to give birth at home, and I was so excited!
My first two deliveries went fine. They were your typical, run of the mill hospital births. Fairly short and uneventful. (As every woman hopes them to be, I guess.) My only complaint was the fact that I was induced. Both times! The reason being that "my body was ready, it just wasn't getting the job done on it's own." With my first I was induced at 38.5 weeks because I was already 3 cm dilated and 100% effaced. With my second I was induced a couple of days before my due date because I was 5 cm dilated and 100% effaced. Both labors lasted about 6 hours. With my first I pushed for 45 minutes, with my second I pushed about 15 minutes. Both were healthy babies weighing in just under 7 lbs. This time, however, I wanted to fore go the medical intervention. I didn't want to labor on my back hooked up to a pit drip. And to be honest, the idea of curling up in my own bed after giving birth and not having doctors and nurses disturbing me all night was very, VERY, appealing to me. My husband and I did our research and found a midwife about 10 minutes from our home. She came highly recommended and after meeting her I can see why. She was amazing!
So fast forward several months as my due date nears. Another perfectly normal pregnancy coming to an end and we're just preparing for our newest little addition. 38 weeks…. nothing. 39 weeks…. nothing. At my 40 week appointment my midwife asked me if I'd like her to check my progress. I said sure and she found that I was 5 cm dilated and very soft. "Should be any day now!", she said. (I don't know about any of you, but I was very patient with my third pregnancy. I wasn't in any hurry to get him out. I knew he'd come eventually and I was just enjoying the end of summer with my 4 and 2 year old.) Well, 41 weeks rolled around and still nothing. A few painless braxton hicks, but that was about it. At my 42 week appointment my midwife did an NST to check on Baby O, he was doing fabulously! She checked my cervix again and I was at 7cm! (still not in labor, though.) She looked at me and said, "You know, I'm afraid to leave my house because if you call me in labor I probably won't get to you in time! I think maybe we should try to encourage him to come out!" So we decided that after the kids were in bed that night we'd set up the birthing tub and she'd come over and break my water to get things started. I still wasn't getting to go into labor on my own, but at least I wasn't getting a pit drip!
That evening was so wonderful. My husband got home from work, we ate a nice family meal, and tucked the kids into bed. I did a few last minute preparations and at 9:00 pm sharp my midwife knocked on the door. She checked my cervix one last time before I stepped into the birthing tub. I was now 8cm dilated! (but still hadn't felt my first contraction.) At 9:28 pm she broke my water. Almost immediately I got my first contraction, and it was intense! It was like the contractions I felt at the very end of my previous labor, except there weren't any milder, "warm-up" ones to prepare me. Still, it didn't seem as long or intense as the contractions I had on pitocin and being in the water probably helped quite a bit, too. I was able to quietly breathe through it and we were on our way! I had a total of six contractions, one right on top of the other, before I felt the urge to push. I pushed one time, out popped the head. (Honestly, I don't remember any "ring of fire" pain, but I'm sure it must have hurt at least a little.) One more push and out he slid. My husband pulled him up out of the water and placed him on my chest. He cried, we smiled and cuddled him. It was a perfect first moment. Time of birth? 9:42 pm. Yes, my entire labor and delivery lasted 14 minutes. I guess that's just how my body works. It likes to do most of the work in the month before I give birth. I'll count myself as blessed! Too bad I didn't let my body do it's thing a little longer the first two times around. But anyway…
After a while my husband cut the cord. We bundled Baby O up and I walked myself upstairs to my bed. My midwife tended to my bleeding as I nursed. Then she checked on Baby O. He was by far my biggest baby, weighing in at 8 lbs 6.5 oz. He was pink and plump, with a perfect little round head. We were in love! I passed Baby O off to my husband while I went in for the dreaded first bathroom trip. Luckily I didn't tear at all this time around, so it wasn't too bad at all. My midwife cleaned up downstairs, packed up her stuff and headed home before 11:00 pm. I curled up in bed with my sweet baby boy and we both slept until the pitter patter of brother and sister feet woke us up around 6:00 in the morning. Big brother C and big sister A crawled up in bed with us and got acquainted with their new baby brother. They were so excited! It was one of the most precious family moments I've ever experienced! I was in very little pain, so we all came downstairs for breakfast. Within a day we were back to our normal routine. Such an incredibly easy recovery! I am so looking forward to the day we are blessed with number 4! I definitely plan on birthing at home again. I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful birth experience!
I hope this story can be an encouragement to women who might fear the birthing process. While my situation might not be the norm, it goes to show that birth doesn't have to be scary and painful. It can be relaxing and joyful, too!