THIS is why I love birth- "I felt like I could do anything after surviving unmedicated childbirth." Love this quote from the mom in this story. She sent me this because she realized there weren't tons of hospital births on my blog. So here is another one! It can be done!
Our daughter was born on June 23, 2008 at 9:53 am. She was 7lbs, 8 oz and 20 in long. Her due date was June 22nd, so she arrived "on time." We used a lot the techniques we learned in the birthing class since we decided to have a natural childbirth. Short version of our labor: it was about 9 hours from early labor until she was born and we didn't use any pain medication.
Here are the details for those who are interested:
I started having regular contractions about midnight on Sunday, they were 5-6 min apart. From 1-2 am they were 3-4 min apart. I called the doc and he said to go to the hospital. When I got there I wasn't very far dilated - only 2 1/2 cm, but I was 90% effaced and the nurse said she could feel my bag of waters. They had us walk for an hour and the contractions continued to get more intense. I used the breathing techniques and I counted for 20-30 seconds to help get through the peak of the contractions. The nurse was nice enough to let me not be attached to an IV continuously and tried to monitor me on the birth ball instead of the bed but it didn't work because they couldn't track the baby's heartbeat from that position. I had to be monitored every 45 minutes for 15 min at a time.
Labor progressed pretty quickly, it was a lot of moaning and intense pain but still pretty bearable by breathing, moving around and changing positions. The worst part was getting on the bed to be checked - it was excruciating to lie on my back and at that point I considered pain meds, but asked how far I was dilated first. They said I was 7 cm, so I decided to stick it out. After moaning in the shower for a while, my water broke and I was 9 1/2 and ready to push. The pushing was really hard and I was running out of energy to keep pushing when they told me to, it was also really painful. My husband said it seemed like things moved very quickly and the pushing was like 5 min - but to me it felt like an hour and it was probably more like 40 min. I was so focused on dealing with the pain and pushing that I had my eyes closed during the pushing and opened them just as she was born.
Here are some things they didn't show on the natural birth video but happened to me: lots of vomiting, bloody show, and pooping,. Despite those things, it was very empowering and I felt like I could do anything after surviving unmedicated childbirth.
Some reasons I wanted to try natural labor:
I wanted to try natural labor because I felt I would have more control over my body and would be more likely to avoid interventions like a c-section. I knew some friends who had an epidural and it caused the baby's heartbeat to decelerate and led to more interventions. Also, in general I prefer to avoid medicine if I can help it.
I tried pushing with the bar, but they wanted me at the edge of the bed and it was difficult to push that way. I ended up bracing myself with my hands behind my back and my bottom on the edge of the bed. The nurses helped hold my feet and coached me through it. I would have loved to have pushed standing up or squatting, and I tried to squat on the bed with the bar, but it was hard and I think they had me on a monitor.
My daughter was very alert when born. I nursed her right away and I had her on me right away, before they cleaned her up. It was amazing to hold her and look at her for the first time. I felt very proud that she was safe and healthy.
What kept me going was knowing that at 7 cm I only had 3 more to go, and that I had made it that far, but really it was all mental. If I hadn't been so far along, I don't think I could have stuck it out. I remember thinking at that point "I can do this" and I said that out loud and one of the nurses was like "yes you can" and that was helpful. Breathing, moaning, praying to God, all helped. I just remember being very focused. No pain after delivery and surprisingly I didn't have any hemorrhoids, but I did have to have an episiotomy. Also the pediatrician remarked that my baby's head didn’t' have a "cone" shape and that I must have known exactly when to push.
My baby is amazingly healthy and everyone remarks what good color she has and she has been a great baby so far. She actually sleeps at 2-3 hours at a time so we are not totally exhausted.
If my labor was longer or my contractions closer together it might have been more difficult to have her naturally. At one point they asked if I wanted my water broken and I said "what are the benefits and risks?" because I didn't know if I should do that or not, but ended up letting it break on its own. Also, I remembered to ask how far dilated before I would consider an epidural. These were techniques I learned from my natural birthing class. I’m now pregnant with my second child and hoping to do another natural unmedicated birth at the hospital.