Today, eight years ago, two births took place. The birth of my first daughter, Winter Rose, and the birth of her mother, Hannah. I wrote her birth story the day I got out of the hospital and I haven't really edited it. I thought about editing it to make it easier to read, but I decided the raw story was the best. So here it it, raw and unedited. It is LOOOOONG and detailed. Thank you for letting me share this powerful experience.
Ok, so here it goes. Monday morning (1/7/08) I had my membranes stripped by my midwife around 10am. At that point I was a 'good three' and fully effaced. That day my hubby and I walked to go get some pizza, came home, watched movies and just relaxed all day. Toward the evening time hubby started to put together our rocking chair. At around 7ish I felt my first real contraction; it wasn't painful, pursay, but it was completely different than a braxton hicks contraction. I felt a small amount of pressure rise in the middle of my stomach (around my abdomen) and slowly start to increase in pressure until it radiated around to my back as well. My whole body felt a little cold and the rest of my muscles were a little tight too. I did want to cause any alarm, but I mentioned to my hubby that I thought I might have just had a real contraction! We both laughed and continued on with our night. As the night went on, I continued to feel the contractions, but not too strong. I didn't want to get all excited about false labor (hear that's really common with having your membranes stripped).
At around ten pm the contractions were starting to get painful (mostly like a strong period type cramp along with a lower back ache) and I noticed that they were coming around seven/ten minutes apart. I had to close my eyes and deep breath through a few of them. By eleven thirty both hubby and I were pretty tired so we decided to head upstairs to get some sleep. Before I went to bed I used the bathroom like normal and as I wiped I noticed a HUGE amount of slightly bloody slime. I mean I thought there was an alien that died or something! There was soooo much of it! At that point hubby said "we might be having a baby tomorrow"...As I was laying down with him the contractions were becoming closer (about five minutes apart) and stronger. I couldn't lay down comfortably. After about 15 minutes I had to get up. I told hubby that this might be it, we might be having out baby tonight and that I was going to shower and see if that stopped the contractions.
By this time I had to really concentrate and relax to numb the pain of the contractions, but they were about a 5 on a 1-10 scale. I got in the shower and turned the radio on...spent as much time as I could in the hot water, dancing and moving my hips to the music. It really helped with the pain of the contractions. I got out and I was still having contractions, still roughly five minutes apart (hadn't started timing them yet). I then went downstairs and turned on the tv and ate a yogurt and a banana to see if that would help the contractions go away. It didn't. Tried sitting on the birthing ball, laying down (that hurt the worst!) walking, dancing, etc. At around 12:30 I started timing the contractions, they were about 3-4 minutes apart and lasting from 50-70 seconds.
After about an hour of that I started to get everything ready for the hospital and went upstairs and woke hubby up, saying "Baby, I think we need to be going to the hospital now". It took us a little while to get everything together (we took a lot of stuff...big duffle bag, diaper bag, stereo, guitar, two blankets and two pillows) but we finally left for the hospital around 2am.
We were in triage for thirty minutes and when they finally checked me I was 4.5 and having pretty strong contractions. We were admitted and hubby began making some phone calls to let everyone know that I was in labor!! I told the nurses that we were planning on having a natural childbirth and would love a room with a jacuzzi tub if that was possible. We got it!
After getting to the room I had to be monitored briefly. The nurse decided on hooking me up to the mobile monitors that were also water proof so I could get into the tub as fast as I could. At this time hubby had gone back out to the car to bring everything in, so it was just me and the nurse. When hubby got back I had him start the bath water for me ( I couldn't do it, I was beginning to be in a lot of pain...contractions still 3-4 minutes apart). When I got in the tub the monitors started having problems, so the nurse came in to hold the monitors on me...after a while she decided that I was fine and took the monitors off of me and left the room completely. From then until 6am it was just me and hubby. The hot water of the jacuzzi tub helped with the contractions SO MUCH! For about an hour I was able to sit in the tub and relax my muscles completely, allowing me to ignore the contractions. At this time hubby left to go get some food for him, for he was starving and needed fuel for the long night to come.
When he came back I was ready to get out of the tub and take a walk. With each contraction I had to stop and rock back and forth while he rubbed my back. We walked around trying to find somewhere to fill my water bottle up (was trying to stay as hydrated as possible because I didn't want an IV) The nurse took us to a room with a fridge, freezer, microwave and filtered water and gave us the combination, telling us that we were welcome to anything in there. She even let me eat if I wanted to ( I was able to get down a half an apple and half a granola bar in the first three hours of labor at the hospital) I was really hungry in between contractions, and really nauseas (sp?) during the contractions. Hubby was still hungry because when he was out for food he only got gatorade and hard candies for me, wanting to get back to me as soon as possible, so I kept trying to get him to take a sandwich out of the fridge. It was funny because he was scared that we weren't suppose to be in there, so we left for the time being and came back on our next round of walking to pick up a sandwich. When we came back to get the sandwich a nurse walked into the room and hubby got frightened and tried to run back to the room with his sandwich (I was walking slow as a turtle!).
Although I was in a massive amount of pain every 3-4 minutes I still managed to laugh and joke with him and some of the other nurses. Around 4-4:30 the contractions really began to get intense. I tried getting back into the tub, but it just wasn't helping. After 4am I didn't leave the room again. I kept getting hot and cold flashes so I ended up being completely naked while laboring the last few hours. I tried many different positions, on the birthing ball, leaning up against a counter rocking, on all fours, squatting, etc...but nothing helped.
At one point hubby had to leave the room for some reason and while he was gone I had finally broke down and started groaning really loud during the contractions, which were starting to come every 1-2 minutes. By the time he got back I was crying. It hurt really really bad at this point and there was nothing hubby could do to help me out. Him rubbing my back wasn't helping. I was biting a wash rag because it hurt so much. I was really nauseas and hot so hubby kept trying to put some cold rags on my body. I told hubby that I wasn't sure how much more of this I could handle. He kept telling me that I was doing great and that I was almost done. When I had started to cry I thought that I must be in transition and that it was almost over, but if I hadn't made progress then I was going to ask for drugs. I just really couldn't handle the pain any more.
At around 5:45-6am the nurse came back in to monitor me again and I was in too much pain. I mentioned that it felt like I really had to make a bowl movement and she decided that she should check me.me. I got up on the bed and she checked me (was really uncomfortable to lay down while laboring like that). She said I was only a 6...which made me cry even more. The contractions were coming one on top of the other, sometimes double peaking. I kept telling hubby that I was sorry that I think I need the drugs. If I was only a 6 that I couldn't last like this for any more hours. He kept telling me that I was almost done, that I didn't need the drugs, that I could do it, etc...With every contraction I was balling, yelling, screaming and telling hubby to leave me alone and stop touching me (i was in too much pain and his massaging just wasn't working any more, it caused more pain)
Finally I looked to the nurse and said calmly "I'm sorry but I think I'm going to need that epidural now". She said that I didn't have to have the epi, that there were other options for me, like fentanol and nubian (sp?) so I looked at hubby and told him to call his brother to see what I should take. The nurse left and told us to call her when we decided what we wanted. After a few minutes of hubby and brother causally talking about pain meds I screamed "that's it, you had your chance, I want drugs and I want them now!" I paged the nurse over the intercom and told her that I wanted whatever would effect me the fastest. She said she'd have to page my midwife to see what she thought would be the best.
I waited until my midwife got there and she told me that I didn't need drugs. She checked me again and told me that I was about 8-9 and that we were going to get through this. She asked me what kind of pain I was feeling and I told her that it was really intense, especially in my lower back. She got me onto the bed again on my back (the WORST position to labor in, in my opinion..made the contractions so much more unbearable!) She checked me again and told me that I her head was facing the wrong way and that is why I was in so much pain ( I had back labor the WHOLE TIME) she began trying to turn baby's head which hurt real bad, and after she did that she asked if she could break my bag of water. I said if you think that's best. She broke my bag and then when to go change to deliver the baby.
While she was away I was still laying on the bed, kicking and screaming because it hurt so bad. A bunch of other delivery nurses began to show up (remember I'm naked this whole time) and as I'm on my side I feel this intense urge to crap. I couldn't ignore it. I started to make this low animal grunting sound which was really loud and pushed like I was making a bowl movement. Hubby asked me if I was pushing and I said "I don't know...I'm just doing what my body is telling me to do). The nurse kept telling me to stop pushing, that I wasn't ready and I told her that I couldn't stop and I had to go with what my body told me to do.
Finally when my midwife came back I told her that I couldn't stop pushing and she said that that was ok, we were having this baby now. She had my trying to hold my legs back and curl my head up into my body and push! She kept telling me to stop grunting, hold my breath and really push. For a while I was hysterical and couldn't, I kept fighting the pain and trying to kick my legs, punch the walls, scream, grunt, bite, you name it. At this point I had closed my eyes so I couldn't see the clock on the back wall. I didn't want to know how long it had been. The pain was so intense at one point I was disassociated with my body. The blinding white light of the pain took me out of my body.
At some point my midwife had me reach down and touch my baby's head, which was almost crowning. I said I couldn't or didn't want to and she made me do it any way. After that I was able to start concentrating on what was happening, and started to work with my body. I stopped kicking my legs, started to pull them back to my ears and pushed like she was coaching me to do. It took me a while to push the baby's head completely out over my perineum but when I finally did it was a relief. To feel the gush of water and the pressure off my perineum, was so great. I finally opened my eyes in time to see hubby catch the baby and the rest of her be born. She immediately went to my breast while I continued to pass the placenta (which came all the way out within fifteen minutes).
Because she had spent so much time on the perineum she was having trouble breathing (not too much) and they took her away to cleanse her lungs. She was born at 7:23 am at 7 lbs 9 oz and 20 inches long. It was a completely natural child birth, and I had a first degree tear and a small tear on my labia. I couldn't have done it without my midwife and my wonderful hubby! I'm not sure what else to add! If anyone has any questions, or if I left something out, I'll add to it later. I'm home now, healing well. All my muscles are REALLY sore though, along with my va-jayjay! I was truly an experience I'll NEVER forget!
I am a mother of two, a breastfeeding advocate and an outspoken natural birth enthusiast. I believe that birth is a normal, biological process that is accompanied with a psychological rite of passage. By educating and preparing most women can enjoy the wonderful benefit of unmedicated birth.