~This post is open and honest, like a conversation I would have with other mommy-friends, so please read at your own discretion.~
Our due date of May 6 came and passed with no baby arrival or even labor symptoms. To say that I was becoming impatient and growing anxious would be an understatement. I am a planner, and I had everything ready weeks before. The house was clean and organized. I’d finished all major projects, and I was just ready to have our new baby. He had other plans, and since my birth plan was a natural labor with no induction or unnecessary medical intervention – we let him cook a little longer. My last prenatal visit was Monday, May 12th, and my doctor made me set a date before 42 weeks approached to go in to be induced, although I really didn’t want to. Our plan was to still do it as naturally as possible and just see if breaking my water would get things going on their own without the use of Pitocin. We set the date for Thursday, May 15th, but I hoped our baby would decide to come on his own before then so I would know what real labor was like.
And he did! Here’s our Birth Story…
The very next morning around 12:30am, I could no longer sleep due to light contractions. I could feel them enough not to be able to sleep, but they weren’t really that painful either. I’m terrible at timing contractions, but I was getting “this feeling” every few minutes already. Normally this would be when they tell you to go to the hospital, but we’d already made a trip weeks earlier with a false alarm, and I was determined to do early labor at home to avoid any unnecessary medical intervention. My doctor advised me on this and told me to come to the hospital when I was hurting.
So around 2:30 I took a bath to see if these were really contractions or if they were braxton hicks. Justin heard me taking a bath and asked if I was okay. I told him that I was, but I was having consistent contractions. I wanted to let him sleep just in case this wasn’t real labor because he did have to work that day. However, after I told him that he couldn’t go back to sleep so he got up with me. We had an early breakfast around 3am together, and he could tell that the contractions were getting stronger because I had to stop and breathe through them more, but he was letting me wait to make the decision of when to go or whether or not he should still go in to work (He’s a personal trainer so his first client comes in around 5am.)
I called my mom around 4:30am to let her know what was going on, and she told me I needed to go to the hospital. She said “You never know – it could go fast.” But it felt more like a lecture. I let them know early because they live three hours away so they needed travel time. I went to the bathroom and had some bloody show so decided I guess we should go on in since we were pretty sure it was the real deal. Justin called his parents also to come and stay with our firstborn, Lawson.
So we began packing the car and getting ready to go. We arrived to the hospital around 6am. They monitored me in a triage room for about an hour, but there was no doubt this was real labor by that point. I honestly HATED being in that room because I was strapped in by these monitors and stuck in one position in that bed – so uncomfortable during labor. They checked my cervix, and I was dilated to 4-5cm – a progression from our appointment the day before where I was only 3cm. Then, they allowed me to move to a room, and I walked VERY SLOWLY down the hall a little bit to our new room, stopping for contractions along the way.
The contractions were intense by this point, and I was really having to concentrate and breathe through them. I’m not going to lie – it was painful just like they say it is, but I was still determined to do this naturally. I changed into the night gown I’d purchased, and it felt so much better than that hospital gown. The fabric was cooler it seemed. Once we were in our room, they allowed me to be off the monitors to do this labor this however I wanted. It was such a relief too. Sitting on the toilet was probably the favorite place for me to be – I could sit upright or lean back into a contraction and didn’t have to worry about if my water broke because it wouldn’t really make a mess there. 🙂 Funny how that’s the things I was thinking about.
The nurse came in and asked if she could check me so I moved to the bed. I was already 8-9cm! Hearing this news gave me that extra boost of confidence I needed to know that I could do this naturally. Just knowing that my contractions were actually working to progress my labor and that I’d already made it this far all on my own – there was no way you could convince me to get an epidural or wimp out with any pain meds at that point! I kept breathing through the contractions, and a little while later my doctor arrived and asked if he could check me. He asked me again if I was sure I didn’t want him to go ahead and break my water. I told him we could just wait to see if it would break on its own as I felt it would be unnecessary still. I overheard him tell the nurse that when my water breaks the baby was coming so call him right away (He had to leave to go to the clinic, but he would come back when it was time.) He said it would be 5 minutes if I let him break by water, but probably 20-25 since we were waiting for it to break on its own.
So I labored on, but never moved from the bed this time after being checked. It’s like i really didn’t have time in between contractions enough to move. I told the nurse that during contractions I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom (#2), but she said it’s probably because I was still on my back and the baby was putting pressure on that area now so she helped me move on the bed to my hands and knees. She said that I would start to feel like that even when I wasn’t having a contraction soon. She was right. She asked if she could check me again, but I never could get myself to move for her to do so between hurting so she never did. I told her I really felt like I should push and asked her if I could. She said if I wasn’t fully dilated yet, it could cause swelling and make delivery harder so I tried not to.
Then, my water broke on the bed, and I could see that it was green which meant that the baby had already had his first bowel movement of meconium. When my water broke, I really felt the urge to push and told the nurse I really couldn’t NOT PUSH. They helped me move so they could clean up the bed, and I moved onto my back again. I told them I was going to push, and they told me I could but told me after his head was born to stop pushing so they could suction his nose so he wouldn’t breathe in that meconium. I saw my doctor come in and felt relieved that he made it back in time.
With two pushes, Linkin’s head was born. They suctioned his nose, and let me push again for him to be fully born. The doctor put him right on my tummy, and that was an incredible moment I’d waited for. The moment where I knew I did this – the ultimate challenge! I had a baby all on my own, with no medical intervention and no pain meds. I felt like a champion!
Linkin didn’t cry right away so the doctor said he needed to cut the cord and move him to get him breathing, and of course, I said okay. As soon as they picked him up and laid him on the table beside me, I heard him cry. They went ahead and did his footprints and checked his weight, but gave him right back to me.
Linkin Jude was born at 8:32am. He weighed 7 pounds even, 20 inches long and perfect in every way. For the next hour I nursed him, and the three of us bonded. Then, we swaddled him. I got up to clean myself up a bit and got dressed. We were ready for visitors! Yes, you read that correctly – having a natural labor meant that I felt incredible afterwards. Yes, I was a little sore, but I think that mostly came from the horrific hospital bed – not so comfy. I took two doses of Tylenol after my delivery to help with that soreness but never even got the prescriptions filled – so different from our first birth story. I would recommend natural birth to anyone who’s willing to give it a try. This really was an amazing experience for us, and I’m so glad I stood my ground for what I really wanted.