An all natural, med-free birth! (A story)
Say what now?!
As my third pregnancy progresses into the final trimester, I've been reflecting back on my last labor and delivery. So many questions and emotion arise, what went well last time? What can I do to prepare more? Of course some feelings of anxiety, and nervousness crop up too. I knew I wanted to do a med-free birth this time, I felt I could do it.. But before we go forward, I must take you all back so you can learn from my experiences.
38 weeks along...
Wow, I was swollen like a house by this time. My pre-pregnancy weight was 155 lbs and I have shot up to 225 lbs in the last 38 weeks. I never had morning sickness with any of my pregnancies, and this time I just let myself eat... And eat and eat some more. When I wasn't eating or cooking, I was cleaning. Everything had to be spotless, my daughter was almost here! The nesting instinct had taken control and my husband had to pry the mop out of my hands several times, only to find me hiding in the bathroom scrubbing the tub. She couldn't come home to a dirty house! That's like a cardinal sin, no germs are getting to my baby! The other thing I did at this point was pack my overnight bag for the hospital. I put in everything I thought I would need, clothes, personal hygiene, baby clothes, books, cell phone charger, etc.. I was so ready to have this baby!
Only a week left I thought! I can do this, i just know it. Everyday I would go for a walk, one foot on the curb one foot off. I tried red raspberry leaf tea and evening primrose oil, my midwife said they would help. I tried spicy food, drinking lots of water, taking warm baths and showers, I couldn't feel any changes at all. I went into the ob/gyn and they stripped my membranes, but they had bad news for me. I wasn't dilated at all, not even one centimeter. Nothing. But I kept with it, I was so sure it would help.. At this point in time I was rifled through my over night bag, taken out my toiletries and some clothes that I wanted to wear during the week. I would have enough time to repack, after all I'll know when I'm in labor and have time to get everything back together.
Two days before due date...
I've taken to sleeping on the couch, the back helps support me as I lay on my side and the ground is closer so I can just roll off the couch and not try to stand up. However, I just can't get comfy tonight. I feel hot and sweaty, even though the temperature inside is a wonderful 68 degrees. I decided to take a shower and just relax, it usually helps put me back into that sleepy mood. Not tonight. My husband and son are asleep, and here I am in the shower and uncomfortable soon turns to pain. I'm dying! That was my first thought, followed quickly by, oh no I'm in labor...
I hop out of the shower and quickly waddle, naked and wet, down the hall into the bedroom. I wake my husband and tell him it's time to go. Like a champ he gets up, the time is now 4:30 am and he starts to repack my bag for the hospital. The contractions get worse, fast. Soon I am in almost screaming pain, I can't uncurl myself from the bed, so my husband dresses me and gets our three year old son into the car. With help I get buckled in to, every bump on the road feels like I'm being punched in the belly. I try not to yell in the car, my son is still half asleep, but the contractions are coming much faster. The hospital is only 10 minutes away, but my husband asks if we have time to drop our son off at the babysitters. NO! We don't have time! So he presses down a little harder on the gas, and tries not to laugh at me.
We arrive at the hospital and I'm immediately admitted into the labor and delivery ward, the time is now 5 am. My midwife is on duty that night, so she checks my progress and states that I'm at 7 cm dilated and fully effaced. I walk across the hall to the delivery room, they hook up my IV full of fluids, as I'm screaming for drugs. The midwife just nods and smiles, my husband is trying not to laugh, and my son is sitting terrified in the delivery room. She tells me I can push now, but my body has already started on it's own. Waves of heat and pain explode through my body during the contractions, but vanish as soon as the contraction is finished. A minute of pushing and my daughters head comes out, then they tell me to stop pushing. What?! Stop!? I can't! I have to the midwife says, the cord is around her neck. Oh God. It takes all my will not to bear down, you have to fight against your body because it's doing the work on it's own. Quickly they have her neck free and I can push again. Two more minutes of pushing and all at once my beautiful baby girl slides out.
They place her on my chest for just a moment so I can see her, before they take her away. "We have to get her to breath now", my midwife says. "Oh, ok." I think, like it's no big deal. Then it dawns on me, she's not breathing! Soon I hear her cry and all is right in the world. My son, who has been sitting next to the bed, bursts out in tears. I can't make out what he's saying just that he's so sad and something about me dying. I hold him in bed with me as they clean up my little girl. My husband leaves the room to go start calling people and spreading the good news.
What I've learned...
All in all, I will do an all natural child birth with this pregnancy. The pain doesn't last forever and I know I can handle it, maybe not with much grace and dignity, but I can do it. Once I delivered all the pain left in a matter of minutes and I was ready to leave with in the hour. Due to complications with Rhoswen, our daughter, we couldn't leave for several days.
I know you can only prepare so much for what's to come. But the key is to have a good plan, and pay attention to the warning signs of impending labor. We got to the hospital with twelve minutes to spare. Yes, 12 minutes. I was admitted at 5 am and had her at 5:12 am. We almost didn't make it in time. Lesson learned. Don't unpack your hospital bag, don't wait until you're in screaming pain, and don't wait for your water to break. Mine apparently broke in the shower, so I never knew..
The worst the hospital can do is turn you away and tell you to come back in a while if you're not far enough into labor. Educate yourself on the labor process, and pay attention to what your body tells you. Remember the pain only lasts a while, and you can endure all things. Once you see what your labor has brought, you'd do it all over again.