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Dovelyn's Natural Labor & Delivery
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The Labor: At Home
Friday, January 25th throughout the day I felt some pinches. They felt like regular Braxton hicks and what not so I tried to ignore them. As the day turned into night, I noticed that they were being constant, so I began to time them. If you can avoid having to time/clock in your own contractions, I strongly recommend it!! Doing it myself was a pain in the ass, I would clock in late, clock out late, forget to clock in, press the wrong button, and whatnot because the contraction would distract me. By 10:05pm, they were constant enough that I contacted my doula to give her a heads up. I was told that if things continued to contact her again, and to try to get some sleep which did not happen at that point because I was way too excited.
By 11:23pm, I was sure that my contractions were about 5min apart lasting about 30secs each. I knew I was definitely in labor by that point. Called Jenn, my doula, threw a few last minute things into my L&D bags and got them all downstairs. My doula showed up by around 1-3am if I remember correctly. I felt bad because there wasn’t much to do. I know around 1am I was watching “Princess Bride,” definitely a great L&D film! When she got there, we talked and found even weirder things we had in common (we shared a birthday amongst other things,) she’s such a sweet heart!!
Watched Transformers, Guy Code and Walk Tall, she fell asleep during Guy Code and I, surprisingly, fell asleep during Walk Tall. The contractions slowed in my sleep, and when I woke back up they slowly regained speed. How beautifully the body works!! I could have sworn up and down that I wasn’t going to be able to sleep, but my body worked with me to help regain energy. Amazing! They did however waver in length after that, but, hey, any contraction is a good contraction!! I recommend getting comfortable, even if that means twisting and contorting in some weird circus style, and not being afraid to close your eyes; getting sleep is definitely important!
Morning came, my mother hadn’t slept a wink, she was far too anxious about it all. Offered to make breakfast, but I wasn’t up for eating eggs. My doula suggested that we cook something together, so I decided it was a good way to pass time. That morning I had Salmon cooking in coconut oil, with brown rice and topped with some onions cooked in the remaining coconut oil and some apple cider vinegar, I only used some garlic salt for seasoning. It was heavenly and light!! Eating helped a lot, especially such a great meal. I would probably suggest adding spinach, asparagus, kale… just some more veggies!! Sadly, we hadn’t grocery shopped yet.
My doula left to go be with her kids, she had one 16mo breastfed baby, and I completely understood. She was a little over an hour away, but I preferred she take care of her kids first, so I’m glad she asked, although I felt bad for having had called her in so soon and not having anything for her to really do.
I spoke to Dovelyn, A LOT during this time! I would tell her that we’re okay, we’re fine. Sometimes I would just repeat “You’re okay, I’m okay, we’re okay and we’ll stay that way,” while I tried to get through a contraction. It helped to remind myself that the contractions were good and not some kind death sentence. Talking to your baby is reassuring, especially when they kick back. Letting them know it’s okay helps YOU to acknowledge that everything is okay as well.
My mother cooked, and I stole some of the food despite having been sure I didn’t want it before. The entire night and morning I had been sure to take teaspoons of bee pollen and honey to keep up my energy.
Earlier that day I had tried to eat a banana, but that did not sit well. I felt like throwing up, but I’m glad I tried eating other meals. Just because you’re not able to eat one certain food does NOT mean you can’t eat. Try different textures, flavors and scents. Remember, even if you do throw it up later, your body will have partially digested it and gotten SOME use out of it!! Eating gives you more energy to get through labor!
The day progressed and I curled up for a non-sleeping nap on the couch beneath a blanket. This is where I just curled up under the blanket getting lost in my thoughts and trying to ignore my contractions. I felt like I slept, but I know I didn't because I was aware of all the conversations around me. This was wonderful, I can’t recall at all what I was thinking about, I don’t even remember the contractions, it felt like only a few minutes when I came back out of it, but I had been there for few hours. Basically I had gone into a kind of trance I suppose, so if you plan on doing “Hypnobirthing,” I do recommend going into meditation, so I suppose I recommend Hypnobirthing for those who don’t already use meditation techniques in their life. I was pulled out only because I heard my mother and sister wondering if I was sleeping to which I enjoyed surprising them by yelling no.
Around, I think, 1pm, I got a text stating “Labor rhymes with lightsaber.” If this is any indication of the people I talk to offline… Well, that was the first time in labor I had a good hard laugh. I had been stressed out worrying about my SO making it to the L&D, and this was the first person I knew in real life to tell me something funny. It wasn't even hilarious, but when you’re that delirious, you’ll laugh at something as simple as “Labor rhymes with lightsaber,” and you’ll be damn thankful for it too. I promise you, try laughing as much as possible during L&D, it makes your life sooooo much easier. Whether it’s small chuckles or all out “can’t stop and can’t breathe, oh gawd, why is no one helping me” laughter, it definitely helps you survive those contractions! It may be a serious time and you will be in pain, but if you fit in watching some stand-up comedy or listening/reading some ridiculous things, you’ll be all the happier for it, I promise!
My friend who had offered to be my photographer for free came over around 2pm. There wasn't much for her to record, mostly just me lazing about. I had been keeping track of my fundal height, the distance between the tip of the center of my rib cage and the top of the uterus, and by that point it was telling me that I was about 5cm.
I can’t recommend enough that mothers learn to read their fundal height. This allowed me to have something to keep track of my own progression through out labor with. It was a distraction as well as a good measurement of my dilation so I would know when to leave for the hospital. It prevents the idea of “needing” an internal exam.
Around 12pm I had a “bloody show.” If I hadn’t researched beforehand, I probably would have freaked out at this point in my L&D, luckily I knew it was perfectly fine and nothing to worry about. If you want something to laugh at, feel free to shout, “Bloody good show, ol’ chap!” when it happens to you, it’s worth it, promise. ;)
Again, research was on my side, like I said, if I hadn’t known, I would have been scared of the blood. None of the hospital staff had EVER warned me about the bloody show. I only knew about it from talking about labor and delivery with educated friends and researching what it was about. I can’t imagine how scared someone would be if they hadn’t learned about it sooner.
I had made the promise to myself that I would not leave until I was at least 5cm, but I felt I could stand to stay home a while longer. My doula and mother asked if I would like to go to the hospital, but I stayed, a part of me still waiting for Dovelyn’s father to try to show up. (Spoiler: He didn’t.)
My parents went out to go light shopping. They brought me back blueberries, dried cranberries and two large cans of coconut water. I was happy to have all of these things!! I began to chow down on the cranberries as soon as I got them in my hands, and drank gulps of coconut water. SO REFRESHING!! Coconut water has electrolytes and other amazing goodies that your body will thank you for giving back to it, blue berries have great antioxidants and natural sugars to help keep you going, cranberries have magical deliciousness that make the world go round, yea, those are scientific facts, totally, just trust me, mhmm. <.<
I knew I was at 6cm when I started standing “on my toes” during contractions. Research before going through labor and delivery made the whole thing easier for me to get through. I knew every contraction was worth a million dollars and I knew exactly what to look for to know how we were doing. Dovelyn was kicking every now and then, so I knew she was alive. I was still talking, so I knew I was still alive too, despite pains that said otherwise. I was happy to be able to pick out simple things like “on your toes” contractions, I reaffirmed the toe standing by checking my fundal height again, it indicated between 6-7cm.
I finally got a message from her dad that he wasn’t going to be able to make it through the snow, so, having gotten past my 5cm mark, I was fine with leaving. Around 6pm we left for the hospital. Once there they checked my dilation and monitored my blood pressure and contractions. Thus began my instant annoyance with all things wire related.
At the Hospital
The Labor: At The Hospital
Being manually measured was terrible, and since they wouldn't believe me, I had to endure it. That was really just too painful. I was 6-7cm, just as my fundal height had indicated, but the doctor legitimately couldn't tell if I was either 6 or 7 because I began to contract while she was checking me, in addition, I was already 90% effaced and Dovelyn was at a 0 station. Our water hadn’t broken yet, which I was perfectly fine with, and they asked if I would like to use the tub which I, of course, said yes to.
They walked me from triage to the L&D room. The L&D room was way too frakin’ cold, the moment I stepped in I asked for them to turn up the heat. I checked out the bathroom to see if I wanted to hop into the shower. Nope! All I could think of was how annoying it would be to get undressed and then redressed. Instead, I walked around a bit and then felt like throwing up. My doula grabbed a small tub and I upchucked all the cranberries I had been eating earlier.
She held my hair back like a sorority sister during an ol’ fashion frat party reassuring me that everything was going to be okay. She explained in a soothing voice that it just meant that the cervix was opening up more and it was a good sign of progress.
After that point I got into the bed. I would try to walk around, but I would stop during contractions and try to find a comfy position. It felt impossible and I had tried it multiple times throughout L&D after that, and it never worked out. Instead I isolated myself to my hospital bed.
It turned into a “screw everything else, this bed is homebase” type thing. I guess I would wrap this up with being in a trance; I made the bed homebase and would curl up against the side of it during contractions. A part of me knew that laying on the bed was a bad position for contracting and giving birth… okay, so, all of me knew, but it was where I handled the pain best, so that’s where I stayed. I didn’t lay on the bed, it was tilted up as far as it would go and I was in as many positions as I could contort into. When you find a place that comforts you during L&D, especially in the hospital, you cling to that spot like it’s the last mango sorbet in the freezer aisle damn it!!!
So, I spent a lot of time just curled up in the bed, I don’t know if I slept or if I just went into another trance like state, but time just slipped by. I remember throwing up again, this time it was pretty clear since I hadn’t eaten since the last time I had poured my guts out. Once again, my amazing doula was by my side. I kind of hope my friend got a picture of my gorgeous red waterfall of cranberries, it truly looked like I was throwing up blood, which, originally, I had thought was what had happened because I was a little bit ditzy at that point, anyway back to the story… They asked me if I wanted to get into the laboring tub now that it was ready, I shook my head. I was not leaving that bed for anything, and, honestly, being wet sounded like it would be more of an annoyance to me than anything at that point.
At some moment between now and the next one, I asked my doula about options for pain that weren’t the epidural. She told me about stadol taking away the edge, but even as she was talking about it, I knew it was wrong for me and that I was already disappointed in myself for asking. This wouldn’t stop me from asking again in the future, but, even then, whenever that happened, I still didn’t let myself say yes.
Sometime later, my midwife showed up. I forget all that happened; I just remember a lot of contractions, me rolling around to different positions on the bed and moaning. I began moaning and I kept reminding myself to keep an “O” shaped mouth, loose fingers and not to clench up. My midwife checked me at some point and declared me at 9cm. While she was checking me my waters broke. Which is funny because me and my doula had both talked about how my waters probably wouldn’t brake until near the very end (50 points for Ravenclaw/Griffindor/Slytherin (I’m really bad at making decisions.)) The fluids got all over the bed since my midwife hadn’t expected that to happen. The sheets and what not got soaked, and it was hard for them to change the sheets because I refused to really move. So now my lower body was wet, cold and I was in pain.
At first I thought, “My water broke, that means less pressure, thank goodness.” Nooooope. The contractions just got more intense. I have no idea how much time passed before they checked me again, but when she did I was still at a 9. She explained to me that the only way to make it work was for her to manually stretch me during a contraction.
Mind you this entire time the nurses had been putting monitors on and off me. That damn gel was pissing me off. I don’t know if you know this, but gel is gross. It’s so gross. I hate it. It dries and feels sticky. So, here I am, fabric burns on my knees, covered in sweat, kneeling with my ass in the air and my skin is all sticky… Basically Dovelyn was leaving my body in the same way she came into it.
So I’m continuously throwing these damn wires off of me because every time I would go to twist and turn into a comfortable position the wire would get in my way. I was about ready to take that stupid stretchy belt thing they had on me off as well just to make it harder on them to get them back on. They would get it on me for 2 minutes before I was shoving it off and curling up. I feel bad for the nurse, she really was an adorable sweet heart, but I was extremely close to punching her in the face every time she came near me with that thing.
My doula was offering coconut water, which, at that point, tasted like it might as well have been toilet water from an Indian resturant. I asked for regular water instead after that. I was still throwing the wires off to my team’s annoyance, but I was convinced that Dovelyn was alive, considering her random kicks, and, to my own annoyance, I was still alive too, considering the contractions I was breathing and fighting through every other minute, so there was no real point in being tied down by those “unnecessary” machines.
My midwife convinced me to attempt going through a contraction while she stretched me to a 10. I don’t know if you’ve ever gone through a contraction with a hand inside of you, but it’s worse than wrestling a zombie-robot, nazi bear that’s on fire. To put it in basic terms, I was ready to kill everything that moved.
I told her to stop and get out, then curled back up. I had the major urge to push, but was still at a 9. Without even having to hear my midwife explain it to everyone else, I knew that trying to push was a bad idea. It would cause swelling, which, of course, would only make things worse. I, of course, being such a major genius, tried to push anyway because of reasons that are totally logical, I promise.
I was so scared of the pain of a contraction with the manual stretching, that I asked if I could just have a c-section instead because I couldn’t do it. They, of course, laughed it off, but I was miserable and near tears (I surprisingly didn’t cry the entire L&D.)
Two or three contractions later I finally gave in, told her to do it quick. It finally worked. Mind you I had completely given up on reminding myself to keep deep moans and a loose body at this point. I was curled up around my lifted bed trying to stay loose but squeezing the shit out of the mattress and going from a deep alto to a banshee like cry. I’m pretty sure that my wails of labor are the pure, true and only reason that at least one woman on that L&D floor got an epidural. (“So, you know, whatever the insane person who is making all those death cries is doing? Yea, let’s not do that.”)
Finally, we were at 10cm. They said they could see Dovelyn’s hair and she was right there. I was on my back, and they told me to push whenever there was a contraction. So, I did, I felt like I was going to kill myself, but, I did, and it was at least something to concentrate on while the contractions surged through me. They knew I was just going to keep throwing things off of myself, so, by this point, instead of using the band to hold it onto me, they were just holding the monitors against me.
Before I knew it, Dovelyn was almost out. I was told to reach down, I looked and I will NEVER forget what she looked like and how that felt. They offered me a mirror, but, honestly, I didn’t feel like being scarred for life with what was going on down there, so, I said, no thanks.
I was getting anxious and wanted to push between contractions instead of having to go through them any longer. They had to keep reminding me to rest between pushes. I was so close to feeling like I would just go to sleep between contractions because I was so tired. My photographer had actually been told to join by holding one of my legs, my doula held the other, and thank goodness because I was ready to punch my mother square in the mouth if she stood any closer to me.
I wasn’t going to punch her at random mind you, it wasn’t like, “Fuuuu-, my mom, get out!!” Every time the midwife would say something, she’d repeat it to me in Spanish as if I didn’t know what was being said to me. For any of you wondering, I still understand English, no matter how much pain I happen to be drowning in, thank you very much.
My mother and eldest sister were there with me for only two reasons; the first being because Miguel wasn’t there and the second being because the room was huge and I had forgotten they were even in there until I was so wrapped up in pushing and contractions that I didn’t want to waste my breath arguing for them to leave.
So, my doula kept me focused, my midwife kept chastising me because I would want to let go of my legs to use the railings as leverage which, by the way, is not helpful no matter what your brain says or how many times you try it. Just listen to the midwife and hold your damn legs, mkays future Glare?
Now at this point I finally was pushing as hard as possible because my baby was RIGHT there. Dovelyn had the cord around her neck, my midwife took care of it quickly by telling me to stop pushing while she unwrapped it, no need to worry. The funny thing is the entire pregnancy I kept imagining that the cord was there, well, there ya go, I was right, like always.
I gave a push and simply would not stop pushing. The contraction was intense; I was ready to never feel another damn contraction that night. I was DETERMINED to make this my last damn contraction.
Just like that, the pain stopped. It felt like someone had flipped a switch. Dovelyn was on my abdomen making small noises, no crying, but she was obviously fine. I have no idea what I even said in that moment. I don’t think I said anything, I think I just breathed and stared at her. She was so small, and even though she was right on top of me, she seemed so far away because she wasn’t in my arms. They were rubbing her with the towels. I thought about pushing them all away, I don’t know if I actually did that or not. I don’t remember much of anything, I remember getting her in my actual arms, and kissing her forehead and that sweet, sweet smell of victory… also the sweet, sweet smell of whatever it is that causes newborns to smell like perfection. If I could put that scent into a bottle then I would make a billion dollars, it was amazing!!
Sunday, January 27th, 2013 at 12:18am, during a fullmoon, Dovelyn was born.
I remember being so excited and telling her Happy Birthday, which is something that I had been anxious about because I didn’t want ANYONE else to say it before me. So, I was happy to be able to do that at least. I just held her for a long time saying “Hi,” and “I love you,” and other things that I can’t recall.
Once they took her I kept looking back towards where she was constantly asking “What are you doing? Is she okay? What’s going on?” Yea, I have trust issues with “medical professionals,” so they had to deal with that. They had taken her because her temperature was too low, which, NO DUH, that room was cold, I was cold, so I wasn’t surprised that a wet newborn was cold. –rolls eyes-
We called her dad, sent pictures to him and his father. She was so perfect.
The midwife had made sure to wait until there was no more pulse to cut the cord and I was able to snip through it myself. I was surprised by how rubbery it felt, but I was proud to be the one to do it. My placenta came out easily, I was shown all the parts and I thought it was gorgeous because I’m weird like that, I guess. It was put into a bag, it was then put into an ice cooler.
I can’t remember if it was before they took her to warm up or afterwards, but I remember breastfeeding for the first time. It stung, but at the same time her little face was gorgeous and it was amazing to see just how naturally it came to her.
I told them that I didn’t want the Pitocin. I was able to avoid it for a while, but, since I was apparently passing clots and too much blood, I agreed to allow it. The nurse that had had to deal with me all throughout labor and grabbing at her hand while she massaged my abdomen now had to also give me a shot. I should probably send this woman flowers and a jar of nutella.
At first I was able to deal with the needle but as my muscle reacted to the Pitocin being injected into it, I pulled away. The nurse laughed “well that’s one way to get it done I suppose.” Luckily I had gotten the full injection so I didn’t have to do it twice.
Then time flew by, I could have sworn I had fallen asleep or something. I just remember going into the bathroom sometime after my stitches and getting a second ice-pad. The numbing shot they had given me for the stitches was wearing off. I remember hearing lots of good things about ice pads, but, personally, it felt like someone was freezing off my lady bits.
We then were moved to our recovery room and really that’s it…
I remember looking into her shiny grey eyes for the first time and being so in love. Still am. That moment when they’ve finally come out is so intense and happens so quickly, you’re in a bit of a shock that it’s even happened. It was so… perfect. I’ve forgotten so much, but holding her was so precious.
I had gotten so many well wishes from so many people, so many private messages and comments of support within those 24hrs. So many people were looking up to me and looking forward to meet my Dove-love, having that much support made it easier to get through the contractions, it kept me focused on a natural labor and delivery. I knew so many people were excited to see her and were happy for us to have gotten through L&D so well. I would be getting messages for a while asking how it felt from women anxious about experiencing it themselves for the first time.
The best I can offer is RESEARCH LIKE CRAZY and that as soon as that baby is in your arms, as over said as it may be, the whole world stops and you can’t remember the contractions or the annoyances or anything that went wrong, all you can see, hear and think about is that gorgeous child that you’ve gotten to know for nine months, hidden beneath your skin and protected by your body, whose now laying so closely to your face and looking into your eyes. It’s the most beautiful feeling in the world and I’m so thankful to have her in my life and to have gone through all of those pains. I’m amazed that my body can put up such a battle and that my mind could survive it, that it can create this gorgeous little girl. It was worth going through all that pain and knowing just how strong my body and mind can be.
So, yes, there’s the L&D story you’ve been waiting for. Thank you for joining me through those 24hrs or if you’re just reading this, thank you for taking the time, I hope this helps you get through your L&D easily, and healthy, as is possible for you.
What other families are planing for
What kind of labor and delivery are you looking forward to?
For More Information On Natural Labor & Delivery Check Out These Links
- DONA International: Why use a doula?
Great information on what doulas are and what they can do for you during your labor and delivery can be found through out this link's website. I highly recommend a doula.
- Peaceful Parenting: Instead of "What to Expect When You're Expecting"
A great list of useful books that will help you during natural pregnancy, labor and delivery, more than the well known "What to Expect When You're Expecting," a book that is actually known to some to cause more fears than it calms.
- peaceful parenting: Umbilical Cord Around Baby's Neck - Dangerous or Not?
Helpful information about cords being wrapped around an infants neck. As you have read, Dovelyn was born with the cord around her neck, but she was perfectly safe.
- Bellies and Babies: Dilation - How To Check Without Checking
I loved this article on how to check my own dialation, it helped me feel in control and also gave me peace of mind during labor!
© 2013 Glare