Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Confessions of a Mom who had a Natural Hospital Birth

© Bridgette 2011. Bridgette shares her natural hospital birth story. She provides perspective on how a good midwife can stay behind the scenes and only intervene when required. She also gives insight into fast births and waterbirths:

My husband and I planned a hospital birth with a midwife. He was uncomfortable with the idea of a homebirth and it was important to me that our child arrive into an environment that was comfortable for both parents. I wrote up a detailed birth plan and switched to a midwife at 20 weeks so that I could have a natural birth.

My labor started at 1am on April 23rd. I had steady contractions immediately and was just over 38 weeks. I got up to use the rest room and decided to try to lie down again. I had experienced contractions two nights before and they went away so I figured these would do the same. I figured if they lasted an hour I would take a hot shower. Not being able to fall asleep through the hour, which felt like 10 minutes at the time, I decided to turn on the shower. I started to time the contractions on my cellphone. They were 3 minutes apart. I couldn’t believe it! Not wanting to wake my husband, I decided that I would shower in the guest bathroom. I brought my iPhone and my iPod. I wanted to look up “false labor” to make this was NOT the case, and play some relaxing music. I was not about to go to the hospital in false labor. 

It was interesting how through the labor my dog hung out with me the whole time. She stayed in the bathroom while I showered. Then after the shower I decided to walk. It just felt right. I continued to have contractions 2-3 minutes apart, at which point I no longer cared how far apart they were or weren’t and stopped timing. I paced my living room. I paced my kitchen. I brought my iPod along to help me focus. I wanted to let my husband sleep because at this point I figured if the baby was coming today one of us should have some rest! I paced for a couple hours, which again felt like 10 minutes.

By 4 am I decided it was time for another shower. This time in the shower I laid in the fetal position with the warm water around me, imagining it as rain falling over me. It was the easiest way to handle my contractions at the time. The water also seemed to slow my contractions down. This confused me about whether I was really in labor or not. I looked over the tub to see the dog again on the bathroom floor for support, making sure everything was alright. After about a ½ hour of water time I decided to walk again. Of course getting out of the water made my contractions stronger and closer together. I knew walking help labor along and did not want to slow my processes. I walked again for another hour.

The contractions were getting stronger, however, they did not seem any closer together than they were when this started. Though 2 minutes apart was good enough I suppose. I jumped in the shower again. This time I had to focus much harder as I lay there in the water, letting it pour over me. I had to speak with God for a moment. “God if you want me to go the hospital I suggest you break my water! Otherwise I will be staying right here!” I was obviously in no rush to go to the hospital. I had planned to do most of my laboring at home. Sure enough not 10 minutes later as I am lying in the tub with the hot “rain” pouring over me I hear a POP! What a perfect place for my waters to break.

I got out of the bath at 6:30 am, walked into the bedroom where the alarm was beeping, looked at my husband and said, “My water broke!” I walked to the bathroom to get myself ready. I told my husband to take his time, feed the dog, go to the bathroom, take a shower, etc. He was so overwhelmed with emotion that he couldn’t do anything. I got him to feed the dog before we left and headed to the hospital. 

The trip to the hospital was 45 minutes. Thank goodness we missed rush hour by an hour. May I say driving with contractions SUCKS!! My husband called his work telling them he might be in by 10 since this could be false labor. Mind you we had never done this before; we didn’t know. Is this how it work? Is this how the progression goes? Is today her birthday? We get to the hospital at 7:30 am. They ask if I want a wheelchair to go up to labor and delivery. “No thank you!” I wanted to walk, as it actually felt better. Of course I had to stop a number of times to allow my contractions to flow since they were in charge now. As my husband raced ahead in anticipation, I slowed him down, saying, “Hey honey, you’re gonna need me once you get there!”

When we got to the floor they of course wanted to do paper work. I couldn’t even sit down at this point. Of course this part felt like hours. Finally they get me in a room AND I was blessed with a nurse who delivered ALL of her children naturally. She was heaven sent. An intern comes to check me and determines that my water did break and there is meconium in the fluid. He also says that I am only 2 cm dilated. Which I must admit was a little disconcerting. I had been laboring hard since 1 am and I am only 2 cm?

I gave the workers my birth plan and they hooked me up to machinery right away. I immediately declined; I did not want anything to touch my belly at that point. One nurse explained, “We need to get a read of the baby.” I replied, “You have 5 min!” I gave them 2 contractions. My daughter’s heart rate was perfect. She knew what she was doing. My nurse says they are going to move me to a room. “Do you want to walk?” I tell her, “Sure I would like to, if I can. But I am getting the urge to push!”

She was a little shocked by this since the intern just checked me 20 minutes ago and I was only 2 cm. She checks me, finding I am dilated, but with a small anterior lip. They pull me into the room to wait for my midwife to get there. It felt so unnatural to NOT push so I just started going with it. At this point I was lying on my side since it felt the most comfortable for me. My nurse encouraged me to relax in between contractions, which was a nice reminder since of course all I could focus on was having a baby.

My midwife showed up 10 minutes later. By this time, I couldn’t get comfortable. I wanted my husband to touch me but don’t touch me there, don’t touch me like that, move the sheet off of this leg but keep it on that leg. I just didn’t know. I was having pain in my hip, which was the hip my daughter was sitting on the whole pregnancy. I was asking my husband to apply counter pressure. My midwife suggested I try a different position. YES YES YES I agreed enthusiastically. “Did you want to try your back!” I figured ok since I had never tried my back. One contraction was all it took to know that is NOT the position for me. “How about on all fours?” Perfect. My daughter was in my back the whole pregnancy so allowing gravity to take her off my back made the labor so much better, plus I was really able to bear down and push. We always joke she was birthed the way she was conceived!

By this point it became work. I was done with the iPod and the soft relaxing music. I was having a baby now! One thing I was not told that happens during labor was how the baby comes down the birth canal and than moves back up. At first this concerned me. I felt I was losing the progress I had made. Because of not knowing about this, I think II pushed my birth along a little faster than necessary.
One last push and out she came out quickly. She was 9.2 lbs, 21 in long, triple cone head baby girl, Noa Olivia. I had to flip over so the midwife could lay her on my stomach. The second she heard my voice, she turned her head to look at me.

My midwife was very impressed by my first time laboring skills. For as prepared as I was I still felt unprepared. I also did not feel an instant connection with my child, as I had pictured most parents did. In fact she still to this day does not feel as if she is “Mine.” I have always seen her as belonging to something much bigger than me.

Here I was laying in bed with this amazing person on my chest and I had no clue who she was, how she would change my life, what joys, what challenges, what insights, what growth she would bring with her. I knew she was amazing and I knew she was a gift to the whole world, not me. To be honest it was a little overwhelming, not just for me but for daddy, too. In fact Noa seemed to be the most collected about this! 

Our birth plan insured she didn’t leave our side the whole time in the hospital. Against AMA we left after 24 hours and took our baby girl home on a sunny Friday afternoon. It was funny how when we got home, my dog looked older. The birth of Noa had changed her too, and was just beginning to change us!

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