I have always wanted to have a natural birth. I can't really explain it it's just something I wanted for myself. I was always interested in birth and always watched birth shows on tv and documentaries about it and just came to the conclusion that for me I felt that was the best way to deliver. In another life I would have been a midwife I think! Also just to clarify I definitely don't have anything against pain meds and totally don't think this is THE way at all! I was hoping it was something that I could do and I always found encouragement in reading other peoples stories who did it naturally but it is totally different when it comes to you doing it! I knew while I was pregnant that I would have to be mentally prepared to deliver naturally if it was something I wanted and that was so true.
At 38 weeks I had 2 nights where I had contractions during the night 30 minutes apart for a couple of hours and then 20 minutes apart another night but they stopped by the morning. I had tons of braxton hicks for several weeks so when these started I could definitely tell the difference. I felt like it wouldn't be long before real labor would begin. At my 38 week appointment she really thought it wouldn't be much longer because of this so when I went to my 39 week appointment I was feeling really ready to have this baby. My midwife said, yep you're done! you've grown a good baby! I asked her if it was ok to start using clary sage essential oil to try and get things going, so the next day I started applying it to my ankle vitaflex point and on my belly. I think I applied it 3 or 4 times total that day.
By 11pm that night I started feeling some contractions that I knew were real because of the ones I had the week before but was wondering if they were going to stick around this time. I decided to try and lay down and get some rest just in case. I started timing them and they were about 8 minutes apart so I thought this might be the real thing. I was able to stay in bed maybe an hour but then I was pretty uncomfortable so I started walking around some and they were only getting closer together. We live about 50 minutes away from the hospital so my whole pregnancy I was concerned about making sure I was in active labor before driving all the way there, I was so worried about getting to the hospital and it being false labor and having to go home. They told me that when contractions were 3 minutes apart for an hour to call. It was about 12:30 or so I think when Adam really started waking up and they were about 3 minutes apart consistently. We started getting our last minute things ready just in case and then we decided to call around 1 something. The midwife said to drink 3 big glasses of water and take a warm bath, if it was active labor then nothing would stop it and to go ahead and come in. I knew about dehydration causing contractions so I had already drank some water just in case but I got in the bathtub and drank 2 more glasses. The contractions didn't stop so I got out of the tub and we waited about another hour, I just wanted to make sure they were going to stick around after getting out of the tub before we left and they were 2 minutes apart. I ate a big bowl of yogurt and granola knowing that would be my last food until he was born because of stupid hospital rules that don't let laboring women eat, don't even get me started!! Anyways Adam started to get a little nervous with them being consistent and even though I was hesitant, because of the thought of being sent home, we thought it was best to go ahead and leave. I said my goodbyes to Tucker and told him we would be back with his little brother :) A sweet friend would come get him in the morning for us so we left about 4 something to make the drive to the hospital.
On the way to the hospital as we got closer things started to get a lot more intense and I was super glad we were almost there. When we got to the maternal assessment center I was 5 cm. I was happy about that because I feel like I always read people's stories and the first time you are checked people are always disappointed thinking they're further along than they are, so I had really low expectations and I was pleasantly surprised thinking, halfway yay! At this point though the intensity of the contractions really dropped. According to the monitor I was still contracting every 2-3 minutes but they just weren't very intense like they were at home. The nurse Carla who checked us in was really great. She asked us tons of questions and got information about what our wishes were for me and baby. I told her I was wanting to do a naturally delivery and she said oh I love natural deliveries they're my favorite to do. I told her I wished she could stay with us then! But she was off at 7am. Spoiler alert: we saw her again.. She checked with the midwife to see if she wanted to admit me or just observe me for an hour. I was admitted about 6:30 am and we decided to contact all the parents at this point since we were staying for sure.
We moved to the labor and delivery area and met our new nurse Becky and got settled in. My favorite midwife was coming on at 7 so I was really happy about that! Carla had told Becky our plan was to deliver naturally so Becky asked if I wanted to be offered pain meds at any point or not. I told her that I knew that it was available if I wanted it but to not offer. I think this was very helpful in delivering naturally to not have someone offering pain relief constantly because it would be much easier to just say yes! I also requested a doula. That was one thing I was really happy about with our hospital is that they staff doulas and you can request one when you are admitted. It is first come first served. The one that was there at the time was already with someone so they were calling around to try and find another one for me. I told them I was ok for the time being but would definitely want one when things got intense. I was still contracting regularly at this point but still the intensity I needed was not there. I was doing intermittent monitoring so 20 minutes on and 40 minutes off. During those 40 minutes I walked the room the whole time pretty much and continued using my clary sage every 2 hours to try and get things to pick up, they asked me not to put it on my belly though because of the monitoring that it would cause them to just slide off. In hindsight I totally should've tried to sleep at that point but I had no idea that it would take so long then of course and I was really only thinking how I wanted to get things to pick up because I was worried they would send me home still!
Around lunchtime Donna our midwife came in and said I just didn't seem like I was in active labor, which I agreed, I really wanted the intensity to come back to get things moving! I was only 6 cm at this point, she wanted me to get to 7 cm before breaking my water. She asked me what I thought about starting some pitocin. I was really nervous about this because I had always heard horrible horrible things about it, like people being so miserable with contractions right on top of each other like can't catch your breath awful. I agreed to start it with the condition that if it was awful we could stop which they were totally fine with. They started it really slow and I tolerated it really well, I felt the intensity coming back so it worked well for me and I'm glad it helped move things along.
I had decided to do hypnobabies as my birthing method and had been practicing for months, I did the self study method instead of attending a class because it was far away. It has different types of sessions to listen to to help you relax. I would definitely recommend it! My midwife was impressed with how I did with it and I overheard her tell Adam it was worth whatever we paid for it! Agreed! I had been able to manage the contractions on my own up until this point without using hypnobabies. After a couple of hours on pitocin is when things started to get a lot more intense I started my hypnobabies sessions to help me manage the pain. I mainly used the exercise ball to labor on because it felt much more comfortable. I could definitely tell a difference when I wasn't focused and using my hypnobabies. I remember distinctly one time I wasn't focused and the contraction just felt like it snuck up on me so I was careful to be much more focused after that! This continued until around 7:00 pm when she checked me and I was 7 cm so she broke my water. Also at this time shift change was happening and the nurse Carla who checked us in who I thought I surely wouldn't see again was coming back on at 7pm. This turned out to be a HUGE blessing!
About 8:00 is when things reallllly started to get even more intense. I stopped using my hypnobabies at some point not sure when and just went into a zone. Carla was crazy super awesome. There was still no doula available I guess because no one ever came but I can't imagine anyone could've done any better than her. Apparently it was a busy night on the L&D floor but she pawned off her other patients and stayed with me solely. What a blessing. When I was praying for my delivery throughout the pregnancy some of the things I prayed for was that the Lord would allow us to get to the hospital at the right time, I would get the right midwife for me, and that there would be a doula available. He answered all these prayers and even though we didn't get a doula specifically he did us one better. I really don't think I could have done it without her. Girlfriend earned her paycheck that night! Pretty sure she probably had a bruised hand too because Adam and I definitely had matching thumb bruises where I was squeezing his hand so hard!
I started having a lot of back labor so she did a ton of back massage and would sit with me on the bed with her knee pressed into my back which was amazing. She would sit behind me and I was holding onto Adam standing in front of me. I moved around to different positions on the bed and they kept trying to get me to lay on my side but it made it unbearable so I could never do that successfully. I mainly sat up and did a lot of rocking during contractions. I had read other peoples natural delivery stories and they talked about these deep groaning sounds you do and that was so true your body just does it to help manage the contraction and move the baby down. This went on for quite a while. I started falling asleep in between contractions leaning back on Carla or forward on Adam because I was just so tired at this point I mean I literally couldn't even see straight I remember looking around the room at times but things were blurry and doubled. I remember saying a lot, he's never coming! My midwife was great also and would help do some massage if Carla had to step out. I definitely got to the point where I was wondering how much longer could this possibly go on and if I could make it since I was so tired. Maybe around 11:00pm I asked about pain medication and Carla said honestly you could still get the epidural if you wanted but you're so close to the end I think you would be really disappointed. I had told Adam before I went into labor that if I ever asked for pain meds to try and talk me out of it. He was great and told me that I had done it this long that I could keep going. I then thought through it and said yeah if I was going to get an epidural I should've done it 14 hours ago! It would have been a waste at this point was my thought. I'm glad I made that decision even though I felt like the dumbest person at one point and also questioned why we wanted to have children in the first place :)
About 12 or 12:30 am Carla and Donna the midwife came in together and said they felt like I needed to try a new position that we could go on like this for a long time if not, for some reason he was just not wanting to finish coming down all the way to help me dilate to 10cm. They wanted me to lay on my side and put this peanut shaped exercise ball in between my legs to help him rotate. Carla pressed on my back and that was the only way I could handle it. Sure enough I stayed like this for about 15 minutes and I was complete.
I started pushing about 1:00am. After pushing for a while I knew that it had been a long time when I heard Donna say, what time did we start all this? I remember thinking don't ask how long it has been, because in the moment I had no concept of time and did not want to know. I was so exhausted, I kept saying, I'm so tired, I'm just so tired. It was really hard work! I mean duh! but still I felt for the longest time that my body wasn't helping me push him out that it was just me forcing it. They kept saying he's so close he'll be here soon... I heard Donna say, I bet she doesn't believe us anymore and I said, Nope! It wasn't until toward the end that Donna said she was thinking about an episiotomy because it had been so long and he was just so close to coming, I said I didn't want to do that, and it was at that point that my brain I guess told my body to help because I just started pushing quickly and they felt more powerful and not long after that he was here! 3:18 am... little buddy came out with his hand on his cheek. This is part of the reason why it was all so long, it made him slower to come down and out with that extra appendage up there! That combined with exhaustion made for a long labor. I'm so glad I didn't know how long it was going to be in the beginning!
When he was finally out it was so surreal that he came out of me and it was a real person! Sounds funny to say but it is the strangest thing, truly a miracle. I'll never forget how great Adam was during all of this and especially the pushing he was so encouraging and kept telling me how good I was doing, it was so special and beautiful to be able to share this with him. They laid him right on me and Adam cut the cord after a little bit. I just held him for a while before she took him to get weighed and wrapped up... 7 lbs 9 oz and 21 inches long. I kept saying to Adam, I can't believe I just did that, I can't believe I just did that! Both of our parents had been waiting the whole time and about 5:00 am they were able to come back and meet him. He was so alert for the longest time.
Our awesome Midwife!
Welcome to the world sweet Elliot, we feel so lucky to be your parents!