Dec 12, 2009

A Natural Birth Story

This is kind of graphic so if you're not excited to read about birth canals and placentas you may want to do the old skiparoo over the birth posts.

I woke up at 7:00 AM December 6th to a gush in my underpants. I thought I better investigate. During the 10 steps to the bathroom the gush continued and when I sat down on the toilet I announced to Tim that I was not peeing just to clear up any confusion because it sounded just like I was. Equipped with a large pad I waited for some contractions. Nothing. We took the dogs for a walk and I started getting what I called some mild discomfort every 5-10 minutes. We finished packing our stuff and headed out to the hospital at around 10. I'd imagined laboring at home for a lot longer before going to the hospital, but I knew that after the water breaking you're on a 24 hour time limit because the baby is vulnerable to infection with no barrier. I really wanted to avoid pitocin, but if I ended up not going into labor on my own and was forced to use it, I wanted time to start off slowly. Apparently a lot of women pee their pants and think their water broke so I knew they wouldn't believe me. Even though my bladder would never in a million years hold that much fluid. Once the nurse checked to see how dilated I was and the fluid gushed all over the place she believed me. I was dilated to a 4 and 90% effaced at that first check at 11:00. I was having contractions but they were inconsistent and still only mildly uncomfortable.

Tim and I started walking around the hospital and I found that the contractions came a lot more frequently and were stronger when I was walking. Every time I stopped walking, they would slow way down. At 2:00 I got checked again and was dilated to a 5. This was enough progress that it looked like I wasn't going to need pitocin. I was so relieved. Still the contractions didn't come as often if I wasn't walking, so we kept at it. About 4:00 we went down to get Tim and my parents some food at the Subway in the hospital and while my mom was standing in line I decided that I was actually feeling a little more than mild discomfort and wanted to go back to the room. After that I switched positions pretty often, trying to find one that didn't hurt as much. My parents were massaging my back and I was leaning on Tim during the contractions. The breaks inbetween the contractions were bliss. Around 8 I was checked again and had dilated to an 8. I was in a lot of pain by then so when my midwife checked me she had my parents and Tim's parents head to the waiting room. I had started to have back pain during the last half of each contraction which possibly hurt worse than the regular contractions. I was really writhing around because it felt better to be in one position during the first part of the contraction and then another position for the back pain.

I think I said, "I don't know" more than I ever have in my life that night. Every time my midwife asked if I wanted to get into a different position I didn't know. Did I want my back massaged, I didn't know. Was I feeling ready to push, I of course didn't know. I never really felt an overwhelming urge to push like a lot of women do, but around 9 I started pushing because my midwife said I was fully dilated and ready to go. I had started out adamantly against giving birth on my back, but when it came down to finding a position that was the one that hurt the least. The bed was tilted up so at least I wasn't flat on my back. Pushing was better than the couple of hours leading up to it because at least I knew this was finally happening, I wasn't going to be in pain forever and I felt like I had this thing in the bag. Before I started pushing I was in so much pain without an end in sight and I was really wondering if I was going to be able to get through it.

After I started pushing I pretty much just followed orders. My midwife was really good at telling me how to push, directing me, and encouraging me. I couldn't imagine successfully having a natural birth with a doctor and having to go through most of the pushing with a nurse only. My midwife was so awesome, I feel like I owe having the birth I wanted to her. Tim was a huge help too. He was the perfect husband the whole time. He just knows me so well he was able to read my mind and know what I wanted without me having to talk during the contractions. It was really an amazing experience as far as our relationship goes, going through labor and birth together is quite the bonding experience.

Pushing was hard work. I was exhausted between contractions and after pushing with each contraction I would wonder how I was gonna muster up the energy to get through the next push. But, each time a contraction started and it was time to push again I felt motivated. I was really giving it my all and I was surprised that time actually went by fairly quickly. There was a big mirror on the ceiling above me so I could see when the head started to show itself. It was so frustrating when after each push it would go back up a little bit. I was feeling a little like it might never actually make its way out, but my midwife assured me that I was making good progress. She also assured me that my ending up with a vagass, a great fear of mine, was not going to happen. Finally Zoey's head was almost all the way out. I had no idea how long it was going to take to actually finish pushing her out so I was surprised when her head finally made its exit. After her head was out she was on my chest within seconds. The pain was immediately back to a manageable level, it was like the greatest high imaginable to not hurt anymore and Zoey was so perfect right after birth. She was pink right away and after a short little cry she was her happy self and she was holding onto my finger. Tim and I were both blown away by her instantly. I didn't know what to expect because I've heard a lot of women don't feel bonded right off the bat, but I was totally in love with her from the first second I met her.

I ended up pushing at the same time as the woman in the room next to me, and man was she loud. My mom and Tim's mom sneaked down the hall at that point and they thought it was me screaming at the top of my lungs at first. I was proud to know that when they actually reached my door and put their sneaky little ears up to it to hear what was going on they had no idea I was even pushing because they couldn't hear me. I thought I was making a lot of noise, but I've been told by all in the room (only my midwife, nurse, and Tim) that I wasn't. They didn't know she had been born until my midwife opened the door and they both fell into the room. I was shocked and so excited to find out that I barely tore at all. My only tear was up a bit into my, uh... birth canal. It needed 2 stitches. My midwife asked if I wanted some local anesthetic and at first I said hell yes, but she convinced me to try one stitch without to see how it felt. I couldn't feel it at all. I guess in comparison to birth the tissues were just like, "What? You think I can even feel this? Riiiight." I can't even feel where the stitches and the tear are. Actually, my butt hurts more than anything. It feels kind of like my tailbone is bruised, and probably it is.

While I was absorbed in Zoey I had to get rid of the placenta still. That thing was huge. Tim, Mr. gets squeamish over blood, was surprisingly into checking out the placenta. It was pretty hilarious. Our midwife showed him the various components and he was really interested. Then they had to do the pushing on my stomach thing to make sure I wasn't going to start hemorrhaging all over the place. That was pretty uncomfortable but it didn't last too long.

Overall, the experience was perfect. From my water breaking to birth was about 15 hours, but I was hardly in pain at all up until the last 6 hours. Then instantly after birth the pain was down to just a mild discomfort. I was starving and scarfed down a big sandwich within an hour of birth. I really felt great. Knowing that birth after the first birth usually goes a lot more quickly and easily I know already that I will want to go natural again. I really feel lucky for how it all worked out.

7 comments:

  1. Wow! Tess, you're my hero. This is seriously an inspiration to me. You're one of the few people that I've known to have actually went through with a natural birth. From the sounds of your story, that is really the way to go. I'm so happy to hear that everything went smoothly.

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  2. I think this story will have an impact on mothers-to-be who might be considering natural birth.
    Nicely told. (Well, except for the part about the mothers falling into the room. You might have left out that part... embarrassing!)

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  3. lol, both moms actually got caught with their ears up to the door after it was over? I didn't even catch that till I read you mom's comment and went back to re-read that part in your blog. That's pretty funny. Guess you can't blame them, the anticipation would be tough. I've gotta say that I'm REAL glad you were able to do it...otherwise I might really be panicking right about now, seeing as how I'm pretty committed to going natural at this point. Hopefully I can be as tough as you were but we'll see...oh, and I didn't notice in that picture before how little Zoey's clutching your finger. So cute. :)

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  4. I had back labor with Alyson and could feel your pain. It was awful because the pain didn't stop between contractions. Unfortunately, after all that I ended up with the C section. I had Amber without medications and remember how hungry I was afterwards. She was 8 lbs. 15 oz. so there was a little more damage to her and me afterwards. It sounds like your delivery was as good as it can be, pain and all, because you got a beautiful baby girl in the end! Isn't amazing how much time you can spend just staring at her?

    I loved the part about the moms falling through the door. Your mom also said you were texting through the delivery, hahahaha!

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  5. Hey Tess! Congratulations! This is Darleen's sister-in-law. She linked you on her blog, so I popped over. I love your whole birthing story. That is so awesome! Way to go!! Your Zoey is one of the cutest newborns ever. I don't think I have EVER seen such big bright eyes on a baby... especially so new! It sounds like your recovery is cake. Catch some sleep when you can. I hate to tell you that once the boobs finally go back to normal.. they never are normal - cause they just deflate like a balloon. Well, at least mine did! There- I just told you about my boobs, we are really close now, right?!

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  6. Yep, the moms were spying. I'm not sure if they literally fell through the door, but they did get busted listening outside when they were technically supposed to be in the waiting room.

    Thanks Carolyn for your compliments about Zoey. I think she's pretty cute too. :) Ah, yes, I have heard this about my boobs' future. Ah, well, I guess their glory days are over, so sad.

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  7. Oh man! My hat is off to you! My epidural on sort of worked, and I was up 32 hours straight by the time I had to start pushing, so it was pretty tough to be a trooper through the pain. YOU ROCK! :)
    I'm so happy it went so well for you.

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