Virginny: Benjamin's Natural Birth
Tuesday, January 12, 2010 11:25 AM
"I just wanted to get him out. I wasn't going to waste any time. At one
point I reached down and felt his head as he crowned..."
Working and having fun
DH and I were very blessed to have such a smooth labor and natural delivery following our Bradley Method guidelines from the class and using a doula. We chose a doula since all our family (including my mom) are out-of-state and we wanted one more person for support and to keep me calm (I'm known to be bossy and controlling).
At my 38 week appointment on Monday, November 30 I was only 2 cm dilated and thinning out (not sure of effacement though). My last day of work was Wednesday and I was hosting a GTG for some Nesties on Saturday. I had a ton of errands to run. Friends and family said that I would "go early", but being our first baby I told myself that he'd be on-time or late. (Looking back I should have taken maternity leave earlier.)
On Saturday, December 5 I hosted a holiday cookie baking party for our local Nesties. DH and I spent the morning cleaning and organizing the house. There were 10 girls that came over for lunch and to roll out, cut out and bake up about 30 dozen cookies. It was a fun and very busy afternoon. I was on my feet all day, but otherwise felt fine. I had had BH contractions and some cramping on and off since 36 weeks, but nothing time-able.
Baby must have enjoyed all the excitement because my water broke at 6:30 p.m. while the Nesties were still here. Luckily DH had just gotten home from the office. He informed the girls that I was in labor and they promptly cleaned the whole kitchen. I was able to come downstairs and bid them farewell after the gushing had subsided. Luckily, the Nesties left us a lot of cookies. I will admit that I was pretty frightened when my water broke. It was a BIG gush and I knew that baby would be delivered in the next 24 hours and I wasn't ready; I was tired. I had several more gushes and decided to lie down on the bed and call the midwife on-call. She wasn't my midwife, but I had seen her in rotations.
Laboring at home
The midwife knew that we wanted to labor at home as long as we could. She instructed us to call when contractions were 5 minutes apart. We called around 11pm and she said to call back when they were about 3 minutes apart. Our doula came to the house around midnight to help support DH and I through the early and active stages of labor. The contractions were manageable and I rolled on the birthing ball while watching TV. I tried to rest in bed for awhile too. It was pretty tough to sleep, but I knew that I needed my rest and energy for pushing. I made sure to shower before I left. The shower was really helpful with the pain, even as the contractions got stronger and faster.
We called the midwife again around 2:45am. We told her that we felt we were ready to go to the hospital. As my contractions intensified, DH saw that they were getting pretty close together. DH was an unbelievable coach. He was in control with everything ready and packed. Surprisingly, I was calm through most of the labor, never barking or yelling at him. Closing my eyes through contractions helped me to focus inward. We headed to the hospital at 3:45 a.m. and arrived at 4:15am. It was an uncomfortable car ride, but nothing I couldn't handle. DH brought in our goodie basket to the nurses’ station. (I had made a basket with chocolates and treats for our nurses.)
At the hospital
We were certain that the baby was going to be born any moment (since I thought I did all that laboring work at home). Unfortunately, we weren't as far along as we had expected, only 3 cm, and I had been 2 cm earlier that week. I was disappointed to say the least and I let everyone know it. The nurses called the midwife and everyone agreed that it would be many more hours until delivery time. I was stuck in that bed for over an hour while they stuck me with a Heparin lock (which I hated because needles make me queasy) and asked me an insane number of medical/family history questions. I had the fetal monitors on during that time as well. They said ice chips were ok for me to have but no clear fluids. At that point, I was super uncomfortable lying in the bed and asked to get out and walk around (I didn't have to have an IV per our wishes in our birth plan). The nurses called the midwife and she said it was ok to move around. I jumped out of the bed and asked to remove the monitors since baby's heart rate was just fine for over an hour.
DH and the doula helped me with positions. I found that lowering the bed, leaning over it and squatting to the floor was the best position. (Even then it felt like my uterus was falling out of my body.) I tried to walk with DH and lean on him, but the contractions were just too bad and the pain too intense. All of a sudden everything was just too much. I couldn't believe that I was just 3 cm an hour and a half before. I was begging, "Please, help me" to DH.
Here comes Benjamin!
After another 30 min I wanted to get checked. I figured if I was 5-6 cm I was going to take some drugs because I couldn't handle the contractions much longer. I got checked and to our surprise we were 9 cm! The nurses called the midwife and told her to get to the hospital right away. Things were getting exciting and pretty darn painful. I felt the urge to push, but couldn't until the midwife got there. I kept protesting that "I can't wait for her!" Clearly, our little boy was anxious to make his way into the world. The midwife arrived at 7:15 a.m. and said we could begin pushing. I tried kneeling backwards on the bed, but it didn't seem to help, so I just sat up in the bed. The midwife just said to push when I felt the urge. Pushing wasn't so bad except for the stinging/burning part of it. I just wanted to get him out. I wasn't going to waste any time. At one point I reached down and felt his head as he crowned. Thirty minutes later, the love of our lives was born. They placed him on my chest immediately and I was in awe. DH and I were overjoyed. I tore naturally, only a first degree tear. The hospital delayed his bath, shot and eye ointment until after he had a chance to latch on and breastfeed right after birth.
I must admit that it was super painful going through transition (but I didn't know I was that far along) and that if an anesthesiologist had been standing in the doorway with an epidural ready to go, I probably would've asked him to stab me in the back. But I progressed so quickly once we got to the hospital that there was absolutely no time for medication anyway. Thank God. We felt that the Bradley classes were worth it, as was our doula. Our hospital staff was so fantastic. They really read and followed our birth plan. They are very baby and breastfeeding friendly. We definitely are going back to that hospital again for our next baby.
In the end, we got to the hospital at 4:15 a.m. at 3cms/90% effaced and dilated to 10 cms by 7 a.m. and only pushed for 28 minutes (All without any type of pain medication or intervention). I couldn't believe that we did it and we did it together. It's exactly the way we wanted to bring our first child, Benjamin, into the world.
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