djm05: Grace's Natural Delivery
Wednesday, March 10, 2010 11:45 AM
"The nurse and our doula each held a foot as I pushed for a few more contractions. Then my mom told me to look down to see my beautiful baby being born...."
I went into early labor on January 24th at 4:30 a.m (my due date!). My contractions were about 10 minutes apart and felt like period cramps. I couldn't fall back to sleep, so I got up and relaxed on the couch while my husband slept after just getting off a night shift. Around 11:00 a.m., I called my mom to see if she wanted to do some mall walking with me to try to get my contractions closer together. We did about 3 to 4 hours of shopping and, by the end of it, my contractions were about 5 minutes apart and getting more intense.
I arrived home at about 4:30 p.m. and decided to call our doula to give her an update. She said that it sounded like my labor was progressing and she would be right over. Then, right after I hung up the phone, I lost my mucous plug (which was every bit as gross as people say). She arrived at our house at about 6:00 p.m. My contractions were still about 5 minutes apart, but they were completely manageable. My husband and I chatted with our doula for a while and watched a movie while I sat on my birthing ball. Around 10:00 p.m., my contractions were about 3 to 5 minutes apart and I began to feel a bit shaky. Our doula suggested that I might want to go to the hospital to get checked out. We arrived at the hospital and I was put into an assessment room to be examined. The nurse checked me, only to report that I was 2 cm dilated and 75% effaced – so she sent me home.
When we got back to our house, the contractions had, of course, intensified, so I decided to have a bath to help with the pain. labored there for about an hour and then decided to try to get some rest. I got on the couch, which was the most uncomfortable position for me to be in while having contractions. Then I leaned on the birthing ball for a while before we decided that I should switch positions to get labor moving. We did laps through the kitchen, but I had to stop to lean against the walls and the couch during contractions. Around 3:30 a.m. or so, I got into the shower and our doula put the shower head on my lower back while I rested my head on the edge of the tub. The shower was an amazing help for dealing with the contractions. My wrists and knees began to hurt and the hot water was running out, so I had to get out around 4:30 a.m. -- now I had officially been up for 24 hours.
Around 6:00 a.m., my husband got up and we decided it was time to go back to the hospital. I was put back into the assessment room and was checked, only to be told that I was just 3 cm dilated and 100% effaced. The nurse suggested that I try walking around to see if I could make further progress since they don't admit moms until they are 4 cm. My husband and I, along with our amazing doula, walked around the perinatal unit and the main lobby of the hospital for an hour or so until I got checked again. This time I was 4 cm -- it was time to be put into a room.
My mom arrived at the hospital around 8:30 a.m. and she, our doula, and I walked around the perinatal unit about a million times (while my husband slept). During contractions, I would either walk and breathe through them or squat while supporting myself on ledges in the hallway. My doctor arrived to check on me around 10:00 or 11:00 a.m. and I was still only 4 cm. I continued to walk the halls and labor on the birthing ball in my room until 1:30 p.m., when my doctor returned to check me. I was still only 4 cm! He suggested that he break my water to get things moving along and I agreed. He broke my water and the contractions became more intense almost instantly. I decided to try to labor in the shower again while leaning over the edge of the tub. Our doula put the shower head on my back and she and my mom took shifts coaching me through the contractions, which seemed to be coming one on top of the other now. I continued with my deep breathing to help manage, but it was getting to the point where breathing wasn't enough and I ended up moaning through each contraction. I got out of the shower a couple of hours later to get checked. I had to lean on my doula for each contraction on my way to the bed, but now I was 7 cm, which meant it was transition time.
For the final part of my labor, I leaned on the birthing ball while I was on the bed and clenched the crap out of my mom's, husband's and doula's hands while moaning and breathing through each contraction. The pressure in my pelvis was so intense--I've never felt anything like it. I began to feel the urge to push, so I was checked again. I was fully dilated on one side of my cervix but still just 8 cm on the other. This was my breaking point and I asked for something to take the edge off (laughing gas). The nurse said they could, but suggested that I try the shower one more time. I agreed and got into the shower. I stood up the entire time while clutching onto the bar in the shower. My mom had the showerhead on my back, while my doula got into the tub with me. She had me put my right leg up on the ledge and lunge with each contraction to help dilate the last part of my cervix. This was the most intense part of my labor, but, thankfully, it didn't last long.
Around 7:30 p.m., my doctor arrived to check me--I was fully dilated and ready to push! I tried pushing while on the toilet to relieve some of the pressure, but it was so painful to push that I thought maybe my bladder was full and needed to be drained. The nurse put in a catheter and drained my bladder, which did help a bit. Our doula suggested that I use the bar at the end of the bed to squat and push for a bit, which really seemed to move things along. At this point the contractions no longer hurt at all. It was just an urge to push.
Time to push!
I got back on the bed and the nurse set up the squatting bar for me. I braced my feet on the bar and pushed for a couple contractions. Then I got up and squatted to help the baby move down. The doctor arrived around 8:45 p.m. or so, and they removed the bar so he could deliver the baby. The nurse and our doula each held a foot as I pushed for a few more contractions. Then my mom told me to look down to see my beautiful baby being born. Once her head was out, there was no more pain and they placed her on my chest right away. After almost 40 hours of labor, our little girl, Grace Catherine, was born at 9:12 p.m. on January 25th, weighing in at a whopping 9lbs. 10 oz. and measuring 22 inches long. When they told me that it was a girl, I was in complete shock--I was convinced I was having a boy! I had no tearing that required stitches, and recovery has been going well except for the fact that I've only been able to drink water for the last 10 days because it hurts so bad to pee when I drink anything else! But all the pain of labor, delivery, and recovery is so worth it because I have my little princess!