Nestinginjapan: Levi's Natural Birth Story
Wednesday, May 05, 2010 12:08 PM
"There was only one moment when I said that I couldn’t do it, but my
husband assured me that I was so strong and that I was so close to the
Going about the day
On Tuesday the 20th, I woke up and went to the climbing gym for a couple climbs, as usual. In the early afternoon, my husband came home early after having jury duty all week. They had just finished deliberating and had reached a verdict right after lunch time. I suggested that we drive to a nearby coffee shop and then take a walk through the Harbor.
We walked for a little while, and then sat down on a bench to watch the boats. A family with a little baby walked by us, and we talked about how that was going to be us soon. It was 4:00 pm and we decided that it was time to go. As we were walking under a pedestrian bridge, I felt something like discharge. I didn’t think anything of it since, by this point, I was wearing panty liners every time I went out. But then I felt a little more -- and a little more. Then a trickle. Then a strong trickle. And then a gush and my yoga pants (unfortunately purple in color) starting darkening from the waist down. My husband was walking slightly in front of me and he turned around to see me in my predicament. I said, "My water broke!" and felt another gush. Luckily no one else was on the path at this point. I walked over to the nearest bench and tried to cover myself with my sweatshirt, but water kept rushing. I took some deep breaths while my husband went to get the car.
To the hospital!
I got in the car and we went home to call the midwife. I wasn't feeling any contractions at all at this point: just a very dull aching, like my period was going to come soon. At home, I went straight to the bathroom and had to just sit on the toilet for a while because water was still trickling out. My husband called the midwife. She told us that since I wasn't feeling contractions yet, I should head over to the maternity center and get a non-stress test. I grabbed a hand towel (because pads were useless for this amount of water), stuffed it in between my legs, threw on some sweats, and we headed to the maternity center.
At 4:30, a nice nurse checked us in and we went to a triage room. They took my vitals and started the non-stress test. I was given some apple juice to drink. They said the baby sounded great, and I was having contractions every 5 to 10 minutes, but still wasn't feeling them. All I was feeling was just that dull, period-like aching. They didn't check my dilation while I was there, though I’m not sure why. Since I wanted to labor at home as long as possible, the nurses said that I should come back to the hospital when the contractions became too difficult to talk through. Unless this happened sooner, the midwife told me to come in at 8 am the next day. Since it was only 5:30 pm at the time we left, I was ready for the long haul.
The next part of the story is pretty uneventful. We came home, my parents brought over a light dinner for us, I ate, took a nice long shower and, at 9:00 pm, we went for a 20 minute walk down to the beach and back. I still wasn't feeling any contractions, just an aching that would come and go. At 10:30 pm we decided to get some sleep.
I woke up at 11:30 pm, feeling my first contraction. I was able to breathe through it easily, but I noticed that afterwards my body was shaking. I was shivering, but I wasn't cold. I woke my husband, and he said that the shaking was probably because I was feeling a little scared, and this was my body's response to pain. He handled everything so well. He reminded me to breathe deeply like I'd learned in pre-natal yoga, try to relax as much as possible, and focus on the present moment, rather than thinking ahead to the next contraction. It worked and the shaking subsided. From 11:30 pm to 2:30 am, I labored at home, changing positions frequently. The one position that I found the most helpful was placing a pillow on the ground for my knees and leaning over the bed onto another pillow. Being on all fours also felt good. The contractions got stronger and more painful, but the pain was totally manageable. My husband started timing them, and they were anywhere between 7 to 2 minutes apart.
At 2:00 am, I started getting really intense back pain with contractions. This pain required more vocalization to get through it (just breathing wasn't cutting it). This is when both of us knew that I was definitely in active labor (or had been for an hour or so). At 2:30, I decided that it was time to go to the maternity center. The ride was extremely difficult since the contractions and the back pain got even stronger. I just remember gripping the car door handle and having to be very vocal with each contraction.
We arrived at the maternity center at the same time that my midwife was on her way to a c-section. She decided to see how I had progressed real quickly before her surgery. She checked, and told me, "I think you're ready to have your baby." I couldn't believe it. I was fully dilated! I started feeling an urge to push (which sort of feels the same as the urge to have a bowel movement) but I had to wait for her to finish the c-section on her other patient. This was hard to do.
I wasn't comfortable lying down in the bed. I didn't like the feeling of having my legs held, and I felt like gravity was working against me. The next half hour is really fuzzy; all I remember is laying on my side, gripping the hell out of the handles on the side of the bed. Finally the doctor returned and my midwife suggested that I try to push on the birthing stool. I agreed, and felt much more comfortable there (well, as comfortable as I could be at this stage. The pain was pretty intense but it never crossed my mind to get any kind of meds).
Close to the end
My husband was sitting behind me, with his knees on either side of me on the stool. During contractions I could brace myself with his knees. The strong contractions were now accompanied by a bearing-down feeling that I couldn't control. I was scared at this point – not so much from the pain, but from the realization of what had to be done (you want me to push a baby's head out of where!?) Again, things are a little fuzzy during this time -- I just remember that it felt good to yell, moan, and scream. The contractions came every few minutes, and in between I could lean back and rest in my husband’s arms. Towards the end, I was able to push in-between contractions if I wanted.
There was only one moment when I said that I couldn’t do it, but my husband assured me that I was so strong and that I was so close to the end. As the baby started crowning, my midwife told me to push into that place that was scary. I finally decided that I just wanted it to be over, so I was able to give several hard pushes. The head came out so suddenly that everyone was startled. As a result, I ended up tearing a bit and needed two stitches.
They put him on my chest and I was so out of it (in a good way) that I forgot to check if he was a boy or a girl. Finally my husband pointed out, "It's a boy!” I delivered the placenta soon after in one push. Levi was on my chest at this point while the midwife sewed me up. I felt so accomplished in that moment. A little later they took Levi away, cleaned him up, and returned him to me, saying that everything was perfect. It was one of the best feelings in the world. He weighed 6 lbs 14 oz and had the most wide, beautiful eyes!