Alybookgirl: Beatrice's Natural Birth
Friday, May 07, 2010 5:47 PM
"A few hours later, I hit a pain
wall that convinced me I no longer wanted to have the natural
childbirth I had prayed for..."
In the beginning
After discovering our surprise pregnancy, I began preparing for the perfect, natural birthing experience. Since JD was not sold on the home birth I longed for, I accepted that I was going to give birth at the hands of professionals. I was petrified of having a hospital birth full of interventions, so I just prayed that my experience would be more organic and less medical. After all, God designed our bodies for this: I was made to do this, and to do it without modern medicine.
Miserable and so tired of being a human incubator with no signs of labor in sight, I wept in the bathroom at my office on the last day of work. I begged God to put me into labor soon (please, dear Lord, don't make me carry this baby past my due date!). I got myself together, said my goodbyes to my colleagues and to the working world, and headed to the final birthing class. It was the hospital-tour class, so there was a lot of walking and several demonstrations. By the time we made it back to the classroom, I was having some abdominal pain: nothing terrible, but it was definitely uncomfortable. The RN teaching the class noticed me holding my breath (and belly) every 15 minutes or so, and joked that the class may witness a birth sooner than later. My 39-week OB appointment was the next morning, so I knew I would know more soon. The contractions, however, kept JD and me up all night. I cried, feeling panicked about the experience that was before me and scared of how our relationship would change – mostly, I was dreading the hospital and its staff.
Friday morning at the doctor’s office, I found out that I was in active labor and that I had to stay home as long as I could stand it since I wasn't getting an epidural (I made my doctor sign my birthing plan months in advance to ensure that we were on the same page from the start). The doctor told me to come to the hospital when I couldn’t stand the pain anymore and the contractions were 3 to 5 minutes apart. I went back home with contractions coming regularly every 10 minutes. I walked the neighborhood three times, climbed my stairs repeatedly, and bounced on that birthing ball until I was dizzy – all in hopes of speeding things along. By nightfall, the contractions had stopped completely and I was by myself eating a farewell cake from my coworkers. I went to sleep, secretly relieved, but hoping God hadn't forgotten about my tearful pleading in the bathroom at work.
Early Saturday morning, I woke up to the worst abdominal cramping I had ever experienced. I did not know what labor pains felt like, so I assumed that my cake-fest was the culprit. I went to the bathroom and discovered I had lost my mucous plug. I made the mistake of showing my husband -- we both panicked! I was hurting really badly, and I forgot all of the breathing techniques I had learned, so I just sat in the bathroom, swaying back and forth while crying. Luckily, JD remembered the calming techniques and got me back into the bedroom. He timed the contractions while I cried. We both decided it was time to head up to the hospital.
Playing the waiting game
We called my mom, who was acting as my novice doula (she has two home births under her belt) and she met us there. I walked in and got to pick my room (the purple one with a huge window). The nurses hooked me up to the monitor and checked my progress. I was dilated 3 cm and 80 percent effaced. With 7 more cm to go before I could deliver, I decided to go back to the house to clean, fold laundry, and forget about what was happening. But as soon as we got back to the house, the contractions came back -- ferociously. All I could do was lie on the couch (crying) and watch my husband clean and fold laundry. We were probably at home for five hours when I hit that wall: the pain wall that convinced me I no longer wanted to have the natural childbirth I had prayed for. I wanted drugs. I got hysterical and called my OB for "hypothetical" medication options if I were to come back to the hospital. Knowing how intent I was on doing this naturally, she suggested I return to the hospital to check my progress. Off we went.
Off to the hospital
There is something very horrifying and wrong about being in active labor while riding in a car. As soon as we pulled out of our neighborhood, I lost my marbles on JD. I demanded that he call an ambulance to transport me the rest of the way (we live five miles from the hospital). He calmly kept driving and calling our family while I wailed like a banshee in the passenger seat. This time, I had to be wheeled to labor and delivery in a wheelchair because I could no longer walk or stand through the contractions.
The nurses checked me and I was 6 cm dilated and fully effaced. They assured me it wouldn't be long now, but I still wanted to discuss my pharmaceutical options. I was told that in lieu of an epidural I could have Stadol, a narcotic that would take the edge off of the pain and make me (and the baby) drowsy. I said that I needed to think about it, so they went ahead and prepped me with a Hep lock. Well, they tried to prep me. My veins would not cooperate and two different nurses could not locate or secure a vein. It was as if God had made them invisible so that I would have no option but to follow through with my original plan. So I lay in the bed, stiff as a board while my mom and JD talked and carried on like there wasn't a woman having a baby in the room. My rules were don't talk to me and don't touch me. Oh, and open the blinds so I can focus on the birds, and close the blinds because the light hurts my body, and draw me a picture of a cat so I can focus my energy away from the pain, and don't make me laugh, and Mom for the love of everything good PLEASE move your chair away from me (not too many unreasonable requests, I don't think).
Getting through the pain
I had prepared Bible verses months in advance that I was going to meditate on when the pain would be too intense. So I wept and read those verses aloud. During contractions, I called out to God to not let me die! I said His name so often I had to clarify with JD and my mom that I was not taking His name in vain, but asking for His help (I'm sure those nurses thought I was crazy). Every time the nurse checked me, I asked how much longer. Each time was shorter than the time before and when they finally wheeled in the bassinet, I knew I was in the home stretch.
The entire time I wanted the drugs, but when that bassinet was brought in, all I could think about was my precious baby and her perfect body that never knew an artificial substance in her entire existence. That's when I got serious about my plan again, and getting her out naturally no matter what. The plan was always about her, I just didn't realize it until I saw the bassinet.
Things happened very quickly at this point. I was at 9 cm and the doctor broke my water -- within minutes, I was ready to push. Nothing is scarier than having the bottom of your bed dropped and five people telling you how to push out a baby (breathe in through your nose, count to 10, crunch your abs, push through your bottom, exhale through your mouth, and go!) So I pushed five of my special pushes and at 6:47 pm on Halloween, Beatrice Claire was born. All 8 lbs and 12 oz of her perfect little body emerged and it was OVER!
The pain was gone the instant that baby girl was born. I still had to deliver the placenta (we had the nurse show it to us and explain the parts, so gross) but that was nothing compared to the previous 48 hours. Beatrice was perfect and healthy. JD went with her to the nursery for her first bath while my girlfriends and family came in to see me. I hadn't eaten anything since the cake the night before, so I was thrilled when my mother-in-law brought fried chicken. I devoured that meal! My recovery was a breeze. The nurses gave me a Motrin that night, but I never took another thing. I was up walking around right away, took a shower, nursed my baby, and felt great.
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