dortus: Otis' Natural Birth Story
Thursday, February 24, 2011 12:27 PM
"After gauging the fact that it may, in fact, be dangerous to not get the process going, I admitted to the midwife, "I'm gonna level with you. I believe my waters have been leaking since 9 this morning."
Natural birth all the way
From the time we found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted a natural birth. The daddy and I enrolled in Bradley Childbirth classes and I read everything I could get my hands on.
For the most part, I had a very healthy pregnancy, but at 36 weeks, we found out I was GBS positive. I didn't see that to be a major concern--just an inconvenience. Rather than doing most of my laboring at home, I would have to go into the hospital earlier in order to get antibiotics.
At 38 weeks & 3 days, I awoke to a strange trickling feeling. It was as though I were experiencing incontinence, but I knew that wasn't what was happening. I was rather confident that my bag of waters was leaking. Because I already had an appointment for the midwives early in the afternoon, I didn't call the midwives. Instead, my fella went on into work early so he could leave early and take me to the midwives that afternoon.
We went in at 2pm, and asked a lot of hesitant questions. "If I have GBS and my bag breaks, does that put me on a timer to have the baby? What if it's a leak, and not a full-on rupture? How much time before you guys recommend induction?" I was nervous to admit that my bag of waters was compromised, as I was afraid it would mean having an induction and giving up my all-natural birthplan. After gauging the fact that it may, in fact, be dangerous to not get the process going, I admitted to the midwife, "I'm gonna level with you. I believe my waters have been leaking since 9 this morning."
After a sterile speculum inspection, the midwife agreed and called the midwife-on-call at the hospital. She asked that we go in to the hospital by 9pm so we could check for elevated white blood count, which would indicate infection. They put me on an external fetal monitor and a contraction monitor to make sure baby wasn't in distress, and afterwards, they sent us home.
Nervous about induction, I thought back to all of the natural ways that people had suggested for self-induction. Typically, these techniques were used when your baby is over-due, but I knew we had to get the process going if we wanted to avoid medical intervention. At about 5pm, we tried nipple stimulation, and I spent some time sucking my thumb (as there is an accupressure point on the roof of the mouth). I literally felt my contractions go from a level 2 to a level 5, and they sped up from about 18 minutes apart to about 5-8 minutes apart.
After trying to rest for a little while, we went to the hospital at about 8:30pm. I received my first dose of antibiotics for the Group B Strep, and they took blood for an infection test. Although the test came back perfectly fine and we were told we could go home, we ended up staying. I turned on some music and did a "labor dance" for a while, rocking my hips and walking briskly around the room.
By about midnight, labor was definitely picking up, and we were down to about 3-5 minutes apart. The midwives were hesitant to do a vaginal exam (due to the Strep, and because my waters were broken--didn't want to increase chances of infection) so we never knew how far along I was. We called our doula in when I began to hit transition, having contractions one-on-top-of-each-other. Instead of exams, we simply waited until my desire to push was overwhelming.
After about 5 hours of hard labor and 30-40 minutes of pushing, Otis was born--with one hand on his forehead and the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice! For all of the possible complications, we did, in fact, have a 100% natural childbirth, finishing up about 21 hours after my bag of waters broke. He was born with a cephalohematoma, unfortunately, so he still has a goose-egg on his head, probably from the pressure of being in the womb for a while after the bag had broken. We kept an eye on his jaundice levels for the first few days, and otherwise, the pediatrician and midwives are confident that there is no danger from the hematoma and it should go away on its own over the next few months.
I won't say the natural childbirth was easy. I yelled some, cussed a few times, and truly worked harder than I ever have in my life, but as soon as Otis arrived, all the pain and hard labor was already forgotten. He nursed immediately, and we were both alert. In fact, I surprised us all by walking from the labor/delivery room to the recovery room, rather than taking the wheelchair that was provided. The body's natural pain relievers and bonding chemicals are so much stronger if they're not hindered by synthetic means. To anyone thinking of having a natural birth, I highly recommend it! I was already in love with Otis before he arrived, and now, just 3 weeks later, I can't imagine life without him!
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