Hey ladies! Just wanted to share my med-free hospital birth story in case anyone here is aiming for a med-free hospital experience. They do exist and they are not that hard to get if you come prepared and get an awesome nurse (I got VERY lucky there).
Also I am Team Green turned Team Blue. I stayed Team Green thinking it would be a great motivation to get through labor but, honestly, once things got started I didn't think about that at all! It wasn't until he came out that I remembered we didn't know!
BARRETT'S BIRTH STORY:
On Sunday July 14th I started off the day going to a pancake breakfast
at the fire station with my parents and siblings. Then DH and I drove
down to work for the first day of a new summer session (it was a summer
camp). We checked the new campers in, had dinner, attended the opening
campfire, and then just hung out with our co-workers that night. I had a
coupon for $12.50 off at CVS so I had gone online to order some diapers
because we hadn't received any during either shower so we decided to
just use that coupon to buy them. Shipping time was 5-7 days and I
remember thinking that was cutting it pretty close but I was sure it
would get to me with plenty of time.
Around 10PM we ran to the gas station because I felt really dehydrated and wanted some cherry lemonade. After chugging that down like there was no tomorrow I decided to take a shower and head to bed around midnight.
At almost exactly 2AM I was asleep in bed and rolled over and felt a small leak of fluid. I thought "shoot, did I just pee myself?" and that's when I noticed that more and more was trickling out. Enough to completely wake me up. I sat up in bed and that's when there was more of a sudden gush that came out. I ran down the hall to the bathroom and it was pretty instantly obvious that my water had broken. I'd also lost my plug. I sat there for several minutes in COMPLETE SHOCK unsure of what to do next. Then I realized that this gushing just does NOT stop! And all I had were some panty liners and toilet paper. Not the best combo to stop this sort of thing!
After I thought I was containing stuff for a bit I walked back down the hall and decided to wake up DH. I turned on the light and said "I don't want to alarm you, but my water just broke. You can probably go back to sleep but just know we'll be heading to the hospital soon, I'll let you know." He basically rolled over, looked at me and asked "are you serious?" As soon as I said yes and pointed to the wet spot on my bed he jumped out of bed and started getting dressed. I asked him what he was doing and he replied "Isn't this the point where we rush off to the hospital". I explained to him that I still wasn't having contractions and water breaking doesn't really mean that the baby is coming right away, it would probably still be hours before that started and many more hours before I'd give birth. He insisted I call the hospital and just confirm this.
So, I called the hospital and the nurse told me just that- I could come in if I wanted but should wait for contractions to start. When I mentioned how far away we were coming from she did say that it would be wise to come in a little sooner if we were more comfortable, she wouldn't send us home. DH decided that we would be going to the hospital, he said he would feel a lot better being there. Plus I was still leaking everywhere and had no way to contain it so I figured it would be nice to get there and get a thicker pad or something. I went back into the bathroom (to change the panty liner and toilet paper) and called my Mom that my water had broken and to be on alert for my next call wehn we decided to leave for the hospital. Then I started packing up a few things which really annoyed DH because his idea of "go right now" was literally leave that minute. Instead I putzed around a bit and packed some extra clothes into my hospital bag that I had sort of packed a few days before, and then I went into my office to print off my birth plan.
While the birth plan was printing I went into the bathroom again and while there I had my first contraction. It was really mild, just like a really light period cramp. I barely noticed it except it was a feeling I hadn't experienced in so many months that it stuck out. I figured that was enough of a sign that DH was right, we should go to the hospital. Oh, and at one point I had decided to stop trying with the panty liners and grabbed my Turby Twist hair towel thing and just slapped that down there. It worked SO much better! I also took my last "bump" photo. And then I noticed these Royal Family masks that my British co-worker had brought into work for all of the counselors sitting on my desk. I grabbed one of the Kate masks, threw it on, and jokingly took a picture with that. I thought it was pretty funny but DH was really annoyed when he came into the office and saw what I had actually been doing in there.
Oh, I also started looking at hotels to stay at because I figured if I hadn't made much progress yet we'd just check into a hotel and labor there so everyone could be more comfortable than I thought they would be at the hospital. I also didn't want to be induced or rushed along if possible. Luckily, I didn't book a hotel on the spot...
DH said I was really annoying him and that he wanted to leave right that minute and that he was going to go get the car so we could get going. I walked outside and had my second contraction. I also got bit by, like, a million mosquitos and remember thinking of how much it would suck if I had a ton of bites while going through labor. Gotta love random thoughts. DH shows up, I hop in the car, and off we went at 3AM, an hour after my water broke.
During the drive I started having more and more contractions very close together and they were getting stronger and stronger each time. I started timing them on my phone using my Contraction Timer app and realized there were about a minute to a minute and a half long and just as far apart. I remember thinking that I couldn't be timing them right or feeling them right because they were WAY too close together for being early labor. I was trying to hide them from DH because I didn't want to freak him out since we still had 20+ minutes of the drive left but it got to the point where I was leaning forward and breathing through them and they were just getting worse and worse. I remember calling my parents to tell them to leave for the hospital ASAP (they had an hour and a half long drive ahead of them) to discover that my forward thinking parents had already left. My mom was trying to say stuff to me and I just said "CONTRACTION!!!" and hung up on her. She knew well enough to call back!
The hospital is located next to a river and as we were driving over the bridge my contraction was REALLY intense. I almost asked DH to pull over so I could move through it rather than just sit there but we were on a bridge with no shoulder so I just closed my eyes and breathed through it.
We arrived at the hospital and that's when I realized just how small this hospital was. There was one security guard standing there and one guy inside doing intake and no one else around. The ER waiting room was completely empty! The guard even had the door locked and had to come open it for us! He asked if I wanted a wheelchair and DH answered yes. Only I didn't want anything to do with it. Instead, I ran into the nearest bathroom to clean myself up a bit. That's when I accidentally tossed my Turby Twist into the toilet. Haha! I just chucked it in the garbage. So, yeah, next time I won't use a towel that I actually use regularly for this purpose...
After coming out we were greeted by the L&D nurse and led straight to the birthing center. I asked on the way if I was the only one there and she told me that not only was I the only one there, I was the first mother they'd had in July thus far and everyone was excited to have me there. It made me realize that I'd really made the right decision on what hospital to birth at since the other options almost always had a ton of moms birthing on a daily basis. I liked the individual attention. This hospital was also 20 miles closer to where we'd been and I was grateful I didn't need to have any more contractions in the car.
After getting into the room everything else was sort of a blur. I was given a cup to do a urine sample, but since I had just visited the bathroom moments before I wasn't able to give anything and the nurse basically said not to worry about it. The sample cup actually sat there until I left the next day! At one point they did draw blood but I cannot recall when. My contractions were just getting stronger and stronger and stayed less than a minute a part. Literally one after another. I asked the nurse to check me because I was SO SURE I was at the end of my labor already...
Nope. 4.5 cm dilated. I remember feeling really disappointed because I was already having strong contractions that I had to stop and breath through and I wasn't getting a break. I decided to try the tub in hopes it might actually slow down contractions a bit and give me some relief. We filled it up, I stripped off my gown, hopped in, and asked to be left alone. DH and the nurse left and I had a few contractions in the water. They weren't slowing down. I asked the nurse to check me again and as she did she got this big smile on her face and told me that I was over 7 cm dilated! In under 20 minutes!!! My mom had called DH around this point and from the tub I heard him say that I was 7 cm dilated. Then I had the nurse say "Tell them to hurry or they may miss this!". AH! So great to hear when you're in labor!!!!
A few contractions later my Mom shows up in the bathroom and I just remember feeling this flood of relief because the contractions were sooooo intense at this point that I wasn't able to cope on my own anymore, but DH was proving to be a very bad birth partner. He was trying but was really overwhelmed with what was happening and was so exhausted from not sleeping much that night. My mom just jumped right in and was giving me massages and stroking my hair, being very motherly which was just as I needed.
Quickly the tub became too constriction for me. It was jetted and lovely, but the water wasn't quite hot enough and the tub wasn't wide enough so I just hopped right out. At this point I'm naked besides my sports bra but I really just didn't care. I proceeded to walk everywhere in my gratefully giant birthing suite. I joked with the nurse that she was my new best friend anyway, so to deal with it because I was staying naked!
I switched to tons of different methods after that. I went from bouncing on the birth ball to sitting on the birth ball and leaning over the bed to pacing around the room, to lying on all fours on the bed to swaying and groaning. Pretty much changing every 2-3 contractions when my method stopped being effective.
After what I thought was at least an hour (in reality it was probably only 20-30 minutes) I asked to be checked again. I was greatly discouraged to hear that I was only at 7.5 cm. After my pervious progression I thought for sure I'd be at a 9 or something. That's when I lost it. I hadn't gotten a break between contractions in 2 over hours and upon hearing that I'd only progressed .5 cm I just crumbled and told my mom that I wanted an epidural. I had wanted to go natural but hadn't expected this sort of labor and didn't think I could do it any longer. The nurse said I needed to have an IV first and called in the other nurse to do that. I remember thinking that there was no way I was ever going to get that epi, they were just humoring me. I told this to my mom and she said that we were just going to "go with it". I had a couple more contractions and then the IV bag showed up. They put it in and turned it on to go in as fast as possible. As I watched that bag empty SO FREAKIN' SLOWLY I suffered through a few more contractions lying on the bed, which was the worst place to be during these contractions. My mom kept breathing with me through contractions but she kept breathing on my face and I eventually said "Mom, I'm so sorry, I know I woke you up in the middle of night and dragged you out here, but you need to stop doing that or go brush your teeth!" I guess I had been make quippy comments like that all night and everyone was cracking up at me. So, I guess I was a really entertaining laboring woman.
After several minutes of this I asked to be checked again. That's when I was informed that I was 9 cm!!!
With the IV bag not even halfway gone I knew the epi wasn't coming and honestly I was grateful. I had really wanted to go natural so I was happy I was getting that. Also a little mad at my Mom and DH for giving into my epi demands so easily!
But that feeling of joy quickly vanished. Hitting 9 cm was when the worst part of my labor happened.
About two contractions later I started feeling that urge to push. Actually, I said that I really had to poop because that is what I thought that feeling was. For real. I was so sure I just needed to take a poop. The nurse kept me from going back into the bathroom and said she wanted to check me and that feeling was that I had to push, not poop. I was SO happy to hear this because I figured it meant the end was there, I'd be 10 cm, and I could push. But when she checked, I was still 9 cm and I was told not to push or else I could tear my cervix. This went on for the next 20 minutes and it was HORRIBLE. My body was trying so hard to push and it took all of my willpower to fight it. I was practically bawling and begging to be allowed to push. Eventually the nurse just went up there and moved the cervix away for me and told me I could push. It was HEAVEN! I was amazed that the moment I could push the intensity and pain disappeared. It was the most amazing feeling in the world and I actually REALLY enjoyed the pushing phase.
The doctor then showed up (he had been called when we showed up but was a ways away and I guess taking his time getting there since he figured I'd be in labor all day, but the nurse called and told him to get there ASAP after she checked me in the tub). I vaguely remember greeting him and thinking it was funny that my baby picked one of the two days where both my doctor and my doula were on vacation. Even the back-up doctor I'd seen in case my doctor was gone was unable to attend because of a sick child at home. I also remember thinking that all of my careful selection of female caregivers was pointless because my new doctor was a man. But at that point I really could have cared less!
He assumed the position and I started pushing during the contractions. They tried doing the whole count to 10 thing for the pushing which I quickly silenced. I basically said the next person to count had to leave the room. They listened! After that I was able to push at my own pace. I still counted to 10 in my head because they said pushing at least that long was the most effective, but I didn't have anyone shouting it in my ear and would push for longer or shorter counts depending on the intensity of the contraction. Everyone else was just saying really supportive comments urging me along and telling me I was doing great. SO much better than people shouting numbers at me.
At one point I had the sudden urge to stand up (I had been lying down on my back) and was told that was fine so I flipped myself over, put the bed all the way to the up position, and kneeled over it and did my next three pushes/contractions in that position. Then I got too uncomfortable and flipped back over onto my back. The doctor looked down and said that I had made a ton of progress by doing that which also encouraged me to keep going. It was maybe five contractions later and the doctor threw something on my stomach and told me it was a good sign that he was doing that because it meant the baby was coming. I tried to remember not to get too excited and push too hard because I didn't want to tear. It took two more contractions and he said that on the next contraction I'd have a baby. It was then and only then that I suddenly got a break between contractions! I swear it was 3 minutes of nothing and I started getting worried I'd never get that last contraction! But, I did, and with one final big push the head came out. Then the doctor said to push one final time, and the shoulders came out.
It had been in my birth plan that DH be the one to announce the sex of the baby. I had been so sure the whole pregnancy that the baby was a boy and DH was so sure it was a girl and I just always imagined DH being the first one to say it. So when he came out I asked him to look and tell me. He looked down, started laughing and said "Wow, it's a boy!" WEEEEE! I was right. :) I started laughing and did in fact tell DH "I told you so!!!" I'm mature like that.
We also wanted to delay cord clamping so the doctor put my son on my stomach, but because the cord was pretty short I wasn't able to get him any closer to me and we even had to move him down more. We all sat there for a few minutes but my extreme desire to hold him close to me overtook me and I asked to cut the cord. It was probably 3-5 minutes later so I figured it was good and the doctor did say it looked like most of the blood had passed. They clamped, DH cut, and I had my baby on my chest.
He had a head full of blond, curly hair and big eyes that were blue on the outside and hazel on the inside. He had my nose and lips and DH's ears. I just stared at him, absolutely in love.
After another 10 minutes I birthed the placenta and the labor part was officially over. By this time Barrett was actually already working his way down to the breast and after about 25 minutes had found my breast and latched on. I was checked for tears and the doctor found a tiny one that he said could heal quickly on its own. NO STITCHES!!!!
Slowly people started leaving the room, even my Mom and DH left to go do something. I was staring at my son so much I didn't have any idea when they left or where they'd gone, all I knew was that for a good 20-30 minutes we were completely alone. He fed on one side for a while and then I switched him over to the other. He made it down to the breast but didn't latch, instead he fell asleep and I just sat there staring at him.
Mom, Dad (who had left during labor because he couldn't handle seeing my in pain but came back in after the birth), and DH came back in with the nurse and she checked me again and then left us alone. Dad had to leave pretty quickly to get back home and open his store, which was already going to be opened an hour late as it was. So just the four of us were left in the room.
It was then that I was told that Barrett was born at 7:14 AM- just over 5 hours from the time my water broke. 3 and a half hours after we arrived at the hospital. People kept coming in and saying how shocked they were that the baby was here already and that they couldn't believe I was a first time Mom. I was also told that I had very impressive control during contractions. I didn't feel like I had but I guess I was really focusing when one would start and staying very quiet, then the moment it would end I would go back to complaining about not getting a break and wanting an epi. Not at all what I remember but I'm guessing my memory isn't quite as accurate! But for that I really do credit the hypnosis courses I did!
It was a good two hours later when I finally handed him over to be weighed and measured and recompose myself a little. He weighed in at 7 lbs, 13 ounces and 19.5 inches long. He hadn't pooped yet so the weight is pretty accurate to birth weight.
We were pretty much left alone after that. The lactaction consultant came in to check up on us, but Barrett was latched and feeding when she got there and quickly realized a little advice was all I needed because we were already on our second feeding. The nurse would come in and check me every now and then and joke around a bit but was mostly leaving us along. Btw, I LOVE that nurse! She was amazing and I am so lucky she was the one there when I arrived because she was a great encouragement and supportive person and made it feel like I'd known her forever. She also read my entire birth plan and referenced it often to show she'd paid attention to everything which was great since I'd put so much thought into it.
That was when I learned that the time my Mom and DH had been gone they had run to WalMart to pick up some cupcakes (it was in my birth plan that I would give the nurses and doctor cupcakes for dealing with me so they went to get those) and DH surprised me with a Summer Shandy, which I had been craving my entire pregnancy. It tasted SO delicious! I only had 3-4 sips but it was fabulous! And actually DH had bought an entire 24 pack of Summer Shandy so everyone had one and we toasted the baby. We even convinced the nurse to sneak one out at the end of her shift. DH had also purchased some diapers because we knew the ones I had ordered the night before wouldn't be getting there on time and we'd be needing those. I really think this kid waited until the worse possible day to come. SO my child!
Over the next day we all took turns holding him and bonding with him. I got visited by one of my good friends and her 7 month old daughter (whom I introduced to my son as his future wife). My boss and one of my colleagues also came to visit and my boss was beyond thrilled that I had gone to labor at work because that made Barrett an official Camp Baby! It was nice to have visitors and people around. I was exhausted but so proud of my son I didn't mind showing him off a little. I was also naked sans a pair of mesh undies and a pad (and a sheet). Haha, all sense of modesty had gone out the door at that point! No one cared.
By that afternoon I was ready to get out of the hospital. The nurse said she wanted me to do a few things before I could go, including walk around a bit and take a shower. When I first tried to take the shower I got lightheaded and dizzy and had to lie back down. I tried again an hour later and the same thing happened. The nurse then called the doctor and he advised against letting me leave. I was bummed but understood. I was eventually able to get up and shower and was fine by that evening but he had already made the call.
We spent the night and then were released the next afternoon.
All in all it was a great labor and delivery. REALLY intense and I was begging for an epidural, but if I knew I'd have a labor like this every time I wouldn't hesitate to have many, many more children! I didn't like not getting a break between contractions the whole time (except for that last push), but only having intense contractions for 3 hours made it worth it!
And that is the story of the birth of Barrett "Bear" George.
Janine & Cody | Georgetown, Grand Cayman | February 2012
Surprise BFP November 2012 | Bear Born July 2013
Surprise BFP April 2014 | M/C May 2014 | Totally Planned BFP July 2014 | Due Date 3.20.15!!!
I believe in a lot of things. I believe in fresh tennis balls, the healing power of bunnies, and that the novels of Susan Sontag are something I'll never read. In fact, I don't even know who Susan Sontag is. What is she... like... a painter? I believe in Crystal Lite because I believe in ME. I believe in the movies of Val Kilmer, though these days it ain't so easy. I believe in Darren Sproles, the word "dabble", the first season of "Silk Stockings", and big, warm, moist, gooey chocolate chip cookies that melt in your mouth and all over your face.