January 2015 Moms

Tristan Alexandre's birth story (FTM, med-free)

Tristan Alexandre

Born 1/16/15
40 weeks 2 days
8lbs 10.5 oz
20.5 in

Med free labor and delivery

Short version: 4 hours total of labor, including 1 hour of pushing, med-free delivery & a healthy mom and baby!

Long version:  Other than some mild to moderate period-like cramping, I never felt BH contractions before my labor started. At my 40 week appointment, I was 2.5-3cm dilated and about 60% effaced.

On that Friday morning, I got up as usual, made and ate breakfast with my husband before he left for work. Given that I was about to pop, I had been working from home all week so I decided I had time to take a bath before starting my workday. As I was getting out of the tub, I felt some pressure in my lower abdomen/pelvis and sat on the toilet. Almost immediately, my MP came out all at once and I started trickling fluid. At that moment, I realized my water might have broken. That was the on switch for my labor - I immediately started feeling contractions. I called my midwife right away and there must have been something in my voice, because she knew before I did that I needed to go to the hospital right away. I called my husband to tell him to come home  - he was just turning into his office parking lot and had to turn right back around and drive 45 minutes the other way. As I waited for him the contractions started getting intense so I decided to time them. Within fifteen minutes of labor starting, they were 2.5 minutes apart and a minute long, coupled with intense pressure. I started getting scared we weren't going to make it to the hospital. I was just able to move around enough to gather the last of our hospital necessities, and as soon as my husband walked in the door I told him we were going NOW.

He was very excited in the car, smiling and saying 'we're going to have a baby!' but I was definitely experiencing that 'turning inwards' that people describe, not really paying attention to the outside and focusing on my body and what I was feeling. Because my contractions were so close together, so quickly after labor starting, I was definitely thrown and wasn't centered enough to handle them well and relax through them. I had expected a progressive onset that I would be able to think through, but instead I was tense and a bit scared we weren't going to make it in time.

When we got to the hospital, they checked me and saw I was 6cm dilated. Then, they made me lie down on the bed to monitor the baby's heart rate - I think it was a non-stress test, and I had to lie there for a while, which was just awful because it was taking away most of the coping methods available. The nurse was very nice and reminded me that my body was made for this and that I could do it.  Then I got moved to another room and was able to lie on my side. At that point, I pulled myself together and managed to breathe and relax through the contractions, as I'd practiced in hypnobirthing. My husband guided me through the relaxation process, telling me to relax my face and putting a hand on my shoulder.  The nurse asked me a bunch of questions to get me admitted, then I blindly signed some paperwork in between contractions.  When that was done I asked for the birthing tub, and it was absolute heaven. I recommend it to anyone, it was the best coping tool. I labored in the tub for about an hour, at which point the nurse said I needed to get out if I felt the need to push. When we got back to the room she checked me and said I was 9 and 3/4, one more contraction and I'd be complete and ready to start pushing. I was very relieved, as I had mentally prepared myself for her to say I had only progressed to a 7 so I wouldn't be too disappointed.

She then instructed me to do some practice pushes with the next contraction if I felt the need to bear down. I did, and positioned myself in a squat on the bed. At that point, she was monitoring the baby and said his heart rate dropped, he didn't like the position, so she had me turn onto my back. That part was a bit stressful - they rushed the OB in, and my husband said it was the point where he got most nervous and wondered if they were going to wheel me to the OR for an emergency section (thankfully it wasn't mentioned and the baby's rate came back up when I got on my back).

I tried to use my hypnobirthing and breathe my baby down, but the on-call OB - unfortunately not one of my midwives - very firmly told me i was wasting energy and that I should hold my breath and push to the count of ten, three times per contractions. This ended up being the worst part of my labor - I was hyperventilating after contractions so they had my husband put an oxygen mask on me in between pushes. After an hour, our son was born!

I ended up having a first degree tear towards the back and another towards the front, but honestly I didn't feel a thing. My placenta took about thirty minutes to come out, the OB was aggressively massaging my stomach and had me on pitocin as I was bleeding more than normal. As I prepared for labor, this was the part I was most scared of, but I can say that even though my fears were somewhat realized in that I had some bleeding issues, they were well controlled.  The massaging was not painful like I imagined it would be, though it did get very uncomfortable towards the end.  Getting stiches was also uncomfortable but really not too bad - definitely less of a big deal than I had imagined when preparing for labor.

I never felt like I needed to ask for an epidural (I had been afraid I might in preparing for labor), and pushing was harder for me than I thought it would be. I wonder if it would have been different had my midwife been there instead - the coached pushing was not something I had planned on but in the moment I couldn't refuse to do it, especially after the heart rate scare with the baby. I'm planning on being more prepared next time around and get to the bottom of what really happened and whether it could have gone differently.

All in all, I realize I was very lucky to have had such a short labor. While many things are out of our hands when it comes to giving birth, I do believe all the visualization and relaxation work I did through hypnobirthing really paid off and helped set me up for success. If I can do it, you ladies can do it too!

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