Birth Stories

BabyMac's med-free waterbirth

This is really long, so I apologize in advance! ?I am sure I'm being clich? when I say this, but I won't lie, giving birth was HARD. ?It was the hardest thing I have ever done. ?There were definitely a few moments when I did not think I could possibly do it. ?But I can also say there were never any moments when I thought "you know what sounds good right now? A needle in my spine!" ?I never at any point in labor felt that would be worth it, so if you're considering natural childbirth, don't believe all those women who say that in comparison to labor, the epidural will sound good. ?It definitely did not sound good to me ever.?
The only sign that labor was coming was a little bit of brown spotting on Wednesday night after dinner. ?DH and I had dinner with my parents and then went home and went to bed around 10. ?I woke up at 12:30am with contractions. ?They weren't super painful to begin with, but they were more than what I had been feeling up to that point, I knew they were not ?Braxton-Hicks immediately. ?They were pretty close together to start, about 4 and 5 minutes apart. ?Not what the books tell you to expect in early labor! ?I thought I would get 15 to 20 minutes between contractions at first! ?I couldn't go back to sleep so I got up and went into the living room to time them. ?I didn't wake DH in case it was false labor, since he'd have to go to work in the morning if it was. ?
By 2am I had to wake him because they were still close together and getting more painful, and I didn't want to be alone. ?It was not easy to relax through them AT ALL. ?At 3am I called our doula, who said things sounded like they were progressing quickly, and that was good. ?I could still talk on the phone at that point. ?I got into the shower after that. ?The water was nice, but standing wasn't really comfortable, I kept feeling like I would fall if I relaxed too much. ?In fact, all I really wanted to do was lie down. ?I thought I would want to walk around and move through the contractions, get in different positions, etc., but I didn't! ?I wanted to lie on my side and rest, and then be on all fours through a contraction. ?At about 4am DH called the doula to come over because contractions were 2 minutes apart lasting about a minute each. ?He also called my parents, who came over as well. ?
Everyone was over at our house by 5, and we called the midwife on call at the hospital to let her know what was going on. ?I could not talk on the phone anymore at that point. ?Because I was GBS positive, she wanted me to come in because it sounded like things were moving along and I had to get antibiotics 4 hours before delivery. ?(I had plenty of time before delivery, but of course didn't end up having the antibiotics for the full 4 hours because of all the time it took them to get organized after we got to the hospital. ?That's a different story. The baby turned out fine anyway.) ??At about 6am we left for the hospital, with me on my knees in the front seat of the car, facing backward and holding onto the back of the seat. ?The car ride was HARD. ?I had about three contractions in the car, threw up in the parking lot, had another two contractions on the way to labor and delivery, and when we got there we were told we needed to go to the admissions desk! ?Ok seriously, we filled out a pre-admission form, it was in our file, WTH was that for if we had to fill something out on arrival? ?My mom wanted to KILL the nurse who told DH he had to go back downstairs for the purpose of paperwork. ?
While he was gone, they monitored me for about 20 minutes and checked my cervix. ?I had to lie on the table and that was really hard! ?When the midwife checked me I was 100% effaced and 6cm dilated, that was at about 7am. ?That was good news, since at that moment if they had told me I was only 2cm and had to go home I would have been like ok, I've changed my mind about this whole having a baby thing. ?The contractions were seriously, seriously painful at this point, and I wasn't able to relax through them by meditating or thinking about something else ? the only way I could breathe through them was if I focused completely on the pain, and told myself I just had to get through this one, and it would be over faster if I breathed deeply. ?It was weird that I found it easier to focus on the pain, rather than distract myself from it. ?
Anyway, they admitted me and put us in an L&D room with a big tub in the bathroom for me to labor in. ?Unfortunately they hadn't gotten what they wanted from the monitoring the first time so they had to monitor the baby's heartrate another 20 minutes in the bed before I could get in the tub. ?Dude that sucked. ?But all was fine with the baby (as we knew it would be) and I finally got to get into the deep, warm water. ?AWESOME. ?I mean it still hurt to be in labor, but it felt soooo good to be in that water in between contractions, that really helped me rest, since at that point I felt like I was getting no rest at all between contractions. ?My pelvis really started to hurt as the baby's head came down into it, and that was a pain that didn't go away between contractions. ?I did find it comforting to think about the fact that the pain was moving down, which meant it would soon be out and gone. ?I had no idea what time it was at this point. ?Oh yeah, I threw up again when I was in the tub (into a receptacle, not the water ? ew).?
So after about an hour in the tub, they had the birthing tub set up in the other room and I could move to that. ?This is where I totally lucked out ? there wasn't anyone else in labor at the time I was, and it was shift-change time for nurses and midwives, so not only did I then get a nurse who was totally into natural childbirth, but I also got THE midwife for waterbirth. ?She's known as the waterbirth pro by the other midwives. ?And they were both fresh as daisies and didn't have anyone else to attend to. ?REALLY LUCKY for me. ?
After getting in the birthing tub I started to feel the urge to push pretty quickly. ?It was very disconcerting. ?So they let me push if I wanted to, and I did for a while, and then the midwife checked me and I had an anterior lip of cervix that was keeping his head from coming down, so I had been pushing for nothing! ?Argh! ?Not pushing for nothing, because the midwife said it was helping the baby's head mold. ?Whatever, it felt like for nothing. ?She offered to try to hold it out of the way and work it over the baby's head while I pushed through the next contraction, which I thought would hurt like hell, but it really didn't at all, and it worked. ?His head came down into the birth canal. ?
It came verrrrry slowly! ?I thought I would be able to feel it moving down, but I didn't. ?I only felt it when it started to crown (ouch). ?There was one point where his head was halfway out and I had to NOT push, and wait for the next contraction. ?Only it was like 3 minutes until the next contraction. ?THAT was hard! ?Then with the next contraction the midwife worked his head out, then his body came out, and OH MY GOD the sweet relief! ?That was at 10:47am, almost exactly 10 hours since I had woken with contractions. ?The cord was around his neck, so the midwife unwrapped him and I pulled him up onto my stomach, keeping him all under water except his head so he'd stay warm. ?And I got to check and tell everyone it was a boy!! ?That was pretty awesome, since we had been waiting to find out the sex. ?The placenta followed pretty quickly and that felt good coming out, too. ?They waited until the cord stopped pulsing and then DH cut it. ?I had one small tear that the midwife stitched up while BabyMac and I bonded, and that's been healing well and not giving me too much trouble. ?
It was such an amazing experience, and one I am really glad I had, despite all the pain. ?I feel like now I really know myself, and I know what I can do and how strong I can be. ?The only thing I might do differently if I could would be to not have him in August in Massachusetts ? it is really hot!! ?:-)

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