I called O.B. Triage, then my doula, to ask them if it sounded like labor -- both said yes and told me to start timing the contractions. They were coming on average about every 2-4 minutes from the time I noticed them occurring -- and there was definitely no "sleeping in between contractions" for me! My doula had given birth to three posterior babies, and she told me that from how I described the pressure it sounded like I was having back labor. (Greeeaaaaat... from what I'd heard and read from other moms, this was going to be one helluva ride!)
I labored at home for another hour or so, then called my partner to come over (we don't live together) because I was fairly certain he would not be going into work the next morning! Unfortunately he was zero help to me as I labored at home because all he did upon arrival was lay down in my bed and pass out. So I did my thing some more until around 2am -- then I called my doula to come over since contractions were about 2-3 minutes apart, I estimated. (It's not the easiest thing to be timing contractions while having them, or being on the toilet, or just trying to move into a comfortable position!) Around this time I also called my mom in CA to book a morning flight out to Phoenix -- she had planned to attend the birth of her first grandchild, who by this time was well on her way!
When my doula arrived I felt sorta bad for her since I didn't really need or want her to do anything and she just sat there quietly. All the massage I thought I'd want when I was pregnant were anything but soothing when I was actually in labor; I didn't want to be touched much. There weren't many comfortable positions (sitting backwards in a chair or on hands and knees bent over the couch were two I found slightly less uncomfortable.) Around 3am we went for the longest walk around the block I've ever taken, and I was noticing a lot more discomfort and getting a little weepy when we got back -- so at 4am I woke Bryan up and told him we were going to the hospital. Even though it's only 5 minutes from my house, somehow we didn't arrive until 5. It's crazy how long it takes you to do anything when you're having contractions!
I had been seeing the nurse-midwives at the hospital for my prenatal care with the intent of having an all-natural, med-free labor & delivery. Of course, I left all ten copies of my birth plan sitting in the printer tray at home. But the triage staff was wonderful and the first thing the admitting nurse asked me was what type of birth I wanted, what my preferences were, etc -- and she was wonderfully accommodating! When they checked me in the hospital, I was already 6 cm dilated and ready to go!
I was moved into the labor & delivery room around 7am, which was great since that's when the day shift began and the nurse (Allison) who'd taught our childbirth classes was working! She was WONDERFUL, and my daughter got her middle name in part because of her! Allison knew I didn't want pain meds, an IV, or to be strapped into anything, so she would just hold the fetal monitor up to my belly when they needed to check the baby from time to time and I wasn't ever stuck with anything or offered anything. Bryan was by my side the whole time, offering me his hand to hold (though I preferred the side of the bed rail -- I needed to have a fixed, bolted, stable thing to clutch for dear life, haha!)
contractions started getting pretty bad, I needed more than deep
breathing to get through them and started doing more lamaze-type "hee
hee hoo" type breathing. The tailbone/rectal pressure was REALLY bad at
this point, and when Allison checked me she said I was 8cm and my bag
of waters was bulging. She thought that breaking my water might help
ease some of the pressure and make things a bit more comfortable for me,
but we had to wait for the midwife to finish up a C-section before that
could happen. Originally I didn't want any artificial rupturing but an
hour later when I was still at 8cm I was begging for it! After that I
got to 9cm pretty quick and was starting to feel a little "pushy."
Allison said she could probably just push the rest of the cervix back
over the head which would get me to 10, so we did that -- and OH MY GOD
WHAT A RELIEF. That felt super weird -- but so much better than all the
pressure. Then came the "urge to push." I put this in quotes because
urge implies I could have had some kind of mental control over the
physical sensation that occurred -- which I definitely did not. My body
would just push with the contraction; it was completely involuntary, as
were the noises that came out of me! Around this time my mom arrived
-- just in time, too! I pushed for about 15-20 minutes and Julia was
She was born at 10:15 am on August 4th weighing 7 lbs 8 oz and was 18.5 inches long. She was placed immediately on my chest prior to any bathing or assessments, and my mom cut the cord after it stopped pulsating. There were no complications with the birth, though my placenta did not want to detach and I lost quite a bit of blood while they were trying to get it out. The whole time they were kneading my uterus trying to get it out, Bryan was enjoying daddy bonding time with his daughter. After that ordeal, I put Julia to the breast right away and she latched on like a little champ! I barely tore and it was on the inside -- the midwife said she didn't even really need to stitch me but if I wanted to I could opt for one stitch on each side so that it would heal up better, which I took.
All in all I had a wonderful birth experience and I was thrilled that I was able to do it naturally. In retrospect, I wonder why people even get epidurals or narcotic pain relief... to me, it seems unnecessary. Sure, it was uncomfortable for my 13 hours of back labor, but it wasn't unbearable.
I might add that I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes (which was diet-controlled and well-maintained during pregnancy) so for any moms-to-be out there with a GD diagnosis fearing they may not be afforded the option to have a natural birth, I'm proof that you can! I wasn't induced, didn't have to have an IV, received no meds, and gave birth to a normal sized baby with no signs of hypoglycemia.
Recovery has been a breeze. I had read all these blogs and articles about the horrors of aftercare but I must have lucked out as I was feeling fine (though tired) after a few days and going to the bathroom wasn't nearly as scary as I anticipated. At two weeks, baby Julia got to go on her first hike (she slept the whole time in the Baby Bjorn.) She's a pretty normal baby; not colicky but does have normal fussy spells. She's a good eater and good napper, and sleeps for nice long chunks at night. Currently, Julia's favorite activities include 1) being attached to a boob; 2) being in the Bjorn; 3) going for walks in the stroller; and 4) looking at the high contrast black-and-white pictures on the inside of her bassinet. I can't wait til I'm rewarded with that first smile!!!