I knew from the moment we got pregnant that I wanted a natural birth. This is our first baby. We had originally chosen a hospital close to our home but when I heard about their high C section rate (and saw it happen there with several of my friends) we knew we made the right decision to switch to a birth center with midwives. Best experience ever! We did also hire an experienced doula who did prenatal counseling and post natal baby care/breastfeeding counseling. I would do it again in a heart beat. ****************
Natural birth was crazy! My original due date was June 28th. I had gotten sick at 35 weeks with severe sinus infection/horrid coughing that sent me into preterm labor due to my uterus being so irritated from coughing. Wasn't too serious as we got it stopped with Benadryl and long warm baths but I did get a taste of what the contractions felt like. I was put on bed rest until 37 weeks, started working half days. Once 37 weeks hit I started walking a mile every other evening and sitting on birth ball. Fast forward to June 18th. I think I ate a half of a pineapple and drank some red raspberry leaf tea. We watched the Lego movie and DH and I did our "homework". I started feeling crampy around 11 pm but thought nothing of it. Around 3 am on June 19th I noticed the contractions were stronger and more regular but easy to handle. And by 4am I woke hubby up to tell him that I thought I was in early labor. I tried to sleep during early labor but it was hard as I was interested in timing contractions plus they were starting to get uncomfortable. I texted the midwives and our Doula... Around Noon The doula suggested I get in the tub at home and try to relax... It helped some but did not slow the contractions down which I was excited about. At this point the doula was asking if she should come over -- I kept delaying her bc I thought I was still in early labor, I felt like all the contractions were completely doable/bearable. Around 2 pm our Doula came over and we timed them 3 minutes apart! I was also starting to feel more rectal pressure as baby moved down. So we woke up hubby and packed it up to go to birth center.
*********************On the way there it was difficult because it seemed like every bump (during a contraction) made it oh so much more painful. When we got to the birth center they could see that I was definitely in the serious emotional sign post. Beforehand hubby and I had talked about me not wanting to know how far dilated I was because If it was low I didn't want to be discouraged. After all it's just a number and not a predictor of how fast one is progressing. The midwife checked me and said... "It's time for you to go walk for a bit..." (I later found out I was only at a 4 and 0 station, fully effaced). Well this is South Texas and it was 3 pm in the afternoon and super hot outside... Someone had suggested going to Walmart? There was no way in hell I could labor like this in Walmart. So we called a friend who lived about a mile from the birth center so I could go walk at her place. So we got there and the doula had me and hubby try different labor positions - I leaned over a couch on my knees for some, I squatted for others. I tried to remember Ina Mae Gaskin's Sphincter law and tried to relax the pelvic floor through each contraction--- way harder to do than one would think. .. Hubby and I walked my friend's one flight of stairs five or 6 times, lifting my leg up high each step-- doula said this would help me dilate. This is where the contractions really started picking up in intensity... I had to lean on hubby for each one just to get through them or else I would have fallen over. Transition hit like a brick wall - I remember briefly getting into shower at my friends and the Doula said that things were picking up fast and that we should head back to birth center. Once we got there they checked me again-- and I went from 4cm to a 9 in 1.5 hours, -2 station, bulging bag of waters. By this time I had already been experiencing the urge to push. They quickly filled the birthing tub and I got in. Hubby sat on the edge and I sat in between his legs with my elbows/arms resting on his knees, and during contractions I was in some weird squat with my feet up on the sides of the tub, my bum in the water. By this time the urge to push was overwhelming and I couldn't stop! In the Bradley class we discussed The moaning/grunting that some women do during pushing. We'll let me tell you the noise that came out of my mouth was nothing I have ever heard before. Halfway through my midwife was saying that I had a lip of cervix left... I yelled at her to stretch it out of the way. This was the most painful part of the whole ordeal. Still my waters hadn't broken so I begged her to break them so she did. Soon the ring of fire came -- exactly as others had described. As soon as his head came out (the absolute hardest part) the rest of the body followed. Total pushing time was about an hour and he was out! Baby J --7 lbs 8 oz!
************This was Probably the most exquisitely painful/intense thing I have ever done in my life. Once the pushing stage comes it's true you hit this animalistic stage. I'm glad I did it at a birth center because I did hit that point where I felt like I couldn't do it and if someone was waving the epidural around in my face I would have taken it... Except I was so far along I am not sure I could have gotten one anyways. My doula was worth her weight in Gold and without the hubs being amazing and the Doulas help I am not sure I could have Done it. I am not sure any amount of relaxation techniques would help during late transition/pushing because it's like you go to this whole other place inside of you. Definitely very primitive. I did grunt and yell quite loudly during pushing but it felt good to do so. And yes it felt like taking the biggest shiza you can ever imagine. Despite all the pain baby's heart rate stayed fabulous the whole time and never dipped during his trip down the birth canal. Midwives did "stretch me" ( and that was honestly the most painful part Bc they have to do it during a contraction when everything is bulging) and I did receive a second degree tear but I've only taken Motrin a couple of times for the discomfort it's not that bad. Little man came out completely covered in vernix but it absorbed into his skin like a lotion in a matter of hours. **********************
After the fact I have seriously had very little pain. Took some Motrin a handful of times and that was it. I also wanted to mention that I didn't have any mucous plug loss or bloody show until active labor/when midwives checked me. I also never visibly "dropped." So when people go, "oh you have a ways- you haven't dropped yet..." -- realize that they have no idea. Each woman is so different. The whole Bradley method classes that my hubs and I took together to allow us to labor at the end with each other was amazing... My husband said during the throes of it that he fell more in love with me than ever
I am definitely doing a natural birth (if possible ) with future babies
. Hope y'all enjoyed the story ****