The Natural Birth Story
The labor process began in the middle of the night (on Thursday night - March 7th) with a crampy feeling in my stomach and by about 4AM, I was pretty convinced that what I began to feel were indeed contractions. Jeoff told me we should give it a little longer to see if they were coming regularly and by 5:30AM he said, okay let me go ahead and get dressed. It was getting pretty exciting by that point. This was really IT!! We called the hospital at 6AM to let them know we were on our way (my doctor had told me that since I was dilated to 4cm, to go in when labor started, no matter what, because I could very well be at 6 or 7 when I got there. I told the nurse, with whom I spoke, that the contractions had been approximately 5-7 minutes apart and she told me that I needed to wait until they were 5 minutes apart, consistently for an hour before I come, because I sounded like I was okay.
It was 6:11AM. Jeoff fixed breakfast and for next hour we watched, timed, and waited. By 7:00AM, we had a record of the contractions, which were 3-5 minutes apart by this time and lasting between 40 and 90 seconds. Jeoff said, "okay, let's go. If they say we have to go home, we'll just drive around near the hospital or walk around downstairs in the lobby."
We reached the L&D area by 7:30AM and they showed me to a room, had me undress and put on a gown and the nurse in charge checked my cervix. I was dilated to 5cm at this point and she said, "are you ready to have a baby today?" I said, "yep!"
I was admitted by 7:40AM and we proceeded to make a few phone calls and alert our close friends and relatives that this was the real deal! The nurses attached the fetal monitor to time the contractions and monitor baby's heart rate and the nurse began the process of asking the dozens of questions necessary to complete the admission. After an hour or so we noticed that the contractions had slowed down considerably. I was thinking, 'oh no, let's get this ball back rolling!!' We went out into the hallway and took a walk, I spoke to my OB who was at the registration desk and said jokingly, "can we make her come quicker?" He said, "yes, if you'd like we could break the bag of waters to make the contractions come more quickly." I replied, "No, that's okay. I was only kidding. We're going to let this happen naturally."
went back to the
room and I got back in the bed to rest. I overheard Sharon,
intern who was working with the nurse, ask her whether they needed to
give me an IV. She told her 'oh no, there's no need to do
If she's going natural, we'll just wait and let nature take its
course. If she requests
anything for the pain, we'll give it to her, but if not we'll just wait.' The nurse also told me that since this was a natural birth, they would not check my cervix as much. They'd wait until the contractions came on stronger, or if I began to feel the 'urge to push.' The first few hours were pretty relaxed. The grandmothers arrived at about 9:30AM and were there for encouragement and support and to take plenty of pictures!!!! (This would be the first birth of each of their youngest children!)
At around 10:30AM, we decided that since the contractions weren't coming very strong, we'd try some of the acupressure techniques we learned about. We whipped out the massage lotion and Jeoff proceed to massage my ankles, as directed. This really worked. The contractions began to come more regularly again and even stronger. We relaxed through them, to the tune of classical, relaxation, and praise & worship music. Around 11:30, my ob came in to see about me and check my cervix. We were at 6-7cm and 80% effaced and 0 station, by that point. I was glad to hear that we were continuing to progress.
The next 5 hours consisted of more walking and relaxing, as the contractions came more regularly and progressively stronger. I asked Jeoff to ask the grandmoms to give us some privacy so we could focus on the task and the experience. They were sweet and went out into the waiting area. The intern asked me periodically what my pain level was (on a scale from 0-10) and whether I needed anything for pain. I had indicated on the birth plan that I didn't want them to offer me pain meds, but I actually didn't mind her asking, because refusing it made me feel even more victorious and it encouraged me to hang in there. We found the acupressure point, located on the pinky toes, to be quite beneficial! When a contraction would begin, Jeoff would begin massaging the area, and the tension would actually subside a bit. It was very important that I not lay back in the bed at this point. It was much more comfortable for me to raise the bed up so that my back was straight and I could spread my legs apart and allow my pelvis to relax. Things began to really intensify by the end of this 5-hour period. It became more comfortable for me to sit on the birth ball and lean over onto the bed, or to stand up and lean on the bed with my legs apart. I had to ask my mom and Jeoff not to talk during the contractions, because I could not relax, listening to them converse, especially if they said something funny. They were gracious and granted my request. At times, I would shake and breathe, trying hard to relax. The frustrating part was not so much that the pain was excruciating, but the fact I had to think in my mind and pray, 'what is the best way for me to relax through this?' I prayed as I allowed nature to continue to take its course. Jeoff was such a great coach! He read affirmations to me, encouraged me about the great job I was doing and breathed with me as we began to hit the home stretch.
At approximately 4:30PM, my mom, who had come back in to check on us, suggested that they check me again because she noticed the contractions were very close together (1-2 minutes). The only thing that was missing was the urge to push (which they told me would feel like the urge to have a BM). I only had the urge to tee-tee. The nurse checked me and we were 7-8cm and 100% effaced. By 5:30PM or so, things became really intense! The feeling was still not unbearable, or even much worse, it was just more difficult to relax and allow the tension to subside. I didn't want Jeoff to go ANYWHERE, because he was such a great help to me. I gave him a 10-minute break and my mom took over for a little bit. I asked the nurses if I could take a shower and they told me yes, but they would not be able to tell if my water broke while I was in there. I didn't care. I needed more relaxation. The warm water was wonderful for me. I leaned over on the rail during the contractions and my mom stood outside the stall asking me questions that I could not answer because I needed to be quiet and focus. I eventually had to go ahead and get out because I began to feel more pressure 'down there.' I came out of the shower at about 6:00PM. Jeoff was back. Someone had brought a food tray in and sat it on one of the chairs. As soon as I saw it, I felt like I was going to be sick and I asked Jeoff to hurry and cover it up. My body was very tense and it took me a while to sit back down. I started calling on the Lord for real at this point - "Oh Lord,.........Oh God,..........Oh Jesus,...........Oh Father,........" That's when His strength really kicked in for me. I was so tired by then. His strength really is made perfect in our weakness! After I sat down, in walks my mom with yet another food tray she had gotten and I had to ask her to take it away. Little did she know, she should have placed it right outside the door and come right back in because she was about to miss the real action!!
At approximately 6:15PM, I told the intern that I felt the 'BM feeling' coming!! She called the nurse to come and check me --- and yes this was it! I don't remember her reporting what my dilatation was, but she calmly told me to take a deep breath and breathe a few short breaths (she demonstrated). I was like - 'what? what is happening? Is this it?' The feeling was very powerful down there.....talk about overwhelming......like I was going to have a BM through the wrong opening! I yelled a couple of times and she told me to breathe instead, and it automatically became a push. I heard her say, "great control." She called on the intercom for my ob; they told her he was in OR and she said, "well, he better get in here because the baby is crowning and it's natural." I'm thinking, 'okay, what does that mean?' The next contraction, she actually told me to push and I said, "tell me what to do!" I was clueless. (I could not remember what we had learned about pushing.) She directed me, and she and Jeoff told me I was "really doing good" and Jeoff was right at my ear breathing with me and holding my hand. (He said he was amazed because I didn't squeeze it or tense my arms or anything. He said he guesses that all of my attention was on the birth canal. He's right, because it was almost like it was happening without any effort on my part. The push would come automatically, and my job was to control it with my breathing. On the third push, my bag of waters broke and I heard and felt it! Wow! (I think I heard it because of the monitor.) I also felt something tear - owweee! :-) That didn't even hurt badly,....just lots of pressure.
The time now was 6:23PM. The doctor finally walked in. Everything was pretty much in place for the delivery, at this point He took his position and I don't remember anything he said to me. The next push, I felt baby's head coming out and the rest of her body flowed on through as well. Awesome awesome awesome feeling!!! I mean to tell ya!!! At 6:25PM, on Friday March 8th, our star was born - Now known, here as - Kitten! Jeoff was given the honor of cutting the umbilical cord. I was so overcome by the emotion that when they brought her up to my chest for us to look at her, my eyes were not even completely focused. I was just shaking and crying, shaking and crying. I could hear the emotion in Jeoff's voice, as well. They cleaned her up and took care of me (delivery of the placenta and a few stitches for the tears in my labia, which was a whole 'nother experience - for some reason I was more afraid of that part, because I just wanted to completely relax now. My body had gone through so much! However, I made it through and it really wasn't as bad as I had feared.) The proud new papa went over for baby's weighing and cleaning and the nurses brought her back for her first nursing, which one of them assisted me with. My mom was back by then, but she had missed all of the excitement. (I know she wishes that she would have just sat the tray outside, instead of going out to the waiting room to eat.) :-) Mom Thompson was back in room with us by then, as well. The nurses were all wonderful and so happy for me that we did it all with no medication or intervention. One of them mentioned that she only sees about 1 in 100 women go without an epidural or other meds.
We understand that every woman's body is different, everyone's experience is different and no one's labor & delivery is totally perfect. We are totally grateful for our own experience!!
Thanks for reading our story!
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Page Last Modified by Catherine Beier, MS, CBE
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