Natural Birth ~ A birth story.

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“Cut it off! Just cut it off!” I am still in shock that those words came out of my mouth about my own leg. I was having so much pain and that dang charley horse was just annoying. The logical thing to do is just to cut it off! In my mind anyway. In the middle of pushing my second baby out of a very small hole the logical words that came out of my mouth were to chop off a very necessary part of my body for chasing around my 17mo old! Oh, the things labor pains make you say.

I love reading birth stories, and BK#2 is still very fresh in my mind, so I thought I would share all the good, bad and dirty details with you. {I will share BK#1 in the future} When I was pregnant with BK#1 every time I indulged in a birth story, I felt even more confident that our bodies really are made to give birth naturally, and that I could do it too. Unfortunately, not everyone on the internet holds the experience of childbirth in such admiration, especially when it comes to doing it naturally. The fear mongering of horror stories about labor can be hard to avoid, and that is the last thing a pregnant mom who is preparing for natural childbirth needs to hear. So, if you don’t want to know, and just want to do it on your own stop reading now!

BK#1 was born all natural. It began with my water breaking all over my kitchen floor and lasted for seventeen hours! When it came to getting ready for BK#2 I was pretty confident that I could do it again, and that I knew what I was getting into. We planned for a natural hospital birth again. I had no worries that I could do it, but this time around I found myself so anxious, because I knew what was coming! For about a three weeks my house was spotless, my bags were packed, about twenty possible scenarios were planned for BK#1, I had plenty of food in the fridge, husband’s time off got approved (in his line of work who knows if they are going to get coverage), and my mom was even scheduled to come help the week after my husband went back to work. I should have been so calm, but no I was a nervous wreck.

My body is going to start this process and I am not going to have any say in when, or how, or who is going to be around, or what plan I am going to have to initiate. It was all just a cluster in my head.

So I treated every day as if it were D- day. I don’t recommend it ladies! You will just make yourself sick.

The day before BK#2 was born was a Sunday. (10 days early) Church had been out of the question for a few weeks, because I just couldn’t sit still. BK#2 was HUGE! I was measuring 40 weeks at 38 weeks, they were estimating that he was already 8lbs. I was just miserable and had the “center of gravity of a jersey cow”. (Points to you if you know where that little quote came from) 20150627_140151Nevertheless I was still planning on Sunday dinner at my parents. I had been having BH and back pain for ohhh 3 months now, and had been having inconsistent first stages of labor contractions for about a week. (At my last OBGYN appointment 3 days prior I was 3cm and 80% effaced) So, when I woke up that morning uncomfortable and having to stop walking up the stairs for a contraction or two, I didn’t think anything of it. Around 2pm the contractions were getting more regular and were about 15 min apart. Although, they would drift off and not appear again for 30 min. I was excited and so frustrated. I knew it was coming, but my body was just taking its good ol time about it. When it was time to leave the house and head to my parent’s it was around 4pm and the contractions were still only around 15 min apart, but they were definitely stronger. I had to make sure I thought about breathing and couldn’t talk through them. That’s how you know they are real. When you have no option but to focus on your body and that contraction. I grabbed BK#1’s pre- packed bag and tossed it in the car with her diaper bag, just in case things progressed. All the while my husband is saying “Are you sure we shouldn’t call Louann?” (My midwife) Of course I said no. The contractions weren’t 10 min apart and lasting for an hour at 10 min apart, so all she would tell me to do is watch them.

On the twenty minute drive to my parents’ house I had two contractions. Looking back now, I was totally in denial about how far in the first stage of labor I actually was! I was totally further along than I thought I was at the time. We got there, I’m walking around, can’t sit still, and pretty sure I’m freaking my dad and brothers out. My husband and mom are looking at each other laughing and asking me what they want me to do. “Should we eat dinner?”, “Do you want to go for a walk?”, “Those contractions were close to 9 min apart Amanda!”, “Seriously, what do you want us to do????”

I was totally in the zone, breathing and doing all the things I was doing during my first labor at home! I was laughing, enjoying myself, eating, surrounded by the people I loved, and in my own clothes. It was bliss and dang it I just wanted it to last another hour or so! Ha! Well, with my DH and mom in my ear, and worrying about if I was going to have my baby in my parent’s house it finally clicked that this was the real deal. I needed to take some action and stop enjoying the bliss of first stage labor. My mom and I decided to make a target run to walk and get BK#1 a few things she would need. At this point I called my midwife and told her how my day had been, and she told me it was my decision. Come to the hospital, or wait it out till the contractions were closer together and call her and she will meet us at the hospital. I told her we were about a minute away from target and we were going to walk it out a little to see what that did for me. After about 10 minutes in target my contractions leaped to around 6 min apart. Fun times! Still these contractions weren’t horrible. A lot of pressure and I had to focus, but meh lets finish our target run! I have a target problem, what can I say? Don’t we all?

We head back to their house, and I start BK#1’s bath and get her bedtime routine. I know, I’m crazy. But dang it, I didn’t want to leave my other baby! I got her in the tub told her I loved her and went to leave. I was a weeping mess! Hormones do some crazy things to a women’s body. This was not one of my plans for her. She had no idea what was going on. She is still my BABY! I can’t leave her!! She was in fabulous hands, my parents have kept her over night before, but the unknown for my toddler was freaking me out!

DH and I got in the car and head home to get bags and let the doggies out. I called my midwife at that time and told her we were on our way and to meet us. By the time we got to the hospital I was having contractions every 3 minutes, at least. I couldn’t get from the car to the door without having a contraction. We get into intake and when they checked me I was 6cm and 90% effaced. Wahoo!!! I was so happy! That took me 14 hours with my first baby!20150705_203816

It’s around 8pm now and we are talking to the nurse telling her about our birth plan. For me, my birth plan was more of guide so they knew I wanted a natural birth, so I could focus on what I was doing, and so I didn’t have to answer a million questions. And let’s face it. I’m a little bit of a control freak. This nurse wanted to give me an IV. NO! What part of hep lock can you not read? I agree that in case of an emergency they need to have access when in a hospital, but you aren’t chaining me to a pole. She agrees that she will just do the hep lock finally and then I look over in the middle of her failing to stick me, and there is 3 bags of saline on the counter…..ummm…. “WHAT are those for?” She proceeds to tell me that she had to do an IV before she can do a hep lock. Not true! I pulled the hand that she kept failing at getting the needle in away and told her that I wasn’t getting an IV. Man, I was hot! “Fine, we will see what the doctor says when you get up to your room.” Mwahaha you STILL aren’t paying attention. I have a midwife not a doctor. All of this through contractions every few minutes. It was a blast! Thankfully my midwife walked in the same time as we were walking into my room. The nurse goes at her about how its hospital policy, and what if there is an emergency and on and on and on. Louann looked at her “She doesn’t want it, leave her alone.” Midwives are the best. They really are YOUR advocate! Now that the annoying by-the-book nurse was out of my hair I could focus on labor and who I should be texting/calling. We told my mom to come once BK#1 went down for bed, we wanted her there for support during labor, and I am so grateful that she was there for me. So, she was on her way. My best friend was supposed to come and take photographs just during labor and after he was born, but labor was progressing so quickly and my pain was so intense, I really just didn’t want that photographed anymore. I texted her, had someone dim the lights, turned on some worship music and got on my labor ball and bounced. I was leaning on the bed, DH was rubbing my back when he could tell I was having a contraction, and it was peaceful and quiet and everything I wanted my labor to be. And then I got up to pee….

My water broke all over that labor ball, the floor, me, and the side of the bed. It was gross! Thankfully it was clear and no meconium. And I still had to go to the bathroom. By the time that I got back into the room from the bathroom I knew that not only had my water broke, but I was in transition. The pain had tripled and the pressure was insane! I got in the bed and Louanne checked me. It was around 11:30pm and I was close to 8cm and fully effaced.

This is the point where all I could think about was breathing and each contraction. I had my eyes shut from that point on and I barely had 30seconds between contractions. I moved from my hands and knees, to draping my body over the ball and then finally on my left side with my right leg propped up. The labor was so intense I was shaking, and furious that I was shaking. I was puking and crying because I puked. I really couldn’t have done it without my DH sitting in front of me whispering sweet nothings and telling me that I could do it over and over again. At one point I was saying “Bucket, I need the bucket” and he thought I said F*** it. He is looking at my mom like is she really cussing? (I am not one to cuss on a regular basis, much less drop the F bomb) Poor guy almost got puked on. I just wanted to push. The pressure and pain was seriously getting to me. There was no breathing and catching your breath in between contractions any more. It was in out in out, listening to his breath and hearing my mom and midwife remind me to breathe that got me through the next hour. Louanne checked me again and told me I could push! Hallelujah! For those of you who haven’t had a baby, or don’t know, pushing is heaven when it comes to natural birth. The pain goes away for the most part, and the end is in sight. You finally get to do something with those contractions instead of just being miserable through them. When I started pushing I got THE WORST charley horse in my leg I have ever had in my life. My mom was rubbing it as my midwife told me I could push. She was originally going to leave the room when it was time to push. She asked me if she should go. Apparently I yelled “Don’t you dare go anywhere” oops. At about the same time is when I told them to go ahead and just cut my leg off. I was trying to push and all I could think about was my leg! My stupid leg hurt more than my baby coming into this world did! I pushed and pushed and pushed. Like I said, this dude was big. I was so frustrated because I could feel him descend and then slide back up. Then my midwife said “I’m not sure he is going to fit”

You’re not sure he’s going to fit??????? Come again?

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That swirl!!

I am not sure if she said this out of truth or to motivate me, but 3 pushes later our not so little, amd hairy man entered this world! He was quiet and didn’t cry until he was in my arms. So beyond perfect. He was bright eyed and gorgeous and in that moment all the pain was gone and all was right in the world again. I felt so much relief and awe at what had just happened, again! My body had made a baby and he was finally here.

I am so grateful that we had such a great labor and little mister got earth side safely.

Birth stories aren’t a guide to how your birth will go, but they definitely give you a sense of the intense roller coaster of emotions when giving birth. It is OK on the most beautiful day of your life to feel scared, anxious, angry, bitter, and lonely and so much more.

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GIVE BIRTH

  1. Birth won’t go as planned. But it is still helpful to have a birth plan so you can think about the decisions you might have to make in advance.
  2. Hospitals are not relaxing. Relax as much as you can beforehand and plan on staying in bed as much as you can when you get home.
  3. You and your DH may be on your own sometimes. Not all midwives can stay with you the entire time, and doctors are just there to check and catch basically. It can be scary and lonely, have someone there who is experienced and can help you through labor.
  4. Birth is messy. Every imaginable body fluid will come out one end and/or the other. Yes, it’s disgusting, but its natural and they have seen it all before.
  5. Have a plan to try and relax. Breathing and staying calm is the best thing you can do for yourself.
  6. Have lots of skin time with baby. Having struggled to breastfeed at first with my second, I am convinced the best way to help most new babies feed is skin to skin contact on your chest rather than stressing about positioning and latch
  7. Babies can be very sleepy and distressed after a C-section. I didn’t have to have one, but I have friends who have. It’s good to know. Things take just a little more time, and that’s okay!
  8. Your DH needs attention too! Don’t forget that you didn’t just have a baby, he did too! Share the cuddles, and make sure he eats and rests too!
  9. You need super thick pads. Forget how immaculate Kate Middleton looked within hours of giving birth, you are going to have seriously heavy discharge after birth and need proper maternity pads …
  10. It’s natural to feel crazy anxious about everything … don’t be surprised if you have a complete anxiety meltdown the first time you step outside with your tiny little bundle of joy, I certainly did … as new moms we’re hard wired to feel anxious about every possible threat to our babies. Just make sure you don’t let it get out of hand. Check out my PPD post for more on that.

Nothing will ever be the same again momma. It’s the most momentous day of your life and you will have every possible emotion compressed into the experience. Enjoy it, and savor it.

~Amanda

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