A friend of mine who’s pregnant right now asked me to share my birth story, so I wrote it out and decided to share with other moms (and moms to be) too.
My pregnancy with my second child was a bit of a nightmare, so I was set of trying to make the birth of my son the most positive experience. I had been told I was not going to be allowed to go to term because of Gestational Diabetes, despite the baby being in perfect condition and appropriate weight, so I tried to delay the induction for as long as possible while trying to do all I could to go to labor on my own. My induction was scheduled for 39 1/2 weeks, so a couple of days before that date I literally did everything I could to get the party started. I tried EVERY SINGLE OLD WIVES TALE I could find— starting with acupuncture and following with everything else.
At 11 o’clock at night, after my daughter’s first day in Kindergarten, my contractions finally started. I had had prodromal labor in a couple of occasions before the real thing with this kid, but this time there was no mistake the show was on. The contractions were strong, and evenly spaced. And progressing rapidly. I got on the exercise ball and did pelvic circles, riding the contractions — while my husband was sleeping right next to me. As he had had a long day at work, I wanted to make sure he was going to be awake enough through the hardest part of labor and birth. At around midnight I got in the shower, while the contractions were getting stronger and closer together. At 12:30 I told my husband to wake up and get ready to leave, as I called the hospital and alerted them we were on our way. The contractions were getting closer progressively, longer and every time more painful — but fortunately my bag of waters hadn’t broken, so I was not dripping everywhere, and the contractions had a little bit of fluid buffer to help with the pain. With my first child I had my water break first, and the contractions did feel much stronger a lot quicker.
We got to the hospital at around 1 AM and were admitted. They monitored me and checked my dilation. I was already at 6 cm., according to the nurse (this measurement is always subjective, and I learned the first time around to not pay much attention to the number). After about 20 minutes of monitoring on triage, they finally admitted us and gave us a LDR suite. It was very quiet and the place felt as intimate as I wanted it to be. My husband put on the playlist of music I had selected, and the nursing staff let me labor without constant monitoring or a drip line attached to me. I had a hep-lock, but thank goodness no one felt I needed to be attached to all sorts of machines regardless of the GD.
About 2 o’clock the nurse came and checked in on me again, as I was feeling a lot of discomfort and started having doubts on whether I was going to be able to pull through without an epidural: I had been walking around, gyrating my hips on the exercise ball, clutching my husband’s neck with all my might (with both hands) every time I had a contraction until it eased up… The nurse checked my cervix and said I was 8 cm. and she left. Just that moment, I felt the very same thing I had felt the first time laboring with my daughter: the intense need to go to the bathroom. This time, whoever, I knew that what it really meant was that my body was getting ready to push… and this time I was determined not to do that… as that’s what did me in the first time (making my cervix swell and never allowing me to dilate more than 8 cm — and doubling the time in labor and delivery because of the epidural). But I went to the bathroom to try and pee, and then my water did break with a splash. Literally. Suddenly, I didn’t have control of my body anymore. I told my husband the baby was coming and to call the nurse — I just couldn’t help to push. The nurse walked back in skeptically, thinking she had just checked me and that I was nowhere close to giving birth… just to realize I was fully dilated and the baby was crowning! She barely had enough time to bring the doctor in, and the doctor barely had enough time to put on his gloves to catch the baby. After just a couple of pushes, my baby boy was out. And I felt like I could climb the Everest right there and then! It really is very interesting how such a powerful experience can make you feel like you can do anything.
As I was delivering the placenta, I had my baby boy cuddled up in my arms. He was just quiet and snuggling in the crook of my neck. We were just both exhausted and so very happy to finally see and touch each other. I was ready to get up and walk out, but the nurses had to pin me down and admonish me as they had to clean me up and stitch a couple of tears. I just felt invincible.
I really do think natural is best, as in my case the recovery was considerably better. I could have walked out of the delivery area to my room… if they had let me. In my experience, when I started feeling that the pain was too bad to handle, it meant things were progressing and the end was near. With my daughter I was in transition when I threw in the towel. If I had hung on, I would have probably had her in an hour or two after that point of intense pain. If only I had known what was happening and realized I needed to push! I could have let people know and have some guidance, instead of pushing and making my cervix swell. Having the epidural for me was the most uncomfortable part of the entire labor, and then I was strapped to a bed and all sort of monitors without being able to move for 7 extra hours. It was not fun and I was not happy. The epidural made my contractions wander all over the place, and in the end I had to push my baby out with coaching at 8 cm and without feeling a thing, as she was starting to show signs of distress.
However, I think that deciding to go for a natural birth is a very personal thing. It depends on how bad you want it, how high your tolerance to pain is, and also how your experience with your first delivery was. Having gone through the process once makes you a lot more in tune with your body and the way things feel. I wanted to have everything be as natural as I possibly could, so for me being able to achieve my natural birth felt like a huge success. If your beliefs and heart are not set for that, epidurals are a perfectly fine option — once I had the epidural I fell asleep for a while, and then my husband and I watched a movie or two… But, if what you want is a natural delivery, you have to think about it like a sort of marathon, and you should train and prepare. Both physically and emotionally. But how to train for that marathon is a subject for another post.
Did you have your baby with no drugs? Would you recommend it too? Share your thoughts or ask me if you have any questions. I’d be happy to help!