Awhile back, I posted a bit about first child, and how breastfeeding started for us. It was taken from a 24 page paper I wrote that is my pregnancy/childbirth/breastfeeding/parenting history. Today I’m going to cut and paste about how my last child was born. He turns 4 tomorrow (or so they keep telling me, I’m still in denial) and picks up after I had a breech scare; they were ready to schedule a C-section, but he turned with about a week before he was due! Again, this is LONG… And some of it may not make sense since you don’t have the back story. (I tried to cut most of that out.) Also, if you have issues with words like “rectal” or “perineum”, I suggest you don’t read! Anyway, ENJOY!
August 13th I was cranky. Well, no, more like miserable. I was bumming, snarky, just all around a negative mess. “It’s a good thing I’m not in labor” I growled at my husband that night. “This is NOT the attitude to go into labor with!!!” (You see where this is going now, don’t you?)
That night (on the couch again) I noticed that the Braxton Hicks I had been having were getting more of a… painish sensation to them. Oh nonononono… I refused to go into labor. I was just not in a positive mood, this was NOT conducive to a natural childbirth. Dang things kept up. NONONONO!
By morning I could not deny that – while not super strong – they were NOT Braxton Hicks contractions. Sigh. I told my husband I was in very early labor and called my mom to prep her. I had asked that she come and watch the girls on whatever floor we were NOT on! (We have a finished basement on the bottom, and the “house” on the top floor.) I was planning on laboring for as long as possible at home! I called my friend/doula to let her know too.
We were just hanging out, having a relaxing day. It was odd, I was going against the textbook labor; when I laid down, the contractions got stronger, but when I was moving around they got better! Needless to say, I moved around A LOT!!! I was just not in the mood to go into labor!
During one of my walks, I stopped to say something, when
I swear I felt the baby punch a hole in the sac!
I opened my mouth to say “Oh boy, my water’s broken” when GUSH! Out it came!!
Like with K, my water breaking seemed to slow down what few, weak contractions I was having. That made me nervous. What if the same thing happened as with K? I could handle the piggybacking now, but the sharp rectal pain? YIKES!
To top it all off, I was still cranky. And I had a kink in my back. I moaned and groaned about that, how I did NOT want to labor with a kink in my upper back, until finally my patient husband suggested seeing my chiropractor. Since I wasn’t in the mood to travel, and my water was leaking with movement, I called and asked if she wanted to come visit one last time before the baby came… and give me an adjustment! She did!
My mom came and the contractions started to slowly pick up. They were very easy to manage at that point…. But the kids wanted (needed?) my attention. We tried everything to nicely explain that mommy and daddy needed some time to help mommy’s body get the baby out, but they wouldn’t go back downstairs! Or if they did, the stood at the bottom of the stairs screaming to each other! GAH!
Finally, being in a VERY unpleasant mood, I called my doula and informed her I was going to the hospital. She chatted with me for awhile and then kindly suggested I stay home, as I could talk through contractions just fine. She knew I was afraid that if I got there early, I might get be more likely to get an epidural. And I agreed. I think it would have been better to labor at home. BUT, there was no way I was going to do so peacefully, so I decided to go. I knew she had a meeting that night, so I told her not to worry, to come when it was done.
This time I traveled much smarter! We took my mom’s van with the big seatless area, and I draped over the birth ball. Even when contractions hit (and they were getting stronger) I was fine to get through them. It was actually kind of a nice ride! And when we got there, I walked to the maternity ward, which was a nice change of pace!
By then the contractions were harder to walk through, and it was unpleasant to talk through them. We got checked in and then they wanted to strap me up to the monitor. I asked if, instead of lying back, they could arrange it with me draped over the birth ball, it had worked so well on the way in! They said sure, but first the doctor had wanted to check to see how dilated I was. I politely declined.
The doctor came in and explained that since my water broke, they wanted to get a “baseline reading” so they could tell if I was progressing. I explained that cervical dilation was not a very accurate way of marking progression, so I would prefer not to, since I was handling the labor so well. The rest of the conversation went something like this (repeated about six times):
Doctor: …. OK… but I still need to check you.
Me: No, really, I would prefer you didn’t.
Doctor: … OK… but I need to see how far along you are.
Me: No, it really doesn’t matter… my contractions are getting stronger, so things are moving along.
Doctor: … OK… but I still need to check you.
And so it continued, through a few contractions. Finally, I was so annoyed at the constant badgering I (gruffly) agreed to the check.
I laid back and he started. HOLY COW THAT HURT LIKE MAD!!!! I started scooching up the bed… and he followed! “OWOWOOWOW YOU’RE DONE!” I yelled, my head off the top of the bed. I gave a little kick for good measure. I don’t even know what he said, maybe 4? All I knew was that another contraction started and it was stronger and different then any other one so far! Darn it, I knew I shouldn’t have agreed to that!
Needless to say, this did NOT help my mood.
Another side note (this is just full of side notes, isn’t it?) was that these contractions were just as different as K’s was from E’s. While E was all back labor, and K was just intense crushing, these were a slight annoying pain… that was all over a tense uterus. Not bad, just different.
I said I wanted to try the hot tub; it wasn’t nearly as big as the one at the first hospital, and it was in a tiny little closet of a room, but I wanted to try. We asked for the CD player to get set up as the water filled. Ooooo… that was MUCH nicer!! I really enjoyed being the water…. Although I didn’t like the rushing water. I preferred it still.
A lot of this middle part was a blur. Some points I remember:
– The CD player didn’t work. Nor did the 2nd one. And all the fidgeting around with
both disturbed the air. Don’t laugh, when I was in there I could feel the air
molecules move, and I hated it!
– My husband tried to get in the tub with me. Nope, it was too small. But we
discovered that AFTER he got in with the small electronic organizer of mine that
he used to time contractions in his pocket. Yeah, it was fried.
– The nurse agreed to check the baby’s heart rate in the water. I don’t recall the
details; I think I just made it clear that I was not getting out anytime soon, so she
figured she had better find the Doppler that would go in the water. (That didn’t
like to work consistently, but hey.)
Eventually my doula came and I was still in the tub, I loved to tailor sit leaning against the edge. Vocalizing felt good, but even when it didn’t, I still made sure they knew I was having contractions!!! It wasn’t “bad” but I was so afraid it was going to get worse!
I remember at one point I needed ginger ale. I mean, I needed ginger ale. The world would stop turning if I didn’t get it. My doula went to get some, and was gone too long for my taste! (Turns out that the nurse didn’t want me to have any, so they got into a… conversation about it. I ended up with my ginger ale._)
So, there I was laboring away, handling things quite well. Then I burped. And I could feel them laugh. Mid-contraction. So I moaned “stoooop lauuuughiiing”….. And they didn’t. I could feel it!!! “I am NOT in transition, just stop, it was a burp! I just had ginger ale!!” To this day I won’t let them live it down, I know they were laughing!!!
Soon after I started having this weird thing at the peak of my contractions. It was like I was going to vomit, without the nausea. My lower back would just cramp up… and I did NOT like it. At all. I started to dread it happening…. And would vocalize it!! “Oooouuuuuuuuu…..uuuuuUUUUUUU I DON’T LIKE THIIIIIIIIIIIS”… Later, I realized that was the “urge to push” starting!
Eventually, they made me get out of the tub. I don’t remember how, because if it was up to me I just would have stayed there! I remember being buck naked, folded in a right angle at the hip, starting to leave when someone had the good sense to put a blanket over me!
We got through the door and I wasn’t planning on going any farther. I sat on the birth ball and leaned on my husband, then started begging for drugs. It wasn’t that it was so horrible… it was that I was convinced I couldn’t do it. I was still waiting for it to get worse! They kept telling me if I got into bed they would give me something, and I kept moaning that I didn’t want to move. I even tried to convince the doctor that if he gave me drugs, I would make sure my mother-in-law worked there as long as he needed her to! (In my head, I was trying to figure out how to break this to my mom!) Finally, the nurse agreed to give me something for the pain.
“WHAT? NO! I DON’T WANT DRUGS! I TOLD YOU I WAS DOING THIS THE
Nobody ever said a laboring woman was logical.
Somehow they got me on the bed, lying on my side. I was OK there, except those weird abdominal lurching things. (I made my friend promise she would teach her subsequent classes that the urge to push was like the urge to vomit, I don’t care how negative it sounds! It is much more accurate!!) I probably would have stayed there but they wanted me on my back.
I didn’t want to go on my back. I was perfectly comfortable. And honestly, I didn’t think I could get on my back.
Somehow, they got me on my back. Still don’t know how.
The rest of all this is a hodge podge, so bear with me!
I think at one point they said I could push, but I couldn’t figure it out. I gave some half hearted attempts, but I just couldn’t find my groove. But the darn nurse kept poking me. Like, where the baby’s head was. And it was driving me nuts! I kept asking her to stop, but she didn’t. At one point she started just as a contraction hit, and announced “I’m just trying to see the baby”.
“YOU WANNA SEE MY BABY?!? I’LL SHOW YOU MY BAAABYYYYYUUUUGGGHH!”
I found my groove.
It turns out, I push quite effectively if I yell.
So the pushing started. I remember at one point I had this horrific pain down my whole leg. I mean, it was horrible. I seriously was glad I was in a hospital because I wanted them to amputate it, that’s how bad it was. Thankfully, my doula told me to just give the slightest push, and it was gone! Whew!
At one point I was pushing and someone said “Almost there! A few more
pushes!” and I looked at the clock and said “No, it’s only 11:40, I have at least
20 minutes.” (It was August 14th.)
My husband through all of this was incredible. By now I was unbearably hot so I had him drenching a washcloth in ice water, and then laying it with some ice chips on my head and neck. But his favorite part that he insisted I put in this story was when he started counting out loud. I had warned him I didn’t want that, so as I pushed (with my eyes closed) I started frantically waving for him to stop. According to him, I whacked him pretty hard!! Still, having him there, knowing he supported me, made such a difference!
Finally the baby started crowning. I learned what the term “Ring of Fire” was all about! I begged for some cold water on the perineum, but the nurse said we couldn’t, as it was a “sterile (?!) environment”. Thankfully, the doctor told her to just go ahead and get some, and he applied it himself!
Finally, a head, and a body! He was out! With meconium! They cut the cord quickly and whisked him away. While before I would have said it was my worst fear, I was just so… dazed (in a good way) that I just laid back and smiled. I knew that this wouldn’t be nearly as over-medicinized as it was with Elizabeth. Plus, he was screaming up a storm! My poor doula friend was upset; she knew I had wanted him right on my chest, and to wait for the cord to be cut, etc, but I was OK with it.
I had done it. I had given birth.
I can’t describe the pride I have in that. It took 3 tries, but I was finally able to have the birth I wanted. (And by the way, it was 12:08 AM on August 15th!)