When I found out we were expecting, a few well-meaning friends suggested I read up on my options for birth as they had had negative experiences with theirs. I took their advice and read as much as I could. My research suggested that the best option for mom and baby was to plan a natural childbirth and to avoid medical interventions and drugs as much as possible. I wanted to give my baby the best start that I could. We decided to labor at home for as long as possible to avoid interventions and to enjoy the experience in a comfortable environment. Here is the story how our little girl was delivered into my arms.
I had my first contraction around 9:00 am on a Saturday. The strange tightening of my uterus continued relatively painlessly throughout the day, coming as often as every 5-7 minutes. We knew the baby would be on his or her way soon so we spent Saturday preparing as much as we could. We did laundry, cleaned up in the house, took two enjoyable walks to nearby parks, and spent time together.
The regular contractions continued throughout the night. I awoke at 4:30 am Sunday when they became painful. I was unable to go back to sleep, but I stayed in bed to rest up for the labor ahead. At 7:50 am, we headed to a nearby church for Mass (much earlier than our usual Mass time). Contractions occurred regularly throughout the Mass. When I felt one coming, I’d just stop singing and hold on to my husband. The Deacon blessed us after Mass. We told him the baby would be coming later that day. Our doula, Sandra, stopped by in the morning to check my progress. She said I was about 3-4 cm dilated.
Labor increased in intensity around 11:00 am and had become so difficult then that we would not have been able to attend our usual 11:00 Mass. My husband helped me make some chicken soup with extra celery and carrots for lunch. That was pretty much the last food I had before delivery. As we ate, he helped me focus whenever I had a contraction by showing me some fun photos he’d had printed for the occasion. After lunch, on our doula’s advice, we headed out for a very difficult lap around the block. I’d have to stop at every contraction (they were coming pretty quickly at that point) and lean on the husband to make it through. Halfway around the block, one of our neighbors offered us a ride. We declined.
When we returned from the walk, my husband filled the bath for me and put some lavender-scent in the water. He turned on my favorite relaxing music. I listened to the whole album in the bath, and he came in to help me whenever I had a contraction. After the bath, I showered off and got on the birth ball. I was starting to shake and I knew that we needed to get to the hospital fast or we’d be having a baby in our bedroom. My husband called the doula to see how close she was to arriving. Since she was only a few minutes away, we decided to wait for her to check me before we left.
At 2:40 pm, I moved from the ball to labor on the toilet and we heard a knock on the door. My husband went to let Sandra in as my water broke into the toilet during a violent contraction. I couldn’t have asked for it to break in a better place… very easy cleanup! Flush! The doula checked me and said I was 8 or 9 cm (yikes!) so we grabbed our gear and we headed for the hospital to deliver the baby.
We arrived at the hospital around 3:15 pm. We got a wheelchair for me and headed straight for Labor and Delivery. The wheeled me up to a room and got me up on the bed. They checked the baby’s heart rate and barely managed to get a Hep lock (IV needle with nothing attached to it). They asked if I was planning to have anything for the pain, I said no. I think it would have been too late at that point anyway. I kept thinking I might throw up, but I didn’t.
I decided I had to go to the bathroom so I headed for the toilet and while there my body started writhing and pushing spontaneously. It was really weird. When I got back to the table, they checked me again and said I still had a little lip of cervix left, but they decided I could start pushing I guess because it’s hard to stop nature from doing what it wants to do.
At our doula’s suggestion, I pushed lying on my left side with my right leg up against my husband who felt solid as a wall. Pushing took about 15 minutes. Maybe less. I was really motivated to get the baby out because I really wanted to know if it was a boy or a girl (not knowing was a great motivation). When the baby was crowning, I moved to my back at the insistence of the attending nurse. At 4:24 pm, the rest of the baby’s body slid out quickly and my husband looked at me with tears in his eyes and tenderly delivered the line… “It’s a girl.”
Our little girl rested on my chest while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing before it was clamped and cut. I was so happy about having my little girl that I forgot I still had to deliver the placenta. The doctor told me to push again. I didn’t think to look at the placenta when it came out, but apparently it was like a deflated basketball. It was good to have the baby out. She looked so perfect with all her fingers and toes and a full head of brown hair. She was so beautiful! We are very blessed.
The whole birth experience was truly amazing! Experiencing a natural birth was awesome! I highly recommend it. My body knew what to do to get the baby out and it did it. I was so glad to have done my reading into birth experiences, and I was blessed to be able to give our daughter a great start to her life outside the womb. We had a wonderful weekend of becoming three.
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At birth, our little one weighed 6 pounds, 15.6 ounces and was 20 and 1/4 inches long. She has straight brown hair and dark blue eyes, for the time being. Her long fingers and toes get a lot of attention. (Future piano player perhaps?) She is super cute and we love her very much!