Aurora’s Birth Story
Due Date: 11/10/07...
went into labor on 11/14...
We started taking Bradley birthing classes about
three months ahead of my due date, and felt pretty prepared by the time the day was arriving. Four long days past my due date I woke up with mild cramping and contractions. My contractions were easy all day, not painful but just like pressure and tightness in my abdomen. They stayed about 5 minutes apart all day, and then at 3:15 I lost my mucus plug. After that, things started to move. VERY mild pain kicked in, so I called Chris home from work and got down to business packing the bag and having some dinner. We also called my mom and sister to make the 2 hour drive up. Here's how the rest of the labor went:
*6 pm - Contractions become more painful but not requiring much concentration, just eyes closed and a deep breath or two sufficed - we weren't even timing them at this point.
*7:15 - Start timing contractions and realize they are still coming 5 minutes apart and each one is lasting a full 1 min 30 seconds.
*8:30 - contractions getting more painful and intense, requiring me to breathe through them and not being able to talk during them anymore. Also didn't want to talk much in between either, since I was getting such short rest periods. Very unlike me! Chris knew it was serious at this point.
*9:20 - Water breaks during a pretty intense contraction. Contractions immediately pick up in pain and intensity, about 4 minutes apart, and Chris decides it's hospital time. This was the point where "breathing through" wasn't cutting it anymore and I had to start "vocalizing," something I swore I’d never do! Ha!
*9:45 - arrive at hospital, 4-5 cm dilated, in a lot of pain, and was immediately taken back to labor room - spent a long 30 minutes being hooked up to monitors, asked questions, given a hep-lock, and being told by the nurses that I wanted the epidural. Once all the nurses left and it was just me, Chris, my mom, and our Bradley teacher Rachel, things were better. I wasn't telling everyone how bad the pain was anymore, despite the fact that it was unbelievably bad.
*10:40 - Contractions are very painful at this point, and self doubt starts to sink in, I start telling Chris I don't think I can do it and he keeps saying "you are doing it!" just like he learned to... the contractions were coming right on top of the other, just as one would wind down I would get like 30 seconds of rest and another one would start. I never actually said it out loud but I felt like I was losing my mind the pain was so intense and unstoppable.
*11:30 - after laboring through the worst pain imaginable on the stupid bed for another hour I asked for an exam because I needed some encouragement that progress was being made... nurse checked me and I was only at a 6! This is when I really thought I might not make it. I was lying on my side, gripping the hand rail, and the pain got worse and worse. I remember thinking "I can get out of this. I can tell them I'm done and get the epidural" but then thinking that if I did that, I would have to SIT STILL for 10-20 minutes for the procedure, which would have been impossible. At this point I accepted the fact that I was definitely in it to win it. I told Chris I was starting to feel panicky though so he suggested I change position to see if it would help, so I moved to the birthing ball and it was immediately better. The pain was halved and all of a sudden I was getting more rest time in between. So then I was kicking myself mentally for not getting out of the bed sooner… it’s just that I was paralyzed by the pain to the point that I just wanted to curl up in a ball and lay there. But next time I’ll know to get moving if it gets that bad again. My 19 year old sister arrived around this time.
*11:50 - Transition hits! The pain ramps back up and I rush for the toilet because I hoped it would be more comfortable there. I started throwing up, shaking uncontrollably, and saying all kinds of crazy things (like “This bites!” I never say that! Haha!). I finished throwing up and went back to the birthing ball and all at once felt VERY awake. Just like the birthing classes said I would when it was almost time to push! I remember starting up a conversation with Rachel and she says, "You’re acting really weird. What's wrong with you? You're acting like you're done."
*12:20 am - The contractions suddenly get easier and instead of being extremely intense pain, they get replaced by a serious downward pressure type feeling... I squatted on the floor during one contraction and got worried I might go to the bathroom everywhere so I went back to the toilet for a minute until everyone figured out that I was trying to push. I couldn't believe how "textbook" the whole pushing urge thing was. Mom, Chris, and Rachel tell me to relax, because surely I couldn't have gone from 6 to 10 cm in half an hour... so I fight it for another 5 minutes until I demand to push. Mom runs for a nurse and they take their sweet time getting there...
*12:30 am - nurse confirms I'm fully dilated and at a 0 station and I get the go ahead to get on the bed and "assume the position." It takes a few minutes for everyone to get there, like the doctor, the rest of the nurses, etc, and I have to get hooked up to the monitor in the meantime. Then, all of a sudden, there were like 12 extra people standing in the corner. They went and got all the students and residents to watch, because natural births are extremely rare at that hospital. I saw the crowd and said, “I feel like I’m in a movie!” They all laughed courteously.
*12:40 - "Real" pushing begins. It was the best feeling in the world. I could seriously push a hundred babies out, it felt so much better than dilating. The monitor showed slight decelerations in her heart rate with each push, so they put me on oxygen and it did the trick. I did feel kind of desperate about getting her out though, so I pushed and pushed and pushed as hard as I could until POP! Chris told me later that it went from being able to barely see her little head to all of a sudden her whole head was out... the doctor even had to jump forward to keep her from flying out. One more little push and...
*1:05 am - She's born! She came down and out so fast that I was definitely not getting any chance to stretch out beforehand... so, 3rd degree tear for me. But I didn't care at all... she was so beautiful and perfect all I could do was look at her.
After she was out, the pain just stopped. Entirely. I felt great! We were immediately holding her and everyone was crying and laughing and saying how beautiful she was. She got perfect scores on her APGARs and was so awake and alert she was grabbing at the nurses’ scrubs and pulling on the sides of the warming bed while they were trying to wipe her down. It took a while for the doctor to "fix me up" afterwards, but even that didn't concern me because I was too busy falling in love with my baby.
We started nursing about 10 minutes after she was born, but took a little break shortly thereafter because there was a tiny bit of meconium in the fluid that came out with her, so the nurses did a little suctioning just for safety’s sake. We got to keep her with us in the LDR room for about an hour and then she had to go to the nursery to get checked out. Mom, Lauren, and Rachel left to go home and sleep, and then Chris went with the baby to the nursery. While he was gone, I ate 3 Rice Krispy Treats and a king size bag of M&Ms… rookie mistake. Eat protein after you give birth, knucklehead!
Within a few minutes, Chris came back and said that the baby was going to be in the nursery on a warming blanket for a few minutes, so he and the nurse decided to try and get me out of bed and to the bathroom. As they hauled me to the side of the bed it occurred to me that I should tell the nurse I have a history of fainting... which I did, just in time to pass out. To make a long story short, I fainted 7 times in a row before they decided to just catheterize me and let me stay in the bed. I think my blood sugar spiked from the Rice Krispy Treats/M&Ms and then dropped super fast because I hadn't eaten since 5:30 the day before, and combined with the strenuous nature of the activity I had just completed, it wasn't surprising I fainted.
The rest of the day I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I was really sore that day, including my lungs and chest felt sore from all the deep breathing and pushing, but by early the next morning I was moving around a lot better. We started asking when we could go home, and were surprised when they said "Right away!" In fact, we got discharged so fast we forgot to fill out the paperwork for her birth certificate! We went back a few days later and did it so she was legal.
Natural childbirth was the most challenging thing I have ever done. It was also the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. I don't regret a single thing about the entire experience. Chris was the most incredible labor coach I could have imagined. He was totally attentive to my every need during my pregnancy, and was perfect in every way during the entire labor, delivery, and recovery. I know without doubts that if he had not been there to encourage me and support me that I would never have been able to do it. He is my hero! Our little girl is absolutely gorgeous. I am amazed by how alert and awake she is... she doesn't have that blurry eyed baby look about her at all, and I really believe it's from being born naturally. I am now thinking about getting trained as a Bradley teacher myself so I can help other couples learn their stuff before having their babies naturally as well.
*My apologies if this is unnecessarily long. I wrote it for family and friends of mine to be able to read and had a difficult time paring it down! I feel like so many parts of my labor were important to document because of what a textbook normal labor I had… I wanted people to read it and realize that this is what normal labor looks like. I’ve had multiple people tell me it was helpful to read, so hopefully it was okay that I left it this long.*
Stay tuned to hear Lindsey's home birth story next week!