Today starts a week-long mini series of birth stories! I think you will find each story unique–some with a touch of humor–and I hope that you will reminisce with us if you are a mother or learn along the way if you are not!
On Friday, I’ll put up a linky for any bloggers to link up their birth stories! If you aren’t a blogger, I welcome you to remember your birth stories along with us all week via the comments or on our Facebook page!
In 2008, I knew next to nothing about birth–even up until the time my water broke and I went to the hospital to give birth to my firstborn daughter, who turned 4 in June!
Back then, I was working full-time as an English as a Second Language teacher and Spanish interpretor, and I simply didn’t have the time to do much research. Oh, I did ask other moms about their experiences, and I did check one book out from the library–but none of my friends had had a natural labor, and the one book I checked out was all about the various pain medications you could take to ensure a “pain-free” labor.
The only problem? I wanted a natural labor. It’s something I truly desired. My mom had had drug-free labors with me and both my siblings, and I thought I could do the same.
But when my water broke around 1:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 12, 2008, my husband and I rushed to the hospital. I was group B strep positive, and the OB I was seeing had instructed me that if my water were to break, I needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible.
I now know that I could have waited–at least a little time–to see if labor would start on its own. Instead, I jumped in the shower, and my husband and I swiftly made it down the interstate to the hospital 45 minutes away. I think he even turned on the blinkers. 😉 We laughed and chatted nervously the entire way there…and I felt not a thing.
As soon as we arrived to the triage room, the nurse checked me for dilation. Nothing–absolutely nothing. I wasn’t dilated at ALL, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t effaced much either. “You’re in for a long night,” she chuckled. It was super encouraging. NOT!
The nurse wheeled me to a room and immediately hooked me up to pitocin. “Wait, I don’t want to be induced,” I said.
“Oh, this isn’t an induction…this is an augmentation,” she countered. “We’re just helping your laboring process along.”
I wasn’t given an option to say no. And my husband and I didn’t know that we could even refuse at that point. After a few minutes of the pitocin in my system, I started feeling sharp pains like knives in my back. I was sitting in the hospital bed, unable to get up and move about. (They also hooked me up to IV antibiotics since I was GBS positive and a catheter since I wouldn’t be able to get up and empty my bladder.) I never once felt a contraction in my front. The contractions felt very mechanical.
At this point, the pain was getting very intense, and I didn’t know how to cope. My husband and I asked our nurse to teach us some breathing exercises. I may have been hooked up to pitocin, antibiotics and a catheter already, but I surely wasn’t going to get an epidural! It wouldn’t be that long until she was ready to come, I thought.
The nurse taught us what she knew of Lamaze breathing. To this day, I have no idea if these breathing exercises were correct or not. I just remember doing 7 “he he he he he he hes” and 1 big “who” at the end. My husband held his fingers up and counted. But as the day progressed, the contractions kept getting more and more intense–and there was barely a rest break in between them.
After about 7-8 hours of this, I asked to be checked for dilation. I wanted to know if we were getting anywhere. At that point, I was between a 1 and a 2.
This came as an utter discouragement to me. I knew I needed to get to a 10, but confined to the bed, I didn’t know how in the world I was going to get there without some relief. I was also unable to eat or drink anything but ice chips, and I was getting very fatigued.
“I don’t want an epidural, but can you give me something to just ‘take the edge off’?” I asked the nurse.
She brought in stadol. “Will this make me loopy?” I asked. “I want to be in my right mind when the baby comes.” I knew that it doesn’t take much for me to feel overcome by medications. I avoid even tylenol if I can.
“Oh no, it won’t do a thing,” the nurse said as she gave me the medicine.
Within minutes I was hallucinating that I was in a forest with trees covered in red berries. I recounted what I “saw” to my husband. While I was still in “la la land,” the nurse asked me if I wanted the epidural. At this point I was probably the closest to drunk I’ve been, so I agreed. And, honestly, it’s probably good that I was drugged up because it took some of my fears away from having that gigantic needle inserted into my spine.
Honestly, looking back, with all I had already endured and not being able to employ any natural pain relief techniques (whether from ignorance or just from mere confinement), I’m glad I had the epidural at that point. After it was in, my husband and I both took naps. We needed that rest for me to be able to push the baby out–and achieve a vaginal delivery.
The rest of the labor was pretty boring I guess. I rested, I texted friends, I posted on Facebook. Then, about 14 hours after my water had broken, I felt the urge to push.
I pushed for an entire 2 hours. At one point I thought I overheard the staff mention a C-section. But, boy, I was determined to push my baby girl out! I could feel the urge to push, but I could feel no contractions/pain because of the epidural. Therefore, I pushed many times when I shouldn’t have.
At the very end, the doctor began to give me an episiotomy (which I had requested she not do on my birth plan…but I think the nurses and doctors never even read it). Once she started the episiotomy, I tore the rest of the way–resulting in a 4th-degree tear, the worst tear you can have.
But, in the end, they handed me the most beautiful little redheaded baby girl I had ever seen. She cried but quieted down when she heard my husband call her name.
I held her and I cried. I was a mother. The Lord had brought me through an incredibly difficult labor.
And although I wished it had been natural, I knew He had planned her birth long before time, and this first birth would make me all the more eager to truly educate myself before my second.
What was your first birth like? What did you learn through it?
For help with preparing for a natural childbirth, check out the #1 bestselling online childbirth course, Mama Natural Birth Course. It will empower you to have the natural birth you want…and you can watch the course in the comfort of your own home! You may also like Mama Natural’s FREE introductory video on 8 Keys to a Natural Childbirth. For more information on how to achieve a natural birth in a hospital setting, I recommend the eBook, Unbound Birth.
Be sure to come back each day this week to read more unique birth stories–and come link up your own on Friday!
Find our entire natural pregnancy and birthing series on the Series page!
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