Well Monday May20th started out as a pretty typical day. I had a midwife appointment at 8am in the morning and met with Mina. My cervix was closed, but she did tell me that I was very soft and ripe and that when I did go into labor, it could happen quickly since this was my second delivery. In the late afternoon my husband and I ran some errands, and at our first stop when I stood up to get out of the car, I felt a funny “pop” sensation down below and thought I felt some water come out. I wasn’t sure if my water had broken or not, nothing was really gushing out but I just felt sort of damp, so I told my husband we better go home just so I could check it out. At home I didn’t notice being too wet, so I figured that it was my imagination to think that my water had broken. So, we kept doing normal things. About an hour or two later, I had the exact same sensation. So, I checked it out in the bathroom again. There still wasn’t really any major water flowing, but I did notice what I thought might be “show” and started to get a little excited. But, I still had NO contractions and figured it could be days before the baby decided to enter the world.
So, we continued business as normal. We put our 2 yr old to bed and then left her with my dad to babysit and headed out to a movie. As we left the house to get in the car, I felt a tiny little twinge of tightness in my abdomen and wondered “could that be a contraction?” The twinges continued to keep coming, but they were so tiny and not painful at all that I still figured we had lots of time. In fact most of my friends who had babies in the past several months indicated that they had contractions off and on for days before their babies came. So I thought that since I had two weeks before my due date, I probably was just experiencing some Braxton Hicks.
The contractions kept coming but they weren’t really painful so I figured that it was no big deal and proceeded to just watch the movie. It did seem though that they were slowly getting stronger. They were so frequent that about 20 minutes into the movie I started timing them on my cell phone to see how fast they were coming. They were coming regularly at about 2 ½ minutes apart! So then I got really excited and scared and couldn’t decide what to do. I kept watching the movie and asked my husband his opinion and he didn’t know what to do, so since they didn’t hurt too much we just stayed in the theater. About 40 minutes into the movie they were starting to be stronger, so I told my husband I was going to take a bathroom break and also call the midwives and see what they thought I should do. I called and found out Belinda was on-call. I asked her if this was real labor or just Braxton Hicks and what to do and she said she thought it was real, and for me to come to the hospital whenever I was ready.
But, I still didn’t feel too much pain, so I went back into the movie and tried to finish it. Probably about 1 hr and 20 minutes into the movie I decide I couldn’t stand it any more. I recognized that I was really in labor and we needed to go home because we didn’t have the hospital bag ready or anything! So we left the movie early and headed home. Our two-year-old was still asleep and my dad agreed to just stay with her while we went to the hospital. So we packed the bag up for the hospital and at that point my contractions were getting painful. We checked into the hospital at almost exactly midnight. Belinda met up with us and she checked me and told me I was 4cm dilated, which was pretty disappointing considering how much pain I was already in and how quickly my contractions were coming.
After checking me, I was admitted to a labor and delivery room pretty quickly. I told Belinda I wanted to try for a natural delivery, but acknowledged that I didn’t know if I would be able to endure the pain or not. I figured out that I liked having something for my hands to squeeze to manage my pain, and the accessibility bar in the bathroom was a great grip for me during contractions while laboring in the hospital. Belinda had the nurses get the laboring tub ready for me and when it was full I got in and it was a huge relief. I was shocked actually at how much better I felt. However, it really bothered me because it wasn’t as convenient to have something to grab onto when the contractions came. But the relief from the water was amazing and I did eventually find some bars on the outside of the tub to grab onto. In fact the water felt so good, that I started falling asleep in between contractions. Several times I nearly dropped my head into the water before waking up suddenly! I labored like that for awhile, maybe 45 minutes or so and then the contractions started getting so bad that I was feeling ready to give up and get an epidural. I definitely screamed through every contraction and had a hard time feeling guilty afterwards because I kept thinking how it was the middle of the night and there were probably women in other rooms with newborns trying to sleep. I asked Belinda to come look at me and check and see how dilated I was because I knew that if I hadn’t progressed then I was going to give in and ask for an epidural. She asked me if I felt like I needed to push and I said “no, not really, but I am just in so much pain” and so she said for me to wait half an hour and then she would check me. So, she left the room, and right as she left the room I felt a huge contraction that made me want to push! So I screamed for her to come back and she did right away got me out of the tub and onto the bed. Belinda told me to get on the bed on all fours in preparation for pushing, so I did. But, for some reason, that position seemed to stop my need to push. I still had contractions but I no longer felt like I needed to push really. And I no longer really had anything to grab onto during the contractions and that was extremely upsetting.
I ended up finding the bars on the sides of the bed to hold onto but that just buried my face in a pillow during every push and my husband was worried I wasn’t getting sufficient oxygen. I finally said “this isn’t working” and Belinda then had me try laboring on the labor bar which I had indicated earlier that I really wanted to do. I loved having something to hold onto, but it kept feeling like it was in the wrong spot because leaning on it put too much pressure on my chest, cutting off my ability to breathe very well again. I did that for a good amount of time, but still didn’t feel like it was successful because I couldn’t breathe well. So, finally, I ended up pushing in the regular position, laying on my back with my feet propped up on the bar. This worked the best, actually, although once again I had nothing to grab onto. I remember feeling frustrated that I didn’t have anything to hold onto, but decided that it just didn’t matter because I wanted the baby to come out. So I choose to focus on making the baby come out and not pain management. Anyhow, I pushed really hard a few times in a regular lying on my back position and felt the “ring of fire” as they call it and Rosaline’s head finally emerged. I kinda thought I was pretty much done at that point, because I knew her head was out but Belinda kept shouting at me “push push” and I kept asking “her head’s out right?” and Belinda just kept telling me to push. So I tried a tiny push and that wasn’t good enough, so I finally gave it a full effort and pushed hard and it turned out that Rosaline’s shoulders were actually much harder to push out than her head. Although I couldn’t tell personally, those watching the birth said that my water didn’t actually break until Rosaline literally was coming out of me. So, basically, she was almost born inside the bag of waters, but as she emerged, it broke.
They gave Rosaline to me right away and it was sweet to hold her and tell her that her name was Rose and talk to her. As soon as she came out Belinda commented that she thought Rosaline was a huge baby and was guessing 10 pounds, or at least 9 pounds. That really freaked me out, despite the fact that she was already out of me! But Belinda was wrong because she was only 8 lbs even and 19 inches long. Still, that is quite large for a two week early baby. Rosaline was born at 2:22am which meant that my entire labor was only 6 and a half hours from first contraction to the final push! To me that was so fast I couldn’t believe it.
I was so happy and relieved that it was such a success and so grateful to Belinda for her supporting me in fulfilling my wishes for the delivery as well as the other midwives for such a great pregnancy and family circle experience. I just remember being so shocked that I actually had accomplished having a baby naturally! My recovery for this delivery was so much easier than for the delivery of our first child-in my opinion because this time it was a natural childbirth. I could walk around soon afterwards and I was just so much more comfortable. Having an unmedicated birth was a dream come true and such a positive experience. I know it isn’t a prospect that many women nowadays have because of all the risks, challenges, and complications we face during delivery and I completely respect that the first priority of the medical community is keeping both baby and mom safe using whatever means necessary. But, I am so grateful I was able to have this opportunity and I would do it again in a heartbeat if given the chance!
Proud Momma: Anna Mae
Proud Momma: Anna Mae