Holly’s First Birth: A fast unassisted birth in the hospital!

April 2, 2015

Holly and Josh took Curtis Method hypnobirthing classes to prepare for their first birth. Her labor progressed so quickly at the hospital that their little boy slipped out onto the bed before the doctor or nurses were even in the room. It’s amazing what women can do when they birth beyond fear. What a story! 

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This is my son’s birth story. I woke up to pee (like I do multiple times a night) around 3am on October 22nd. After laying back in bed and adjusting a few times I noticed a very wet feeling between my legs. I got up to check and there was nothing super alarming about what had happened, except that I was alarmed. I laid in bed about 15 minutes and tried to go back to sleep but my mind was racing. I decided to head to the living room so Josh could sleep instead of dealing with my tossing and turning. Pregnant tossing and turning is like a beached whale bouncing on a trampoline. Big movements.

Almost as soon as I got up I started to have this crampy feeling that I’d not yet experienced. It would come on then go away, then come on again. This happened a number of times, at very consistent intervals. I tried to distract myself with a movie but it wasn’t happening. The surges (my word for contraction) were steady… too steady so I decided to time them. They were 3-4 minutes apart lasting about 30-45 seconds. I walked, bounced on my birthing ball, did some cat/cow yoga moves until I 7am when I decided to wake Josh.

“Hey baby…I think I’m in labor.”

“What, REALLY?”

So we go on doing the things I had procrastinated on. Such as: packing a hospital bag, packing a diaper bag, packing the daddy doula kit, installing the car seat… You know, just the important stuff. I still thought I had two weeks. Babies rarely come early in first pregnancy’s, right?? Granted, knowing me, I was always going to be packing bags in labor, cuz that’s how I roll – procrastinator.

A little after 8am I contacted my Doula. We were supposed to have our last pre-natal Doula visit that evening. I guess our dress rehearsal was going to be the real thing.

I’m just going to pause here and give thanks to Megan for being an AMAZING Doula. Her support for both Josh and I gave us comfort going into something neither of us had experienced. I was able to truly birth with confidence. The pressure of the surges, and any pain was brought down because of her magic hot rice bag and perfect counter pressure on my hips and back. I was calmed by the feeling of her light touch and the femininity she brought to the room. Knowing she had personal experience of un-medicated childbirth made me confident that she would have my back and not let my strength falter during the most intense parts.

Megan arrived and it was like a friend coming over to hang out. I made bad jokes (cuz I do that) we watched the beginning of Super Troopers (laughter opens your sphincters) and The Voice. We talked, took walks and generally had a good time. My surges were still 3-4 minutes apart but closer to three than four. They were longer in duration, 45 seconds being the minimum and I had been losing my mucous plug all day. We decided to head to the hospital before rush hour. I wanted to ensure there was plenty of time for the birthing tub to be filled as I was planning on a water birth.

We arrived at the hospital around 3pm. I was only dilated to 2 cm and I’m not remembering how effaced I was. They checked and confirmed that it wasn’t my water that broke, probably the beginning of my mucous plug or something. After a couple hours they checked again and I was still dilated at 2 cm. The decision to go home was made. Mostly for my comfort but also since the hospital staff didn’t think I was in “real labor” so they wanted the room clear. I had been feeling nauseous since about 1pm during my surges and as soon as I signed the discharge papers I threw up the berries I had eaten to give myself energy.

That should have been a clue. It was the first time I had thrown up during my whole pregnancy. After a few minutes we left. It was 6pm, the tail end of rush hour. That car ride was not awesome. For me, surges in a reclining position are very undesirable. I need to add that I have been practicing hypnobirthing and was doing my breathing techniques through the day. I wasn’t settling down as deep into meditation as the surges, up until this point, were fairly manageable. I was starting to feel tired from both the lack of food and being up very early, not to mention the energy required to handle surges every 3-4 minutes all day long.

Once home I was kneeling next to the couch, resting my arms on the seat cushion. I started to focus more on going deeper into meditation. Within three surges of being home my waters released at 6:45pm.

And BOY DID IT BREAK!!!

My waters releasing were plentiful. It was a sudden rush of warm liquid, followed by a feeling of relief (not like going to the bathroom), then a second pump and rush of water. Almost immediately the intensity of the surges went up. I decided to take a hot shower (both for pressure/pain relief and for obvious cleanliness reasons). Josh began to time my surges. They were now 2-3 minutes apart lasting almost a minute. They were about three times as intense as the ones earlier that day. Back into the car we went to journey to the hospital for the second time that day.

That car ride was hell. Each time I had a surge I wanted to lift my butt off the seat to ease the pressure but doing that caused me to tighten other muscles which was counterproductive to relaxing and allowing my body to open for my son. We arrived back to the hospital. The check in process the second time was majorly frustrating. I asked for the birthing tub to be filled up. OK, I probably didn’t ask. It was likely more of an order with a “please” attached to the end. I was so ready to ease some of the tension in my body with the warm water. I’ve heard it referred to as a “liquid epidural” and that is exactly what I needed. They seemed to ignore my request a proceeded to ask me all of the exact same questions I had been asked less than four hours ago. Apparently that info is not saved…? After having a second very loud surge (I was singing my birthing song) they sent me to the room while Josh stayed to finish checking in. My Doula arrived at that time and together we went to the room where I took the position that felt best for me: on my knees on the bed resting my upper body on my birthing ball.

We put my hypnobirthing track called “Ideal Birth Experience” on the portable player and I started falling deeply into meditation to the words and a voice that had become so familiar to me the past few months. (Thank you Lauralyn for the wonderful hypnobirthing class and recordings – you saved me with your teachings and soothing voice.) I was checked at found to be dilated to 6 cm. Josh arrived and he and Megan worked with me to alleviate my tension and help me relax. Can I just say bluntly: childbirth is so intense. It is the most amazing thing I will ever do but also the most difficult. I kept repeating in my head what Megan had told me weeks prior: Childbirth cannot be more painful than me because it is me. I started to say no out loud, I’m not sure if I was trying to quiet the voices in my head that were starting to say “you can’t do this…ask for medicine…this is too much…I am not this strong…” My angel of a Doula responded in my ear, “That you are saying these things means you are so close, you CAN do it!”

I was checked again and I hear the number 7. I dropped deeper down into meditation at that point. By the way, there was not birthing tub arriving at this point. They said they were collecting all the parts and trying to get it filled. WTF! But I could not deal with that at that time, the surges were far too intense for me to rise out of meditation and complain about the hospital’s lackadaisical manner of helping me birth. Within a few more surges I felt the incredible urge to push. I gave it a little try and felt some resistance so I stopped. In my limited ability to process thought I imagined I was trying to push my baby out a cervix that wasn’t fully dilated. Another surge and again the same feeling. This time I reached down and felt my baby’s head crowning. I called out, “I’m going to push.” I pushed. I felt some resistance, I pushed with my breath curving my lower back down. Relief…his head was out.

photo-4I gave another push and felt the easy release of my sons body move through me. I felt him drop to the bed (yes, you read that right). I felt relief. The rest of the next minute or two has been retold to me: the only people in the room at the time my son was born was Josh, Megan, and a CNA. My midwife, other nurses and the birthing tub were MIA. Josh quickly picked up our son and handed him to me under my kneeling body (through my legs). I took my son into my arms and, with help, turned to sit down.

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The cord pulsed for two minutes before Josh cut it. There was meconium in me, which means the baby had a bowel movement inside and they needed to take him across the room to check him out. Josh went with him. I went into shock my legs shaking wildly, upper body shivering uncontrollably. Megan went to get warm blankets. My midwife and I delivered my placenta and she proceeded to stitch my tear.

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I was told my son’s breathing wasn’t what they would like and he needed to be taken to the NICU. Josh left with him and my Doula stayed with me. Again, I am so grateful to have had her there so I wasn’t alone (except the hospital staff that I didn’t know) while Josh stayed with our baby. My shivering was getting better slowly and I was given graham crackers and juice to help with my blood sugar. Within a short time frame (I wasn’t following the time so well) Josh and Cash came back to the delivery room where I had my skin to skin and started to nurse my boy for the first time.

Cash Smith Holfeltz arrived at 8:10pm. He rode the tails of the meteor shower on the 21st just in time for the eclipse on the 23rd. I felt him crowning, which is something that I wanted to do. The really incredible thing is nobody told me, “he’s crowning, reach down” I felt the urge to do so and there he was. A mothers intuition is truly incredible. Josh was the second person to touch our son helping to pick him up and hand him to me. It was beautiful. He weighed 5 pounds 15 ounces and is 18.5 inches long. I carried him 38 weeks and one day before he made his speedy surprise arrival on 10/22/14 at 8:10pm. The CNA who was in the room (she the blonde in one of my pictures) said, “You are made to have babies.” What a compliment after all that.

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There were a number of things that didn’t go as planned (the only water in the room was the toilet) and I sure nobody wants their son to drop out of them but he came so fast we did well with what we were given. Through it all he is perfect. We are a perfect family. Team Jolly has their number one draft pick and we are loving him so much!

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