Nikki’s first birth: Quick, easy water birth

January 25, 2012

Ever since I was young, I always knew I wanted to have a natural childbirth. Hospitals frighten me, and so when I got pregnant, my husband and I began to research natural childbirth methods. I learned about midwives and out-of-hospital births and water births, and felt strongly that was the route I wanted to take. I had already been seen by two OBGYN doctors and just didn’t feel comfortable with them. I found Bella Natal and the midwives of Better Birth and was amazed at how their care was exactly what I wanted. I then learned about HypnoBirthing from Laura Curtis, and it changed my pregnancy, and my life. My pregnancy was easy and wonderful, and we practiced and prepared for the birth of our first child. I was so confident that everything would go perfectly.

On Thursday, November 17 around 3:00 am, I woke up and saw that I had lost my uterine seal and saw some of my birth show. I was so excited and shouted to my husband, Ivan, that we may be having our baby very soon, even though her official guess date wasn’t until November 22. We embraced and kissed, so very happy for the exciting times that would be coming shortly. I knew that it could be still a few days or more, and tried not to think about it too much. That morning I began to have surges that felt much stronger than the Braxton Hicks surges I had experienced before, and I thought I may be in early labor. I practiced the breathing I had learned in our HypnoBirthing classes, but none of the surges were as intense as I had imagined they would be. By the afternoon the surges had ceased completely, so my husband and I went about our lives as normal.

Friday came, and the day went by with absolutely no surges or signs of labor, which left us thinking that it may be still a week or more before our baby arrived. However, in the evening we went to Chili’s and I had some spicy guacamole salsa and it made my surges begin again. We didn’t get our hopes up, but the surges were more intense than I had experienced the day before. We decided to go to bed early and just be patient, knowing that our baby would pick her own birthday when she was ready.

That night around 10:30 pm, I woke up to a surge that I knew was “the real thing.” I went to the bathroom and then went back to bed, making sure to keep breathing correctly and to lie on my left side. At 11:30 pm, 12:30 am, 1:30 am, 2:30 am, and 3:30 am I woke up to real surges again and went to the bathroom each time. One of the times I started to throw up, and then I knew that I was in labor. My husband was sleeping soundly and I didn’t feel like I needed him yet.

At about 4:30 am, I woke up to very strong contractions and had to focus on my surge breathing. An alarm went off at the apartments next door and Ivan woke up. I told him about my contractions and vomiting and he said we should start timing the contractions. The surges began every 4-5 min or so, but were only 30 seconds long. Ivan turned on soothing music and did light touch massage on me while my labor progressed through the early morning. I remember Laura telling me that the more time you spend on the toilet, the faster your labor goes, so I went to the bathroom a lot. Ivan never left my side and whispered affirmations and told me I was doing perfect. I felt so safe with him there. When a surge would start, I would grab his finger and he would start the timer. When the surge was over I would squeeze his finger twice. I don’t know what I would have done without him. He was so reassuring and confident in me and I felt so deep and relaxed. The next hours went by like minutes, and my surges got longer and closer together.

Close to 8:00 am, Ivan called the midwives at Better Birth and asked what we should do. They said to wait until my surges were 5 minutes apart, lasting about a minute for over an hour, and since I was pretty close to that, they said to check back in around 11. The midwives also told Ivan to make sure I ate. I tried to eat yogurt, an apple, and eggs & toast but I could only take a few bites. By this time I could hardly talk and was 100% focused on breathing. I kept counting in my head as I breathed in, “12345,” and as I breathed out more slowly, “678910,” and it helped keep me focused.

At around 9:30, we shared a spiritual moment––Ivan and I hugged and started crying because we knew our baby was coming today! It was the day we had waited for our whole lives, and I was ready.

Then came 11:00 am – the midwives were right on! I was 5-1-1 a few minutes before, and they told us they would meet us at Bella Natal at noon. Ivan got everything ready and put all of our stuff in the car. I was glad to have made a list and packed my bags early. I had a few contractions on the way to the car and kept my eyes closed the whole ride, not wanting to break my focus or slow down my labor. We arrived and Trinette said, “You look like you’ve been working hard!” and she and Laura helped me get settled in the bed.

In my birth preferences sheet I had requested no vaginal exams, but since I wasn’t 100% sure if my water had broken or not, I allowed them to check me. I had to be a 5 before getting in the tub anyway. Trinette checked first and had Laura check and she said, “Wow I’m so impressed by you! You’re at an 8 and you are so quiet!” They rushed and got the tub started and started to get the IV ready for my GBS.

I am paranoid of needles and did not want the IV to ruin my beautiful birth, so I focused even harder on staying relaxed and breathing. Ivan pushed my shoulder down and kept reminding me to go deeper and told me I was doing a beautiful job. It took awhile for them to find a vein for the IV (I hardly noticed and could barely feel it!), and then they gave me the medicine and taped the hep-lock on my right inner elbow.

Ivan helped me get a swimsuit top on and helped me get into the tub. I tried one or two positions and found myself basically in a prayer position, leaning over the side of the tub. I was comfortable there and Ivan was close by, whispering affirmations and making sure he was always touching me. I loved being in the tub and immediately felt my surges getting stronger. It seemed like only minutes went by and I wanted to bear down. It felt just like they said it would–a lot of pressure. I began to bear down and my breathing changed and the surges became more intense. I could feel my whole lower body changing, and knew my baby was getting close. I heard a pop and said, “I think my water broke!” (I think I was probably dilated to a 10 by then) and they verified that it had. The pressure became intense and I tensed up a little, and Trinette and Ivan reminded me to relax and breathe through my nose. They said the baby was coming any minute.

My breathing down turned to groans and I knew I was close to, or in, transition. The surges were so close and so intense. Laura told me I needed to change positions so Ivan could receive the baby. I didn’t love the new position but I was too far along and too deep into my birthing to care, and I wanted Ivan to be a part of the birth. I began to bear down more than ever and felt the pressure and pain of crowning. Ivan felt the baby’s head and told me to reach down. I felt a wrinkly little hairy head and gasped and said, “Oh my gosh! What do I have to do to get her out?” They told me to push longer and hold nothing back. When the next surge came I pushed with all my might and let out a massive “ahh!” and her head came out. One more surge and massive push and within an instant Ivan lifted my baby into my arms. I couldn’t believe it–my baby was born!! I was overwhelmed and amazed and in shock. She was a little purple and was covered in thick vernix and was so tiny. I started crying and said, “Oh, Ivy!” and kissed my amazing husband. The midwives put a towel over Ivy’s back to keep her warm and then I asked of anyone had checked to see if she was actually a girl. They all said no and I asked, “How do you check!?” and they all laughed. (I know how to tell the difference, I just didn’t know if I was supposed to take her off my chest.) I realized I had to lean her back for a moment, and then I sighed, “It’s a girl!” and kissed my sweet Ivy again.

It was complete euphoria. I birthed the placenta easily and sat in the tub while the cord pulsated. Ivan cut the cord when it was time and he held our precious Ivy while the midwives helped me to the bed. I knew I had torn a little, but I wanted to feed Ivy before getting checked. It was beautiful to breastfeed my daughter with my husband at my side–truly a dream. I feel so grateful that I was able to do a natural birth and that everything went so well and so quickly. I am in heaven on Earth with my daughter and my best friend & husband.

Total active labor: 3 hours 13 min

Total pushing: 9 min

2:02 pm – Ivy Nicole’s official birth time

6 lb 14 oz

20 inches

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

christal January 25, 2012 at 4:12 pm

you are a good mother and im so proud of you for being so brave. i love you. Daisy was born in 45 min I cant even remember Dalia was born in 3 days 12 hours active labor natural. long story i don’t have records. I love you !

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