Rachel’s First Birth: Unmedicated Hospital Birth at 42 weeks; Mama sticks to birth plan despite special circumstances

September 9, 2012

They say only about 5% of babies are actually born on their due date. Unfortunately, I was NOT part of that 5%.  March 3rd came and went…then a week, then another.   I tried every trick in the book to start labor but nothing seemed to work.  Sawyer was on his own time table and not anyone else’s.   It was so hard waiting for him!  During the end of the 2nd week I was having a partially difficult day.  I decided to call our HypnoBirthing teacher to see if she might have advice for me or tips on what I could do to get my labor started.  One thing she said really struck me.  “You need to just relax and not worry; he will come when he is ready.”  “It is between you, your baby and God…have a heart to heart with them.” She said. That’s just what I did.

That night (Thursday) my labor started.  Sawyer still wasn’t quit ready to come yet though.  He must have known that I needed to learn patience.  My surges came every 4-5 minutes all night long. I spent most of the night in our rocking chair, breathing through each contraction.  Armstrong fell asleep sometime in the middle of the night waking occasionally to make sure I was okay. At one point we got excited thinking, “This is it; our baby is finally coming!” We called our Doctor and she said I was probably okay to continue to stay at home as first times mom usually have a long pre-labor.   Morning came and my contractions slowed enough that I could get some rest.  Luckily, I was able to sleep most of the next day.

My surges started again that night and I labored all night again.  Once more thinking, “This is it; our baby is finally coming!”  My surges slowed again in the morning.  Armstrong and I were starting to get really frustrated and discouraged.  I wondered if all this was normal.  I got some much needed rest and prayed that Sawyer would come soon.

Saturday evening, once again, my surges started up again, slowly getting closer and closer together.  Around 8:00 pm they started getting noticeably stronger.  Armstrong really wanted to go to the hospital but I wasn’t quite ready yet; I was worried this would be another false alarm.  By about 9:00 I felt ready. “Okay let’s go.” I said. As Armstrong gathered everything together my contractions started getting a lot stronger.

The car rid to the hospital was not fun; it felt like we hit every red light and every pot hole on the way. We finally made it and Armstrong rolled me into the hospital in the wheelchair as I continued to breathe through each surge.  Going into the hospital seemed a bit surreal.  After all the waiting I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around the fact that it was finally here!

We checked in.  I was dilated to about a 3 ½ and almost fully effaced.  I thought I would be further dilated than that after all the pre-labor… it was a bit discouraging.  During the 20 minute monitoring of our baby they noticed that his heart rate was dropping during the contractions.  Because of this I kept the EKG monitor on my tummy; it was really annoying because it kept falling off whenever I moved.  The nurses brought me in a rocking chair and we gave them a copy of our birth plan.  I was relieved that our nurse had four children through natural childbirth herself.  I tested positive for GBS so they administered a dose of penicillin and then left us alone.

It wasn’t long before we heard. “You’re babies heart rate is dropping dangerously low.” They had me lay on my side on the bed to help bring his heart rate back up.  His heart rate kept dropping really low.  “We would like to be able to monitor your baby closer” the Doctor said.  This would require them to break my water and insert a monitor in the top of his head. They left us alone so Armstrong and I could discuss it.  I had a hard time focusing and wasn’t sure what to do.  I was nervous about having my water broken and something stuck in our babies head.  We decided it was best for the safety of our baby to get the monitor.

I didn’t feel my water break but the contractions were so much more intense after! When they broke my water (which Armstrong said smelt really bad) they found that Sawyer had passed his meconium. Another worry for my little boy!

Because of the strange dips in Sawyer’s heart beat the doctor was concerned that I might need a C-Section.  “No… not a C-section!” I thought to myself.  The Doctor said, “We want to let you know you might want to consider getting an epidural in case we do have to do a C-section.  That way we won’t have to put you all the way out and your husband can be there when you have the baby.”

It was hard to let my body take over and relax while trying to decide with my husband about what was going to be best for me and our baby. We decided to basically get something similar to a hep-loc in my back for the epidural so that if I did end up needing one for a C-section the medication could be quickly administered.  I must admit it was a little tempting after they put in the hep-loc to just throw in the towel and use the excuse that my baby was under stress and with the looming threat of a C-section I decided to get the epidural.  “It would be so much easier!” I thought. However, my husband and nurses were so encouraging and kept telling me that I was doing a great job and to keep going that the idea quickly passed.  I thought of our baby, Sawyer, and how I wanted to give him the best birth experience and start to life I could  and recommitted myself to having my baby the way I had planned…un-medicated.

I had four and a half hours of intense labor.  They hooked my up to oxygen and I had to lie on my side for most of it and constantly switch back and forth so the babies heart -rate would come back up.  His heart rate dropped only every other contraction allowing him time to recover in-between.  That, coupled with my fast labor, allowed him to be born naturally! The doctor said she had never seen a pattern like Sawyer’s; his heart rate dropped in a bell shape instead of a carrot shape and she said it was odd that it was only every other contraction. We truly were blessed and watched over!

Labor was much different than I had expected.  I thought it would be more along the lines of the women that I had seen in the birthing videos.  They all seemed so calm and focused; they made birth look easy.  Giving birth is definitely not easy!  It was one of the hardest but most rewarding things I have ever done.  With every contraction my whole body seemed to convulse inwards.  I could feel my muscles working hard to get our baby out.  The only way I can think to describe it is like throwing up but out the other end. Luckily, though you get a beautiful baby when you’re done! During labor I was VERY loud;  it seemed physically impossible for me to be quiet… it felt so good to just “let it out” with each contraction.  My poor husband wasn’t quite sure what to think of it al; to him it seemed like I was in so much pain and no husband wants to see the one they love suffer.  However, I wasn’t suffering it was just really intense hard work.

Soon I felt the urge to push but the Dr. said I wasn’t quite ready yet.  After a few contractions I was able to really push.  I couldn’t feel his head moving down but I did feel a really intense pressure and slight burning sensation.  It felt better to push but it was VERY tiring.  I pushed for almost a half an hour and I kept asking the Doctor if he was moving.  I reached down and touched the top of his little head as he was coming out.  Amazing!  I remember the Doctors and nurses talking about how much hair he had as he was coming out and I couldn’t help but smile.

I felt his body slip out which was a really cool feeling. I took a deep breath and I remember thinking “I did it!  My baby is here!”  Armstrong had to quickly cut the cord before they whisked him over to the little bed to make sure he was breathing okay and didn’t get any of the meconium in his lungs.

It was hard not getting to hold him and see him right away!  I just wanted my little baby.  I watched him over in the corner surrounded by nurses.  I listened to his little cry and wished I could comfort him.  Before they took him to the nursery to monitor his breathing they brought him over quickly so I could see him.  He was wrapped in a blanket. He was so beautiful!  Armstrong went with Sawyer to the nursery and the doctor gave me one little stitch because I had torn a bit.

Soon I was in the room all alone.  My baby and husband down in the nursery and me left waiting in the silence.  My whole body was shaking from all the endorphins, adrenaline and exhaustion.  The nurses brought me warm blankets but it didn’t help much.  This was not how I pictured the moments after my baby was born to be; alone in a hospital room.  I was relieved though that my baby was healthy and slowly watched the clock waiting for them to return.

Forty five minutes later a happy baby and husband came into the room.  Finally I got to hold Sawyer! As I began to breast feed I had really strong contractions …which I was not anticipating.  I had to stop feeding him a few times because they were so strong.

An hour or so later we were all relaxing in the recovery room; baby snuggled on my chest and husband by my side. This is finally how I had pictured it. We talked in the quite dim room about how crazy it was that our baby was here and that we were parents.  We talked about our birth experience and marveled at our little boy.

Later that night, or rather early the next morning, I sat in bed cradling Sawyer.  Armstrong had fallen asleep and all was quiet and still. I finally had time to internalize everything that had happened.  I looked down at my little baby and began to cry.  I felt so blessed to have him in my life.  He was so innocent and sweet.  He was our little angel from heaven!

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