Ok, major disclaimers:
First, if you don’t like words like cervix, placenta, bloody discharge, etc: STOP READING! This is a birth story. If you know me and think that our relationship will be destroyed by the fact that you hear this story: STOP READING!
Second, I have been reading tons of birth stories all throughout my pregnancy, and I found that I love them. That is honestly what helped prepare me the best for my own labor and delivery. So I will be including full details in this story, and it will be super long.
Thirdly, my labor went almost exactly like I wanted it to go, but I can’t claim the fame for that one. I had an AMAZING team helping me through this. Theo was incredible the entire labor. He never ONCE left my side and put up with me saying the most ridiculous things for 5 hours straight. I also had a wonderful doula, Paulette. She met with us beforehand, and gave me lots of reading material and tips on how to get through labor. She had her hand about squeezed off by me, and as you will see throughout the story, she was the one who helped make the labor go so quickly. I HIGHLY recommend a doula, but even more than that, I HIGHLY recommend Paulette. Since my Mom didn’t have a chance to make it to the delivery, I asked my aunt to step in and be an extra support person. She was also SO helpful, and gave me lots of encouragement throughout the labor. I also had an excellent nurse, and I immediately felt comfortable with her. She actually ended up delivering the baby, and took great care of me and Tera.
So, let’s start at the beginning.
10 months ago, …..
Thursday, August 7th.
40 weeks, 1 day pregnant.
Theo went to work at 4:30 am, and was going to get home around 11:30 pm. Let’s please remember that he has at least an hour commute, more like 1 1/2 hours.
I woke up, and had a contraction. No big deal. The same thing had happened the day before. And the day before that. I piddled around some in the morning, then went in for my regular 40 week appointment. Since I was overdue, they wanted to do a non-stress test.
The test went great, no problems. The Dr. asked if I wanted to be checked for dilation, I said no thanks. And I went on my merry way with my big ol’ pregnant belly and my happy-as-a-clam-to-stay-inside baby. Or so we thought.
My friend Hannah had invited me to go to a local lake/beach with her, so I grabbed some lunch, changed into my swimsuit and headed out the door. I met up with Hannah, and sat on the beach and read a book as Hannah did a hardcore swim to train for her triathalon. It was a very nice day, and the sun was so relaxing. I had a couple contractions, but again…no big deal, nothing new.
I got home from the beach around 5, and went to the bathroom. When I wiped, there was bloody discharge. I knew this was an early sign of labor, and I suddenly just knew that this was it, even if there were no other signs. I called Theo and told him that I was pretty sure I was in labor, but that I wasn’t feeling the need for him to come home RIGHT now, so we would just play it by ear. I figured if it was just early labor, I would still have HOURS and hours of labor ahead of me. I called my doula, she said things looked good, but to not jump the gun and call it “labor” yet, as it could still be hours. But I just knew. I knew because I was SO. CALM. I’m not a calm person. I called my parents, who were in DC and told them I thought I was in labor, and that they might want to drive through the night instead of coming down the following day. I washed the dishes, took down and folded the laundry, then had a really strong contraction.
And pop! My water broke. Around 6 pm. I called Theo and said “come home NOW”. Unfortunately, he was with a patient and wasn’t able to leave immediately, but his co-workers were very helpful in getting him out of there within an hour. I called my parents and said I really was in labor. I called my doula. I called the midwife, and she said to come in sooner rather than later since I needed two doses of antibiotics, 4 hours apart. We decided as soon as Theo got home we would head in. I called my aunt, and she came over and helped me through the contractions that I was having. I wasn’t timing them or anything, just letting them come while I bounced on the birth ball. Theo gathered up all the last minute stuff, made both of us some dinner, and we headed out to the birth center (8:30ish). At this point, time started to become completely irrelevant. I couldn’t tell you if it was a long drive or a short one, if it was dark or light out, how many contractions I was having or how frequently. My body just completely took the lead and we went with it.
We arrived to the birth center, and Theo dropped me off at the door so he could go and park. I sat on a bench and labored through a contraction, and all the ladies at the front desk rushed over to see if I was ok. A security guard rushed a wheelchair over but I told him I didn’t need it as the contractions was already over (duh! Hello, dude? Who do you think you are trying to be all helpful??!??). I walked up to my room and by then my contractions were getting really intense, and I really needed help through them. I just sat in a rocking chair and rocked, holding Theo’s hand and focusing on a focal spot on the ceiling or floor every time one hit (my aunt’s recommendation- and an INCREDIBLY helpful one! Don’t close your eyes as it keeps you focused on the pain, instead focus on something else in order to get through the pain).
I was SO COLD, and I couldn’t stop shaking.
I think I was telling Paulette, “I don’t want to throw up!”
They checked my cervix (my first and ONLY check!), and I was at a 6. A 6!!! I was delighted about that, but I hated having fingers stuck up me- that was the first time I cried. I vowed never again to let them check me, and panicked a little bit about how bad this was going to be!!! My doula arrived right about then, and started helping me breath through the contractions while they administered the first dose of antibiotics and filled up the birthing tub. As soon as that antibiotic was done, I got in the tub. Oh, heavenly! It was so warm and soothing, but I did not like being in there by myself, so I had Theo get in and hold me in place, especially when I had a contraction. But I hated him being beyond me, because throughout the contractions my focal point became Theo’s eyes. I would just look at them and that would help remind me to breath through.
Like I mentioned before, I have absolutely no idea of time. I don’t know how long it was before I got in the tub, I don’t know how long I was in the tub for. While I was laboring in the tub, I hit transition. Apparently I was saying some pretty funny things, like, “I don’t want this baby anymore!” “I don’t want her!”, and “just cut her out of me! Just cut her out!!!” I really, really, really didn’t want to be in labor anymore. I kept telling everyone I was so tired and I just wanted to take a nap. They kept reassuring me to keep going and it would be over soon, but I didn’t want it to be over soon, I wanted it to be over RIGHT then. I wanted it to have never begun! I wanted to rewind 10 months and rethink that decision to become pregnant. They kept making me go on my hands and knees, but I didn’t like that because I couldn’t see Theo’s eyes and those contractions were even more painful! I really, honestly felt like I couldn’t do it. And that is when I discovered the absolute miracle of natural childbirth. My whole body just knew it couldn’t take much more, and it took a break. I went a good 10-15 minutes with only tiny little, bearable contracts, just floating in the water. I think I actually fell asleep. I was perfectly happy to stay like that, but Paulette finally said, “ok, we have to get this labor going again, so let’s get you out of the tub.”
At this point in time, my contractions were starting to feel “pushy”, and I was terrified! I did NOT want to push at all. I hated the feeling of a pushy contraction. I hated that I had no control over the urge to push. And I really, really, really did not want to throw up. I felt like those pushing contractions would make me throw up, and I didn’t want anything to do with them. So I layed down on the bed, clenched my legs together really tight, and cried through all the contractions that I absolutely did not, could not, would not do this!!!! And here is where the body played miracle number 2: no matter how hard I tried to NOT push that baby out, my body was doing it anyways. While I layed there, my body pushed that baby down the birth canal, despite all my attempts to stop it! Paulette and Theo let me writhe in misery for a while and then told me that was enough of that and I needed to get up and push the baby out. Paulette gently commanded (I think that is a good explanation of what a doula does) me to have a couple contractions while sitting on the toilet, as that is the perfect position to get that baby moved down. I complied, but only because I knew I really didn’t have a choice. At this point, I hadn’t really told anyone that the contractions were ‘pushy’ and that it seemed like she had moved way down the birth canal. I didn’t know how to describe that, or even if that was what I was feeling. I had voiced my fears about pushing and feeling out of control, but it didn’t really seem to help me overcome my fear of pushing. Anyways, so I shuffle myself to the bathroom, and have a couple contractions while standing next to the toilet before they finally convinced me to sit down. When I finally sat down, I went through 4 or 5 contractions, and I pushed, but I guess I forgot to tell everyone I was pushing a baby out! My brain is really fuzzy about who was where and who I was talking to, but I remember someone asking me if I wanted the midwife to check my cervix again. I rolled my eyes and said, “I KNOW I’m at a 10, I just don’t want to push!” Like, duh. Come on, people. What a stupid thing to suggest! So the next contraction I pushed really hard, and her head squeezed right out- while I was still sitting on the toilet! I stood up real quick ’cause I didn’t want her to fall into the toilet, (and for some reason I thought once the head was born the rest of her would just fall out). All of a sudden, things got real exciting in that bathroom, and everyone kept asking me where I wanted to deliver. Again, eye roll.
“I don’t care where, just get her out of me!!” I shouted, and I just got down onto my hands and knees on the floor. Remember…head is hanging out, and I’ve just been told I have to wait until the next contraction to push her out. Up until that point, there had not been more than 5 people with me at a time- Theo, Aunt Natalie, Paulette, the nurse and the midwife. Suddenly, as I’m on my hands and knees, I just see feet. All I remember is tons and tons of feet. I have no clue who they all belonged to (I still don’t). And as I’m on my hands and knees with this baby half-born, I kept shouting two things: “Somebody get this baby out of me!” and “Where is Theo?” In all the extra feet, I lost sight of his, and I panicked that he had somehow been shoved out of the room and was not there! Aunt Natalie said she kept answering both of those questions, but I was too focused on panicking that I didn’t care what she was saying!
So, with the next contraction, Tera Evelynne Hines was born at 1:34 am. Both her and I bawled our eyes out, and the nurse helped Theo cut the cord. Since I was on my hands and knees on the floor, they cut the cord right away so they could get me to the bed and the baby on me as soon as possible. I STILL don’t know how all those feet belong to, but I found out after the fact that the midwife didn’t even make it in time for the birth! So the nurse and Theo ended up delivering her!
Most people’s birth stories end there, but there was still a least another hour of the whole birth ordeal. I heard that delivering the placenta and getting stitched up was nothing since you had the baby and the joy of that overshadows everything else going on. Ha! Haha! That’s a funny one. Nope. I was delighted that she was finally here, but I was even more exhausted and just plain ol’ relieved. And delivering the placenta actually does hurt because they PUSH on the uterus and pull the thing out while I have to have a contraction-like feeling and push. Fun? Nope. Then, they get their fingers all involved and decide to put some stitches in. So, a shot and then stitches? Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I didn’t want to hold Tera during all that, because I was so exhausted, shaky and distressed about everything that was going on down there. Theo sat next to me and held her.
Once that was all over, I finally got to hold Tera and concentrate on her. We worked on feeding, and I thought I it went well, but we found out later that I had some issues to overcome (which we have!). Around the time that all this has been wrapped up, my parents, brother and sister-in-law arrived- they drove all the way from DC through the night! Lots of tears and retelling of the story, rejoicing and looking over the baby from head to foot!
So, a couple extra details to just throw in here at the end: I didn’t ever get the second dose of antibiotics. They were just getting the IV ready when I delivered. That threw a wrench into our recovery plans, but otherwise it was fine.
Yes, we had an amazing room- the room had that rocking chair, birth ball, armchairs, a big double bed and the bathroom with that glorious tub. I loved the birth center and the care that I received there.
Yes, I did go through labor 100% unmedicated. It was an incredibly powerful experience, but it does not make me better or more successful than anyone who went through labor and delivery with medication. I loved the way my labor and delivery went, but like I said at the beginning- there was a lot of factors as to why I was able to do it unmedicated. First off, my body did exactly what it was supposed to. This doesn’t happen to everyone. Second off, I had the greatest support team/people who forced me to get up and move and have that baby. Third, being in the birth center mentally prepared me that there was no medical intervention options. I didn’t even consider asking for pain relief, although I was seriously willing for someone to CUT HER OUT OF ME! Haha!
And I’m here to tell you: I went through the entire pregnancy without throwing up ONCE! Hallelujah!
She is such a delight, and we are glad that she is here- finally!
I put her in this nice, warm PJ set and everyone thought she was a boy #momfail
We sure did love that double bed since we had to spend three nights in the hospital!
Phew- as much as I loved her birth, I am so glad that it is over! I am SO glad she is here!