I absolutely LOVE my birth story. It was long, but I wouldn’t change it for anything! This post may be a bit graphic, or have a little TMI for some of you…so this is my warning. 🙂
Let me start out by saying, I have always wanted to have a natural birth. I am a firm believer that God created our bodies to deliver a child, and if everything is going smoothly, with no complications between the momma and the baby, I think every woman can do it, if they believe in their own strength.
I worked out (prenatal DVDs) throughout my entire pregnancy, which many believe helps have a faster delivery…not quite the case for me. LOL. I read several books about natural labor and delivery, just so I would be knowledgeable on what to expect and learn the various positions to help ease the discomfort of contractions.
I talked to my doctor about having a natural labor and delivery, and she supported my decision, but I could tell she was skeptical. She said she had many come in saying they wanted to go natural, and then change their mind after reaching 4-5 cm. Then she’s had some that she was totally shocked that they would even try natural. My husband has always told me that I have a very low pain tolerance. I’ve always argued that I have a very high pain tolerance. With him being a physical therapist, and apparently anyone in the medical field, they all believe that if someone believes they have a high pain tolerance, they’re actually big ‘ole babies! Well, it became my goal to prove him wrong! Haha!
Around 30 weeks, I met with a doula, who is also a friend of mine, Bree Swant. She helped me compile a list of questions to ask my doctor, to ensure me that she would support my idea of delivering natural (if there were no complications). 1.) How far overdue will you allow me to go? 2.) Can I get a heplock IV? 3.) Can I do intermittent fetal monitoring? 4.) Can I delay cutting the cord? 5.) Can I do immediate skin-to-skin? These are very important questions to ask your doctor if you’re interested in a natural labor and delivery. My doctor answered YES to all of my questions, and said she would really prefer me to schedule and induction if I go more than 1 week over my due date. I, in turn, asked for 10 days, which she agreed to.
My due date was on a Sunday, and up until then, I had only ever dilated to a 1 cm, my effacing was going well by week 40, but still no signs of my little one. My doctor had me come in for an ultrasound and stress test at 40 weeks and 1 day, just to make sure everything was looking fine, so I could continue my 10 day allowance. Everything looked great, but she really wanted me to schedule an induction for the following week, having me come in on Tuesday evening to do “cervical ripening” and then start the Pitocin on Wednesday morning (my 10th day overdue). So we scheduled that, and also scheduled another ultrasound and stress test for 41 weeks and 1 day (Monday).
41 weeks rolled around, and still no baby girl. Knowing that I still REALLY didn’t want to be induced, my doctor “stripped my membranes” which checking my dilation and effacement. This was around 1 PM. Josh and I had taken the day off, since we were supposed to have the baby that week, one way or another. So we ran a few errands afterwards, which included a stop at Build-A-Bear, to build Gentry her first teddy bear. Driving over to the mall, and while building our bear, I began feeling very “crampy”. Those cramps continued for the rest of the day, and eventually became contractions that were sporadic around 7-8 PM. We had tried everything to naturally induce labor, including pumping. I would have contractions while I was pumping, but as soon as I quit pumping, they would go away. Finally around 10 PM, I thought I would try going to bed, since I knew she would be here soon. However, at this time, my contractions were about 8-10 minutes apart, not very strong, but enough to keep waking you up every time. Around 11-12 PM, I started timing them, they were getting closer together, but still not crazy intense. By 1 AM, they were about 5 minutes apart, and by 2 AM, I had had contractions every 5 minutes, for over an hour. From everything I read, that meant it was time to head to the hospital. They still were super intense yet, but were starting to get more uncomfortable, but we still weren’t in too big of a hurry, so we got to the hospital around 4 AM on Tuesday morning. They hooked me up to the monitor, checked my dilation. Sure enough, contractions were very consistent at 5 minutes, but I was still only at 1 cm. 😦 They sent us home. Instead of going home, (a 40 minute drive) we went down the road and spent the afternoon waiting in a hotel.
At the hotel, I took a couple of baths, which was VERY relaxing…you barely felt any contractions in there! We took walks around the parking lot, and stopped every contraction. Josh would apply pressure to my pelvis to help ease the discomfort, and that was a HUGE relief. He did that every 5 minutes, starting around 12 PM. By 4 PM, they were intensifying even more, so we decided to go back to the hospital. I had to be there by 7 PM anyways to start the induction, so I knew they would keep my by then. Sure enough, they kept me, and I had dilated to 4 cm! They tried hooking me up to start the induction, but I argued that I was having this baby natural. They told me that my doctor was in Dallas, and wouldn’t be back until 8 am on Wednesday. I didn’t care, but you can check with her…she knows I want to go natural and I’m progressing on my own, so I don’t need to be induced. They called the doctor, and sure enough, she agreed to let me do it myself since I was progressing on my own.
My doula arrived around 5 PM, and my labor and delivery nurse (Ellen) friend arrived around 7 PM. Once Ellen arrived, Josh and I were a lot more at ease. She didn’t hook me up every 30 minutes to monitor my contractions for 20 minutes and she wasn’t checking my dilation every hours. She had been delivering babies for over 20 years. She would hook me up once an hour, in whatever position I was in, monitor 2 minutes before a contraction, through the contraction, and 2 minutes after the contraction. That was it! She would only check me when I asked her to, rather than every hour. She knows that if the monitors show any distress, or if you don’t progress quick enough, the doctors want to try and speed the process along. So she didn’t want to leave the monitor on long enough for them to “find” something that was really nothing. Gentry did great, each and every time, so we just kept waiting for her.
Around 10 PM, I had finally made it to 6 cm. Talk about discouraging. I felt like I was barely getting anywhere, but Bree (doula) reminded me that I had still made progress, this is a marathon, not a sprint. She’ll get here! About 3 AM on Wednesday morning, I was SO tired, since I had been awake since 8 AM on Monday…Josh was tired…he had been squeezing my hips since about 12 PM, every 5 minutes, for over 15 hours now. We just looked at each other with exhaustion on our faces. (After talking later, we both agreed that this was our breaking point…no one mentioned an epidural, but I sure thought to myself, this would have been faster had I gotten the epidural, just because I would have been able to relax and rest!)
About 6 AM Wednesday morning, my water finally broke, and I was at 8 cm. Until Ellen had checked me, none of us even noticed that my water had broke…it was just a trickle! HA! Around 7:30 AM, I told Bree that I felt like I needed to start pushing, so she went to get Ellen. Ellen said if you feel like you need to push…go for it! So I did, and after a couple of “bearing downs,” she checked me, and sure enough, I was at 10 cm!!! FINALLY! I pushed through about 3 more contractions before Ellen called for my doctor, who was dropping her kids off at school and would be over shortly. After my next push, she called for the on-call nurse, because my doctor probably wouldn’t get there in time. The next push, they called into the room and said she was in the parking garage. Ellen told them to tell her to run, because she’s coming fast!
My doctor made it in just in time for my last 2 pushes of the last contraction. Gentry’s head was 1/2 way out when she walked in. She looked at me and said HI! OH my! Don’t push! Don’t move. So I laid back to relax, which is when I immediately sat up with HUGE eyes and looked at Josh like…are you kidding me!! I NEED TO PUSH!! The doctor saw the look on my face and simply said…if you push, you’ll tear. Enough said…I’m not moving! Next push and Gentry’s head was fully out…final push…and she was here!! It was the GREATEST moment in my life!
Yes, my labor was VERY long…typically they say that having an epidural causes a longer labor, but I don’t think that would have been the situation for me. LOL. We had contractions every 5 minutes, for 34 hours! Whew! It was so long, and exhausting. BUT…I delivered her in about 5 rounds of pushes, I had no tears, and I got to leave the next morning. My doctor only made me stay 24 hours, and Gentry was happy and healthy too…her pediatrician only made her stay for 24 hours as well. We left after lunch the next day, and it was so nice to be home.
Would I do it again? Absolutely, every time! I was able to walk to the bathroom twice within 1 hour after delivery. How did I get so lucky not to tear? Well, I have an amazing husband that did perinea stretching every night for about 3-4 weeks before we delivered. I highly recommend that too! No, it’s not comfortable, and it’s totally awkward…but I do believe it helped! Gentry was not drugged when she was born, so she was very alert from the first second of her life, and was alert for all visitors too!
Have you thought about a natural delivery? Do some research if you want, but I guarantee, you won’t regret your decision!
Oh! You want to know the details!! Gentry was 8 pounds, 3 ounces, 20 inches long! She is considered to be a fairly large baby in today’s terms, but I think that’s just because she actually got to go full-term! So many doctors now want to induce, or parents want to induce so they can pick the birthday. I say, let God decide when they are born! Of course, it’s most important to make sure that momma and baby stay healthy throughout all of labor and delivery. Every situation is different, so always remember to do what is best for you and your baby!