If you read the post I wrote the day before Lydia was born, you will know how I felt about being induced and my great desire to go into labor on my own and have a totally unmedicated birth. I realised that I had to come to terms with the fact that this birth may not go according to my plans, and that that would just fine and I needed to surrender to the process. Once I had written the post I felt at great peace, I knew that all would go well, even if things didn’t go according to my plans, everything would work out for the best, and I would be happy.
During the day Thursday the 14th I noticed that I was having contractions, they were really far apart, and part of my surrendering to the process I wouldn’t allow myself to time them. However I didn’t notice that they felt a little different, they were a little lower in my pelvis and back. My frantic need to clean and organise had also subsided and I spent the day reading and napping, I just couldn’t muster any motivation to do anything. Looking back I realize that my body didn’t want to be exhausted from a day of heavy cleaning and that I needed to be rested for the work ahead.
Later, Thurdsay evening, I couldn’t help but notice the contractions were getting stronger and closer together, I timed them for a bit, they were coming at about every 15 or 20 minutes, nothing too exciting, I had done that before, so I ignored them some more and went to get ready for bed. I took a warm shower, which usually stops any contractions that I have, but this time it didn’t. Do I dare to hope that this is it? I read in bed for a while and timed my contractions, which were coming about every 10 to 15 minutes apart, but at this point I was still very comfortable and could sleep. So I did just that, went to sleep, knowing that if this was the real thing I would need my rest and that stronger contractions would wake me up when I needed to be up.
Several times during the night I woke up to a contraction, and noticed that my back and legs were tired and aching, but I was able to go right back to sleep until about 6 am. I lay on my side and started to time my contractions (there is a really cool app for timing contractions). Dadzoo got up to get ready for work, I didn’t say anything and he just assumed I was still asleep. When he was showered and came out of the bathroom around 7:00 I was sitting up in bed, the contractions were about 5 to 7 minutes apart, and I was unable to sleep through them. He decided to stick around for a little bit to see if this was the real thing, and we quickly realized that they most likely were. I took a shower, ate, moved around and still the contractions came. I called my Mom and my Doula (my sister). At 9:00 they were strong enough that I couldn’t talk through them and they demanded all my attention. We got to the hospital around 10:30. On the drive in my contractions all but stopped. I think I had maybe one contraction on the 30 minute drive in, I was starting to worry that we might have made a mistake again. We walked into the hospital, got changed and settled into the triage room, and maybe had another really light contraction. Had my labor stopped? I sure hoped not!
The nurse checked me, she mentioned that the baby was really high, and had a hard time getting to my cervix. She then smiled and said “well you are staying, your bag of waters broke” as I felt the warm liquid flow out of me “and you are at an 8+”. Dadzoo and I looked at each other, and I had to ask the nurse if I heard her right, was I really at an 8? Seriously? Right then things started to happen really fast. A wheelchair was brought in and packed with chucks pads and another nurse rushed in “Do you want an epidural? You don’t have much time if you do.” I thanked her and told her no. I had gotten to an 8 with no pain, I could so do this without any pain medication and it was what I had been planning on all along.
After that everything seems like a dream. I remember so much, but they come to me in impressions and feelings. I did have to stay in bed for about 20 minutes so the nurse could get a good “strip”, meaning a good heart beat from the baby, and that would be the only time I would say I felt a lot of pain. Laying in bed through the contractions was painful. Once they had their heart beat I was able to get out of bed and I was much more comfortable. My favorite position to labor in was standing right up, during the contractions I would put my arms around Dadzoo neck and hold on to him, my face in his neck. He would rub my lower back and sides, which felt really good. I found that moaning low through each contraction helped me cope with the sensations and to keep my face and bottom relaxed. In between contractions, I rested on the birthing ball. It was sitting on the bed and I just laid over it, while my sister softly rubbed my back and arms, helping to release endorphins, that felt really good and relaxing too. It was amazing to me how one minute, I was completely wrapped up in the sensations of labor, then once the contraction was over, I was back to normal and could rest. What a wonderful system, of work and rest, I can’t help but think how well designed that is.
Once I was complete and felt the push urges, it was as if my body and mind went to a place where instinct took over. It was all very primal. No amount of coaching, coaxing, or directions could have broken through the mind body connection. All I could do was what my body told me to do. It was intense and focused, I have never felt anything so powerful and exhilarating before in my life. I gave three or four good pushes (I think….) and she flew out. The doctor quickly checked her out and handed her to me, I was able to hold her, skin to skin and the doctor waited until the cord stopped pulsing to clamp it and have Dadzoo cut it.
I was so wonderful, the greatest birth experience I have had so far. Next post will be some of impressions I had having an unmedicated birth, my thoughts and feeling about the whole process.