Jameson’s Birth Story

Jameson’s Birth Story

Mama: Jamila I.

Type of Birth: Vaginal, unmedicated

Birth Location: Hospital

Primary Care: Obstetrician

I had a natural birth. I never thought about natural birth before. I actually figured that anyone who had a natural birth was crazy. Why would anyone want to go through that much pain? What were they trying to prove? What was the point?

But, how did I even know birth would be painful? And why did I think birth was so taboo?

I suspect it’s because it’s what had been drilled in my head ever since I can remember. I don’t recall anyone in particular telling me that giving birth was painful. But, somehow I “knew” that birth = pain.

But, on June 5th, five weeks before I was due, a long time friend that I hadn’t actually seen in 19 years (thank you, Facebook) sent me a message about “improving birth.” I’m not sure what made her send it to me, but I saw the web link and said to myself “Yeah! Anything to make this scary experience better, great!”

So, I clicked on the link and began reading how to enjoy my labor and delivery. I began seeing phrases like “you don’t have to…” “You control….” “You can have a great experience…” “This is about what you want” and “get a doula!”

Within a day of seeing this website and watching the video it suggested, “The Business of Being Born,” I decided I was NOT getting an epidural or Pitocin. Every day I studied up on having a natural birth. I read everything I could soak in within the short time I had before our baby was to be born. And with everything I read, the more passionate about it I became.

Within this five week time frame, I realized that my decision to go natural was going to have to be a secret that I would have to keep to myself. I quickly found that my decision to go natural seemed to offend women who had an epidural. I even had a woman ask me harshly “why would you do that?! What are you trying to prove?!” So, I kept my decision quiet.

Labor started one week after I was due, Sunday, July 20th, 2014 at 11 p.m. My contractions were mild, and I started counting them at around 10 minutes apart. I got out of bed, careful not to wake my husband, and went in the living room to relax, listen to my ‘ChildBirth in the Glory’ playlist, and breathe through the contractions (again, they were mild. But, breathing helped the cramping feeling).

I called my doula to let her know what was going on. She told me to relax, to not count my contractions and to rest. So, that is what I did. I rested in between the contractions for the remainder of the night.

The next morning, my husband woke up for work to find me asleep on the couch. I let him know that I thought I was in labor. I told him to go to work because the contractions were still 10 minutes apart and pretty mild. For the rest of the morning I kept the house dark and silent. I called my doula to update her and listened to my ‘Childbirth in the Glory’ playlist.

Around 10 a.m., my doula told me to go for a walk. She said that if I was in labor it would speed up the process and if I wasn’t in labor, at least I would relax a little bit, and so I went for a walk.

At around 12:30, my mother-in-law came to the house to sit with me, at the request of my husband (he didn’t like me walking on my own). This is when the contractions started getting closer together.

Within the next 30 minutes, my contractions went from 10 minutes apart to 7 minutes apart. At 1 p.m. I called my husband Brandon and told him “Honey, I think you need to come on home.” The contractions were definitely getting stronger and closer together.

I got in the shower and felt immediate relief under the hot water and spray. By 1:30, the contractions were 6 minutes apart. Brandon got home at around 1:45 and started to load everything in the car. We left for the hospital at 3:00. It was a 45 minute drive and something I was not looking forward to. I knew, from researching, that contractions in the car were not enjoyable. And I found that that was the extreme truth. It was a long 45 minutes.

We arrived at the hospital with our doula waiting for us at 4:15 p.m. and was told by the hospital that we needed to go to see my doctor at her office upstairs before we went to labor and delivery.

This, as you can imagine, was extremely frustrating. But, we obliged.

I walked into the waiting room shoeless, (I found it more comfortable to not wear shoes) and in my labor attire (loose brown skirt and a teal top). There were plenty of people in the waiting room waiting on their yearly appointments, pregnancy check-ups and whatever else. They all looked up at me as I walked in— in labor. By this time, I’m deeply breathing and pausing during contractions. I let the nurse know what I was there for. She told me “Ok. We’ll call you back soon.” I’m thinking “are you kidding me! I’m in labor!!” Instead, I said to our doula and to Brandon that I wasn’t going to sit in the waiting room while in labor and I would be in the hall. By this time, I guessed my contractions were 2 minutes apart.

We stood in the waiting room for about 2 minutes. I was getting pretty mad that I was waiting. Brandon went in and somehow got a nurse to come get me ASAP. They took me to the back and the doctor came in to check my cervix. I suppose that since my doctors office was still open when I arrived, they wanted to make sure I was actually in labor before they admitted me to L&D.

The doctor came in right as I was having a contraction. When it was over, I told her to hold on and to wait until the next one was over to check my cervix (I didn’t want to be lying on the table with her checking my cervix while I had another contraction.) As soon as the next one was over, I hopped on the table and told her “ok, go!” The contractions were coming so fast it seemed. By this time, I wasn’t timing them by a clock, but I could tell they were about 2 minutes apart. She checked and I was 8 cm dilated.

They immediately took me to labor and delivery to the coveted water birthing suite. I was so excited to get to the tub it took everything I had not to run in to the room. Once I was in the room, they strapped the monitor to me to listen to my heart and the baby’s heartbeat for 20 minutes. After that, I was told to rinse myself off in the shower (thankfully, my doula did this for me because between contractions, I could not focus on anything but breathing) and then got into the birthing tub.

OMGosh, the warm water felt soooooo amazing.

The first thing I noticed was that my entire body relaxed as soon as it hit the water. I stayed in the tub for about an hour or so until I began feeling the need to push. I got out and my doula and Brandon helped me to the bed. My chosen position to try to give birth was on hands and knees. But, my doula and I quickly found that that position wasn’t giving results. My doula suggested I take a break to pee. She felt that it was probably time for me to go and also felt that getting in a squat position may help. She was right.

While sitting on the toilet, which gave me a little relief, I had my first real need to push! I was pretty excited. I just wanted to sit on the toilet the whole time if it was going to get this baby out!

After requesting a squat bar be placed on the bed, I was told to move back to the bed and get in a squat position. My doctor then pushed padding under me because she figured my water would be breaking soon. I pushed a couple times. Squatting was pretty tiresome, so my doula tied a Rebozo scarf on both sides of the bar as a kind of back support. She stood on one side and my husband, stood on the other.

This is about the time my water broke. After that, I pushed and there was the top of our baby’s head. I fell back onto the back supporting scarf to prepare for the contraction.

The time came again and Brandon and my doula, Cristy, hoisted me up with the scarf so I could grab the bar and I pushed again. We repeated this 3 more times.

Suddenly, my doctor said really loud “Come on! Reach down and grab your baby! Reach down!” So, I reached down while our baby was coming out and pulled him towards me and onto my chest. Jameson Nash was here; crying and looking beautiful! I couldn’t believe Brandon and I, by the gift of God, had made and given birth to a baby!

All of my memories of that day are of pure joy. It was such an amazing experience. The hospital, nurses, and my doctor were amazing. The nurses looked at my birth plan often throughout my labor and were kind and extremely positive.

I couldn’t have asked for a better birth experience.

Up until June 5th, when my friend Alex sent me the link from Improving Birth, I had never thought of having a baby any other way than with an epidural. I didn’t know birth could be beautiful and leave you feeling so joyful and full of energy. I am thankful that Alex took a chance on getting me educated. She didn’t know if I would be insulted, let alone actually read up on natural birth. I am so thankful and grateful to have a beautiful birth story to remember and to share with others.

Guest Mama Jamila grew up in northern California and lives in Alabama with her husband where she’s a graphic designer and a brand new mama.

8 Responses to Jameson’s Birth Story

  1. Jamila, this is *AWESOME*! I’m the author of that article, “Dear Friend, Birth Doesn’t Have to Suck” and this is EXACTLY why I wrote it. I am so happy to hear that it had a positive impact, and that you did the research and the work— a huge congratulations to you and your family!!! The timing on your article is uncanny, because I just put together an eBook of my favorite essays, including that one, to publish this week. The whole point of it was to create a resource women could share with their friends for just these kinds of situation :) Find me at http://www.facebook.com/birthmonopoly
    - Cristen

  2. Love this! And your hubby’s shirt :) you did a great job. Lovely to hear of an all around supportive staff!

  3. This made my day. And my week. Maybe my whole year :) . I AM that person who hesitantly shares articles like Cristen’s (thanks, Cristen), knowing that some do view it as if I have something to prove. But my hope is always to encourage other women to find this blissful, empowering experience that you have just described. Thank you, thank you for sharing your experience. And congratulations!

  4. Such an amazing story, thank you SO much for sharing. Stories like yours give me so much hope in that we will finally start seeing some changes in hospitals when it comes to mamas in labor. Congratulations mama!!

  5. I LOVED your story! I’m nervous sending out Facebook posts about natural birth- I’ve been confronted by the “what do you have to prove” group- so reading this gives me new confidence. I’m so, so glad for you that you got to have the birth you wanted; may we all be so blessed! Welcome to Alabama!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing! I’m working towards an unmedicated vbac in a hospital and your story is such an inspiration. I hope mine goes exactly the same.

  7. Thank you everyone! (I’m super late writing back, considering my son will be a year old next week! Lol!)
    Since giving birth unmedicated, I have just wanted to tell every new mom-to-be I’ve encountered about her choices and how beautiful the experience is. But, I’m always feeling like I’m insulting someone because of the looks I get. The other day, I was in a room with a group of women and someone mentioned aloud that I had an unmedicated birth. I could feel the sudden tension by some of the women. All I said after that was that it was wonderful. But, I turned away and focused on something else because of the imaginary daggers I felt were being directed my way.
    But, besides that, if I’m able to talk about it in private, I do! And, it’s then when a new mommy seems to be really interested :)
    I’m not against medical births at all. I think it’s so great that we live in a time where medical intervention saves so many women during birth. I’m just thankful to know that there are choices for women who have a healthy labor and delivery.
    Laura K., how did everything go for you?!

  8. Thank you so much for asking! Things did not go exactly as I planned or hoped (birth rarely does I suppose) but I was able to achieve my VBAC! Baby and I both came out of it perfectly healthy and happy. It’s been a wonderful recovery.

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