Nora’s Birth Story

Nora’s Birth Story

Mama: Lauren W.

Stats: 4lbs 15oz, 18 inches

Type of Birth: Vaginal, unmedicated

Birth Location: Hospital

Primary Care: Midwife

When I first became pregnant with my daughter Nora, I hadn’t given much thought to what kind of birth experience I wanted. I sort of assumed, like everyone I knew at the time, that I’d opt for an epidural. Why go through all that pain if you didn’t have to?

However, I started attending prenatal yoga classes at Harmony Birth and Family, a center that was focused on natural living and natural birth. My yoga teacher, who became a friend of mine, was a big advocate of natural birth, and I started to think more about what I really wanted out of the birth experience, for myself and for my baby.

I did a lot of research and ended up solidly convinced that a natural, drug-free birth experience was the best choice for me, if possible, and I decided to take a Bradley Method childbirth class to help achieve that goal. I also ended up switching from my more traditional OB to a midwife practice. My new practice was very focused on natural birth, but they delivered in a hospital and worked in contact with OBs in case any complications arose that they couldn’t handle, which made me feel more comfortable as a first-time mom. My husband and I attended an 8-week-long Bradley course and learned all about natural childbirth, the stages of labor, how to manage pain, and much more. My husband really enjoyed it, since it made him feel more like a part of things, and I definitely saw a difference in how engaged and excited he was about the upcoming birth.

I had a relatively easy pregnancy, with the only complication being gestational diabetes. The diagnosis came as a shock, since I was healthy and fit, but, as the midwives assured me, it was a placental problem, and could be managed with careful attention to diet and exercise. I took that advice to heart, painstakingly tracking my protein and carbohydrate intake (especially important since I am a vegetarian), monitoring my blood sugar, going on walks after every meal, and continuing to exercise regularly. I was able to keep my blood sugar in check without medication, which was a big victory for me — especially since I would not have been able to continue seeing the midwives if I had to go on injectable insulin. That was the only real challenge of my pregnancy, but it was a major one, and I was feeling very tired of all the monitoring and restrictions in the home stretch. I joked with my husband that he’d better have a brownie and a glass of champagne ready for me in the delivery room!

When I hit 37 weeks, I mentioned to my husband that the baby could come any time now, since I was technically full term, but I didn’t really think I’d go early, since it was my first baby and first babies tend to take their sweet time.

I woke up at around 6 a.m. on a Tuesday morning shortly thereafter with some mild contractions. Nothing too serious, but a little stronger than the Braxton Hicks contractions I’d been feeling. I slept for a couple more hours until my husband left to go to work, and then I got up and went about my day. Contractions continued to come every so often, but I figured it was just my body gearing up for labor down the line. I didn’t realize at the time that I was in early labor! I had had no signs of impending labor before that, and I figured it would be a while.

I started addressing Christmas cards and tried to keep my mind off things, but the contractions continued to get stronger, although they weren’t too painful yet. I started timing them to see if there was a pattern, and they were still fairly far apart (every 7-15 minutes) and mild, although I had to start breathing through them. I had lunch and went for a walk around 3 p.m., and I was still able to walk through the contractions. I didn’t quite believe it was the real thing until around the time my husband got home from work, and the contractions were getting more intense. I got in the bath to see if it would help and/or slow things down, but at that point the contractions were getting really painful, to the point where I had to vocalize through them and have my husband help me with pressure on my back.

I got out of the bath and tried to lie down for a while, and things rapidly got more intense. We called the midwife a little before 8 p.m. to let her know what was going on, and she asked if we thought we were ready to come to the hospital. I said no, that we would wait a little bit. Right after that, though, things really peaked and I was in pretty intense pain as my husband was running around trying to get things together at the last minute. Our hospital bags were mostly packed, but we really thought we’d have more warning — we sort of went from 0 to 60 in no time. I still give my husband grief about asking me which DVDs I wanted to bring to the hospital — I knew we weren’t going to have time to watch them!

Since he didn’t want us to get to the hospital too early, as a test to see how I was doing, my husband offered me a Luna bar to eat, which I did — and then I promptly threw it back up. At that point I knew we must be getting close, so I told him we needed to go now. I called the midwife again and told her we were headed to the hospital. That was the most excruciating car ride ever! I really only wanted to be on my hands and knees when I was having a contraction, and being strapped in the car is pretty much the opposite of that position — not fun! We got to the hospital at around 8:30 pm, and the midwife checked me and said I was at nine centimeters! She couldn’t believe I had progressed so fast, since I was a first-time mom.

I got in the shower for probably 20 minutes and the warm water on my back was really helping, but then my water started leaking and I started feeling the almost uncontrollable urge to push. They got me out of the shower and onto the bed on my side and I pushed like that for a few contractions until the baby’s head came under the bridge, and then I got on all fours and pushed for two or three contractions until her head came out. I delivered her almost in child’s pose. My husband helped deliver her, and I got to reach through and grab her.

Holding my Nora for the first time was the most incredible, surreal experience.

For days after, I still couldn’t quite believe she was really here. She was born at 9:45 p.m. — slightly more than an hour after we got to the hospital. Looking at me right after I had given birth, my husband said I didn’t even look tired. I told him running a marathon was harder than this for sure!

Although she was early and small, measuring in at 4 lb 15 oz, Nora was strong and healthy and came home with us two days later.

We found out later that the placenta had started deteriorating for unknown reasons, and that’s probably why she came early. It could have been a much scarier experience, but it all turned out as well as possible.

I couldn’t have been more thrilled with my birth experience. I felt like I won the lottery as a first-time mom, since all I had heard were horror stories about exhausting 24-hour-long labors with two or more hours of pushing. I had the safe, natural birth I wanted, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>