T’s Quick & Easy Natural Birth
T’s Quick & Easy Natural Birth
Mama: Lori W.
Type of Birth: Vaginal Delivery, Drug-Free
Birth Location: Hospital
Primary Care: Obstetrician
Friday, January 6, 2012 wound up being my last day at work before my son, T, was born— and thank goodness!
I couldn’t imagine having to get up on Monday, get dressed for work and make it through the day, especially after only having worked a short work week due to the New Years holiday that week before and struggling to get through it. I worked through lunch that day so I could leave early. I went to the craft store on my way home and bought the supplies I needed to do one final decorating project in the nursery: using Mod Podge to decoupage 26 wooden alphabet letters for the wall above his crib and his name above the storage shelving in his room.
I got home and my toddler daughter, EJ, was napping, so my mom —who lives with us and watches our children while we’re at work — was in the garage hand painting a little side table for the nursery. Normally, if EJ is still napping when I get home from work, I’d jump at the chance to lie down and rest, but I felt energetic so I painted the sides of the wooden letters with my mom. EJ awoke and we had dinner. Then my mom and I started decoupaging the letters while EJ colored in her coloring books and played with her toys at the table with us. After getting EJ bathed and put to bed, we worked a little more on the letters, then called it a night.
The next day we hung out and took it easy and just finished up on the letters. I brought them upstairs that night with the intention of getting them hung up the next day, Sunday.
That night I had a rough time sleeping and awoke around 3 a.m. with the worst right hip/leg pain. It felt like sciatica or as if something slipped out of place in my hip or pelvis. I thought I must have slept funny. I stood up and my right leg would literally just collapse beneath me. I took some time, stretched, and finally could walk on it to use the bathroom. It hurt like heck and scared me a little. I got back in bed, changed positions, stretched and fell back asleep.
Thankfully, the repositioning resolved the issue because when I got up later on Sunday morning it was much better, but I still had a lingering dull ache in my hips and lower back.
My husband wanted to take our daughter to the park and get me walking, so after breakfast we went to our local park for about an hour. EJ played on the slides and swings with my husband while I waddled around as best I could. I could tell that the baby had dropped because I had a lot of pelvic pressure.
We had lunch at a local Mexican restaurant afterwards and ran into two families — each with two-year-old boys and one with a new baby, too. We chatted briefly and both mamas said, “ It looks like you’re gonna have a baby any day now!” I replied that I was nearly 39 weeks and ready!
We got home and I laid down as EJ napped but I couldn’t sleep. I felt strangely energetic—more so than I had felt in weeks! I forced myself to rest though, and actually thought, “I’ll regret not napping if I go into labor later on tonight. What if I have to push for hours?” EJ got up from her nap and we had dinner. My lower back was killing me. I actually put my head down on the table during dinner and EJ got concerned, saying, “Mommy no feel good!” I tried to stretch but it still ached like crazy.
I figured it was from sitting down all that time decoupaging 30 wooden letters (the alphabet plus T’s nickname). I gave EJ her bath after dinner. Normally, I sit on the toilet while she’s in the tub but it hurt really bad to sit on the hard seat, so I got my yoga ball and sat on that while she bathed.
Afterwards, we went about her nighttime routine and after I read to her I said, as I usually do on Sunday nights, “In the morning grandma will be here with you for breakfast and lunch, then after your nap, mommy will be home from work.”
Then, for some reason I added, “Once baby T is here, mommy will be home with you and him for eight weeks, won’t that be great?” I am not sure she understood what I was saying, but in that moment I was thinking, “God, I hope I don’t have to go to work tomorrow.”
It was about 9:30 p.m. and I took a bath hoping it would relieve my low back pain. I laid in the tub and felt a little concerned since I realized it had been morning since I noticed T’s movements. I tried to relax and reminded myself that as they get bigger they run out of room and don’t move as much or as often. I got out of the bath and into lounge clothes. I felt awake so I got on the computer to check out Facebook and Pinterest. I had my feet propped up on the chair next to the desk and felt comfortable.
At 11:30 p.m. my husband got home from work (he works second shift, Wednesday through Sunday). He said, “You’re still up?” as he came in the door. Then he said, “You should get to bed!” I said, “Yeah, I am heading there now…” and as I went to move my legs off the chair, WOOSH! I felt a gush of warm liquid.
I just knew it was my water breaking.
It wasn’t much, just a small puddle on the chair, but it didn’t smell like pee and my bladder felt full. I called downstairs to my husband, “Um…I think my water just broke.” He flew into action. He brought up a white towel to soak up the liquid and determine if it had color in it. It was clear. I went to bathroom and peed and noticed a lot of mucus.
Meanwhile, my husband called our doula. I changed into a tank top and white underwear (so I could see if there was any color in my amniotic fluid) and laid down on the bed. He brought me the phone and I talked to our doula. She told me to put on a sanitary pad and make sure that the liquid was still clear.
She asked me how I felt and if I wanted her to come over. I told I didn’t think she needed to come just yet but that my OB had wanted me to come into the hospital if/when my water broke. I told her I didn’t want to rush and hoped to labor a bit a home to get things going before heading to labor and delivery.
My goal was to avoid stalling labor and also avoid any medical interventions. She agreed and told us to call her when we wanted her to come. I laid down and sort of freaked out a bit. “Oh my God, I am having this baby tonight!”
I started looking over my packing list and even though I had packed some things ahead of time, there was a lot on there I hadn’t. So I started getting things together. My husband was trying to get out of his work clothes and was sitting on the couch undoing his shoes. I barked at him, “What are you doing?” He said, “Honey, I just got off an 8 hour shift…” And I snapped back, “Well, I am having a baby! Give me a break!” I hadn’t realized he was taking off his shoes. I thought he was just relaxing.
I got really anxious and panicky feeling and starting barking orders at him, which now I feel really bad about but it’s kind of my M.O. to get really bossy when I am feeling stressed. I told him, “You need to anticipate here, I cannot be telling you everything to do.”
Meanwhile, our doula called back and said she was coming over, she wanted to be sure to monitor me as that is what she would do as a midwife with her home birth clients (she’s a midwife and doula depending on what her clients’ needs are). My husband went downstairs and told my mom what was happening. She came upstairs and asked if I needed anything and I told her I felt good and she should try and rest as we had no idea how long this would all take.
The doula arrived and my husband made coffee for them to drink while I sat on the couch in our office/loft. She used a doppler to listen to the baby’s heartbeat and my placenta. We talked about what I wanted to do. It was about midnight at this time. I told her I’d like to lie down and rest and see if my contractions would start. I didn’t want to rush to the hospital just yet. She said that should be fine, but reminded me that I was going against my doctor’s protocol. I said I was okay with it and once we got to the hospital I’d just say that I thought my water may have broken but wasn’t entirely sure.
My husband brought up a cup of coffee for our doula, put on some soft music in our office/loft and she rested on our couch while he got the suitcase and packed the rest of my things. Meanwhile, I laid down on my left side in our bed and started tracking my contractions on my Kindle Fire using the Contraction Master app.
I put the Kindle on the pillow next to my head and every time one came I just tapped the screen and tapped it again once they stopped. I was able to handle them easily on my own. My husband got into bed with me and talked me through some of them as we both tried to rest.
About an hour into it I got really emotional about our daughter. She was sleeping in her own bed down the hall and I got this overwhelming feeling that I really wanted to see her, but I didn’t want to wake her up. I started to cry really hard and told my husband, “If anything bad happens to me tonight, please tell EJ how very much I love her.” I just got really fearful. In that moment I felt like I might never see her again. My husband held me and calmed me down.
I got up to use the toilet and get myself together emotionally. At this point I had no question in my mind that T would be born very soon. I had a few stronger contractions in the bathroom and noticed some pink on the toilet paper when I wiped. I let my doula and husband know.
I laid back down and the contractions got stronger. It was about 1:15 a.m. at this point. I stayed in bed for a several more contractions and around 2 a.m I got up again to pee. This time there was a little red on the toilet paper which my doula said meant that I was dilating more.
My contractions were getting stronger and closer together. They were about 4-6 minutes apart and lasting a minute to a minute-and-a-half. We decided it was time to go. I remember being in the car and my teeth were chattering because I was freezing! It was about 45 degrees outside and we had the heater and seat warmers on but I couldn’t stop shivering. My husband drove as quickly as safety would allow, and some of the bumps on the roads between our home and the hospital almost got the best of me!
We arrived at the hospital and my husband dropped me off at the front doors where he got the security guard to bring a wheel chair. The guard and my doula took me up the elevator to labor and delivery on the second floor while my husband parked the car and brought in my things.
We checked in at L&D around 2:30 a.m. They didn’t have any rooms ready and despite pre-registering online (and delivering at that very hospital just 23.5 months earlier!) they didn’t have any records for me, let alone my paperwork, so I had to sign documents, etc. in between contractions.
I labored for about 20 minutes in their waiting room while they got a room ready. It was a surreal experience. There was an inane infomercial on about microdermabrasion. When I went to use the bathroom, the seat was up (obviously a man had used it and forgot to put it back down) so I had to put it down which really irritated me in that moment. They finally got me a room but I declined to be wheeled to it and just walked.
The nurse wanted me to get into the hospital gown and seemed annoyed when I declined and said that I’d be wearing my own clothes, a black sports-bra type tank top that snapped in the front and a sarong. This is the same attire I wore when I gave birth to EJ on January 25, 2010.
Apparently some of the labor and delivery nurses at that hospital still talk about it with my OB from time to time. From what I understand, this hospital has a 80-90% scheduled delivery rate, so it doesn’t surprise me one bit that I stand out in their minds as “that” patient. Whatever.
I went to the bathroom and had some more contractions as I peed and changed out of my street clothes and into the sarong and bra top. I made it to the bed and wanted to lie on my left side. I had some more strong contractions and went to the bathroom again. I got back to the bed, intending to lie on my left side again, but ended up face down on the bed with my left leg up on my knee and the right leg down with my foot on the floor.
I pulled off the sarong at this point because it was bothering me. One nurse was strapping on the external monitors while another nurse wanted me to sign a bunch of forms and insisted that I do it then and there while I was having contractions.
I was seriously annoyed and told my doula that I wanted to punch that nurse in the face! Then the nurse asked to check me internally and asked that I turn on my back. I was mid-contraction and I didn’t want to but she insisted. I got on my back, having major contractions, and she checked me internally. She didn’t wait at all between contractions. She was REALLY aggressive and I felt she was too rough. It hurt like hell and I cried out. This was by far the worst moment of my birth experience.
It was very obvious to me that the L&D staff were very used to “working” on patients that are numb/have their pain blocked. The nurse didn’t even wait for me to be in between contractions nor did she even ask if I was ready. Then, when I cried, she said, “Blow, blow, blow it out…” Ugh. She kept saying “blow” whenever I was verbalizing or obviously in pain. She had no clue that with the Bradley Method you don’t blow like you do in Lamaze or whatever method of natural childbirth coping techniques she’s studied.
She said I was 7-8 cm and 100% effaced. I lost it. I said, “Get me an epidural, now.” I felt like I couldn’t go through an un-medicated birth if she and the other staff were going to be rough with me like she had been during the internal exam. I was really upset and went to the bathroom again. I said over and over, “I cannot do this with them, not like this. Get me an epi.”
My doula was very calm and said in my ear, “If you want to stay in here, I will help you. If you feel safer here, we can stay in here a little longer.”
I had a couple of more contractions on the toilet, got myself together and headed to the bed again, lying on my left side. I kept saying, “I cannot do this.” My husband and my doula reassured me. My sweet husband said, “You’re doing it, you’re doing great!” And my doula said, “Just get through this one contraction.” This must have been around 3:45-3:50 a.m. — it’s all a bit fuzzy.
I know I was on my left side and had my right leg up in the air. I think my husband was holding it for me at my ankle. The nurse was trying to get an IV in on my right hand and didn’t wait between contractions so she had to keep re-sticking me. Someone said that they had called my OB and that she was on her way to the hospital from home.
I felt a huge amount of pelvic pressure and said that I needed to pee again, thinking I would get up and go one more time. My doula finally whispered in my ear, “Just let it go.” And when I did my body urged upward inside of me and then there was a huge release and lots of warm liquid. I knew that it wasn’t pee. It was the baby crowning!
There was a ton of commotion and a nurse asked me if I wanted to wait for my doctor. I thought she was insane. How were we going to wait? The baby was coming and my body was on autopilot at this point.
The nurse continued to say, “Just blow. Blow and we’ll wait for the doctor.” What?!?!?
Meanwhile, they got me on my back and asked me to scoot my bottom down to the edge of the bed. My husband said, “Honey, he’s coming, you’re doing it right now!”
Then the on-call doctor introduced herself and said, “Do you want to have a baby?” I said, “Yes!” and started pushing spontaneously.
Two pushes and T was born. It was 4 a.m. on the dot!
I had no medication – it was a 100% natural birth. My body just basically did it. It all happened so fast and overall it was really easy, especially compared to being induced with EJ.
T was put on my chest and he was a bit blue. I believe his APGAR was 7 because of that. Soon enough he pinked right up and was put to my breast and latched right on. Meanwhile, I had an uneventful stage three (delivering my placenta) which I was very nervous about considering all of the trouble I had with that when I delivered EJ.
All in all it was a very quick process. We stayed in the labor room for about an hour or so after that, and by 6 a.m., I was wheeled down the hall to a recovery room with T still nursing away. I was a bit annoyed because the nurse kept throwing a blanket over T’s head and saying, “Let’s cover up a bit.” I just kept taking it off! Finally on the third time I said sharply, “We’re good, thanks,” and took it off again.
We settled into the recovery room, got some rest and ordered breakfast. T had routine tests and a bath in the nursery with his daddy while the nurses came and checked on me for bleeding, etc.
The hospital where I delivered requires all mothers who deliver vaginally to receive at least one full IV bag of Pitocin after delivery to ensure that the uterus clamps down. Aside from the internal exam from the nurse before I delivered, this was the worst part for me.
I hate having an IV and it was in my right arm, right above my hand (top side of my wrist) and it was made holding T while nursing extremely uncomfortable for me. I was glad when I finally had it removed. Not to mention that the Pitocin makes the after-pains worse, which I am sure are also increased by the natural uterine contractions created by a new nursling.
I just took 800 mg ibuprofen for the little bit of pain I felt (I did tear and needed stitches). Overall, though, I was feeling very energetic and well — not at all wiped out like I had felt after EJ was born.
We stayed in the hospital on Monday night and checked out at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, January 10. He had dropped a bit of weight, down to 7 lbs. 14 oz., and we had to take him back to the pediatrician the next morning to monitor his bilirubin levels.
He was borderline jaundiced, just like EJ had been. He had lost a few more ounces by then, down to 7 lbs. 9 oz. My milk came in that day, though (it didn’t come in until day 5 with EJ), which helped a lot. His level was still borderline after Wednesday’s check, so we went home and I nursed him in a sunny window three times for 20-minutes at a time over the next two days.
We went back to the pediatrician on Friday, January 13 and had his levels drawn again. They were improved and he had gained some weight. He was back up to 7 lbs. 13 oz. so she said we were good to go and she’d see us in two weeks.
T was a really mellow newborn and just wanted to snuggle all the time. He’s a nursing champ and at first I was surprised to have nipple pain considering I had only just weaned EJ five months prior to T’s birth. But after the first week, that all subsided.
EJ adjusted extremely well to having a new baby brother in our family, and I was lucky to have my mom here helping me with both of them. My husband is in college full-time pursuing his degree in nursing and the semester started on T’s birthday.
He missed class that day, but was back in school the next morning. He was not able to be home with us as much as he would have liked to have been, but we knew it was going to be like this. He had a test two days after T was born and got a perfect score. Not too shabby for a daddy with a brand new baby at home!
In the first few weeks, we were not quite sure who T looked like. We joked that he looked like my dad had a baby with my mother-in-law!
He’s fairer than EJ was when she was first born. He also looked a lot like my brother-in-law who passed away last year, as well as my twin brother’s son when he was a baby. It’s been interesting to see how he’s changed in just four months of life and most agree he looks like both of us, just in different ways than his sister does.
Knowing that T is the last baby we’ll ever have, we’re more relaxed than we were the first time around with EJ and try to really enjoy T’s babyhood as we know all too well how fast it will fly by!
All too soon he’ll be running away from us, just like his big sister!