Baby L’s Natural Birth: It’s a Boy!

Baby L’s Natural Birth

Mama: Cassie W.

Type of Birth: Vaginal, Unmedicated

Birth Location: Birthing Hospital

Primary Care: Obstetrician and Midwife

We were Team Green for baby number two —we didn’t know if this baby was going to be a boy or a girl— but my husband and I both thought it was another girl pretty much the whole time. (Spoiler alert: We were wrong.)

I read hundreds of birth stories throughout my pregnancy. I chose a birthing hospital to deliver in; a place that is so much more like a birthing center than a hospital and does almost exclusively births. I found a midwife who I trusted. I decided I was going to have a water birth.

About a week before I went into labor, when I was about 37 1/2 weeks pregnant, I was up all night one night with contractions. My back was killing me, I had a random bad case of diarrhea, I was getting heartburn like crazy and the contractions, while not regular, would just not go away. I thought for a little while that I might be in labor, but when a long hot shower at 3 in the morning helped a bit, I decided that my body was simply getting ready.

The next morning, I told my husband I was pretty sure we’d have a baby by the end of the week.

I went and saw my midwife, Sabine, the next morning. My cervix was dilated to 2 cm, which it had already been the week before as well, but now I was about 90% effaced.

I expected the rest of the week to go similarly, but aside from having to sleep propped up on the couch a couple more nights, I felt pretty good and the contractions lessened. I began to think that maybe baby wouldn’t come as soon as I thought.

The next Saturday, on March 16, I was 38 1/2 weeks pregnant. My husband, daughter and I spent the day in and out of stores shopping. I was exhausted but overall doing okay. That evening, my husband and I sat down on the couch to watch a TV show.

All of the sudden, around 8:15 p.m., I told my husband I felt a “weird cramp.” After waiting a moment, I felt my pants getting wet. I jumped up and looked down.

My husband said, “Uh oh.”

It just kept coming out in gushes! I kept telling my husband, “Maybe I am just peeing, I don’t know.” He kept telling me that I was not peeing, that it was my water breaking.

I was totally in denial. He was calm and collected.

I went and stood in the bathtub, pantless. I called my midwife. When I told her my water had broken, she just said, “Oh no, oh no.” That scared me. Why was she upset about this?! She asked me a few questions about what it looked like and how I was feeling; the water was clear and normal looking, and no, I wasn’t yet having any contractions I could feel.

She then calmly told me that it was her one night off and she was out celebrating her best friend’s birthday. She apologized to me and told me that she would be at the hospital by midnight, so if I can wait to have the baby til then, she’d be there. Otherwise, her colleague Laura would deliver my baby.

Oh. Sigh.

I told Sabine I wanted to wait at home for the contractions to start and that I’d call her when I was on my way to the hospital.

Part of me was a little scared that contractions wouldn’t start on their own— I definitely did NOT want another induction. But before I could even hang up the phone, I got a contraction. It wasn’t painful, and it was surprisingly comforting seeing how I was so worried they wouldn’t come on their own.

I took a hot shower and had a couple random contractions, but they didn’t hurt and I didn’t feel like they were coming regularly.

After my shower, I sat on my exercise ball. My water was still coming out in gushes and I practically soaked through three bath towels.

We started timing my contractions; they were getting stronger but I was only getting more excited. They were about 20 minutes apart. They hurt a little but weren’t really painful yet.

About 10 p.m., I called my friend who had agreed to watch C when I went into labor. She and her husband and son were at a party and offered to leave immediately to meet us at the hospital. After much deliberating, we convinced them that we could drive to their house instead. We started getting things ready and getting the last minute things into my suitcase.

Finally, we woke up C and got her dressed for the cold. She was confused but we tried to keep things really calm and relaxed for her.

On the drive over, we talked to C and told her a little bit about what was happening. My contractions got a little closer together during the 30 minute drive and began to get a bit more painful as well. By the time we got there, my contractions were 18 minutes apart and I was getting smaller, less painful contractions in between the harder ones.

After dropping off C and a few minutes of talking (and breathing through contractions), we left. It was hard for me to leave my baby girl but I knew she’d be in good hands!

The hospital was about another 30 minutes from there. By the time we reached the hospital at exactly midnight, ‘big’ contractions were regularly 12 minutes apart and I was still getting smaller ones in between.

When we arrived, we were brought into the delivery room that had the birthing tub in it. To my relief, Laura spoke great English.

I laid on the bed in the room and Laura checked me— I was 3-4 cm dilated. However, the baby’s head was not correctly in place and Laura seemed really worried. She turned me on my right side and had me bring my left leg up as high as it would go and told me to stay in that position no matter how uncomfortable it was. And it WAS very uncomfortable, especially through the contractions.

Finally, Sabine came in the room around 1 a.m. She was fully dressed in party clothes and nice jewelry, I felt a little guilty for having made her leave! We chatted for a few minutes and then she left to change into scrubs.

When she came back, she checked my cervix— I was 5-6 cm dilated but the baby’s head was still not in place. The way she explained it is that the baby’s head should be downward into the pelvis, think of the letter V, and instead it was lying across the top of the “V.” She put me into another position lying down, which was difficult for me because the last place I wanted to be through the contractions was lying down.

Eventually, Sabine told me she thought the baby didn’t have the space it needed to turn its head, so she physically pushed the baby backward, trying to get it to turn its head downward into the pelvis.

I was really scared the baby’s head wouldn’t go into the right position and was terrified of hearing that I could have to have a Cesarean section. I don’t even know if that was a possibility, but that’s all I could think of.

I asked Sabine what would happen if the baby wouldn’t turn its head. She told me, “It has to turn. It’s not a choice.”

That calmed me down and I started focusing on breathing through the contractions, which hurt a lot at this point. I kept having to pee and went to the bathroom a few times. Being in the bathroom alone with the door (mostly) closed and going through a contraction was really difficult.

The contractions were hurting really badly at this point and were really taking all of my energy. They were very close together and coming every 3-4 minutes, with smaller ones in between still.

At this point, Sabine asked me if I still wanted to try to give birth in the tub. I told her yes, I thought I did, so she started to fill up the tub with water and Dead Sea salt. The whole room smelled like salt to me, but my husband said he didn’t notice.

I kept getting contractions every time I went into the bathroom and thought I was going to pass out since I didn’t have my husband there to help me through them. I remember trying not to look up into the mirror because I didn’t want to see how horrible I looked, haha.

I went back into my room and stood next to the bed holding onto my husband and rocking, almost in tears because the contractions hurt so badly. I hardly had any break in between them, or at least it felt that way, and I constantly dreaded the next one. In the back of my mind I wondered if I could still get an epidural, but another part of my mind told me that I didn’t need one and it was almost over.

I remember yelling at my husband, telling him that he couldn’t talk to me— everything he said was just getting me angry. I remember feeling like all I wanted to do was break down and cry and just stop trying, but that I was too exhausted to cry and that my body wouldn’t just stop.

At some point, I got so warm that I just ripped off the nightgown I was wearing. I was only wearing a sports bra and I don’t think I even noticed, let alone cared at all.

I told Sabine I felt like I needed to pee but that I didn’t think I could walk back into the bathroom; everything hurt so badly and I felt like I had no time to recover in between contractions.

About 3 a.m., she checked me. I heard her say, “I feel the baby’s head. That’s why it hurts so much Cassie. Do you feel ready to push?” I kept telling her, “I don’t know,” and “I think I have to pee.”

Since I was already on the bed, I laid on my side and closed my legs. Sabine kept telling me that I have to open my legs and asked me if I wanted to get into the tub.

I did not want to move at all. I did not want to get into the stupid tub and I did not want to open my stupid legs, I just wanted the pain to stop. I was angry and I was frustrated. My lower back started hurting badly; it was almost as bad as the contractions, if not worse.

Finally, I decided that the sensation I felt was not having to pee, it was the feeling of having to push. I convinced myself to open my legs.

Sabine tried to convince me one more time to get into the tub and I told her that I couldn’t do it. She asked me to try to get on my hands and knees and even though I felt like I couldn’t do that either, that seemed to me a lot easier than getting out of bed and walking over to the tub, so I did it.

I grabbed a nursing pillow and buried my face into it. I leaned down on my forearms and got up onto my knees. My husband came up to the top of the bed on my right side by my head and held my shoulders.

Then I started to push.

It was an awful, awful pain getting the baby’s head out. It felt like I was being lit on fire and it emanated to every part of my body. I kept trying to breathe through it but couldn’t pick my head up out of the pillow. I was making sobbing noises, I remember, but I wasn’t actually crying. I was also moaning and yelling.

She kept telling me to keep pushing, and so I did. The worst part of the pain was getting his head out. Although I think I subconsciously knew what was going on, I was too engrossed in the pain to really realize until I heard Sabine tell me, “The baby’s head is out.”

My world stopped in that second. I couldn’t believe there was a baby half out of me. I kept telling myself, “I’m doing it, I’m doing it,” and I kept pushing. I pushed on and off and tried to follow Sabine’s instructions of either “keep pushing” or “stop pushing for a moment.” It was really difficult to stop pushing when she told me to, though. I assume she was telling me to stop at different points so that I didn’t tear.

I kept complaining about how badly my back hurt and Sabine kept telling me, “The pain will stop once the baby is out. Keep pushing.”

She also kept saying, “Nothing is wrong, Cassie. Calm down, it’s okay.” What was she talking about? Everything was wrong and it hurt like hell! But it did help— I kept telling myself that I was doing it right and that it was almost over.

I looked downward between my legs and saw the baby’s little hands and the cord hanging down onto the bed below me. It was so exhilarating. I heard a little squeak that told me the baby was okay. He never actually cried out.

As soon as the baby was totally out, Sabine passed him under my legs and told me to sit back down onto my legs. She put the baby in my arms and I held him like that, still sobbing without tears and moaning. I remember clutching my baby to my chest and thinking, “I did it. I did it.”

L was born at 3:31 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2013.

My husband and I looked in between the baby’s legs and we both said, “A boy!” It was so surprising for us both. When the cord stopped pulsing, my husband cut it.

Soon, I nursed my little boy for the first time while my husband sat on the bed next to me. We stayed in the delivery room in the peace and quiet for two hours. We were both half asleep, exhausted from the day and the labor and delivery and so happy with our little boy.

Image by Kay Rogge Foto Design


5 Responses to Baby L’s Natural Birth: It’s a Boy!

  1. Fantastic birth story, thanks for sharing.

  2. Made me tear up a little bit. I’m very proud of you! And he is very handsome! :)

  3. Beautiful story Cassie!!

  4. Pingback: Natural Birth: Believe You Can Do It Mama Say What?! | Mama Say What?!

  5. What a beautiful birth sory! Congratulations on your beautiful little blessing :)

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