It has been three years since I had my son in a natural, med-free hospital birth. It was 27 hours of total labor. Contractions were every three minutes (lasting a minute long) from the get go, so I got no rest once they started at two o’clock in the morning! I went to the hospital after about 18 hours thinking surely I’d made some progress, but they said I was only at 1cm. They told me to go walk around for an hour and come back and they’d check me again. I was a little discouraged, but when I came back an hour later I was at 4cm and was then admitted to Labor and Delivery.
We settled in the room and my husband put a movie on. All the staff that came in the room had read my one page birth plan and was very respectful of my wishes. My nurse was awesome and very supportive of natural birth. She made sure I got the room with a portable monitor so I could walk around and wouldn’t be stuck in bed. I walked, bounced on a birth ball, changed positions, and did whatever I could to move things along. My husband had made me a playlist of serene, relaxing music, so we listened to that for a while. I was exhausted, because I had not slept for two nights now, so I decided to lie down and rest for a bit. My husband got settled in his cot and started to fall asleep, until the nurse came in and told me if I wanted to get this baby out I needed to do some more work. My husband got up and put his shoes back on (he said it made him feel more awake, haha) and I did some more bouncing on the ball and walking and moving around.
After 24 hours, they broke my water and my nurse told me things were about to get more intense. I didn’t believe her, but Yowza! The next couple hours were tough! That was really the hardest part of the whole labor. I would do okay for a few contractions, leaning, and swaying on my husband while focusing on deep breathing. Then I’d get freaked out and lose focus and get scared that I couldn’t do it and cry out to God to help me. Then I’d remember to breathe and focus and gather myself. I almost asked for an epidural at this point, but I knew that I was almost done, so I just kept going. Once it gets to that point, you are so close to the finish.
Then I felt like pushing, and with pushing the pain went away and I had a new focus. I pushed for about an hour and a half and then the baby came out. I didn’t really feel it – it was so surreal. The doctor gave me an episiotomy while the baby was crowning, which made me tear a little more. I will not be getting an episiotomy for future babies – research shows no benefits; but in the moment I was like ‘whatever just get this baby out of me’. I didn’t feel the episiotomy or the sewing up – though he did inject some lidocaine before stitching me up. I don’t remember the placenta coming out either, because I was in awe of meeting my little guy. I held my baby skin-to-skin for a long time and he nursed wonderfully. I was up walking around and doing everything right away and never had any pain with ‘recovery’, even where I had my episiotomy/tear. I’m so thankful for no pain or complications! My husband was so wonderful through everything and I’m thankful he’s been such a good husband and father.
Two years after the birth of my son, I had a late miscarriage and went through full blown labor contractions and dilation at home. It was about two hours long, with the last hour being the really tough part of transition. I did a lot better at focusing and breathing this time around and never lost focus. I breathed through the contractions and really relaxed as deeply as I could between them, soaking in the minute of rest. I took them one at a time, instead of getting overwhelmed and thinking they would last forever. The last ten minutes of that tough hour was the hardest, with no break or rest between contractions. I basically chanted/hummed in a deep voice to get through it, and that really helped a lot. I didn’t care what I sounded like – it was what I needed to do to get through it. And then it was done. It was very hard emotionally – I prayed a lot and listened to some relaxing spiritual music to get through. I was trying to not get upset or let negative thoughts in that this was ‘all for naught.’ I wasn’t expecting it to be as intense as birth with a full term baby was, but it gave me strength and courage that I could do it again when the time comes.
I’m now 8 months pregnant and have planned a natural homebirth this time around, with the help of my husband, midwife, and doula. I’m very hopeful that this will be another good, natural birth experience. I think this will be our last baby, so I want to enjoy and soak it all in.