"I think natural,drug free birth is great, but it sure isn't for everyone"
Although we were not trying for a baby we got one, the pregnancy went pretty good, morning sickness through 11th week, and then it was smooth sailing. I worked till the last day and felt really good overall, yes people did treat me like I was handicapped. Really, I was capable to touch my toes till the last day, but for some reason people freaked out when I picked something off the floor. When I first got pregnant, like any other woman, I did A LOT of research. I looked up everything, about the baby and pregnancy, then as time went by I had to prepare for what would be the best and toughest day of my life.
GIVING BIRTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No, nothing can really prepare you, but the more the better.
What some women call a nightmare, I wanted to make amazing and memorable, due to watching “The Business of Being Born”. I'm me, and I wanted my experience to be unique, as unique as a birth can be. "My body my rules" is what I kept saying to myself, a way of preparing for the unknown. I spent hours on the internet looking up birth stories :), and other information. Mostly the differences between epidural and no epidural, yup that's right, I decided NO EPIDURAL! I wanted the whole experience, I wanted to say "I did it, I was in charge of giving birth to MY baby". Aside from the fact that I was terrified of the needle, and just the procedure itself, I didn't want to put my baby at risk. Yes people, there are risks and side effects that come with epidurals, most include interventions during birth, something women don't consider until it's too late.
(Example: the epidural lowers blood pressure for mom, meaning babies heart rate drops (ask your doctor, it's true) if it drops enough, they might have to do emergency c-section to "help the baby", use the vacuum or forceps to speed up delivery, possible injuring the baby and tears to mother. Episiotomy, because you can't feel and don't know how hard you're pushing (yes I hear to can feel pressure, I don't think the pressure is enough). Also I found it caused babies not to latch on well. Spinal headaches and backaches. In very very rare cases paralyses, or having it and it not working.) Why suffer for days or months after giving birth. I'd rather suffer one day and be done with it, and not worry about the baby. And the thing that really pushed me towards a natural birth was the documentary "The Business of Being Born".
So….I wanted to avoid ALL interventions, (Episiotomy....egh shivers) I don't like doctors poking around and making decisions that effect me. It's my body, and it knows what to do. A guy with a medical degree never gave birth so I 'm not gonna let him tell me how to. My body was made to do this, and I told myself I would. (yes I do realize sometimes the baby is in trouble and things happen), but still, if it's low risk pregnancy, LEAVE ME ALONE! I’m a taurus, stubborn, and I will get my way. Once I make up my mind, it's hard to talk me out of it.
When I was pregnant every woman "well almost" would tell me their horror story and how it's just a stupid idea to try to do it without drugs. And that I was doomed to fail, because the majority of women who want to go natural are the first ones to ask for an epi "a nurse told me that" Really? millions of women for thousands of years chose the epidural? Those just came out like 30 years ago. I might have not known exactly what to expect, and the extent of the pain, but I sure as hell didn't think it was going to be easy. I was fully prepared for the worst pain I could imagine (and no it wasn't as bad as I imagined), I had kidney stones a few years ago, so I had a little bit of an idea.
I was due on a wednesday, Friday everyone at work said goodbye to me, they were sure I was going into labor over the weekend. I was not. On Sunday we were putting in a new floor in our laundry room, I was having small Braxton Hicks all day long, but I didn't think anything of them since I've been getting those for months. So I was on my feet all day long. During all this hard work "mostly handing tools, calculating cuts and cleaning", I noticed that my mucus plug came out. I knew now that it was going to be soon, I was all excited and announced to Sean that it will be soon.
I talked to my baby, "don't come today baby, mommy has been working all day and I'm too tired to give birth now, wait until we get some sleep". I was having more contractions all night, but I thought they were just Braxton Hicks, I slept through it mostly. At 4am I went to the bathroom, went back to bed and tried to sleep more before going to work, suddenly my eyes got wide, I said to my boyfriend, "I think my water broke", at that moment I jumped out of bed, and water just gushed out of me. I started yelling to Sean, "GET UP my water broke, get me a towel, a big one!"
As I stood in a puddle in the middle of the bedroom, one thought was on my mind. "I'm going to meet my baby today". I was so excited, I quickly went to take a shower, got out of the shower, dried myself off, and then more water came spilling out. So I went back in the shower. Finally came out and went to look for a big pad. I was leaking every time I moved, so funny. My original plan was to labor at home as long as I could, but now that was not possible.
I called my doctors office to see which one of my doctors (I have a group) was on call. Waited for her to call me back and started to get ready to leave. Sean decided to have some breakfast, I ate too, he did dishes, packed, and finally at 7:30am we left. On the way I tried to time my contractions, which by now were about 2 minutes apart. I thought I was in active labor. They should be about 5 minutes apart early on. But they didn't hurt, just felt like slight period cramps. I felt pretty good, no pain. I was super excited, I've been planning and preparing for months, now it was finally here.
We got to the hospital at 8am, I was 1.5cm dilated at that time and 100% effaced. They took us to the delivery room, it was big and pretty, lots of windows.
I didn't have an actual birth plan written out, I don't think any of the doctors in my group knew I wanted an all natural birth, it was my personal plan, I never discussed it with any of them because I was a low risk pregnancy, I didn’t feel the need to tell them.
I laid on the bed, I was told they would monitor me for 30 minutes and then I was free to do what ever (my plan was to walk a lot and sit on the ball, anything but the bed). The nurse hooked up the fetal monitor, 2 seconds later she told me to flip over fast. So I started to flip over, being huge didn't help, with a panicked voice she yelled flip over fast. And she helped me. She told my boyfriend to press the emergency button and started yelling into the speaker that she needed help STAT. I think my heart shipped about 10 beats, I was sure her next words were going to be "there is no heartbeat". But after a little while she said the babies heart rate is very low, and I might need an emergency c-section.
"WHAT?!?! she can't make that call, she's a NURSE not a doctor".
At that point I just got angry, my plan was going out the window, so I tried to relax as much as I could so she would leave me alone. After a while the heart rate came up, a different doctor from my group came to see me. And he didn't seem happy, he acted as if it was my fault that my babies heart rate was low. He made a big deal that he had to travel all of the 4 miles to get to this hospital (at which he was on call too). I wasn't allowed to eat. I hated him immediately. At about 10am I was checked again and this time I was 2.5cm dilated. "come on, only that much?"
The head nurse finally came and I told her my back really hurt from laying in the bed, she was nice enough to bring me a ball to sit on. It felt so good to sit. I was back on track, I was no longer confined to bed. "Who came up with that bright idea? a man probably, no doubt". I couldn't really walk around because I was hooked up to the monitor the whole time and had a saline drip. But my contractions still didn't hurt much. I was reading a book and laughing for the next few hours. Slowly the contractions started to get a little more painful, I was asked if I wanted and epidural, I declined. Now it felt like bad period cramps, but bearable. So I was sitting on a ball with a towel under me, I thought it was very funny, I couldn't tell if I was leaking water or peeing, but something was coming out of me. After a few more hours it got more painful, now I was moaning in pain and even sitting became a little uncomfortable. I couldn't move, I was hooked up to the monitor because every time I moved in the wrong position the babies heart rate was going down. So I couldn't do much walking, only stood and rocked.
A different doctor showed up, thank God, this one I liked a lot more. At around 6pm I couldn't take it anymore, I couldn't sit the way I was sitting, because I couldn't lean on anything (the babies heart rate slowed in that position), I couldn't stand, so I opted for the bed. "I know, worst thing you can do." But I curled up in a ball and that made it more bearable. At that point I was about 7cm it was around 7pm. I was asked again if I want an epidural, and again I had to decline. But it hurt so much I got something else. Forgot the name, but it sort of relaxed me between contractions. They still hurt the same, but I was a little dizzy so I didn't care.
But that wore of within an hour, and now it just hurt even more, I was back to reality. I swear at that point I wanted to escape from my body, my back hurt so much I couldn't breathe, in my mind I started to panic. Because the contractions didn't come every 2 or 1 minute, they just came all at once, I had no time to regroup in between.
All I was saying was "MyBackHurtsMyBackHursMyBackHurts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
The doctor said I might be having back labor. Great, I thought. I was shaking and felt nauseous. I knew it meant I was in transition, that made me feel a little better, knowing that it was almost over. The nurse sat by me and explained that I needed to relax, and then everything would move faster. I relaxed as much as I could, I pictured myself above my body, not in it. I was imagining that there was no pain, I just breathed. I felt myself give in to the pain, not clench when it started, that was so hard to do. I just kept telling myself that the pain is good, that it means the baby is coming, that my body is doing what it should be doing. I’m not ill, I’m not dying, this is suppoed to be this way. Then I thought about my Grandmothers, having 11 and 8 kids, all drug free, at home. If they could do it, why wouldn’t I? My boyfriend said I was totally out of it, I was there but I was not present, I was in my own little world imagining everything I could besides being where I was. At 8pm I was at 10cm, ready to push. I guess I could have waited till I really had the urge but because the heart rate was so low and I was in so much pain I wanted to geat a head start. They attached a monitor to the babies head, underneath the skin (omg that hurt so much), because as I was pushing the monitor on my belly didn't pick up the heart beat. They also put in a catheter because I had a full bladder, babies head was in the way so I couldn't go pee anymore. The catheter hurt more than the stupid contractions.
So I was pushing, and I got to say every contraction that I pushed through, hurt much less. I was more focused on the pushing than the pain. I don't know if I was making any progress at the beginning but I was doing it because if felt better. I was picturing my baby being pushed out. I tried different positions but with the back pain I could barley move, so I just stayed on my back, slightly propped (my plan was to avoid that but I just couldn't move).
In the middle of all this pain, pushing, and trying to relax, I was just looking at Sean, and how calm he was. I sort of had a plan for him to be behind my head, to never see the gorryiness, I heard that some men loose the sexual interest for women after seeing all that (he didn’t). So I wanted to save him, but he had different plans. He now describes it as violent and unstoppable "you had a human rip out of you". Correction, nothing ripped, the baby slipped out. lol
Suddenly I had to push, my body was just pushing on it’s own, I had very little control over what was happening, so much that the nurse told me to stop, the doctor isn't in the room yet and the babies head was almost out. I thought at that point I was going to kick her in the face. How can she tell me to stop pushing, the baby is almost out and I'm supposed to stop. I just kept saying "I can't stop!!!". THIS WAS HELL, or so I thought. A few seconds later the doctor came in. Put his gloves on (felt like it took him an hour to do that) and told me to push. Oh it felt so good to push, and then…… it didn't (this is the wall I read about, I hit it hard). For a split second I had the idea of just getting off the table and going home, I would stay like this forever, it was better than causing myself PAIN on purpose. But how would I walk with a head sticking out of my crotch, so I thought my only way out was to die, so I wanted to die, then I thought, what if I beg for an epidural, they have give it to me. All those ideas sounded much better than what I was about to do……After a few seconds of hesitation, it was either stay in pain forever or push and the baby will be out. And it hurt SOOO much, I didn't want to push but I had to. And I finally did, I must have screamed like a mad woman, that's when the doctor said to stop pushing, WHAT!!! NOT AGAIN!!!! My body was pushing on it's own. But then he said the magic words. "You're not tearing, stop pushing." I tried with all my power not to push, slowly the head came out, I saw it in the reflection of the light on the ceeling, he removed the umbilical cord from the babies neck, suctioned and told me to push a little, and then it was over. I felt her slip out, all the pain was gone, I DID IT!!! My baby was in my arms, and I heard someone say IT'S A GIRL! Immediately she latched on, all I could do was stare and smile. Then I turned to Sean and said “I could so do this again”. Haha, I don’t think he was rady for that just yet, I heard the nurse laughing. I was in such a good mood for the next few hours I couldn’t settle down, it gave me so much energy. Evelyn was born at 9:40pm 5lb 12oz, 16.5 hours of labor, and I did it all drug free, well almost, and not even one stitch, I credit that to her being tiny. She also didn't have a cone head. Perfectly round little head.
After everything was done, the doctor told me that because the baby's neck was wrapped with the cord and her heart rate was so low, that if I did take the epidural it would slow her heart rate much more "because that's what epidurals do" that I would've definitely ended up with a c-section. He said I made the right chice not going with the epidural. That's when I knew I wasn't crazy for going with my gut feeling. No one will ever tell me that a synthetic drug in your body is good for you. Giving birth isn't an illness, why drug yourself. I can’t imagine it any different, this is what it’s supped to be like, it’s supposed to hurt, the pain is a good kind of pain, sure it hurts like hell, but that’s what the female body was meant to do. I think my experience was very good, I was prepared, and I had a plan that I stuck to, even though I nver gave birth before I knew what to expect, and it happended the way I wanted it to. I don’t regret a thing. Now I know that my body and mind can handle what ever life throws at it. That was the toughest and most empowering thing I have ever done, and by far THE MOST painful. And I would do it again. So if you're considering a drug free birth, believe me, you can do it.