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I had a natural childbirth using Hypnobabies, so I will be using mostly hypnobabies terms for things. Like I will call them pressure waves or just "waves" instead of contractions, etc. This is not a pain-free story though, just to warn any hypnobabies students!
I went just over a week past my guess date. I was walking a bunch every day and DH tried to DTD as much as we could, but baby was not going anywhere. He was in a great position for birthing though and my cervix was super soft and a little more effaced and open at each OB visit, so I knew things were slowly gearing up.
Sunday morning, at 41 weeks, I felt different in the morning when I woke up. Nausea and crampy in my cervix. I hoped this boded well for birthing being near! I walked to my parents' house, then down to the ocean after breakfast, with some family including my FIL and SIL who were in town. Then back to my parents' house. Around 11:30am I start feeling waves. They were so mild that I didn't actually feel them all over, just some pressure pushing down on my underbelly, and the top of my belly was hard to the touch so I figured it was a real one. They were maybe 8-10 minutes apart and lasting awhile, pretty regular but very mild. This persisted through a shower and listening to a hypnobabies track, so I felt pretty sure it was the beginning. I spoke to my doula on the phone and my family was aware that it was probably the beginning of birthing time now. I went home for awhile in the afternoon to nap while DH and his dad took M for a nap-drive. Then we all went over to my parents' house for dinner. The waves were starting to get more intense slowly over time so I was beginning to use finger drops occasionally to relax my way through them. I got through dinner but then the whole act of socializing and conversing with my family was getting pretty annoying and the waves were intense most of the time. So we left M with the grandparents and DH took me home. We called my doula and she came on her way.
At home the waves continued to build in a pretty standard textbook fashion. My finger drops were working great and I was staying really relaxed the whole time. I got in the tub at one point but my tub is just not that big or comfortable and I got out again pretty quickly. I was really cold getting out of the water and got to the bed and was shivering a lot for awhile. The waves were intense enough to require all my attention and were getting pretty long and close together. I was feeling increasingly weird and altered-state-ish. My doula and DH seemed like they were a bit high energy and my doula suggested calling the hospital (really more of a birth center but technically a hospital). They had been timing my waves and I guess it was time to call. They said to come in so we finalized things around the house (DH had been working on cleaning, organizing, and packing the car for quite awhile by now so it was quick) and then we drove to the hospital, about 20 minutes away.
With M, I had lost my relaxation during the transition to the hospital environment and my waves stopped completely, which was the beginning of the end of my natural childbirth plans with her. This time I was able to keep things going pretty well. I was only 5 cm dilated when they checked me, but fully effaced, so I figured it wouldn't be long even though I was less dilated than I had expected. My waves did slow a bit due to the long intake and initial monitoring process, but my doula had some good suggestions for walking, movements, and also had DH give me some belly lifts during waves to encourage a better position for the baby, and things picked up again. I was feeling a bit exhausted and like I needed a break so we got the tub ready. (I had a room with a jacuzzi tub so I figured, why the heck let that go to waste?? Haha.) I needed more monitoring in the bath but they had waterproof wireless monitors and my nurse was really cool about getting them on me without disturbing me more than absolutely necessary. I got out again and walked some more to get things going more again as the waves slowed down from the tub. The OB on call came by and checked me, now I was 7 cm and fully effaced, which everyone seemed really impressed by since I was so calm. It was all just the hypnobabies techniques. I was starting to vocalize more but I did feel very relaxed the whole time. My water bag was bulging and she wanted to break my water if I was okay with it, she thought things would go pretty fast with the water broken, since baby was still floating pretty high up. I did sort of want to break the water since I was feeling waves more in my underbelly and less in my bottom or cervix and I felt like I wanted him to come down more. We gave it another hour and tried to do lots of walking and belly lifts.
Now things get a bit blurry in my memory. I remember DH giving me a belly lift and then the doctor came in to check me and break my water. I suddenly had to vomit and I said so and just as they held the bin in front of me, I threw up very intensely. It was actually my dinner from many hours ago, or part of it, and it kept coming and coming. I felt so sick. We got me to the bed and they checked me and no change, and I said to break my water, so she did. It was clean and there was plenty of it. I still felt sick and stayed on the bed for a few waves. I was starting to vocalize more loudly for the waves and feeling horrible. I was not remembering my light switch or finger dropping but was too far gone to listen to anybody's advice. I started feeling pushy and got the most overwhelming impatient feeling and just wanted the baby out NOW. The nurse checked me and I had just a lip of cervix but the baby was still a bit high up. She wanted to get the OB. Someone said I had just a lip of cervix but they would hold it while I pushed past it. I was pushing the baby down and feeling completely insane. Yelling like a primal beast. Intense pressure in my underbelly, not where it should be. More in the bottom, I wanted it there, that was good even though it hurt. Trying to find a good position for this, realizing I was not really listening to anything my support people were saying. Then pain, indescribable pain in my pubic bone, like SPD pain. I instinctively closed my legs but also wanted to push. Everyone was telling me to spread my legs wide to open up, I said “I can’t”, I was scared and the pain and out-of-control feeling were freaking me out. I decided to push through it and end things quickly. I managed a position with my legs pulled up more than out, semi-reclining on the bed, which seemed acceptable to me and the medical people. I was mainly hearing the doctor but not even really her, just too out of my mind. I got a good pushing technique and yelled through the pain and felt split in half as his head came out. Everyone was talking to me, too much talking. I pushed out his body and it hurt just as much as his head did.
Immediate relief when he was out. I collapsed back on the bed and they put him on me. He was so calm. I spoke to him softly and DH did too. He was so clean. They dried him with receiving blankets and put more blankets on us. He was clearing some gunk from his mouth, they didn’t suction him, I just let him work it out. He almost cried a few times but then stopped and just looked around and let me comfort him. They clamped and cut his cord after awhile. At some point I pushed a bit for the placenta and it came out easily. The doctor was examining me and I was yelping at times from being so tender. She gave me a local anesthesia shot and a few stitches. They were a bit worried about my bleeding, they gave me a pitocin shot in the leg and were rather painfully massaging my belly. Eventually they decided it was under control and left us alone. It was fun to check out G and see his eyes peeking occasionally. I put him to the breast and he latched on and sucked for a few minutes, but then seemed content to just keep his nose on the nipple. He had curly black hair, so different from M’s blonde hair. My doula hung out a little while but then she left too.
After a good hour or two, the nurse came back to weigh G and do some assessments. When it was time for me to try to stand up, I almost fell over and gasped in pain. I couldn’t walk from the pain. It was in my pubic bone, like extreme SPD pain. I also almost fainted and apparently went all grey. The nurse was very concerned and put me on IV fluids. I was not going to just get up and go shower, which was one of the things I was most looking forward to after a natural birth, so that would have been upsetting if I had any energy to spend on that. I was beyond exhausted and very hungry. She ordered me breakfast and G was back on me. I peed in a bed pan since I couldn’t get out of bed.
It is now 5 days later and I am only walking with a walker and on bed rest due to the SPD thing. I must have strained my symphysis pubis while pushing. It is a lot better now and I could walk through the pain if I wanted, but according to the physical therapist I saw at the hospital, I need to give it near total rest until it feels 100% okay, to make sure the ligaments are tight again and it is healed. Apparently these injuries happen from all the relaxin in the body, which clears out after the birth and then as long as you avoid reinjury, the pain should be all gone once the relaxin goes away. So the walker and everything is to avoid reinjuring/restraining it. I am off the Norco now and just using ice on it. I feel better every day so I hope in another week or so, I will be able to walk around the house a bit and stuff like that.
G was 9 lbs, 15 ½ oz and 21” long. His 14.5” head was completely round and unmolded from being pushed out so fast. My whole pushing stage was maybe 10-20 minutes, the birth took maybe 10 hours from leaving my parents’ house after dinner. G was born just after 4 am. His 1 and 5 minute apgars were 8 and 9. He is a super mellow dude and very easy, not fussy, a good sleeper and eater, breastfeeding great, perfectly healthy. I feel incredibly lucky and although this SPD thing has been frustrating at times, I am happy to deal with it since G is here and doing so incredibly well.