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Well, I should start off by explaining that I had a birth plan this time around. There were some things that I was flexible on, but my main goal was to have a completely drug free birth (with the exception of the antibiotics I needed for the Group B Strep.) I specifically wanted to avoid Pitocin and pain medications. My doctor (Dr. F) was completely supportive of this. Benny wasn’t quite sure if he was behind me on the no epidural thing. He was afraid that if I didn’t get an epidural I would be too tired to push when it came time, but he supported my decision anyway!
Benny and I went to bed Monday night with the ever-present hope that I would go into labor in the middle of the night. He mentioned that it would be nice if I woke up in labor at 2 a.m. so he wouldn’t have to go to work on Tuesday. He knew Tuesday was going to be a long day at work. Well, as it turned out, I DID wake up at 2 am with cramps and light contractions. Although my contractions didn’t hurt a bit, they were regular, and as many women do, I just knew that something was different this time. I tried eating, drinking and taking a bath just in case this was false labor, but by 3 a.m. I knew I needed to go to the hospital or else Benny would have to head in to work since he usually leaces for work around 3:30 a.m.! I got to the hospital at 3:30 a.m. I was 3.5 centimeters dilated at that time, which was a change from the 2.5 cm I had been at my appointment the previous Wednesday. The nurses hooked me up to the monitors and had me drink a big glass of water to see whether or not the contractions would stop. They kept coming so I was asked to walk for an hour. When I was done with that I had progressed to a loose 4 cm. My nurse called Dr. F who said to admit me to the hospital. At 5:30 I called my aunt and uncle to come watch the older kids so that Benny could head to the hospital to be with me. Since this is my fourth baby, Dr. F thought my labor would progress very quickly. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly what happened!
I walked the halls for another hour, from 5:45 a.m. to 6:45 a.m. I returned to my room to monitor my contractions, get my IV and first dose of penicillin and generous breakfast of clear liquids - ha! I requested an IV that allowed my tubing to be disconnected and reconnected when needed. I really didn’t want to be hooked up to it the entire time - walking around dragging an IV pole is a huge pain in the rear! At 9 a.m. Dr. F came in to check me. I was still only 4 cm despite all that walking and time spent contracting. My labors are usually very slow to progress from 4-7 cm. I knew this, but I was hoping it would be different this time. Apparently not! I was given the choice as to whether he would break my water or not. Since I had already been there for 6 hours and had only progressed ˝ cm in that time, I asked if Dr. F to nick the water so the fluid could leak out, and he did.
I was sent to walk the halls for another hour, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. I returned to my room and tried standing up and moving my hips around. I alternated between moving them in a circle and rocking them back and forth. This brought on some regular contractions that were a bit painful. I was checked again at 11:15 a.m. I had made a little progress, I was now at 5 cm. Had “lunch” at 12 p.m. and got more Penicillin. I stayed at a 5 for most of the afternoon. While getting my third bag of Penicillin, I was hooked up to the monitors and it seemed that labor stalled out. I had stopped contracting completely. The nurse was really pushing the Pitocin and I reluctantly agreed to “just a little.” She called Dr. F to get permission, and thankfully, he said No! He was really behind me on my birth plan and thought I should walk again to get my contractions going. I walked from 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. After the first 10 minutes my contractions started coming every 2 minutes. I could not walk or talk through 95% of them. Thankfully, there are hand rails on the walls in our hospital, so I would hold onto them while having a contraction. I returned to my room and continued to labor while sitting up on my bed. Contractions were getting pretty painful by this time, but as long as Benny was rubbing my lower back and hips, I could handle them.
Dr. F came in at 5:45 to check me and said that I was a 7-8 cm and the baby had moved down to a +1 station! I think the nurse was a little surprised because I’m not very noisy when I’m in labor. I was excited because from previous experience I knew the rest would go quickly. Dr. F left to do a couple of errands. I got up to use the bathroom one last time, then went to stand by my bed to labor standing up. The contractions weren’t as bad standing up because I didn’t have the pressure on my bottom. When I had a contraction, I would hold onto the bed rail, sway back and forth, relax my abdomen muscles, close my eyes and just focus on breathing. My nurse came in to check me so I got back on the bed. My nurse announced that I was complete! She left the room to go call Dr. F and get the table with all of the supplies ready. Contractions really hurt like crazy while laying on my back, so I rolled onto my left side. When another contraction came, I was relieved to find the contractions barely hurt that way.
However, when the next contraction came, I could feel my body pushing by itself! I have heard other women say this is a very “primal” feeling, and they are exactly right! I told Benny “My body is pushing. I’m not pushing but I can’t stop the baby. Did they call the doctor yet?” What I meant to say was “There’s no time for the doctor, forget the table, tell someone to get some gloves on and get in here!!!” but I was having a little trouble moving words from my head to my mouth! With the next contraction I could feel the baby moving down more. I starting moaning so Benny lifted my leg up to look and yelled out “I see the head!!!” H rolled me from my side onto my back. The nurse came running in, and put some gloves on just in time to catch the baby. Benny had been about to do it, but she made it there JUST IN TIME to catch him at 6:42p.m. Thankfully, another OB doctor, Dr. M was there checking on one of his patients and he came in. He was in his street clothes and still had his coat on. Benny told me later he looked up to see this guy standing there staring at me. He’d never met Dr. M before and didn’t know he was a doctor (he‘s pretty young). Luckily, I had seen him one time before so I knew who he was and that he was there to help. At the time, being the good Southern girl that I am, I was thinking that I should make introductions, but the words just wouldn’t come out. Anyway, Dr. M and the nurses got the cord cut and Dr. M started dealing with the placenta. I just kind of laid there in complete shock. I think maybe a maximum of 2-3 minutes had passed between the time they told me I was completely dilated and the baby was out! Besides that, I realized that I HAD DONE IT!!! I made it through labor and delivery without any medicinal intervention or pain medications!
Because of the way he was born, David wasn’t put on my belly right away. The bed hadn’t been broken down, so when he came out he was laying in a puddle of fluid, his pee and … ah … materials from myself. They whisked him off to the warmer to get checked out and cleaned up a bit. Dr. F finally got there and he came in to check for tears. He said I had one small one that he could stitch or not stitch. I told him not to worry about it. It’s not giving me any pain at all, so it must not have been bad. After I got cleaned up a little and was given some towels to sit on, they brought David to me for bonding/nursing time.
After I was able to breastfeed for a while, they took him to check him out. He was having some trouble regulating his body temperature, and had to stay under the heat lamps until 1 a.m.!! It was awful to not be able to hold him that entire time. Luckily, he was very alert and very calm. He alternated between sleeping and just looking around at stuff. I couldn’t sleep while he was laying in the warmer so I just alternated between watching TV and spending time with him. I finally got some sleep from 1 -3 a.m. and again from 5 - 7 a.m. He’s been doing great, breastfeeding couldn’t be better and I’m really glad to have him home. I miss being pregnant a little bit especially since I know it won‘t ever happen again! I knew I would, but at the same time I am so relieved to finally have my baby!
One last note, after everything was said and done, Benny said he thought this was the best birth experience we’ve had so far and that he was very glad that we’d done everything my way!