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I have to admit upfront that I was a bit unsure about the whole idea of giving birth in a Birthing Center...right up to the end! But I have to say...it far surpassed everything I could have dreamed of in a perfect childbirth ideal!
This was my 2nd..having given birth almost 5yrs ago to a 9.7lb son in a hospital(with no epidural). All went well, but I was not thrilled with the Hospital (so many babies..felt like a conveyor belt..and they kept running out of room, plus kept trying to force epidural on me, and I hated all the IV's , monitors etc.) I had a doula as a coach, and this time she suggested that I was a great candidate for the Birthing Center.
I liked the fact that it was sooo intimate and personal, looked like a nice bed and breakfast, staffed by caring, supportive, highly trained and experienced midwives and nurse practioners, and they let the pregant mommies be in charge of their own care and experience, and they treat childbirth as something VERY normal..not a medical condition.
What worried me was..what if something went wrong (they don't wait for things to go wrong, they send you to OB-GYN or Hospital..minutes away...at the SLIGHTEST indication of things going off track), and would I feel ok enough to leave with my baby 6 or so hours after the birth?? (I had no idea I would feel so GREAT so soon after!)
My midwives gave me some herbal stuff to ripen and soften cervix in that last 2 weeks of my pg (I had a history of going well overdue), and I also had an osteopath do an alignment that helped straighten everything...which allowed the baby to really move down and engage deeper. I was 1 cm, 50% effaced and station plus 1 at my 39.5 week appt. Then at 40 weeks..on Friday Dec 30th I had accupuncture (which is what also had finally put me into labor for my overdue son), and the next morning, on New Year's Eve, I had my "bloody show" and was very crampy..but no ctx yet. I was that way all day..and evening. By midnight ("Happy New Year!!"...lol) I was getting some ctx....and by 2am they were getting closer and more intense.
At this point I was breathing, walking, squating, using birthing ball, warm bath, and also hypnosis tapes that I had used with my other labor and birth. Then I was sitting on the couch resting for a moment with my dh, when I felt a strong stream come out..thought I had pee'd! But it was actually my water! At 3am it was getting intense, and time to go to the Birthing Center. We left my son at home(with my dad) b/c he was asleep, and my mom drove us. It was a kinda cool drive b/c it was the first day of the New Year, and at that hour, no one was out..and it was so quiet and peaceful. It was 4 am when we got there...and my doula got there just as we did and so did the midwife.
She checked me and I was completely soft, effaced, my water had broken, and I was a good 4cm. I had a slight fever cuz I was a tiny dehydrated, so I drank and then it was fine. (no IV's...YAY!!) She wanted me to walk while they got the wonderful warm bath ready. It was so cozy, intimate, and peacful and when I got into the bath...it was heaven! (the ctx had been getting pretty intense..but the bath really helped!) My dh was WONDEFUL..so soothing and calm..and rubbing and massaging. The Doula and midwife were great..and kept trying to focus me on USING the ctx..and getting the most out of them.
They had dim lighting everywhere..and I brought this wonderful music that was playing softly in the background. I got out of tub..and they checked me again..and I was 7 cm already! And I was moving quickly into transition..so they kinda thought it might go fast..and had to hurry to reach the other staff to hurry and get there! (2 nurse practitioners..who are really mostly for the AFTER birth and baby stuff) The baby was handling the labor and ctx just great. I got on all fours for a bit..and then went back in tub b/c it was getting a bit rough to keep my focus. Again, the tub did the trick..and I felt the urge to push!
I got on the bed on all fours again (they just let you chose you positions..or make suggestions too)..and she checked and I was 9cm..but had a tiny lip of cervix...so midwife took care of that! (ow!!!) Then I was ready to push..and stayed on all fours..in a backward semi squat...and in 3 pushes...at 6:20am (2 1/2 hrs after arriving at the birthing center) my darling Natalie Raquel was out!! Right at the dawn of a new day...the first day of the new year! My dh cut the cord..and I laid back on the bed...and they put her to my breast immediately! She sucked like a champ right away!! It was so wonderful!!
Her apgars were 9 and 10...and she was so alert! 8lb 6 oz and 20 1/2 inches...w/ lots of jet black hair! I felt great..altho I did have to get a couple stitches on the inside for a couple small tears, b/c it had been so quick. They never took her away from us..except to be weighed. They did everything right there on the bed with us. My Dad brought my son and he got to hold her, and they even let him hear her heartbeat on the stethescope. Then he rocked her while singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "A B C". My Mom was there the whole time, and my Grandma got there just as she was born.
I felt so well when I left and was home by 12 noon that day! After having a non-medicated birth in a hospital..and one in a birthing center..I NOW know what the differnce is...and it is truely amazing! I felt so empowerd, so supported, so special, and so in awe of the whole experience!