Monday morning, around 4:30 I started feeling… something. It didn’t feel like I thought contractions should feel like. I was expecting these ‘waves’ that would start at the top of my belly and roll down. These were more like period cramps, but were coming every 3-5 minutes so I figured I would start tracking them.
Bryan woke up around 7:00 and I told him that I thought today was the day, and showed him my contraction counter. I made myself some eggs and toast, knowing I would need protein to keep my energy up for the day ahead. One of my biggest fears was that I wouldn’t have the endurance to get through a long labor. I took a shower, did my hair and shaved my legs (what? I knew people would be all up in my stuff and wanted to make it as comfortable for everyone as possible!)
Around 9:30 I called our doula, Courtney, to let her know that things were happening. She didn’t answer so I left a message and just kept breathing through the contractions. They were still very manageable so I wasn’t too worried. Around 10:00 Courtney called back, she had just finished up at another birth and was on her way (such a rockstar!).
Once Courtney arrived we hung out a bit, breathing through contractions which were slowly getting stronger. We decided that I should get in the shower and the hot water, although it felt good, intensified the contractions by 10. About 5 minutes into it I really felt like things were happening and that it was now time to go to the hospital.
It was noon, and Bryan packed the car while I grabbed my iPod so that I could listen to my Hypnobabies early labor track. The car ride would be the only time I listened to the tracks throughout the birthing. (I will do a seperate post on my experience with Hypnobabies). I breathed through each contraction and in between laughed with Bryan about how surreal it all was. I was that pregnant woman being driven to the hospital. When we arrived a few staff members came out to greet me and I think everyone we passed asked if I wanted a wheelchair (I didn’t, sitting was not my idea of fun at the time).
After changing into a hospital gown and having 2 very uncomfortable belts put on for tracking the heartbeat and my contractions I was checked and was already at 6 centimeters (woohoo!). I was taken to my room, passed out our birth plan and put our hypnobabies sign on the door and was then left alone with Bryan and Courtney. My family came in for a minute but after watching a contraction hit they moved on to the waiting area down the hall.
The next 4 hours were the most intense and painful I have ever had. My contractions got closer together and intensified. I cried, I screamed, I made noises that I didn’t know I could make. I know I scared Bryan and I am pretty sure I was the reason the girl in the next room got an epidural. The pain, oh the pain. My family, down the hall, was in denial that it was their daughter, their sister making those noises. Yes, yes it was.
Before I knew it I was feeling the need to push. They checked me and I was only at 8 centimeters so pushing was not allowed. Yeah, try telling that to the baby. Luckily I quickly (or what seemed like quickly) progressed to 10 and it was go time. I got up on the bed, a light came down from the ceiling, stirrups appeared from no where and there was my doctor, up close and personal.
I pushed for about 45 minutes. It was the most… I don’t know how to explain it. I read that the pushing feels good. I would disagree. It feels… right. It feels like exactly what you are supposed to do. Although there was one point where I might have yelled out “This seems impossible!!” because it just feels like you are trying to take a really big poop (sorry) and then you think about the fact that you have to ‘poop’ out a baby… yeah, seems impossible. I will say that my doctor really was amazing though, she encouraged me the whole time and before I knew it I was being handed a grey crying baby boy. He was beautiful and perfect and big! He had pooped in the womb so the NICU nurses were brought in. I asked if it was okay if I held him for a while before getting checked out and the nurses were nice enough to do their check on him while he was on my chest. He hadn’t breathed any of the meconium in so we were good to go.
After birthing the placenta (weirdest feeling ever) and getting a few stitches the nurse took Declan to be weighed and for his vitamin K shot and eye goop stuff. He weighed in at a healthy 8 pounds 13 ounces and was 20 inches long. He was (and is) absolutely perfect.
I am so glad that I had him naturally, without the help of drugs. Although I can see why so many women choose the epidural (did I mention the pain??) I knew that my body was made to do this, and I proved to myself that it could.
Edit: we could not have done it without our Doula, Courtney. She was a calm voice in a room full of noise. She helped not only me, but Bryan as well. I encourage anyone wanting a natural birth to look into getting a Doula, you won’t regret it! If you live in orange county and are interested in more info about Courtney just let me know!