Birth Story – Natural Childbirth
Disclaimer::: This post is raw and personal!
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to have a natural childbirth outside of the hospital. At first I didn’t know much about the differences between the delivery methods, but after doing research I knew that this was the type of birth story I wanted to have. I do believe that hospitals are crucial and play an amazingly helpful role, when they are needed. I don’t think that for a low risk and healthy pregnancy that they are necessary. I think in some cases they can do more harm than good. With that said, that is just my opinion and personal preference. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a woman choosing to have a mediated birth in the hospital – It’s just not the path I would choose. Every birth story is unique to each woman.
Once I had decided that I wanted to have an out of hospital natural childbirth – the next step was to find out where exactly I would have my baby. Birth centers are far and few between unfortunately. However, I found an amazing one during my search that wasn’t too far from us… Mountain Midwifery Center. After the orientation and convincing my hubby that this was a safe option (he was hesitant at first, but felt much better after researching it and learning what he could about out of hospital births) we decided to move forward in the process of starting my prenatal care at this birth center. I am SO glad that we found this place!! It was absolutely amazing! Every midwife and nurse midwife were equally incredible. During each of my check ups the midwife would sit with me and ask a bunch of questions and actually talk to me and listen to what I had to say. They weren’t rushed and only concerned with hearing babes heartbeat and getting on to the next patient (as I had experienced with my previous care providers). I talked with them about other things as well and got to know interesting tidbits about them. I always felt genuinely cared about and in such a safe place.
When I was given the news at my 34 week appointment that Adeline was breech, I was a bit distraught. Everything I had learned and the reasons I wanted to give birth naturally in a birth center rushed through my head as the possibility of it being torn away could become a reality. I left the appointment and just cried. I felt so overwhelmed. How I had chosen to give birth meant so much to me. After a few weeks of trying natural remedies to encourage babe to flip I had my next prenatal visit at the birth center and found out she was in fact still breech. I was doing a good job of holding it together – until the midwife hugged me… Then I lost it and just started crying. She was so kind and genuine. She sat with me and listened to my concerns/fears.I left my appointment feeling encouraged.
If you read my previous post then you know that everything worked out and we were able to stay at the birth center! Praise God!
Anyways, on to the fun part. ha ha ha
My due date was quickly approaching and up until that point I had pretty much been in denial about the inevitable next step… labor and delivery. I just kept telling myself ‘women have been doing this forever, I will be fine.’ Which obviously is true, but the reality of it had my stomach in knots.
It was a Thursday night after I had gone to bed and about every hour or so I had been having pretty strong cramps, but when I would get up and walk around they went went away. This happened until I got up Friday morning and they stopped for the rest of the day. I then went about my business as normal.
I knew it was coming soon… I could feel it. THEN, at about midnight I started having more intense cramps (contractions) and started to time them (as I learned in birth class) and they were all over the place at that point. However, after a few hours they began getting closer together and lasting for more consistent times. I wanted to let Ryan sleep as long as possible since he would be up for quite some time with me once it all started. At about 4:30am I called the midwife on call to update her about how everything was progressing and we had decided that it was time to come in. So, I took a shower (my third for the evening – the warm water was very comforting and helped to ease the pain) and got ready to head out. Ryan took our dog, Gizmo to his parents house and then we were on our way… I was so excited and scared all at the same time. We were going to meet our precious little girl very soon, but it was going to be a long and exhausting day. Which turned out to be an understatement! I cannot adequately describe how intense it was.
When we got to the birth center it was a little after 5:30am. We met the midwife and went to the room we had chosen to deliver in. She explained a few things and did an exam… I was excited and shocked that I had dilated to 7cm at home! She left us for a bit so we could settle in and get our bearings.
One of the things I love about delivering naturally at a birth center is the freedom that a woman has to move about and pretty much labor doing whatever she wants. In our natural birth class we learned all kinds of positions to cope with labor and delivery. The sky is the limit!
When we first got to our room I knew that I wanted to be in hot water! It took 45 minutes to fill up their tub… Which was more like a mini Jacuzzi! Once it full I got in and it felt great – it dulled the intensity of the contractions a bit and helped me to relax in between them. I couldn’t talk during contractions at that point. It took all of my brain power to endure them. After a few hours the midwife suggested I try another position – so I sat backwards on the toilet seat while Ryan held the shower head on my back. This may sound weird, but it was great! It allowed me to sit in a way that would encourage babe to drop and the warm water was comforting… We moved all over the room in the hours that followed. I used the birth ball, squatting stool, hammock swing, went back in the tub and then the shower. I think the changing positions and moving around really helped me. The standing/walking though was pretty awful and hard to do… At this point I was in the transition stage of labor (when the cervix dilates the remaining 2cm’s) and the contractions were coming back to back and sometimes with no break in between them. I was so exhausted at this point and I remember almost every time I stood up and had a contraction I just fell into Ryan’s arms and hung on him. If I hadn’t then I would have ended up on the floor.
My water had not broken yet and one of the midwives offered to break it in order to see if it could help to speed things along. I agreed and was encouraged at the possibility of speeding things up as I was pretty exhausted. I’m not sure if it helped or not, but after a few more labor positions it was time to push… I was excited and terrified!
Oh my gosh… This was an intense 3 hours! It was so strange.. It felt like an eternity and a split second all at the same time! At this point I was laying on my right side on the bed surrounded by midwives and Ryan. I felt so supported! During each contraction when I would push there was one midwife holding up my left leg, Ryan massaging my lower back, and another midwife watching for Adeline… It was quite the teamwork ha ha! I have never experienced such intense pain as this and I have a pretty high pain tolerance. It’s unlike anything I could have imagined. After each time I would push I remember asking the midwife ‘Can you see her yet?’ and when she finally responded with a yes, my heart wanted to leap from my chest. I was so excited to meet my little girl and also wanted this to be done! I remember feeling a sense of relief when the midwife told me that the next time I had a contraction to try and do a series of small pushes instead of big ones… This was to ease her out gently. She was ALMOST here! And with those few little pushes… THERE SHE WAS! They handed her to me right away and the intense joy of the moments that followed are unlike anything I had previously experienced.
Ryan sat next to me and we just stared in awe of our tiny human that was now in my arms. It really is true what you always hear… ‘That it’s worth it in the end’. I endured the most painful 14 hours of my life which were then followed by 4 of some of the most joyful ones!
I LOVE this image! I am so glad Ryan took it… Looking at it really brings me back to this moment and the unexplained joy that I experienced the moment the midwives handed Adeline to me.
Ryan was nervous for the delivery as well… As I’m sure most fathers-to-be are during this time! He has made comments about how he didn’t do much and felt helpless… BUT it was truly the exact opposite. Once he had agreed to transferring to the birth center I had felt nothing but supported by him and his participation in everything. Even in our classes we had to take he was the one answering the midwives questions and asking his own. Then during my labor he was bringing me snacks and catering to anything I needed/asked. He put up with my craziness of wanting him to talk to me and then stop talking or yelling at him to rub my back and then stop and so on… I could not have done it without him. I didn’t think it was possible, but after this experience with him I feel so much closer and I am loving the blissful joy of our new life.
After she was born she laid on my chest for a good hour or two before they took her to weigh her and do a few things. At this point I felt like I could pass out from exhaustion but had such an intense adrenaline rush.
I was able to take another bath – which felt amazing. I loved laying in the tub watching Ryan as he sat on the bed staring at our little girl. For the next few hours we relaxed and soaked everything in. The midwives kept bringing us snacks and continued to make us feel truly cared for. After 4/5 hours we were able to head home… And have the last full nights sleep we would be having in awhile…
Stay tuned for more about Adeline and our journey into parenthood.
Here are a few iPhone images shortly after she was born.
A special thank you to Gina, Vanessa, and Heather – The midwives who were present and helped to bring Adeline into the world!!! These ladies were incredible!
This little lady has stolen my heart.