My Birth Story
The last few weeks of my pregnancy were really tough. I was in prodromal labor for two or three weeks, even having my parents come out for a solid week, only to have them then go home for a solid week. Every night I would have contractions and think, Well, surely tonight is the night, better get some rest. I’d go to bed and wake up the next day… Groundhog Day…
I walked, I ate pineapple and kiwi and mango to ripen my cervix, I had sex with my husband, I did yoga, I jumped up and down, I had spicy food, drank red raspberry leaf tea… Willa was determined to come on her birthday and there was no reasoning with her (a taste of things to come?).
My birth story:
After almost two weeks of prodromal labor and much fretting about how much longer my OB would let me go, I finally had my gorgeous baby girl on Monday morning, May 3rd, at 6:49 am, about ten days past her due date.
Sunday night, on the recommendation of a poster on the Babycenter forums, I checked out Spinning Babies. My thought was, I was 4cm dilated, 80% effaced, having irregular but pretty powerful waves all the time… the only thing that was keeping this birth from progressing was that she wasn’t in position.
I sat on my birth ball and rolled my hips in a circle – eight times to the right, eight times to the left, etc. Everytime a wave would start I would leap up and do a belly lift until the wave passed, turning my switch to “off” at the same time.
We watched America: The Story of Us, “American Pickers,” and Crazy Heart. All the while I was praying that things would get under way.
After two hours of this, my waves became more powerful but were still pretty far apart and fairly irregular. I decided to go to bed and was certain I’d stalled once more. But no. My waves started to get to the point where I couldn’t find a position that felt good, and I wasn’t releasing in between. I decided it was time for us to go to the hospital.
After all our starts and stops, my husband was pretty dubious, but he went along with it.
I listened to my the Hypnobabies Easy First Stage about three times and found it really helped – especially in the car ride when my fear started to creep in.
After we were admitted, we found out we were at 5cm. The nurse was wonderful, but I did find that the interruptions were making it a little hard to stay in my hypnosis. All of a sudden, my waves became almost too much to bear. The sensation was so different from before, and I wavered – I asked for Stadol just to take the edge off. I literally hadn’t done ANY research on Stadol – an old high school friend had simply mentioned it to me in passing and I guess it got lodged in my brain. Scott, knowing I would NOT want a narcotic introduced into my birth, said, “We’ll get it for you in five minutes.” He knew that in five minutes he would say the same thing again. And again.
The nurse said if I was dilated past 6cm that they wouldn’t give it to me. I had just been checked and was at 5cm, but when she checked me, I was at 8! Suddenly I realized I was in transition and had a real palm/head/duh moment. Knowing that transition was mercifully short and that I would soon see my baby, any and all wavering on my convictions completely disappeared.
Aimee, our doula, arrived right then and helped me through transition beautifully. My bag of waters still hadn’t broken (one of the nurses said it was like steel wool. Thanks!), so my doctor broke my water and we soldiered through the last two centimeters. I will say that having the urge to push and not being able to because she wasn’t ready was the most intense part of the birth for me.
At one point, I wanted to push so badly that I started to shake my head, no no no no no. I said to the nurse, “I can’t not push!”
“You have to wait just a little longer,” she said.
With my head shaking, I chanted, “Linda Blair Linda Blair Linda Blair Linda Blair.”
Then, the sweet relief of pushing! I think all of the Pilates and yoga that I did REALLY served me well. I loved pushing and feeling her descend and sensing that we were doing this together and knowing that I would see her soon. Even when I had to wait while I stretched, the pressure was intense but I was so looking forward to pushing again that it didn’t matter. I remember sort of passing out in between each contraction. I’d push, push, push, and then close my eyes until the next contraction.
The sensation of her exit from my womb is something I will never forget. Seeing her coltish long legs and hearing her searing, powerful wail made me so proud.
She was put on the table, not me, and that was frustrating. I kept saying, “Please let me see her. Please.” But after only a couple minutes, they placed her, skin on skin, on me and I breathed her in and smiled and was so happy. She immediately latched on to me and drank me in. I didn’t cry. I laughed and I breathed.
She entered the world to her father’s recording of a Dada song, “Dim.” Out of all the songs on her playlist, she waited til she heard her daddy’s voice to make her entrance.
A few days later, we sent our pictures out to a couple friends. One of our best friends, Karen, is a NICU nurse in the hospital where we delivered. She called and asked me why the NICU team was at our birth. I told her they weren’t. She said, “I’m looking at the pictures, I’m seeing my co-workers, I’m telling you they were there.”
As it turns out, Willa had meconium in her water (meaning: she pooped inside me yay). It can be dangerous sometimes, especially if they aspirate the poop. She was dandy, however, which is why no one even told me that anything had happened.
She ended up being a big baby – 8 lbs 6 oz, 21 1/2 inches! I still can’t believe that I did it. I can’t believe I had the strength and the faith to have a completely unmedicated birth, when so many people thought I should, after all those weeks of prodromal labor, just get the pitocin and get the epidural and just get on with it. I knew she would come when she was ready. I just knew it.