What follows is what actually happened, with Baby Brother’s birth story, I want to express that this is not how birth is for everyone, nor should it be expected to be. Every mother, every baby, every birth is different. None is better or worse than the other, each is merely a process, a beautiful process we as mothers endure in order grant life to our precious little ones. I had an all-natural birth and I thought it was awesome. BUT…I know that a lot of people do not choose the route that I took and I want to say that I completely respect that and I do not judge. Just because I think natural-birth is great, does not mean that it’s for everyone.
After two separate solid evenings of all-night contractions over a week apart leading to a whole lot of nothing and being weeks late, I was convinced of two things. 1) My baby hates me. And 2) He’s never coming out.
I had a routine OB visit on my birthday, in which we had the unpleasant (for me) discussion of induction and the ‘risks’ of waiting for the little guy to appear on his own clock. I was ordered to complete another Ultra-sound, in which the little guy appeared perfectly healthy and I was able to buy some more time before a nearly mandated induction. I was given Friday (two days away), I refused. I was then scheduled for Monday morning to which I complied (having full and complete intentions on canceling when/if he did not arrive). I left the office in tears again, for nearly the 30th time this pregnancy. The most frustrating part being MY body was ready to deliver, HIS was not ready to enter the world, and so many of the conventional and even unconventional ways to speed up the process would not accomplish a darn thing.
I woke the next day and BAM. NOTHING. AGAIN. Now, I assumed if contractions or water breaking did not occur during the night, the day was lost and he was not coming. I made this assumption because of two things, first, BOTH of my older children were born at the 9 o’clock hour, and second, I know that MOST births begin when the mother is able to relax…which for me only happens when I am out cold. I went about my day in my usual misery of discontent but I felt a ‘little off’. My husband for the umpteenth time offered to stay home from work ‘just in case’, I laughed and he drove to work.
After having a VERY few sporadic contractions throughout the day, I mentioned to Coretta had been occurring suddenly stopped, I continued with my assumption that today is NOT the day. I then packed up my daughter and drove to pick up my son from school. On the drive there I had two decent contractions (on the 35 minute drive), nothing while I waited in the parking lot for a ½ hour and when I loaded the children back into the car I felt a gush run down my leg. I attempted NOT to freak out as I could have just peed myself. The contractions were completely stopped again, so I assumed, it was a small leak and things would be moving along at a snail’s pace.
I proceeded to my normal mommy duties, homework help, art project, hot cocoa, snack, brownie baking, dinner preparation and playtime supervision. As I did these things the contractions returned, although they didn’t seem ‘right’ (each was only 2 or 6 or 3 minutes apart, lasting 20 or 95 seconds, consistently – inconsistent and unpredictable). I then chalked it up to false labor and continued on. At roughly 4:30, I was keeled over in pain, false or not I needed to get the kids out of the house before I scared them. I then asked my oldest son to call his grandparents to pick them both up and pack a bag for the overnight visit. I then texted my husband to come home.
When my in-laws arrived I could barely speak, I kissed the children good-bye, told my father-in-law to “Get OUT” (I apologized later) and went into the bathroom to splash water repeatedly on my face. Once they finally left, I heaved myself over the birthing ball sobbing that my husband was not home yet and I would have a baby at home, alone.
When I heard his car pull in the driveway, I nearly died. I had already “pushed” twice. He entered the house thinking it was a false alarm. I handed him my phone and he knew it was real. He called my midwife and my doula, Coretta, changed from his work clothing and berated me with questions I was in too much pain to answer. I let out an “I cannot do this”, and he reassured me.
I was starting to get a little bit frantic during my contractions and had a hard time staying calm, the only thing I could think of is how a baby born ANYWHERE other than in the hospital would have to be in the NICU for observations for hours. My husband helped me to the car, each step excruciating… he couldn’t even carry me successfully. Three times during our walk to the car he asked if I wanted to just go back in the house, and once as we attempted to get into the car. It felt like it took forever to get into the car. I felt some relief being in the car… until the urge to push came again… and again. Every light we came to looked red. I sobbed in the front seat of the car, praying he would run every red light. I felt a huge gush and the urge to push again. I was concentrating so hard on avoiding the unnecessary pushes and staying calm. It was an enormous relief to me when we pulled up at the hospital. I then could face the reality that little guy’s head was about to crown.
I heard my husband yell to the valet for a wheel chair and he and another man lifted me into it. I continued to tell myself not to push, to no avail. It seemed we hit every road block on the way. The doors opened sooooo slowly, the elevator was miles away and the doors on the elevator did not want to close. When we approached the entry doors to the labor and delivery, I let out a huge sigh of relief. My husband pressed the buzzer for us to be let onto the labor and delivery floor, and we were let in almost immediately…a nurse and my midwife were there, ready and waiting.
My husband wheeled me into delivery room one where our water-birth was supposed to take place. The midwife and the nurse helped me to stand and asked me to get on a gown. I laughed, well laughed as much as a woman could in full labor. In this standing position I then pushed again and could feel his head. I could also feel the eyes of everyone in the room, sort of scared, sort of out of place, sort of wondering how I was going to get undressed and in a bed in the matter of minutes or seconds that this little guy was going to be born.
Birthing in a hospital bed was not part of the plan. I strongly believe that is what caused the vast amount of stitches with my other births, the plan was to avoid stitches at all costs and by the looks of things not only was nothing going according to the plan, but tearing also seemed inevitable and stitches seemed realistic.
As I pushed that eighth or so time, I told the midwife to cut off my pants and get the baby. She just looked at me. The three of us managed to get my pants to my ankles and I was able to lean back slightly onto a bed, push one more time and he’s head was out all the way…inside the water bag. The midwife was shouting for help and for someone to get her a ‘hook’ to remove the bag, nurses rushed in from everywhere. She managed to pull the water bag off of his face and guide him the rest of the way out unassisted.
For a second I felt robbed. Robbed of the birth I had planned. Robbed of every having the birth I had hoped for. Then, I heard my little guy cry. And in that moment nothing else mattered. I did not care that my plan had fallen apart; I did not care of all the blood and water all over my house and car, or the clothing that needed to be tossed. I did not care that I had endured monumentous pain for hours. I did not care that I had to wait weeks to see his beautiful face.
My midwife handed him to me and instantly nothing else mattered.
The nurses walked around preparing medicine after medicine for me, since I was not given anything prior to the birth, but on my behalf (and knowing my wishes) my midwife stated I did not need anything.
My husband then called Coretta to tell her ‘not to rush’ and ‘he was already here’ and she didn’t believe him. We all smiled and laughed over the ‘I told you so’s’ I had stated weeks ago of barely making it to the hospital.
My little guy was bathed and returned to my arms. My husband phoned all the family to share the news and Coretta walked into the room shocked she had actually been in the elevator during his birth.
Much of my plan had fallen by the wayside, since although he made me wait weeks for his birth, he had me wait only hours for his delivery, I didn’t need stitches or medication or an IV, but I did not get my water birth. I did end up with a gorgeous, alert, healthy, little guy and an early release from the hospital.
Jamie, Proud Mom of 3