Happy first birthday to my sweet angel baby, Don! I guess that I am like most parents where I am so sad and surprised that it has already been a year! How is he already so big when a year ago he was still in my stomach?! I both can’t imagine life without him and can’t believe that one year ago I hadn’t met my beautiful boy. I thought I would share my birth story. If this isn’t your thing, please just skip and I totally understand. I love birth stories so thought I would share for those that love them too. Here is Don’s (natural) birth story:
Don was due on Wednesday, February 26th 2015. My husband and I went to see my lovely midwife, Claudia, on Tuesday the 24th- she gave me zero idea of when the baby would come, but she did say she would be on-call Wednesday night. The clinic I went to is a group of 15 midwives, I had fallen in love with Claudia, but when you go in labor, you just get whoever is on call. I really wanted Claudia to deliver my baby because I was 100% comfortable with her and trusted her completely. So Monday I had contractions like crazy and was sure the baby was coming soon (I had had them on Thursday too, so that threw me off). Then nothing on Tuesday. Wednesday, I was pretty committed to go into labor- I was ready. I had a plan to deliver my baby naturally and after months of being scared, I finally felt prepared. I went to work on Wednesday (my due date) and I wrapped up a few things, had a meeting where I started to feel some cramps and then I headed to one of the stores I merchandise for work. I decided to walk as much as possible and move small things. I decided to push a small chair from the back of the store to the front of the store. The store is big and when I got to the front I was talking to a co-worker and just like that my water broke! It felt like I peed my pants, but I knew what had happened. I was wearing dark brown leggings and brown riding boots and I could feel the water in the bottom of my boots- gross (on the bright side, my dark pants were dark enough you couldn’t tell they were soaked)! I told my co-worker what happened and headed to the bathroom. She wanted to come in the bathroom with me and I told her I was fine- haha! No thanks! The bathroom at that store has three stalls and I was in the big one trying to clean myself up and calling my husband. I called the midwife and she said I had 12 hours before I HAD to go to the hospital and get induced (since the chance of infection is high with water breaking). People kept checking on me in the restroom which was awkward and sweet (what did they think they were going to do?). I got out of the bathroom and went to buy a towel (I’m lucky that my store sells them!) so I had something to sit on. Everyone was so excited (this was at 2:45pm)! I tried to play it cool. I left a nice puddle at the cash register as I checked out and then I had my coworker drive. I called my boss to let him know I officially was on maternity leave since my water broke and he said that my coworker could take me to the hospital- haha. I didn’t want to go right away because I wanted to labor at home as long as possible to increase my chances of delivering naturally. We picked my husband up at home (thank goodness it was his day off) and then we went to my work and picked up my car so I wouldn’t have to drive. We headed home and my husband rushed around packing up the bags, making dinner, and dropping our dogs off at his parent’s house. I was determined to get labor going so I bounced on my exercise ball while I watched Ellen. My contractions started getting hard and definite enough at 4:00pm to start timing them (I had an app on my phone to keep track of them). I was so excited! And the contractions weren’t too bad- about 30 seconds long and 4 minutes apart. They started getting closer and closer together. I had had plans to put my hair up and get in a somewhat cute outfit, but just ended up wearing a super comfy big white t-shirt and black leggings with my hair in the side pony tail that I had been wearing all day. My husband had me eat some dinner, but not too soon I threw it all up (gross, sorry). Labor started getting harder with the contractions closer together. We put on a movie to try to keep me distracted, but I couldn’t watch much. My husband knew that contractions should be a minute long and two minutes apart for an hour before heading to the hospital (thank goodness for birthing classes!). At around 6pm they were 40 seconds long and 2:30 minutes apart and it was getting very uncomfortable so Preston called the on-call midwife again and she said when I couldn’t talk through them, I could head to the hospital. During contractions I would start the timer and then call my husband into the room to help me cope. I was not looking forward to laboring in the car to the hospital so when it was around to 7:00pm I decided I had labored at our home for long enough and we left for the hospital. We drove to the hospital and contractions did suck, but I was able to close my eyes and cope without making noises. If I concentrated before the contraction started, I could go somewhere in my mind and handle the contraction (I visited my favorite vacations through the night- I know it sounds weird, but it helped me distance myself from the pain). We got to the hospital and went to check-in. It was fun to fill out paperwork and have contractions (sarcasm :)). We were put in the triage room around 8pm. I put on a hospital gown and was checked- I was dilated to a 5.5 and was 100% effaced. Yay! That was better than I was hoping! The not so fun part of triage was that I threw up again. At least this time I knew it was coming and they had a puke bag ready for me. They also put an IV line into my arm just in case I needed anything (but I didn’t get hooked up to anything). One of the admin girls came in and I was about to have a contraction so I asked her to please stop talking. She kept chatting and chatting so I asked her to shush, but she kept talking! I was so annoyed- I told her to be quiet and she left. I felt bad for being mean, but I needed to concentrate! Around 8:30 contractions got too hard for me to time them. I was moved to my labor and delivery room and Claudia was there! My husband plugged in our speakers and played a playlist he put together of my favorite songs. I sat on a rocking chair and had my first contraction there. My midwife put her hands on my forehead and put pressure there and it REALLY helped me get in my head and not think about the pain. She dimmed the lights which also helped. Awww, it felt good to have a familiar face. I requested a birthing room with a tub and was excited to get in! She filled the tub. I hoped in and It felt so good! I labored in the tub for a few hours. Whenever I would feel a contraction coming on I would say “pressure” and my husband would put pressure on my head (I feel like such a weirdo for typing that out, but it helped me so maybe it will help someone else). When I was done, I would say ok. I was pretty much silent for the contraction (most of the time) so it was nice to have everyone know when I was contracting so they would be quiet. A few of the contractions I didn’t handle so well (Preston was sitting on an exercise ball in the bathroom and Claudia came in and out as did our delivery nurse Blanka) and involuntarily pushed. If the contraction was extra hard Claudia would tell me I could do it. I would say out loud that I could do it- haha and that I was ok (I promised myself that if I could handle it at that moment I wouldn’t ask for an epidural. It felt good to say out loud that I could handle it and that I was ok). I had Claudia to check me and I was at a 7. At least it was progressing (I hoped that I was at an 8)! They had me get out of the tub and I went to the exercise ball to labor. Again, thank goodness for our labor class! My husband and I had practiced lots of different laboring positions and knew our favorites. We knew we would like for me to be on the exercise ball and him to sit behind me. We were right and it was a great way for me to labor. I next moved to the bed and would lean over the back of the bed (you are supposed to change positions every 30 minutes to move the baby down). I also labored just lying in the bed. Finally, we got to the point where I was dilated to a 10 and I could start pushing! I was surprised because I thought transition (where you don’t have a break between contractions and they are their strongest) would be worse- I always felt like I got at least a small break. But it was hard and I was ready to be done. Between contractions my husband would give me a sip of water even though I was not in the mood to drink. I ate a few crackers, but really didn’t feel like eating (or really doing anything but laboring). I tried pushing and had the weirdest thought- I never thought I would get to this point! I was actually really close to seeing my baby! 20 minutes to 2 hours according to my labor class. It freaked me out and was something I had to get over! I started pushing. Pushing was nice because it felt like I was more in charge of the progress, but it was so painful! And the baby kept moving which made it even more uncomfortable. Side note, I wasn’t hooked to anything (one of the beauties of going natural), so they would have to use a Doppler to hear the baby’s heart beat every once in a while. My baby was amazing and always had a strong heart beat through labor. I did hate having to be monitored though as it was distracting during my contractions. As I pushed, I kept asking and asking for how much of the head they could see so I knew that my hard work was paying off. When he was crowning it was so painful! Like the worst pressure ever. This was definitely the most painful part for me.They had me reach down and touch his head and it was amazing to feel it. I knew it was close when more nurses came in the room and the tools came out. I pushed and pushed and pushed. I knew that the better I pushed, the sooner I could be done with the pain. I got to a point where I would push and my body would naturally push for me and I made huge progress. I would tell the baby it was time for him to come- corny, but I had read that it could help- maybe it just helped me mentally. Finally, Claudia would have me slow down because if I pushed too much I would tear. I tried my best and could feel him move down. Finally there was a big rush and he was out!!! They brought him up to me and there was my angel! All grey and covered in vernex, but the most beautiful baby I had ever seen in my life. It was weird to feel the cord come out and they let it pulse until it was done. I was so overcome seeing my sweet boy! I made noises like I was crying, but I couldn’t cry (weird). I said how cute he was and that I knew I was the only one who probably thought it- haha. Preston and Claudia remarked on his cone head and that it would mostly be gone in a few hours. Don was born at 1:55am right on his due date- February 26th. The room cleared out for awhile and Preston and I just stared at our sweet baby- he didn’t really want to eat (which surprised me). I had two big thoughts during that time right after he was born- the first was that while I watched Preston hold our sweet baby that a dream I had had a few weeks earlier came true. Seeing them together was just everything for me. I got the exact delivery that I had wanted, that I had dreamed of. I was so, so proud and surprised at myself. It had gone so well and I was just ecstatic about it (side note, during my followup appointment with my midwife she told me how I was a rockstar and how I had the best birth. It was pretty cool to hear her say that since she has seen so many births)! The second thought was that the baby’s middle name should be Mac- we hadn’t settled on a middle name before this, but I just had a strong impression of what it should be.The baby was weighed and measured in the room- 7 lbs, 11.8 oz (they round up to 12) and 20″ long. After awhile, they had me get out of bed. Everything got really fuzzy and I told the nurse I was about to pass out- I guess I had lost a lot of blood and hadn’t eaten enough.They pumped me full of liquid to help with my light headedness and finally I was able to be pushed in a wheel chair to our recovery room. I felt so proud holding our little bundle as I was pushed down the hall (even though I knew I looked scary). I was so, so glad our little baby Don had arrived!
When I first found out I was pregnant I was both thrilled and terrified! I was mostly scared of giving birth. I read two books that were VERY helpful in getting me mentally prepared to give birth naturally. They were Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and Your Best Birth. I also recommend the documentary The Business of Being Born to anyone having a baby. Check your library or you can use the (affiliate) links above to purchase from Amazon.