As soon as I found out I was pregnant I started reading as much as I could about pregnancy and labor.
I had decided from the beginning I wanted a natural, drug-free labor and with everything I heard from others I knew if I wanted this I had to be prepared.
When I was 35 weeks pregnant I had my first cervical check (now looking back I won’t have this done on my next pregnancy, I’ll explain why in a future post). Turns out I was 2cm dilated and was put on bed rest in case my baby decided to come early. I was happy because I felt huge and exhausted. I didn’t mind the bed rest because now I had a “medical” reason to get rest.
Weeks went by and I was taken of bed rest at 37 weeks and by then I was 3cm dilated. I didn’t have any real signs of labor and didn’t even know I was dilating. I was going for weekly appointments and each time they told me that I probably wouldn’t make it to the following week, but I always did.
When I was 3 days overdue I had another appointment. As usual I peed in a cup and they took my blood pressure. “You have preclampsia and we recommend that you get induced today”, my OB said.
I wanted to cry. I had watched The Business of Being Born (Buy DVD) and researched all about Pitocin. I was scared because I knew things could go wrong and I could end up with a C-section.
My OB saw my fear and she let us talk about it over lunch. I had slept 2 hours the night before because I was having some contractions. I was scared. My husband was scared. I cried and we decided I should get induced.
I don’t pray much but I prayed a lot that my baby girl would be safe and that I would be able to stick to my birth plan as much as possible.
Because it took us so long to decide, by the time we got to the hospital the delivery rooms were full and we had to wait about 2 more hours, which was enough time for me to get even more anxious but my husband was amazing at calming me down.
Finally at around 6pm my room was ready. I’ve never been in a hospital and it can be a bit overwhelming the first time you go.
Our nurse explain everything to us. We called our doula and I changed into the hospital gown.
My OB came in and told me I was almost 5cm dilated, all this without feeling it or being in active labor. She also came back with my blood work results that confirmed that I had preclampsia and that showed we had to get this baby out now before things got worse.
I was put on a small dose of Pitocin and my body started contracting every 5 minutes. I thought to myself “this isn’t so bad”.
My birth plan stated “NO epidural” and my husband had instructions, given by me weeks before, not to let me get an epidural no matter what. I wanted to bring this child into this world with as little medications in my body as possible.
At around 7:30pm the OB broke my water and I dilated to 7cm.
I had read about the “transition” stage, when you’re between 7-10cm. The books and testimonials I read said it was the most painful part and they were right!! I felt like I was going to die!! Ok, not really, but close.
With each contraction I felt more and more pain. I knew I could stand it but for how long? No one could tell me and I was scared because it was pain like I’ve never felt before.
My husband is a personal trainer and I think his “coach side” kicked in. He would tell me I could do this, he would remind me this is what I wanted, he would tell me how much he loved me and that soon we would meet our baby girl.
I would have not been able to go through labor without an epidural if I didn’t have his support. Our doula was very helpful too! I loved the massages she gave me in my lower back but my husband was my guide, my rock, who led me through it all.
Somewhere around 8-9cm dilation my baby’s heart rate started dropping each time I had a contraction. I remembered all I had read about Pitocin and the possibility of this happening. I didn’t want a C-section. I was given oxygen through every contraction and told to breathe deeply. I did. I feared for my baby’s life. What if she wasn’t ready to come? After all we were making her come out. What if something went wrong? Feeling her go down my birth canal and seeing that I was progressing fast was keeping me sane .
The good part about not getting an epidural is that you feel everything. Suddenly I felt like I had to push.
My OB told me to push when I felt like it, because I didn’t get the epidural, I didn’t need to be guided. I started pushing but it felt so weird. I told my OB my body was going to crack in two. Of course that was not going to happen but that’s what it felt like.
After 15-20mins of me feeling what it was like to push I decided it was time to stop playing around and get this baby out!
I had gotten myself in a sort of squatting position on the bed. My body knew what it was doing and that just happened to be how I felt I had to be. I pushed real hard and was told they could see her head! Ufffff!! One more push and her head was out! But suddenly I heard my OB say “her shoulder is stuck”. Fear went through my body and something told me to push with all my strength. I did and she was born.
Five hours of labor, at 11:52pm, my 8lbs 10oz baby girl took her first breath. She was immediately placed on my chest.
I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life. Being pregnant and feeling your baby grow is nice but seeing your baby for the first time is AMAZING!
Since I didn’t get the epidural she was very alert. She opened her eyes and looked at me, the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen. She was happy, my husband was happy and I was happy. Our family was complete.
After a few minutes of lying on my chest and staring at me, she wiggled herself to my breast and I nursed her for the first time.
What a feeling! I knew right then and there my life had changed forever. From now on my mission was to raise this angel, to give her only the best, to make her happy and love her unconditionally.