I was due on Sunday, which came and went and by Monday I was feeling a little down that I hadn’t had ANY signs of labor (no mucus plug, no nesting, no show, etc.) When I came home from work on Monday evening I decided that I would clean the baseboards in our hallway, thinking that being on my hands and knees would be good to help baby into a good position for birth.
Once I started cleaning, signs began to appear! Bloody show? Check. Mucus plug? Check. Nesting? The baseboards looked great!
By around 11pm my contractions were about 10 minutes apart and felt like really strong menstrual cramps with a little bleeding. I called my doula who told me that I was probably in early labor and that I should try to get some sleep because my baby was probably going to be born the next day.
I tried to lay down in bed to rest, but lying down made the contractions more intense and I couldn’t sleep through them, so I sat on the toilet for the first half of the night and later on my birthing ball and rested on against my bed while my husband slept. I felt the contractions very strongly in my lower abdomen and upper legs. Laying down was the worst, so I spent the entire night sitting on my birthing ball or the toilet. I did that while listening to Hypnobabies “Easy First Stage” on repeat until about 5:30am, when I decided it was time to wake my hubby. At that point my contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart.
Our doula arrived at 7am and at that time my contractions had slowed to about 6-7 minutes apart (my doula told me it is not uncommon for contractions to slow in the morning). She was there while I labored by my bed. Taking deep breaths at the beginning of the contractions and then mooing (yes, mooing) as the contraction peaked helped the best. I vomited a couple of times but it didn’t bother me at all–I had been drinking flavored Vitamin Water, so it didn’t taste all that bad coming up.
At 10:15a my water broke with a monster contraction – it didn’t hurt (it was intense!), but I do think I sounded like some sort of animal in the woods as it passed. At that point our doula said it was time to head to the hospital, which we did. The drive wasn’t too bad, I think I was in that “resting” period that comes before pushing. It was a 30 minute drive to the hospital (thanks in part to Chicago traffic) and when we arrived at check-in I had decided that humming in the waiting from was the best way to deal with my post-broken water contractions.
When they checked me I was fully dilated, so they sent me up to L&D (with one of those kits on the gurney for in case I delivered in the elevator. I began pushing as soon as I got to the room, on my hands and knees. The doctor wanted me to turn and lay on my back (mostly because I was not positioned well on my hands and knees–I kept straightening my legs), but I still did not want to lay down, so I told him no way and my doula and the nurse helped me get into a better hands-knees position.
I pushed with each contraction that came (2 or 3) and my son was born in 15 minutes. I was not at all prepared for what pushing would feel like, I don’t know how to describe it – overwhelming? Otherworldly? It didn’t hurt, no ring of fire, but, wow, to feel a baby come through my pelvis. Weird. I felt his head, shoulders, and then his body slid out and I was done! Incredible.
They placed his 8 pounds, 12 oz body on my belly. It was pretty cool. They delayed clamping his cord and I was only separated from him while they stitched my tear (he came out so fast!) but his dad held him skin-to-skin while the doctor tended to me. My delivery was so fast that the attending physician did not make it to the room in time, and they pulled in a resident who was on his way to another delivery in to my room to catch my baby.
As I only spent 15 minutes in the hospital before delivering, my birth was completely drug free. I even missed the antibiotics for my GBS, but the doctors weren’t concerned because baby’s delivery was so soon after my water broke.
I have to admit that I was a little nervous about delivering in the hospital, but I was really happy with the doctors and nurses who assisted me, and my doula was indispensable, my husband and I couldn’t have done it without her. (My husband was awesome, too, especially when he told the resident not to give my a cervical check–they had already determined that I was complete downstairs–my husband told him that we wanted to limit the hands in my vagina). Also, I really liked the Hypnobabies preparation. At the time I was convinced I wasn’t doing it “right”, but in retrospect I think it worked perfectly.
Laboring at home was key, I felt very comfortable there and suspect that if I had been at the hospital I may have been a little more on edge and progressed a little slower. My doula said that I could have done the whole thing at home, and next time I just might!
Yay, new baby!
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor's Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
Birth is inspiring, amazing, and empowering. This website shares a collection of real natural birth experiences from you, the readers. Births the way nature intended. No pitocin. No epidural. Just the beauty (and intensity!) of the human body at work. Whether you've had one natural birth, five natural births, or are considering natural birth in the future, our hope is you will find courage and joy in these stories. Enjoy.
Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation
The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth