I was 4+ cm dilated on Monday at my doctor’s visit. I stayed home from work that day because I was totally bummed out. Tuesday (our actual due date) I sacked up and went to work, which was a very bad idea because by the end of the day I was back to being totally glummo and I wanted to kill everyone, hence:
Tuesday night I told Jon that we should go out on a date to get our minds off the waiting part. I was getting pretty cranky about the whole thing after being so chill for so long. So, after our 5 billionth walk around the neighborhood we went out to get some food and then went to see “The Hangover”, where at some point during the movie someone threw a pair of 3D glasses and hit me in the head. But, the movie was funny because: Mike Tyson… singing. Do I even need to mention at this point that I was having contractions? I had been having them so often all week I was pretty much just ignoring it. They would get stronger as soon as we left the house or went on a walk but then not much else would happen.
So, we went home and went to bed. And nothing happened. Wednesday when I woke up I just couldn’t bring myself to go into work and face everyone again. It felt weird to stay home though, because what if he didn’t come until the week after? how many days could I really cut work if he wasn’t coming soon?
I took the dogs for a walk first thing when I woke up. I’m sure I looked absolutely ridiculous all pregnant and huge and walking dogs around the neighborhood. Or at least evidently I did because people kept talking to me everywhere I went. Some men in the park asked me if I was “‘pregerated and walking two dogs”, which apparently to old men in the park (who may or may not have been drunk at 9am) is really hilarious. We walked and walked. And walked. Finally I gave up and came home. I called Jon and reported that I was having contractions. If you could consider being sweaty and tired contractions, which is to say, no. And I sat down to watch tv and mope.
Mid-mope, around noon I started having contractions again. Since Monday I had worried and worried, would I know when it was finally time? I was much further dilated than I could have expected and I worried about things progressing too fast. Even though I had been having contractions all week that were long and close together these seemed different. not painful but… different. they kept going every 3-4 minutes and by 2pm I called Jon and told him to finish up work and come home. He apparently took that to mean finish up stuff before you leave and take a long time, when really what I was saying was COME HOME NOW. And by the time he finally got there I had been starting to panic while pacing around the house.
So I paced. And he timed. I hadn’t showered after my hot and sweaty walk so around 4 I got in the shower while Jon gathered up all our bags and things. He was timing on the ipod touch with the labormate, which turned out to be totally fun. Every time I had a contraction I would yell GO! from the bathroom and then STOP! so he could do the timing while I washed up. Eventually that turned into “one’s coming!” and by the end I was just saying “it’s a one” and then, “one!” which turned into our sort of strange labor code for contractions for the rest of the night.
After that we figured it was probably time to call my doctor’s office. I couldn’t decide if it was really, you know… IT. Sure, I was having tough contractions every 3 minutes for a few hours. But, that had happened before. And technically the dr had said to call if they were closer than 5 minutes apart which we totally didn’t do. But, I just wasn’t miserable. I felt… fine. Especially in between. I figured it couldn’t really be it. When I did call the office they were no help at all. They just said they would call the hospital and have them pull my charts. I was still worried, because that’s the #1 Bradley rule- don’t go to the hospital too soon! So we waited another hour, maybe longer before we finally left.
When we went out to go to the car, between contractions, there was a dead snake in our yard. Apparently Bang had done battle with a little garden snake and somehow killed it. I still can’t believe it! Go Miss Bangerang! Feisty! We know it definitely wasn’t Nico because I one time saw him stand directly on top of a hissing pissed off snake and not even notice. He is oblivious to wildlife.
Back to our story. We headed off to the hospital which is only about 8 minutes from our house, no big deal. One contraction in the car. We got there, parked, and slowly walked up to check in. The woman at the triage desk kept trying to get me to sit down in a chair and fill out paperwork but I really NEEDED to be standing or walking at that point so I scribbled down whatever and then paced up and down the hall waiting to be “checked” to make sure I was really in labor and they weren’t going to send us home (yeah that was pretty unlikely at that point). I still don’t understand what all that paperwork I filled out and pre-registered with was for if I had to fill out more forms when I got there.
While we were waiting for a triage room we enjoyed the treat of some super-redneck people coming in looking for their girlfriend/daughter/friend wearing awesome oversized t-shirts with gangsta-chuckie on them. And then a huge family came in looking for a girl that had been transferred there from another hospital and they sent them all to the waiting room. When I was in getting checked out Jon said that they lost them ALL. All the family just… went somewhere. They went to tell them the girl was all settled in her room and they were gone. Did I mention that these same people RAN INTO ME when I was pacing in the hall during a contraction?? Had I been able to speak I would have yelled at them for sure, but that was not exactly high priority at the time.
In the triage room they hooked me up to all the monitors and crap to make sure I was really in labor and then did a cervix check. I was 6cm and fully effaced and definitely in labor. the nurse was all psyched that we were going to have a natural birth and was sad that her shift was ending so she wouldn’t get to help. And they actually asked for our birth plan, and read it, and took copies and attached it to everything. She put in my heplock and then walked us over to our official birthing suite in the FANCY WING! YEAH! And briefed our nurse, Kelly, on the no drugs Bradley deal, and then… there we were:
They have two wings, the new one for uncomplicated births and the crappy side for people with complications or if the fancy side is full. We had our fingers crossed the entire time that we would end up on the nice side with the flat panel tv’s and ipod hookups and private bathrooms… score!
Kelly said we could do whatever we wanted, but I was excited and wanted to keep walking around to keep things progressing. So she got me some ice water in a big tub and we walked around the floor. We only had to come back every hour to check in on the monitors. We also found out that of course, the doctor on call from my OBGYN’s office was the ONE I HADN’T MET. Great. So for our first hour we walked. The walking made the contractions ramp up but it still really wasn’t that bad. After an hour we came back to check in and my doctor was there for our monitor session. I was immediately worried because she kept asking me over and over if I thought I was really in labor. apparently, I didn’t look like I was in enough pain for her. She just kept staring at me and asking about my pain levels. And I kept telling her, yeah, it’s intense, but it’s really not that bad. Which evidently was not a satisfactory answer. I tried to reassure her by telling her that I thought I was just a slow laborer, and she said she would come back to check on us later.
So we walked and paced and walked, and came back again to be monitored. The monitoring was the worst part. I think if I had to stay in the bed the entire time I can understand why people need pain medication. it just sucked to be in the bed and there was no way to move to get my mind off of it. But, Jude was doing fine in there so they didn’t have any worries. After that it was time for “Ghosthunters”, and thankfully the labor suites had cable. So, I bounced on the birth ball and we watched tv. I wasn’t a big fan of the ball so I switched to the rocking chair, and I ended up staying there for a few hours.
And so it went. At this point the contractions were getting pretty intense. I still wouldn’t say that they hurt but DUDE, those muscles are WORKING. Breath and rock and breath and rock. Jon sat very patiently near me and waited for “a one” and then reminded me to sit still and breath. I pretty much zoned out for a few hours while we watched roasts on comedy central. At one point Jon dashed out to get some food because he hadn’t eaten in a long time and brought back caffeine drinks and gas station snacks from around the corner.
I started to feel nauseous. And I told jon to go tell Kelly right away. She came in and told us where the towels and supplies and a tiny vomit-catching bucket were. And then, a few minutes later, oh boo, the vomit. I tried to vomit into the little cup, but I was vomiting waaaayyy too much vomit for it to contain and ended up overflowing it and continuing to throw up all over myself and the floor. And I thought to myself, I know that nausea is a sign of transition! But I doubted that I could have gone so far in so short a time. I didn’t want to get too excited. So Jon and Kelly got me into the shower. From this point on I was pretty much naked the entire time. I threw up all over my handy $10 black dress and having Kelly and the doctor see me naked was really not high on my list of concerns anymore. I was in the zone.
So I stood in the shower. And the contractions were rocking right along. I was doubting myself. I had to wear a bag over my hand so water didn’t get in my heplock. and I stood and swayed and Jon stood there and helped me.
And then my water popped in a big flood of liquid, and I told Jon to go get Kelly. By this time I had the shakes and I was freezing cold. So they got me some towels and Kelly asked if I wanted to be checked since my water broke, and I said sure. And I was 9 cm! All of a sudden! Yeah! I was relieved, but things were coming pretty fast. That was when we found out that Kelly had to go call the doctor BECAUSE SHE HAD GONE HOME. Apparently she thought my labor was so boring and not moving along so she went home. And now they had to call her back for my delivery.
I went back to the rocking chair, but during each contraction I would stand up and lean on Jon and sway back and forth, and he would remind me to relax and breath. And that went on for a long time. Another hour? More? I literally have no idea. At that point I was in my own foggy world. In between contractions I would sleep in the chair and then pop up and sway and then back down and sleep. When my doctor came back she was still totally freaked out that I wasn’t screaming and crying and whatever. So they all just watched me and let Jon and I do our own thing.
My body pretty much decided it was time to push and started pushing for me when I would stand up during contractions, and I let Kelly and Jon know. So sometimes I would push, and then rest, and then push. I was so glad that the doctor let me just do what my body wanted, so we continued by feel. No coaching and yelling and counting.
I had been fairly quiet in the beginning, like dead silent. But by this time I was vocalizing with the contractions, I just couldn’t help it. And after a while of that they suggested I try some different positions to get things going. So they got me up on the bed on all fours, and I pushed that way for a hour or so. At that point it hurt more to NOT push than it did to go ahead and push, there is no choice. So push and rest, and push and rest. And Jon was up by my head helping me breath calmly. Then they suggested side lying, so we tried pushing like that. And that felt much more productive.
They were getting all set up and my doctor could see his head. And she kept saying that he had no hair! I was sad because I thought maybe he would have hair because Jon and I both have lots of dark thick hair. So jon held my one leg and I pushed and pushed and at that point screamed and screamed. I actually thought about how funny it was that I was probably totally alarming everyone else on the floor with all my yowling. And then finally he was almost out, and it was the worst possible part, not because of the baby but because of whatever the doctor was doing down there with her hand to try to help his face come out. OUCH. And my contractions were slowing down to give me time to rest in between but I wanted to keep going and going and get it over with and it was so frustrating to wait for them to come and everything was running together.
And then we found out he was sunny side up. surprise!
And one more push and he was there.
And they lifted him up and put him on my belly.
And he was so healthy and pink and super awake.
And Jon and I held him and it was so quiet and awesome.
Born 9-3-09 at 3:33 am
8lbs, 6 oz · 20 3/4 inches
Jon cut the cord and we delivered the placenta. Apparently we had some kind of weird extra lobe on the placenta and the doctor was sad that there weren’t any medical students there to show. It was probably why early on they thought I might have had placenta previa. Jude was hungry, and I fed him, and he ate like a superstar. I had a small tear and she gave me a few stitches. So all in all it was about 15 hours. And I feel like this isn’t a very dramatic story, but well… it wasn’t really that dramatic I guess.
The doctor kept telling us she was really impressed. She said I should teach a natural birthing class because I did it like a pro. And she was amazed that he was posterior because I didn’t have any back labor and I pushed him out all on my own. I still can’t believe we made it. To be honest, I really don’t think it was that bad until the end, and by that time it was way too late for medications. The best part was afterward, how I could get up and walk around, and go to the restroom and clean up, and jude was so awake and ready to hang out. And they put me in a wheel chair and took us to recovery after about an hour of just being together. One of my favorite parts was that Jon was out by the nurses station and they have these big tv’s with the status of every patient up on them, and he said every one said either “epidural” or “pitocin” except mine, which said “NATURAL” in big letters. I’m not going to lie guys, it feels totally surreal that we made it and I feel pretty proud.
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor's Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices
The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions
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.
The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions
The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth