It was the night following the afternoon in which I thought vehemently, “I can. NOT. do. this. one. more. day!” I woke up when John came home late from a meeting, and noticed the familiar tightening that usually just faded away during the weeks prior. Night-time, it seemed, was workout time for my tummy.
But this time -oh bliss!- the tightening came back at regular intervals. As much as I wanted a well-rested husband during the whole process, I couldn’t hold back my excitement very long. It’s his job to time these things, you know. [He'd been on-call during the week prior, and was running very little sleep, poor guy... ]
Thus it was that around 2am, contractions were roughly 6 minutes apart and getting closer. The midwife was called & the kiddie pool inflated. John’s lungs got a workout taking care of the last 5% that the air-matress-pump couldn’t do. I giggled and pranced around the play room, giddy with joy that I was nearing the end of being pregnant.
I started feeling contractions Thursday night around 8:30, but they were very mild. Having been induced with Andelyn I wasn’t sure if it was real labor or not. I spent that evening reviewing my birthing book while Royal finished up at work. We went to bed around midnight and contractions continued to progress throughout the night. Around 4am I was timing them at 5 minutes apart for one minute each so I called my midwife Suzanne, we dropped Andelyn off with friends, and met Suzanne at her birthing center.
During this pregnancy I felt strongly that the hospital was not the place I should have the baby. Our insurance changed so I had to start over searching for someone I liked and trusted to take care of me. Royal and I had a tour of the birth center and felt a lot of peace while we were there. That same day we checked out a different hospital and a different midwife clinic than I had had previously. While we were at the hospital I did not feel the same peace as I did talking with Suzanne at the birth center. I knew everything would be just fine if I was not in the hospital. So I followed my gut and trusted the Lord would guide my path…He always does.
This story starts long before Hannah was conceived. It starts in the operating room where my son, Mason, was born by cesarean section.
I was induced simply because my OB/GYN said I was “overdue”… I was just 40w 6d. Mason was posterior, and I was stuck in bed with an epidural and the million and one wires connecting my body to various machines — the typical hospital birth scenario. My doctor declared CPD and FTP after stalling at 4 cm for 4 hours.
The cesarean was cold and impersonal. It was a traumatic experience. The doctors were busy gossiping, I was shaking uncontrollably, I felt ignored and belittled. The doctors never said “congratulations”, in fact I didn’t even know they had left the OR until I was suddenly being wheeled out of the room to be taken to recovery. Once there, I cried for my son… everyone got to see him but me, I was an invalid in bed. I didn’t get to see Mason until 3 hours after he was born, because I was passed out in recovery.
Saturday morning I had started up with some very intense contractions. They were not letting up and I started wondering if I might be in labor. They came and went all weekend and I was starting to get frustrated and nervous that I just wouldn’t be able to do it. Every time I had a contraction, the only way I could get through it was to say in my mind “This is not a real contraction” over and over again.
The contractions hurt so bad because they felt like they were pushing the baby’s head against my pelvis and that she couldn’t get into my pelvis. It was like bone grating on bone. I had experienced the same thing with my third child and ended up going into the hospital to be induced and get the epidural after enduring 12 days of those bad contractions and the anxiety that he just couldn’t fit into my pelvis.
I went in for my appointment with my midwife at 11:00 am on the 11th of October. Before doing the usual check up stuff, we talked about the different things that we could do to get this going a little since I was just about 40 weeks, it didn’t seem that I’d be having Aiden anytime soon, and I was having a hard time sleeping because I wanted him out so bad.
She told me that she could strip my cervix when she checked to see how far dilated I was since 36 weeks, 6 days when we had the whole false labor thing. I decided to have her do it. She told me about using blue and black cohosh to bring on the contractions and help him drop more. She told me that she would be willing to break my water since I was 5 cm dilated, if that’s what we wanted. We asked her about using castor oil to bring on contractions, and she told us we could try it if we wanted, but that I could end up stuck on the toilet for a while, which I already knew.
My labor began around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 23, 2006, (41 weeks to the day) when I woke up to a real contraction, not the typical toning contractions I’d been having for the past several months. This was the night after I went in for some serious acupuncture (with electronic stimulation) at the acupuncture college to bring on labor. I was excited when I had another and yet another contraction and it started to sink in that I was in early labor.
I mentioned that I thought I was in early labor to Jody when he came to bed around 2 a.m. He got me my HypnoBirthing Rainbow Relaxation c.d. sometime during the night and I listened to it with my headphones on to help me stay focused and relaxed. I went through most of the night sleeping in between contractions. When I did have one, I breathed through it and reflected on something I’d read on a Mothering.com message board. One mama said that each time she had a contraction, she thought of her body giving the baby a big hug. That thought made me smile when I read it and so I focused on all the hugs my body was giving my baby for the last time while he was in utero.
I had no signs of imminent labor. I went to my weekly midwife appointment and decided to get checked just to see the condition of my cervix and make a judgment call about any interventions we may want to take. Understandably, I was a little disappointed to hear that I wasn’t even dilated to 1cm and the baby’s station was up around -3 somewhere.
Being 9 days overdue at that point, I was sure this kid was never getting born. My biggest concern was for the potential complications that sometimes come with being more than 2 weeks overdue. So, we decided to use a foley catheter to help my cervix along a little. It’s called a foley catheter “induction”, but the mass majority of the time, it doesn’t induce labor, it simply prepares the body a little, which allows for further interventions to take place if necessary.
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.
Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor's Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth