I can hardly believe that she’s here! It’s even harder to believe that I’m about to tell you about my completely perfect, complication-free hospital birth. You see, I had planned a natural birth from the start. I hired a doula, I got a midwife, and I read all of the books, but I don’t think I ever believed that I was actually going to go through with it. I wanted to, but I just didn’t have faith in myself.
The night of my baby shower, I had some kind of panic attack. I was 38 weeks pregnant, sleeping soundly, when I was awoken by a slightly painful contraction that set off a 30 minute panic episode. I was shaking uncontrollably as I packed a hospital bag (with 5 sets of pajamas, might I add. So not only was I panicking, but it seems that I was also having some kind of mental breakdown). I decided to jump in the shower to try to relax and regroup. I started asking myself why I was panicking then I remembered why I was so scared of a natural birth. The only contractions I had ever felt were the pitocin-induced piggy-back contractions I endured for 3 or 4 hours during my labor with Milo. It was the worst pain of my life and I couldn’t catch a break from them since they were one on top of the other. That little episode had me questioning, for the first time in my pregnancy, why I wanted to have a natural, pain-medication free child birth. Yes, that is right. I had not even thought it through before 38 week pregnant. My advice to other expectant mothers: don’t do that.
After a few days or so of over-thinking the whole ordeal, I decided to just let it go and let whatever happen just…happen! Really, that is how I function best. I like to think I’m a good planner, but in the end, I normally just throw my hands up and say, “Whatever…it’s gonna happen how it’s gonna happen”. And it did.
Five nights after that little episode, at about 12am on the 17th, I started having contractions that were 2 minutes apart. Now, they say, “Oh, you’ll know when they are labor contractions”. I don’t want to scare anyone, but I did not know these were labor contractions. In fact, I told myself that they couldn’t be labor contractions because it was 12 in the morning and Sam’s parents couldn’t possibly make the trip at that hour and I didn’t want to wake up my midwife, doula, husband, or 2-year old, so I got into a hot bath and decided to call my doula. We went back and forth about what to do and eventually decided to wait it out for another hour (I was already 5cm dilated according to my Dr. appt 2 days prior) to see what happened. When I got off the phone with her, I kept telling myself that I can’t go into labor tonight. I needed to sleep and to be well-rested and not completely terrified before I went into real labor. So my contractions tapered off. They went from 2 minutes to 5 then to 10 minutes apart, then eventually they stopped. My son came into our room at about that time, so I snuggled up with him and got about 6 wonderful hours of sleep.
The second I opened my eyes at 6:22am I had a contraction…then 2 minutes later, another one…and another one. I can’t really say they were painful. I think words like “pressure” and “intense” would work better to describe what I was feeling, but not painful. One of my well-meaning friends commented about how some women have “painless” contractions. To that I say “ha ha” and “no”. I think I could have looked at them as painful, but my outlook on the whole thing had somehow shifted and suddenly all of those books that I read were helping me. I was choosing to view the contractions as something I needed to work with rather than fight against. I was remembering to relax with each one and to visualize my body opening up with each contraction. I was really surprising myself with how calm and collected I was during the whole thing. And I’m getting ahead of myself, so back up…
I decided to call my midwife at about 7:30 and she wanted me to come to the hospital immediately since I was already so dilated. Sam came home from work and I drove us to the hospital (had a few contractions on the way). I didn’t really think I was in active labor. I actually didn’t even bring my bags to the hospital. When I got to triage, they informed me that they already had a room for me. I felt the pressure at this point…the pressure to actually be in active labor. I mean, they already had a room for me and here are all these poor girls in triage being monitored for another few hours and I get to skip in line and go to a delivery room! Lucky for me, midwife checked and I was at 7cm, so I wasn’t going back home. We called everyone, the in-laws, doula, parents, and everyone got moving. Sam came back to the hospital with our son and we all just kind of sat around while I had contractions 2-3 minutes apart for the next 3 hours.
Milo wasn’t supposed to actually stay for the delivery, but it just happened that way, and I’m glad it did. Close to the end, around 9cm, when contractions got super intense, he was a wonderful distraction. He was so sweet and concerned and he was constantly saying things to make me laugh. At about 11:45am it was time to push. So, for me, this is where things got painful. I only pushed for 5 minutes, but it was a painful 5 minutes. On a scale of 1-10, I’d say my pain was at an 8…or 9. We had planned for me to reach down, grab her and immediately put her on my chest while the cord stayed attached for however long it took to stop pulsing, but when her little head emerged, the cord was wrapped twice around, so the midwife had to cut it. I actually ended up getting a little squeamish as I was pushing her out and when the midwife told me to grab her, I took one look and said “ew, no!”. Haha…I know that sounds terrible, but I was off somewhere else trying to deal with the pain internally as I had been doing all along. I eventually (like 20 seconds later) took her and held her for a long time and it was perfect.
Soon after I delivered her, they brought me lunch and there was a huge brownie sitting on the tray. Let me tell you something…that hospital brownie was, and still is to this day, the best brownie I have ever tasted. I don’t know if it’s because I was physically exhausted from pushing a baby out or if the baker at the hospital is just that amazing, but I want another one. I have dreamt about that brownie several times since that day. A couple hours after I delivered her, I was up and walking around. I felt great! Nursing was going great, too. I kept wondering when something bad was going to happen, but it didn’t. The only thing that kind of irked me was the little gathering of nurses outside my door who were discussing, rather loudly, my decision to opt out of the eye ointment and hep B vaccine and how I needed to sign a letter of consent saying if she dies, it’s my fault and blah blah blah. Okay, thanks, now go away.
So that’s the story of how Charlie was born! She is now 13 days old, eats like a pig, poops like a horse, and is the sweetest little girl I will ever know. We are all so in love with her, especially Milo. He always asks to hold her (actually he says “ho-me” when he wants to hold her) and he just stares at her. I know he’s only two, but you can totally see all of the love and adoration in his eyes. He is just as captivated as we are.