On Monday, June 14, I went to work just to do patient phone calls and desk work. The nurses I work with hadn't let me hardly touch a patient for days so I knew I could get a few hours at work and not over exert myself. I worked about a half day and then went to the chiropractor for a routine visit. My midwife recommended chiropractic care to help with the baby's positioning and also for my pelvic/hip alignment. On the way home I felt the urge to do a major grocery shopping trip, so off to Giant I went to stock up on essentials. Over an hour later, I finally got home, only to commence a kitchen overhaul...cleaning out the fridge and reorganizing the cabinets. After my nesting cravings had been satiated I was able to relax with my husband, Adam, until about 10:30 pm when I started to have some Braxton Hicks contractions. Hoping to sleep through these minor contractions, I was asleep by 11:30 pm, but then was up at 2 am due to the discomfort that was coming with each contraction. At this point, it felt mostly like moderate to severe menstrual cramps, not so bad. I was excited and hoping that maybe this was "it" so I started tracking the frequency of each surge. All night my contractions came with some regularity, but they were too inconsistent. On Tuesday morning around 8 am I spoke with my midwife who suggested I try to rest and keep my appointment for that afternoon.
On the birth ball, with Adam supporting my back.
At my appointment around 2 pm, I found out that I was only 1cm dilated which was a little discouraging at the time. Megan (the midwife) was really concerned that I was so exhausted and suggested I try to get some sleep that night because true labor could be weeks away. At her suggestion, I accepted some prescription sleeping pills, knowing that I needed the rest. Unfortunately I had a reaction to the sleeping pills which caused me to be incoherent and in and out of sleep all night. I found myself in the tub around 5:30 am, listening to my iPod and breathing through each surge.
On Wednesday morning, I didn't feel rested and the contractions were getting stronger. I spoke with my hypnobirthing instructor on the phone and made another appointment with the chiropractor in hopes that she could help "get things moving." I also made an appointment with an acupuncturist, hoping that maybe stimulating the right pressure points could help get me into active labor. While at home, I just sat on my exercise ball, bouncing around or trying to relax in the tub. I found that my surges were increasing in intensity but I was still able to breathe through each one and stay very relaxed, calm and positive. I'll take a moment to note that as prepartion for birth, I listened to relaxation exercises and birth affirmations as part of my hypnobirthing class. Because of this, I was able to quickly go into a deep state of relaxation and allow my body to respond to uterine surges with ease. Around 2 pm I checked back in with my midwife requesting to be assessed prior to my acupuncture appointment; my contractions were about every 5 minutes and I was just plain curious to see if things were progressing.
Meeting Naomi for the first time.
At the birth center, the midwife told me I would not be making my appointment for acupuncture because I was 7 cm dilated and she wanted to admit me! I was relieved to know I really was in labor and excited to have the baby! Adam and I went upstairs and chose our birthing room, a large room with private jacuzzi tub and comfy queen size bed. Adam unpacked the car and brought my exercise ball in for me to use. After a little while I asked my nurse, Ann to get the tub ready so I could relax in there for a bit. I labored in the tub for a couple hours, Adam rubbing my shoulders and my mom massaging my low back during each contraction. My ipod speakers were set up with some relaxing music and the recording of birth affirmations previously mentioned. I was allowed to eat and drink as I wanted and was encouraged to take fluid by mouth since I did not have an IV like at a hospital.
Around 7 pm, I was presented with the option to have my membranes ruptured. I was really exhausted from not sleeping for 2 nights and really wanted to get things moving so Adam and I decided to go ahead and do it. Afterward, the contractions became increasingly intense and I changed position from the tub to birthing stool. After pushing for about an hour I moved onto the bed so that I could be better supported. At 9:50 pm, Naomi Christine was born after about 1.5 hours of pushing. My labor was calm and relaxed until I had to push. While I wouldn't say that it was painful, pushing required every ounce of my being because I had been sleep deprived and unfortunately had not eaten enough that day.
- Our first family photo.
While I received some sutures, Adam took off his shirt and held Naomi "skin-to-skin" with him. Then, she went right to my chest and stayed there for 2 hours. She had absolutely no problems with jaundice, having passed two meconium stools in the first 4 hours of life, and my milk was in at 48 hours. I attribute these things to the uninterrupted skin-to-skin time of bonding and nursing in those first hours of life. I'm thankful that my first birthing experience was what I envisioned. I felt empowered, in control, and had minimal medical interventions.
TagsBirth Birth stories Coping with pain Pregnancy Labor Working with a midwife Healthy Birth Practice Birth Center