*Disclaimer – parts of this may be TMI for anyone who hasn’t heard a birth story. You have been warned*
I have told pieces of Olive’s birth story over and over, but it is always hard to go back and remember all the details. It seems like I did nothing but prepare for her for 41 weeks, and exactly as everyone tells you – you are NEVER prepared.
I should start by explaining the kind of birth I had been preparing for. I am somewhat of a “crunchy” gal. I love my makeup, cute clothes, and I am a fan of deodorant – don’t get me wrong. But I do think of myself as a little of a free spirit. I 100% believe that our bodies are created for childbirth. I don’t think that our God made any mistakes when he designed us, and I have no doubt that ANY woman can birth a child naturally. Of course it is painful, but if someone has the will to do it I think she can no matter the size of the baby. I had been studying Hypnobirthing and listening to my affirmations every night. I had no doubt I was going to be able to have an all natural birth and would not need any medication. I had pretty much every detail of what I wanted laid out.
We tried everything…and I mean EVERYTHING to make her come out between 38 weeks and the time she was born. And absolutely nothing worked for us. I got so many suggestions on what to do. Everything from spicy food (every day) to castor oil (twice), to lots of doing exactly WHAT got me pregnant in the first place (midwives suggestion hehe!) So I had finally come to terms with the fact that she was on her own schedule and just wasn’t ready.
The morning I went into labor started off with a visit to my midwife. Since I was overdue I was going every two days for non stress tests and monitoring. Every time I went it was the same story. She was moving great, strong heartbeat, and had nothing abnormal going on. I absolutely did NOT want to be induced and, like I said, wanted to have a drug free, all natural birth. The midwives were very understanding of that and said they would let me go two weeks (they normally allow only one) since I was in such good health and was so adamant about what I wanted. After the 9AM check up Jordan went to work and I did the normal work around the house. I did laundry, dishes, straightened up…then decided to go get my nails done since it had been 2 weeks and I wouldn’t get another chance. I was hoping the whole time the pedicure might trigger something. As soon as I got done I drove to the store to pick up a few random things and to just walk around. I remember as soon as I got out of the car feeling some tightening that was a little painful. Then a few minutes later some more…and a little bit later even more. When Jordan finally got home around dinner time I told him I was finally having some contractions (I still wasn’t completely sure that’s what they were) that were regular so I wanted to go take a shower and do my hair. I always heard people say to wash and dry your hair so it seemed like the thing to do! I finished that then came down for dinner. We ate and sat down on the couch to watch a movie. As soon as I sat down I felt a literal POP in my stomach. I don’t know many women at all whose water actually broke at home, but from what the ones who did had told me I knew exactly what it was. I felt a little trickle and ran to the bathroom where it all came out. Jordan ran to gather up all his things and my contractions immediately got STRONG! As we jumped in the car I started making calls and remember passing the phone to Jordan to talk – it hurt that bad. I just listened to my hypnobirthing and tried to breathe and relax.
When we got to the hospital it was about 10PM. We checked into the ER section and Jordan took the car to the birthing center while they wheeled me down to the room. I felt dizzy, tired, and nervous. I could barely focus on the questions the nurse asked me going down the hall. Not long after I changed and got into bed our family came in to wish me good luck. We had decided to only have Jordan and I in the delivery room. Especially with it being our first child I wanted to keep it a close and intimate thing between just the two of us. It ended up being the right decision for us. I was able to lean on him when I needed it and gained an even deeper love for my husband as he took care of me through it all. He was very aware of the natural birth I wanted, but was also supportive of every decision I made. He saw me in pain with contractions coming every minute. After a few hours of hard and painful labor it was getting to the point of tears. I must have asked a million times if he would think I was a wimp if I got the epidural. Of course he said no and just wanted me to be comfortable. After crying and praying I finally decided to go ahead and get it. At first I was so upset and disappointed in myself, but the second I could feel no pain it was like a whole another world. I was actually enjoying myself and was able to feel excitement to meet my baby girl instead of just the pain.
At about 5:30AM my midwife arrived as I was finally at 10cm and ready to push. I do know that by that time I was feeling my legs again. The contractions were more like intense pressure (nothing like before) so the epidural was still working, but some of it had worn off. With every push I grew more and more tired, and there were points I wanted to just go to sleep and try again later. I knew that wasn’t an option, so I just told myself over and over I was about to meet my little girl. That was how I got through it all. I’m sure I asked a thousand times how long it had been since I had started pushing. When she told me an hour and a half I knew I had to get serious and get her out. I went from pushing a few times with each contraction to constant pushing with no breaks. I was so determined to get her out. Finally, with one last push at 7:23AM my sweet angel was brought into the world. We opened my gown to put her right on me for skin to skin. I was in such shock – I don’t remember crying or even talking. I have no idea what I said to Jordan or what he said to me. All I could do was stare at her. Even through the stitching (I had a 2nd degree tear) and nurses coming in and out I didn’t take my eyes off of her. It was love at first sight. After he cut the cord they weighed and measured (6lbs 11oz 11 & 18 1/2 inches) her then gave her back to me where she latched on to nurse right away. She never had (and still has never had) a problem nursing. Our family came in soon after to meet her, and each one fell in love right away.
Looking back…am I still disappointed I got the epidural? Sure. I would have loved to say I made it through a natural childbirth. But at the same time I’m glad I had the epidural to take the pain away and make it a more enjoyable experience. I’m sure I will try with every child for all natural, and hopefully at least once I can do it.
Moral of the story is – I now have a beautiful, healthy child. And in the end I think that’s all any mother really wants.