Deciding on the Birth Center as a Venue
Whenever I thought about childbirth, I never really wanted to have a baby in the hospital. To me, a hospital was a place people go when they are sick, bleeding, or dying. I didn’t think of it as a great place to bring a baby into the world. Obviously, many babies are born in a hospital and arrive home healthy and happy. It just wasn’t something I was particularly interested in.
For some people, a hospital birth is the only way that comes to mind, so upon mentioning giving birth at a birth center or at home, with midwives, rather than doctors, one witnesses an interesting variety of responses. Some of them are comical, and most all of them are sincere and out of a place of concern.
The only reason I realized there was a way besides a hospital was because my own Mother had my younger brother at home. To this day, he can point to a spot in the house and say, “I was born right there.”
A few years before I became pregnant with my son, my husband and I were discussing our desire and supposed readiness to have a baby, and I mentioned in passing that I didn’t want to have a baby in a hospital. The idea was so foreign and absurd to him that he dismissed it immediately. I wasn’t really wanting to go the home-birth route, simply because I didn’t know what to expect when it came to childbirth. Considering it wasn’t a bridge we needed to cross right then, I dropped it, but I did some research in our area to find out if there was a place specifically designed for the sole purpose of bringing babies into this world. And there was. So I kept that in the back of my mind and continued on with life.
When I became pregnant, I went to my regular OB/GYN and in those early weeks fully intended on going through with a hospital birth. Over the course of a few weeks, it became clear to both myself and my husband that this place and this doctor were not truly what we wanted, so we began to search for an alternative.
I recalled my Mother’s home-birth experience in my childhood home and that she had a midwife, so I began my search for a midwife. I made appointments with several. Many attended home births, some attended hospital births, and some attended birth center births. After meeting and speaking with several very knowledgeable women, my husband and I felt most comfortable with a particular group of midwives at a birth center in our area.
I remember being awestruck as I left the birth center as I mulled over all the wonderful information that was provided to my husband and me in that single initial visit. We knew more about what to expect in that one interview than we had learned in two months worth of appointments with my doctor.
Let me pause here to say that I didn’t have a horrible or ignorant doctor. She always asked me if I had any questions but I never did. It was a situation in which I didn’t know enough to ask questions. When I was speaking to the midwives, they were constantly providing information, which sparked questions. I think of midwifery as a specialization in the world of pregnancy and childbirth. That’s what midwives do. Their certification and skill set is very specific to those months of pregnancy and the six weeks postpartum care for both mother and baby. It was also clear that this was their passion and that was such a comforting relief for both my husband and me.
Deciding Pain Medication-Free was the Way for Me (and my Baby)
Upon choosing the birth center, I was making the choice to have a medication-free birth. Specifically a pain medication-free birth. I was all right with this as I had already been trying to decide whether or not I should have an epidural in the hospital.
If you are trying to make this decision and asking other mothers, you will get an assortment of responses. Some people upon hearing that you are choosing not to have an epidural will immediately tell you what a terrible idea that is. While I disagree, I encourage you to do research about the effects of an epidural on both the mother and baby.
It was because of my own researching on the subject that I was already leaning towards not having an epidural, so when the option was taken away because the birth center did not offer epidurals, it solidified what I had learned and wanted.
A few reasons I didn’t want to have an epidural or Pitocin during my labor:
- I didn’t want my baby to be affected by any medications.
- I wanted the best start possible for him in regards to breastfeeding. Epidurals do pass through the placenta and affect the baby. Studies show that babies affected by epidurals are more sluggish in getting to the breast compared with babies not affected by epidurals.
- I didn’t want my contractions to be artificially augmented – I wanted to work with my body they way it was designed.
- I wanted to be able to get up and move during my labor.
- And I wanted to be able to effectively push when the time came to push.
One of the (many) wonderful recommendations the birth center provided was to take a childbirth class called, “The Bradley Method”. This method emphasized husband-coached childbirth which was a foreign concept to me in what I believed to a “women’s world” but at the same time, I was thrilled with the idea of my husband being my main support throughout my labor – he was after all, my main support throughout every other aspect of my life. Why not childbirth?
I highly recommend this particular series of birthing classes as they are highly informative and you will go into childbirth (even a first childbirth) feeling knowledgeable and confident. Pregnancy and labor is scary enough without the added challenge of being uninformed. Perhaps think of it this way: Would you go take a college final exam without studying? Maybe, but you would have done better if you had studied, right?
To quote from The Bradley Method website, “Natural childbirth is an important goal since most people want to give their babies every possible advantage. Without the side effects of drugs given during labor and birth. The Bradley Method® classes teach families how to have natural births. The techniques are simple and effective. They are based on information about how the human body works during labor. Couples are taught how they can work with their bodies to reduce pain and make their labors more efficient. Of over 1,000,000 couples trained in The Bradley Method® nationwide, over 86% of them have had spontaneous, unmedicated vaginal births. This is a method that works! “
The other thing I absolutely loved and appreciated about these classes is that my husband liked them. He is a person who craves information and is very research-oriented and results-driven, which made this method perfect for him. I was excited that he was to have an active role, rather than only be a spectator on the sidelines. He was prepared for his role, just as I was prepared for mine, and I had the utmost confidence in his ability to encourage, support, and coach me through the birth of our son.
Is Natural Childbirth Painful?
The point of this post is to tell the story of my childbirth experience and I will. However, before I continue, I want to ask and answer a very fundamental question: Is Natural Childbirth Painful? The short answer is, yes. But it is so much more than that.
The experience of childbirth is like nothing I have ever experienced before. For those who have never experienced it, there’s much that simply can’t be explained properly or related to until they experience it for themselves.
All women expect to experience pain during childbirth, and I do have that to share in my story. However, probably few women remember to also expect excitement, laughter, smiles, precious bonding moments with your spouse, and yes, moments without pain. An article I really appreciated reading talked about having a positive attitude regarding childbirth and expecting a positive outcome. It reminds women to not focus so much on the painful aspects of childbirth, and recall the moments when the labor was actually pain free.
The article I shared also mentions a “straightforward labour with a well positioned baby…you don’t feel pain at all”. I did not have a straight forward labor or a well-positioned baby, but I can still speak to the positive experience of the natural childbirth that was mine, and if given the choice to do it over again, I would still have a pain med-free and natural childbirth.
This is the story of the birth of my son. It is very detailed. It is very personal. It is very special. This is my first childbirth experience.
Early Stage – Labor Begins
Labor for me began with my water breaking at 7:11 pm on October 31st, 2016. I was shocked because I had learned that only 15% of labors begin with the water breaking.
Interestingly enough, it wasn’t a gush, but a trickle. I remember my husband and I had just finished dinner, and I stood up from my seat and immediately peed…or at least I thought I had. (At 39 1/2 weeks pregnant, wetting myself was not necessarily something new.) I rushed to the bathroom and realized I had bloody show. I also couldn’t stop the trickling that had begun minutes earlier. I hurriedly and excitedly sent a text to my midwife, saying, “I think my water just broke?” She asked me a series of questions and upon reviewing my responses, told me to wear a pad for 20 minutes and let her know if it was soaked in that time. It was. She then instructed me to come in to the birth center where she examined me and quickly ascertained my water had indeed broken.
I was ecstatic! My baby was going to be here sometime tomorrow! My baby was NOT going to be born on Halloween. (Something I really did not want and had literally prayed against.) The time was here! Oh my goodness! I’m going to have my baby!
It may not be common knowledge for those not in the medical field, but when the waters break, infections are more probable as a layer of protection has been broken. Due to the fact I was planning to deliver at a birth center and with midwives, my water breaking started a 24-hour clock in which I needed to have my baby, if I was to stay at the birth center. Beyond this time frame, it would be required that I be transferred to the hospital. Although my water had broken, I wasn’t yet experiencing contractions so we needed to get busy.
I was sent home and told to rest for the next 6 hours. At this time, it was about 8:30 pm. After resting, I was to begin using the breast pump as a form of stimulation which was to help induce contractions.
When we got in the car, I told my husband to drive to his mother’s home. She lived a short 10 minutes away from the birth center and I wanted to see the look on her face when we told her she was going to be a Grandma tomorrow! He agreed, and on the way I called my own Mother to let her know as well, and then my sister. When we were in my mother in law’s neighborhood I called her. It was well after 9:00 pm and odd that we would call her so late. She answered the phone expectantly, and I said, “Hey, can you open the door for us?”
“Yes!” She exclaimed. She hurried to throw open the door with wide eyes and a smile.
“Seems like we’re going to have a baby tomorrow,” I said. Then proceeded to tell her the events of the evening thus far.
When I got home, I tried my best to sleep, but naturally I was excited. As I lay there in my bed, resting, but awake, I couldn’t help but think how in a few hours I was going to meet my son.
Just after midnight on November 1st, 2016, I felt a contraction. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it was painful or particularly powerful, but it was slightly uncomfortable. I got up and went to take a shower. Then dressed in the last outfit I would have a “baby bump” in, remembering to take a picture to complete my series of pictures commemorating this pregnancy.
I then went into the living room to use the pump. It didn’t work. Dang it! I woke my husband up and he couldn’t get it to work either. Wouldn’t you know, we got it working after we brought the baby home – it turns out it was something quite simple, but as for use during labor, it was a lost cause. So, I set about following instructions by manually stimulating to induce contractions at certain intervals and rested on the couch in between.
About 6:30 am, my contractions were becoming much more consistent. I would describe contractions almost like menstrual cramps as far as where you feel them and perhaps somewhat in how they feel as well. They were certainly not unbearable and I used the relaxation techniques and laboring positions I had learned and practiced to work through them. At this stage, I could talk easily, and I walked, and got myself food and water. During this time, I ate small meals and drank water constantly.
It was around this time my husband got up for the day. We both knew I would need him to be rested, so while I was on the couch, he was doing his best to sleep in our bed. That was the best thing he could have done for both our sakes.
To track contractions, I had an app on my phone that my husband and I used. It had been recommended that we not watch the clock. I definitely want to pass on this recommendation as it allowed me to focus inward on what my body was doing, but not how long it was taking to do it. The app kept us in the know without watching time pass. An added benefit was that I could simply “share” my progress with my midwife by pressing a few buttons, rather than typing it all out. As the contractions became more consistent and closer together this feature was all the more appreciated.
In this early stage of labor, I was primarily on my sofa, sitting or lying down due to the time of day. My goal at this time was to rest as much as possible. Between contractions, it was business as usual. There wasn’t any pain or discomfort to speak of, except perhaps, the annoyance of constantly needing to pee, but that wasn’t anything the last 9 months of pregnancy hadn’t prepared me for.
When the contractions started to become more intense, I found myself kneeling on the floor leaning over the couch and eventually the exercise ball. The rocking helped relieve discomfort and I was use to this hands and knees position because I had practiced it often during the latter part of my pregnancy, so it was easy for me to relax this way.
Right before we left to go to the birth center, I preferred sitting in the swivel chair from the office. I was able to brace against the arms on the chair and it was cushioned but supportive, and I didn’t have to focus on balancing myself as I did on the ball.
During this time, I quickly realized that I absolutely hated when I had to use the restroom. As I was supposed to, I was drinking lots of fluids and urinating very frequently. I noticed that my contractions were much stronger when I was sitting on the toilet. Sitting there was so intense for me, that I thought I was skipping contractions, but that wasn’t the case. In fact, it was the contractions themselves that were more intense while I was sitting there.
My husband did an excellent job keeping me fed and hydrated, and encouraging me to relax. About 9:30 am, I threw up. I had been eating small meals to keep up my strength. Though I didn’t really have an appetite, I knew I needed to stay fueled for the rest of this adventure. I’m sure it was a combination of hormones and reaction to the discomfort from the contractions. By this time, my husband had taken over communicating with my midwife as I needed to focus and the contractions were close enough together that I didn’t want to bother looking at the phone. When he told her I had thrown up, she replied, “Excellent!” Though I didn’t think it was so excellent at the time, it wasn’t much longer before we prepped to go to the birth center.
Within the hour, and with my midwife’s blessing, my husband and I left for the birth center. We were there by 11:30 am. I was so eager to get to the birth center. I had kept myself in check up to this point, knowing that if I went too early, they would send me home. I really didn’t want to get into the car again and ride the 45 minutes back home and then make the trip AGAIN!
At this time, my contractions were about three and a half minutes apart and were lasting for nearly three minutes so needless to say, I wasn’t getting much of a break upon arriving at the birth center. When I got out of the car and headed inside, I was in my socks, my shoes left behind in the floorboard of the car. Let’s do this thing!
The thing I love about the birth center is there’s no waiting period. There’s no “check in” process. There’s no, “Here, fill out this paperwork.” All that was taken care of months previous upon agreeing to use the birth center and there wasn’t a single member on staff who didn’t know my name, my husband, and the name we chose for our baby. Since I had already been in communication with my primary midwife (via text – how awesome is that!), the room was all ready for me.
Upon entering the room, I made a B-line for the bed and laid down. I was so tired from the car ride and so relieved to finally be in the final stages and have the midwives for support. My midwife came in and did an exam. I was fully effaced and 7 cm dilated. I had done it! I had labored at home as I should have and was well on my way to having this baby! In fact, much of my active labor was already complete.
I was given an IV for hydration and to help protect against infection since my water had broken over 12 hours previous.
I remember being extremely happy during this time. It was sort of like we had just entered a hotel room on vacation. We set our stuff down and my husband and I got into the bed together. I smiled and laughed as we carried on conversation. We were so excited and practically giddy. My mother in law arrived and joined us in the room. Then my sister did the same. My Mother called to FaceTime while she was at work. She so longed to be there, and this was as close as she could get until she came for her visit the following day.
Because I had labored so much at home (which was a good thing), it wasn’t long before the real work began. The smiles faded and the phones were put away, as I needed to focus, but the joy I felt in my heart increased all the more.
Posterior Baby – Not the Ideal Position
It is important to explain that several weeks before, my baby had turned to the posterior position, rather than the ideal anterior position. I had been doing acrobatics to get him to turn, but he just wouldn’t. I had done proper tailor-sitting, I had done pelvic rocking, hands and knees time on the ball, I had done everything “Bradley” AND “spinning babies”, including chest and knees (which is difficult – it’s correct to say my head was in the way!), and he simply didn’t turn. At this point in my labor, this was still the case. This is what made my labor more difficult than a “straightforward” labor and contributed to the lengthening of what “should have”, or should I say, usually would have taken just a few more hours. And we still had to consider that 24-hour clock my body was racing against in which I may have been forced into going to the hospital.
Losing Time “in the zone”
Despite the fact that I was experiencing a long labor, I truly didn’t realize it. I have to admit, I lost time up until my baby was born. I even lost some sequence of events that my husband and I still talk about to this day, trying to fill in the gaps. I didn’t black out or anything. I was just “in the zone”. I was focused on the task before me and oblivious to the time.
I know that after the exam, my contractions got all the more powerful. One of the midwives came in to check on me and saw me lying down and in pain. She said, “How long have you been there? Time to get up!” This helped. I think I had taken the advice “let your labor happen to you” a little too literally, and had forgotten all the wonderful information I had learned to help me get through my labor more efficiently and comfortably. I paced and went to the restroom to pee often – hating the toilet still. I remember distinctly telling my midwife, “I hate sitting on the toilet. It hurts so bad!” She reminded me that the contractions were more powerful because those muscles were used to relaxing on the toilet. I heard her, but I left the toilet as quickly as I was finished.
My labor continued. I took a bath, which was short-lived as it was clear I needed to stand to better deal with my contractions. Some positions you are just drawn to. It’s different for every woman and every pregnancy. That’s why it’s so important to know your options and practice them. I leaned heavily upon my husband during these contractions. I rocked on my hands and knees too,when the contraction intensity brought me, quite literally, to my knees. My dear mother in law and my sister were both there to support me. My own Mother was stuck in her home State until the following day.
My Frenemy: The Toilet
I wasn’t progressing as quickly as expected, so my dear midwife looked at me with pity in her eyes and said, “Darling, you’re going to hate me. But I need you to go labor on the toilet. NOOOOOOO!!!!! I thought, but instead of screaming what I was thinking, I said, with tears in my eyes. “Ok.” and added, “I don’t hate you.”
Laboring on the toilet for me was an extremely intense experience. I had already spent some time there just answering nature’s call, but to sit there deliberately was difficult for me. I didn’t know how to relax through these kinds of contractions. When my husband shut the door behind him, I broke down in tears. This was, and has been for years, my coping mechanism and method of stress release. I didn’t want the others to know how difficult this was at this time. So many people thought I was crazy for not being in a hospital right now and taking the epidural. Ok, not crazy, but they certainly believed this was unnecessary. I don’t know how long I labored there but I do remember my sweet mother in law spoon feeding me a Greek yogurt as I sat there.
Time to Push – Actually, No. Don’t Push.
Eventually, I went back to the bed, where I was checked again and told I was ready to push. I was so glad to hear this. Up to this point, I was feeling like this baby was never going to come out and I would just be left in perpetual toilet laboring forever. With the next contraction, I pushed.
Then I was told. “We need you to stop pushing.” What?! No! Why? I was tired, I was probably a little delirious, I couldn’t truly communicate verbally anymore, but through the haze I worked to understand what the midwives were telling me, and cooperate. “You aren’t ready yet.” But you just said… “When you push, you go from 9 cm dilated to 5 cm.” Oh, that’s not good. “Because the baby is still posterior, there’s a lip in your cervix. This is going to take longer than we thought. Do you want to transfer?”
I have to mention here that a lot of time had passed. Hours. The midwives were not so quickly suggesting that I could consider transferring, but to me, it felt like it, because I didn’t think much time had passed at all since I had arrived at the birth center.
Not fully understanding the why behind the question of transferring, I thought, Oh no something is terribly wrong! I looked at my husband for an answer, who said nothing. Oh, I have to decide this myself. The first thing I decided was that there were too many people in the room, so I asked my husband, “Honey, can it just be you in here with me?” He gently but immediately asked my mother in law and sister to please wait outside. Ok, now I can deal with this without people worrying about me. Somehow I knew this was about to get a whole lot harder before it was over.
I don’t know how but I found my voice again, “Is the baby ok?”
“Yes, the baby is doing great! He’s very strong.” Relief! Oh, that’s so good! It must be me.
“Am I ok?”
“Yes, you’re doing fine. We’re just concerned about your level of exhaustion.” Oh, is that it? I mean, I am tired, but I’m not finished having this baby yet, so I still have work to do. Besides that, I can’t even imagine having to deal with these contractions in a vehicle!
“If the baby is ok, and I’m ok, I’d like to stay.” So two of the midwives went out to deliberate on the best course of action, and a third stayed with me.
Pain, yes. Unmanageable, no.
I want to pause here to say that despite all the intensity I have mentioned in this recounting of my labor, at the time, it was just something that had to happen. I didn’t think anything was out of the ordinary. I didn’t curse. I didn’t scream at the people around me. My body simply took over and I used the relaxing techniques as best I could to work through it. So was labor painful? For me, yes. But it wasn’t unbearable. And the pain I felt was highly attributed to the position my baby was in.
Giving birth was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but there wasn’t ever a moment in which I thought, I’d rather be at a hospital or I really wish I had the option of pain killers. God designed the woman’s body exactly for this purpose and I reached out to him many times in prayer. There’s a perfect release of endorphins in the ebb and flow of the contractions. The decision my husband and I had made to have a natural and pain medication-free birthing experience was primarily for the sake of the child within me and my resolve was strong to make it through as planned, as long as it was my decision to make.
Turning the Baby
When they came back, they talked to me, and said that one of them was going to try to get the baby to turn. This is really going to hurt, isn’t it?
“Ok,” I said.
And it did, but again, it wasn’t intolerable. I did start to get more vocal during this chapter of my labor. My midwife reminded me to make low moaning noises and not anything too high. In my delirium, I struggled to do what she was asking. She moaned with me. At times my voice would climb its way back up the scale, and she would mimic again what I was to do. Then she said, “There’s a huge difference in your dilation when your voice goes high, you close up, when you moan low, you open up.” Oh, ok. Reasons why go a long way with me. Not that I was trying to be difficult, but understanding “the why” helped me to focus better on the task at hand. That’s one of the reasons The Bradley Method class was so great for my husband and me. It provided a lot of reasons why. So now I was able to visualize opening up when I made the low moaning sound.
Well, the midwife wasn’t able to get my son to turn, but she did manage to push him back a little bit so that he wouldn’t be in the bones where he couldn’t turn as well. Then it was chest and knees time. Today thinking about me lying there with my butt up in the air and my face smashed into a pillow, dealing with contractions, and trying not to let my knees slide back out from under me so that I was as much at an angle as possible, kind of makes me laugh. I’m sure I was a sight, but I certainly didn’t care at the time.
After some time on my chest and knees, it was back to the…you guessed it! Yes! It was back to my frenemy, the toilet! Except this time, it was with a twist…I was to sit on it reverse. I actually liked this better. Not because it was less intense, but because there were handrails I could grip and they also set a pillow on the back of the toilet, so I could rest my head. Relaxing is crucial during labor. Can you believe I actually managed to sleep those 15-30 seconds when I wasn’t contracting? Even in this most difficult stage of transition, there was relief. Both when I was on my chest and knees, and when I was sitting reverse on the toilet, I was catching Z’s. When I felt a contraction coming on, I would start to moan low to let everyone else know what was going on. I had it figured out at this point. The low moan helped me relax and deal with the contractions better.
Fighting the Urge to Push
Remember how during this time, I was told not to push? Well, both while I was on my chest and knees, and especially when I was on the toilet, I simply couldn’t fight my body. I remember thinking my eyes must have looked like a deer in the headlights as I let the midwife know, “I can’t help it!” This was the only time I was scared that I was doing something that was going to hurt my baby. I so desired to be compliant, but my body wasn’t on board with my plan. The midwife said, “It’s ok. Don’t fight your body…but don’t do anything extra either. Her reassurance was invaluable.
Not pushing when your body wants you to, is like nothing I could ever truly describe in words. You can’t control it. It’s happening to you. To fight against it caused more agony than anything else I’ve ever experienced. I was relieved to hear that I didn’t have to try to hold back the involuntary pushing that was happening naturally, and this helped me continue to focus on relaxing best I could through the contractions.
Crowning – A Welcome Change
I don’t know how long I labored backwards on the toilet, but I remember the moment when I felt that new and welcome sensation. Burning! I thought. I remember what this is! I’m crowning. Instead of announcing that I thought the baby was crowning, I said, “I feel burning.” And with that my midwife left the room. I remember my husband and me looking at each other, as we were by ourselves for the first time in hours. We were both a little scared, and very tired, and since things were no longer going as expected and we didn’t know what came next, we were unsettled even though we weren’t alone more than a minute or two. He was with me though and he prayed with me. I had prayed in my mind throughout my labor but to have my husband pray over me was especially comforting.
You may be wondering, where did the midwife go? Don’t worry, she didn’t abandon us. When you have a baby, there has to be a care provider for both you and your baby, so my midwife had gone to get one of the others because we were getting close.
When they came back, I waddled over to the bed. A true waddle as I could feel my baby between my legs. Needless to say a very quick glance confirmed that I was, in fact, ready to push, as the baby was crowning. Finally! I was allowed to work with my body! With the next contraction I worked to figure out how to push effectively.
Learning How to Push
I had no idea how to push. I remember being told not to push all the air out of my mouth, but to use that energy to push. Huh? It was difficult in my tired state to understand how to push and where, but eventually it all came together. My midwife put her hand down and said, “Push against my hand.” That helped. It took me a few contractions to understand and comply with what she was saying but then it became easier and more fruitful as my baby inched his way out. I was told later that from the time I was allowed to “voluntarily” push, to the moment my beautiful baby boy was in my arms was only 16 minutes.
A few days after the birth of my son, my mother in law and sister recounted their own adventure after we “kicked them out” of the labor room. After they had been asked to leave the room, they waited in the hallway, hoping to come back in. When one of the midwives found them there, she kindly directed them to the waiting room just down the hall. Disappointed, they complied.
My sister was on the phone with my Mother, telling her as much as she knew whenever one of the midwives would come out to give them an update. She had mentioned to them that I may need to transfer.
Once I became vocal as I mentioned before, they stealthily made their way back down the hall to listen again. In an aside my sister informed my mother in law, “That’s all the birth control I need!” Then they heard someone coming to the door and they sprinted down the hall back to the waiting room, avoiding what they were sure was a close call, not wanting to get caught sneaking a listen at the door.
They also reported how one of the midwives came and excitedly exclaimed to them as I worked my way through transition, “We’ve got a baby coming out of a hoo-ha y’all!” That got a good laugh and a “Hooray!”. My Mother, who was on the phone with my sister, was desperately trying to convince her to break into the room and RECORD the birth!
My husband and I were completely oblivious to the craziness outside the walls of our comfy little laboring room, but boy did it set us to laughing in the days to come.
The Most Precious Moments
During these 16 minutes, two very precious events happened. I was getting very tired. I had been laboring near 24 hours and had slept very little. At one point I felt I wasn’t going to have the strength to push out this baby. I remember the third midwife coming in (they loved me and all wanted to be there to support me) and telling me I was doing great and that “This is a big baby, darlin’!” They told me they could see his head and she took my hand and said, “Feel that? That’s your baby.” I distinctly remember the sound of awe that came out of me and the sweet emotion that helped to erupt a new surge of energy. I want to meet my son! His heart rate was strong throughout the entire process and there was never a moment when the midwives were worried about him.
The Final Push – Hello Baby
The second precious event coincided with that final push. All of a sudden, the midwives said, “Now pull him onto your chest. Pull out your baby.” What? I was confused. I never dreamed I’d get to help in this way. So at 6:52 pm I reached down and helped pull my baby out of my body and onto my chest where he took his first breaths and started to make that sweet “welcome to the world” baby cry.
Meeting My Son – Worth it All
The midwives told me later that my son had turned in those last moments before crowning, which was truly amazing. However, my son was not large, as had been expected. He was a moderate 7 pounds, 1 ounce, and 20 inches long. He had added his left hand to the mix so he was a compound presentation. This shouldn’t have surprised me considering in every sonogram picture, his hands were either up by his head or in his mouth.
Our Little Family
My labor was not an easy one, as it was atypical, and I was told many other mamas would have opted to go to the hospital in my situation. I honestly couldn’t even imagine it. With my son on my chest, crying, I whispered softly to him in an effort to soothe him. He eventually found his hand and sucked on it for a little while, ending the crying. My husband cut the umbilical cord once it completed its pulsing, and I soon put my beautifully pink child to the breast for the first time.
The three of us were a little happy family who had come through this adventure…with many more adventures on the horizon.
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