The Day Before
My cervix was three centimeters dilated when I visited the doctor four days prior to our babies birthday. The day before, I thought I may have had bloody show. I really didn’t want to go over my due date which was August 3rd. It was my goal to have ka natural, unmedicated labor and delivery, so I was terrified of being pushed to induce.
The day before our baby arrived, I was talking to my friend (who is now my sister in law) on the phone saying how I wish my baby would come already. I was so interested to hear how she went into labor, dissecting every sign and symptom to try to see if I would go into labor soon. I was really hoping that he would come on the weekend, since my husband had a two hour commute to work. Plus, we lived an hour away from the hospital, and I didn’t know what to expect in terms of the length of my labor.
Sunday, we went to pick up a bed frame during the day that would fit our halo bassinet, so we could be all set for our son to come. The man who gave us the bed frame was worried that I was going to go into labor right then. We were all wondering if our son would be a July or August baby. My grandma’s birthday was actually his due date, and my mom’s was two days after that.
The night before, I ate spicy asian lo mein for dinner as a natural induction technique. I climbed the stairs to the bedroom, and went to sleep.
It was July 31, 2017 around 3 am when I awoke to what seemed stronger than just Braxton hicks contractions. The thought raced through my mind, could this be the real deal? I didn’t want to wake my husband, so I let him sleep. I lay in bed breathing and waiting.
A contraction timer app I found told me multiple times to get ready to go to the hospital. I was doubtful, thinking I must just be timing them wrong. They don’t seem consistent or strong enough.
I didn’t want to tell anyone or get all worked up for nothing. I finally told my husband that the app is saying we need to get ready. Around the time when he usually awoke to get ready for work, I got up to try to take a warm bath to see if it would help with the pain. By this time, four hours had passed that I (unbeknownst to me) had been in labor.
Go to the Hospital
I told my husband that he needed to let his work know that he would not be coming in today. He called our friend who would be watching our dog to let him know we would be on the way soon to make sure we could drop her off. I gathered all of the bags that we had prepared and put last minute things inside. Most of these things did not get used, because we overpacked as first time parents trying to be prepared.
My husband still thought it was kind of laughable and that he was taking off work for nothing. I brought a fruit bar with me in case I got hungry and tried to have one bite. This is all I would eat since dinner the night before until dinner the next day, since I just didn’t want to eat when I was in labor.
The hour drive to our friends house wasn’t bad, but when we arrived I really needed to pee. This friend didn’t have any toilet paper, napkins, or tissues. That was super convenient. I was sad to leave our baby girl (dog), but excited that we might be meeting our son soon.
Walking and Waiting
We headed towards the hospital, and I walked around for a bit. I sat in the car, and we drove to get my husband breakfast. Then, we came back to chill in the hospital parking lot. I seriously still was not sure if I was in labor, since the contractions just didn’t seem that strong or consistent enough.
Let’s Go Check
My husband and I decided to just go inside to get a ballpark idea of where we were at, fully expecting them to send us home. The triage asked if I was in labor, and I said I think so. This was nine hours into labor. We got inside, and realized that we forgot something in the car. I sat in the waiting room while my husband went to get it.
Take The Stairs
I insisted on taking the stairs up to labor and delivery. When we started filling out paperwork and giving them my information, I squatted to breathe through the contractions. Once I was changed into a hospital gown, the nurse checked and was shocked that I was already 7cm dilated. Our son would be born in the next three hours.
He will be a July baby!
The nurse strapped the monitor around my belly to check our baby’s heart rate. She sat at a computer by the hospital bed asking me a million questions. Then, someone came in to draw my blood. I didn’t really see why it was necessary, and asked why I had to if they already had my blood type on record. They wanted to confirm, so I obliged. But, I said they would need to do it when I’m not contracting.
I told them I didn’t want an IV or even a hep lock, so they checked with my doctor who said that was fine. Some different positions I tried were sitting on the toilet to relieve some of the pressure and bouncing on the birthing ball. I also squatted on the hospital bed leaning over the back.
My husband tried to help by getting a warm lavender rice bag we brought or cool towels. He offered water, but the thing that I wanted most was just to hold his hand. My water broke when I was standing on the hospital bed, and they checked me again to see that I was almost fully dilated.
Time to Push
Soon after, I started to feel the pressure to push, so I let the nurse know. I was so tired and weak that I wanted to lay in the bed. If I had a doula or midwife who knew my wishes, they could have supported me in other ways. I believe if I would have tried other pushing positions instead that I wouldn’t have had trouble.
There was a nurse holding one leg, and my husband held the other. It sucked, because he wasn’t supporting my leg for me to put pressure on. I finally told him he needed to hold it stronger. I wished my mom was there at the moment when I started pushing.
Didn’t Go As Planned…
Every situation is different, but looking back I know I didn’t want to do coached pushing. I was just caught up in all of the adrenaline and not knowing what to do. I was so tired, that I just followed course. That was another mistake that I’m sure didn’t help my baby navigate the birth canal.
His Head Was Stuck
His head was stuck for I think over thirty minutes, so the doctor was going to just give me an episiotomy. I saw what she was doing, and told her no. I wanted to keep trying to push. She made it seem like that’s what was best for him, so I ended up letting her after many unsuccessful tries.
I was so ready to meet him. There were cheers in the room next door as someone had just given birth, and everyone cheered. That was about to be us. I made loud groans to see if it would help with the pain, and was amazed to see his head when I looked down. It was so funny, because the nurse asked if I wanted a mirror. I was like, sure! Then, as soon as I saw I was like nope, roll it away.
Get A Doula for an Unmedicated Hospital Birth
From my situation, I can tell you that even if you think you’re 100% sure that your husband can adequately be your support system and follow through with your wishes, it would still be wise to invest in having a doula. Especially if you aren’t able to have a midwife and you’re having a hospital birth. In new situations like this you don’t know what to expect and can’t always think straight. If you’re pressured in emergency situations, sometimes you may forget in the moment or just feel like you have no other options.
Welcome, Sweet Baby!
Our beautiful, healthy baby was born at 3:23 p.m. We had immediate skin to skin time, and it was so breathtaking. He is beautiful and perfect. I didn’t cry, but I was surprised that he could only lay on my stomach until I delivered the placenta. Then, he was able to come up to my chest.
The nurses said that it was good for him to cry. That moment we first met him is so precious, and I will cherish it forever. Even though my labor may have seemed long to some, it seemed to fly by. I’ve heard of much longer times, and can’t imagine if it were just a couple hours like some people. That would be fine, but I was just so proud and happy that the moment we had waited for had finally arrived. I was no longer pregnant. I had an unmedicated birth just as I’d dreamt.
Here are some other natural childbirth stories you might like. If you enjoyed this story, make sure you check out my postpartum experience and natural pregnancy, birth, and postpartum posts! I would love to hear your birth story.