You ladies CAN do it and it is beyond worth it!
Anyway, I mentioned it on Facebook and several of my friends immediately assumed I felt superior because of my birth experience. FWIW, my first was in the hospital with an epidural so I'm not one to judge.
My question is, what word do you think more accurately describes a woman that delivers without medication? I often hear "educated" but that implies that other women are uneducated. My mom said "no, you're not brave, you're a badass!" but I'm curious to see what you guys think.
Thursday (March 29) came and I said to myself that I would just ignore the contractions and not get my hopes up. I told Nick the baby wasn't coming until April 4. Ruth and I went to the mall and bought her some sandals and some spring clothes. I changed the sheets on our bed, washed the towels and bathmats in the bathroom, cleaned the bathroom, mopped and swiffered the kitchen floor, vacuumed the basement and dust-rolled the dog hair off all of the stairs.
At 6am on Friday, March 30, I had a feeling like a cramp. Just once though. I only got 3 hours of sleep that night because I was hot as it was 80 during the day and we don't have air conditioning, so I went back to sleep. Ruth had other plans and we got up at 6:30am. Nick had gone to work already because he had a big day of court and finishing up stuff for his last day of work before paternity leave. Around 7am, I had another feeling of being a bit crampy and just tried to ignore it. At 8, I called Nick and said, "things feel different but don't come home," and went on with the day. On Fridays, I take Ruth to baby story time at the library. I decided to skip it this week and see if Ruth would take a bonus morning nap. We both slept from 9-11am. I made her get in the shower with me at 11:30am and then we ate lunch. I called the midwifery around 2:30pm and they suggested I ask Nick to come home. Ruth was down for her afternoon nap and I tried to sleep too but I realized that I was definitely in labor and sleeping was difficult. I began timing contractions at 3:30pm and found them to be 4 minutes apart. Nick got home shortly thereafter. The midwife on call asked me to call her back at 4:30pm and when we spoke, she said to come in then. Our wonderful babysitter came right over and we were at the midwifery at 5:45pm.
When I got there, I was 5cm and 90% effaced. This was already further along than I was when I got transferred to the hospital with Ruth's birth. I was thrilled. And also wanted to tell that midwife from Wednesday that she was full of crap. They had me walk around for a bit, sit on a ball, lay down, sit backward on a toilet, lean on a sling, walk more, lay down a bit, etc. I moaned deep and low through the contractions. They checked the baby's heartrate every 30 minutes or so (it was 140 each time). I was checked again around 9pm. I asked my doula if I could get in the birthing tub and she said if I was 7cm or more, I could get right in. When the midwife checked me, she said I was 8cm and "paper thin". Just then, the baby bounced so hard that my water broke. "YOU'RE 9CM!" and I got into the tub.
I labored a bit more in the tub, which was a HUGE pain relief. Nick was originally not in but I asked him to change and use counter pressure on my hips during contractions. We were having a great time, singing "Teenage Dirtbag" while laboring and telling jokes. The midwife said, "You're going to have this baby in the next 20 minutes." I looked at the clock and it was 9:40pm. I hadn't even started pushing yet. She suggested I get into a lunge position and 17 minutes later, Nick was catching our baby. I distinctly remember one of them saying, "TWO HANDS, NICK!" I felt great relief as the baby was born and instantly turned around to see our baby. I put "it" right up to my chest and felt like the queen of the world. A few minutes later, we lifted the baby up and saw that "it" was our Joel. I wanted him so bad. I cried when I saw him. Our family felt whole.
A little later, after the 3 of us moved to the bed, I delivered the placenta. Unfortunately, after 2 hours, they could not stop my bleeding and I had lost quite a bit of blood. I was taken via ambulance to the hospital nearby. Joel had just began to breastfeed and I had to leave him behind. Nick and Joel met me at the hospital after Joel was discharged from the midwifery 2 hours later. Two small pieces of my placenta had detached and I had to undergo a DNC to remove them. This required several IVs, pitocin and an epidural. Hey, at least the baby was out. I didn't sleep that night because I was high on baby birthing and loopy from losing 2 liters of blood. I got a blood transfusion a little later.
Joel spit up a few times through the night and did not want to nurse. Some of his spit up was green, which caught Nick's attention. We talked to the midwife and our pediatrician and he was admitted to the hospital that I was at. Shortly thereafter, he had an x-ray that was "very not normal" and they decided to send him to a better hospital with a better neonatal unit. He was in surgery about an hour later, at 18 hours old. We were told that catching the issue with his bowels so early was the best thing possible. I still can't believe how his first day of life played out. As I write this, our baby is 3 days old and has spent most of that time in the NICU recovering from Ladd's Procedure to untangle his bowels.
The birth was a beautiful and amazing experience and I still can't believe I did it. I also believe that there was some kind of divine intervention that MADE me need to be in a hospital so that Joel could get immediate care and I'd honestly lose twice as much blood just to make sure my baby boy was okay.