By Jenn, USA
As I write this I have my little bundle of joy swaddled up in her moby wrap on my chest sleeping with little coos. We all have just endured the most amazing journey we will ever go through in our lives. 36 hours of natural labor and this is our story…
On Tuesday Oct 20th, I was 5 days over due, very ready to meet our daughter and “get the show on the road”, if I only had any idea what that really meant. At 3:30 pm I met with my acupuncturist Valerie (http://www.myacupuncturist.org) who opened my channels to my uterus and performed some moxibustion to help regulate my contractions.
This was not hard for her to do as my channels were mostly open and she stated, my body had started the labor process and this would help. That night, starting at 5 pm I was having pretty regular contractions about 10 minutes apart. They were stronger than normal and I couldn't talk through them anymore. At 8 pm I called my doula Amy and gave her a progress update. She offered to come over, but George and I were doing great and we didn't want to break our rhythm. I coped by deep breathing, bouncing on the yoga ball, and swaying with George's support. At around midnight they were getting more intense.
I was unable to lay down to sleep due to the strong contractions. We started getting things ready in between them. I constantly asked George the distance between them as he recorded every one on his contraction spread sheet he had made. I had to sit in the shower at one point which really helped with the pain. At 3 am on Wednesday, they were 5-8 min apart. I was obsessed with the interval time, knowing that I could go to the hospital and have her when they were under 5 min apart. George reminded me to hang in there as we did not want to get to the hospital too early.
They were stronger now, stopping me in my tracks, forcing me to low moan and deep breathe with every one. At 5 am, they were coming every 4 min and getting very painful. George was great encouraging me to deep breath and helping with massage and position changes. He was there every second to help me cope. I was starting to feel very ready and it was getting harder to get through each one. We decided to leave for the hospital at 5 am, I called Amy and she was on her way to meet us there.
I got checked in and hooked up to the monitor. Baby was doing great and I was having strong contractions every 3-5 min. This was it, I was ready. The med student came in and took my history, as I worked through each one. We reviewed our birth plan and our desire to have a natural birth. They were very supportive, although you wonder if the staff takes bets at the nurses station on how long it will take for a patient to fold and want drugs.
The resident came in to check me. I prayed I was at least half way there. George and I had talked about my dilation progress at home. I thought to myself, I had to have made progress from last Friday when I was at 1 cm with all the contractions I had been having all weekend and the 12 hours of strong ones I worked through at home. She checked me and stated, I feel her head in position and you are dilated at a 1. 1, I asked? Yes only 1. How can that be??? She told me just because I was having really strong contractions does not mean my cervix is open.
She offered to have me stay in the hospital for a couple of hours to see if I would progress or offered me to go home. I immediately wanted to go home as I would cope better being in my own surroundings. As I look back I am surprised I handled it so well. Although as George put it, “it took the wind out of our sails”. At this point I had been up all night and really wanted to get some rest.
We got home at 9 am and we both took a benedryl to help us sleep. We laid down for 20 min but I couldn't stand the contractions laying down. They continued every 5 min.
At 11am, I found myself in the shower crying. How long would this take? Could I continue not knowing if this would go on for days? Do I just let the contractions get unbearable waiting for my bag of waters to break? I can't do this… George came into the shower and with a very calm voice told me we had to talk. Did I want to discuss being induced early? Did I want to change my mind on my plan? He would support me with any decision and reminded me why my plan was so important to me and us for our baby.
We called doula Crystalyn to come over for some moral support. At this point they were getting stronger and I was losing my confidence. Crystalyn was amazing. She taught us some different positions to help with the pain. She was calm and reassuring… reminding me to let my body surrender and let my body do what it was meant to do. After our 2 hour visit I felt re-energized and ready to take it on.
I started emailing my dear friend Lindsay in-between contractions for some natural birthing support as she was successful 5 months ago with beautiful Ceci. She encouraged me to get some Rescue Remedy and yellow jasmine to help cope and to open my cervix. George ran to New Seasons to get some. I took one jasmine tablet at 3 pm. The Rescue Remedy worked WONDERS and kept me calm. I highly recommend it for anxiety and stress. I took the second jasmine at 4 pm, and the 3rd at 5pm.
At 7pm Amy came over to allow George to take a nap. He had not slept in 36 hours and we knew he would need some energy to help me through the rest of the labor. He fought me stating if I couldn't sleep, he wouldn't sleep. I begged him and reminded him that he had to be strong for me and his little girl. At 8pm I took 4 more tabs of jasmine. The contractions were borderline unbearable. I had to brace myself with each one on the kitchen counter or wall, moaning, and swaying for 60-90 seconds of pure lower abdomen pain spreading to my hips, back, and thighs.
Crystalyn came over at 10 pm, and it took both Amy and her to help me though each one. They both applied hip pressure, and encouraged me to bend forward with each one to open my cervix. This was very hard and intensified each contraction. I sat in the bath for an hour and worked. At this point they continued every 5 min but had gotten very severe. At 11pm I took 5 more jasmine tabs and the hell started. The doulas helped to get my cervix to open by assisting me to squat, lunge, and open my hips with each one.
George got up at this point. He told me he could not sleep even with ear plugs listening to me moan through each one without him. Seeing him completed me. Even though it had only been a few hours and he was in the other room, I missed him. I cried through each one but felt a little stronger with him at my side. The contractions started to get constant and I felt her in my lower pelvis. I cried that I could feel her. I kept repeating, I know she is there, she is ready, I have to get her out NOW!!! I heard Amy and Crystalyn talking to George and telling him it was time. We needed to leave now, and they gathered up some stuff and threw it in the car.
It was 1 am Thursday on October 22nd and we were on our way to the hospital again. My contractions were constant and I was getting no relief. I had not slept since Monday night, and had been working through contractions for 31 hours straight. I cried that she was ready. I prayed to God out loud that I had to be dilated. I told George and the doula's I HAD to be ready or they would have to take her out. I would not be able to continue laboring if my body was not ready.
We got checked in and the same resident entered my room. She looked at my face and told me, ” you look ready, you are doing an amazing job.” She checked me. My bag of waters was protruding at +2 station, I was dilated to 8, and she could feel the babies head at 0. I cried and thanked the Lord, as I looked into George's eyes I cried and thanked him for being in my life and completing me. The doctor then had to break my bag of waters to be able to thoroughly check my cervix. I was then a 9 and she told me it would be very soon.
There was a small amount of meconium in the amniotic fluid and she explained the baby would have to be evaluated by the pediatric team right after delivery. We please asked if possible could George still help with the delivery and could I see her first. They stated if there was no complications they would honor our wishes.
The next two hours was the most intense experience of my life. All the classes, books, friends could not have prepared me for transition. The contractions got so intense, I could not stand it. George held me, as I cried out, squeezing hands and then the side rail. At one point I felt my entire body contracting and my legs and trunk levitate from the bed. I begged the doctors to check me again and kept repeating “she is ready, I have to get her out”.
I began to viciously tremor and I remember Crystalyn saying, “Jenn you are shaking, is that good?” I responded, “yes it is.” She said, “you are right, honey she is coming and you will soon have your baby.” The doctor came back and said I was at a 10. At this point my body was pushing during the contractions involuntarily. I begged her it was time to push and she told me we should wait. SHe said that if we start pushing too soon I might have to push for a very long time. The longer I waited the shorter the push time.
I told her it was time and she said to give her 15 more minutes. 5 minutes later we pushed the nursing button, they answered and I said, “TELL THE DOCTOR I AM PUSHING HER OUT NOW!!!” The two residents and medical student came in. They said lets try just one push since you are needing to, and we will see how close you are. They didn't think I was ready but I knew I was. I pushed and all I heard was the doctor screaming, “there is her head she is crowning”.
They told me to wait as the nurse pushed the emergency button and yelled to have the pediatric team STAT. I felt instant relief. The attending entered and told me to push if I had another contraction. With Amy holding one leg and the resident on the other, I pushed and her head came out. I saw George, and two doctors in position with everyone cheering me on. I pushed for the third time and she was out. I heard her cry and she was on my belly. George kissed my head and told me I did it, she is perfect. I will spare you the delivery of the placenta and the quick one inside stitch.
I was very lucky on how fast she came and how well my body adjusted. I think the long labor helped my body open. The second they took her George went with her and talked to his baby. Crystalyn told me she looked around and followed his voice. She was not scared, she heard her daddy and knew she was safe. 10 minutes later we were all together. The time we had wished for was finally here, we had our perfect baby girl, and we did it the way we wanted, the best for our baby, the natural way. I hope this story gives inspiration to all expecting mothers who wish to give a natural delivery, you can do it, your body was meant to do it.
I had no complications and we were discharged from the hospital the next day with beautiful Lola MaKaye Leitch, born at 5:44a on October 22nd, 2009. She weighed 8 pounds and measured 19.5 inches. All three of us were born on a Thursday between the times of 5:39a and 5:45a. Lola also shares her birthday with her late great grandpa Jake.
Thank you for letting me share and may this be strengh for all the women out there, you can do this!