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We left the house in our car, while Belinda (the doula) and Anne (her assistant) left in theirs (I’m not sure why we didn’t beg her to ride with us in hind sight, but you know what they say about hindsight…). Now, remember, we left right at 8:00 am, give or take a minute or two to get into the car. The ride to the hospital, on a good day, is typically a minimum of about 20-25 minutes. It was pouring down rain and the middle of “rush hour” (I use that term loosely because we were in Northeast Tennessee. Rush hour traffic there has no meaning to me after living in a Washington DC suburb for two years). I was in transition, and if you know anything at all about labor, you know this is the most intense part of labor. I don’t really recommend being in a car for transition if you can avoid it 😉 About 5 minutes into the drive, I started having an intense urge to push. My sweet husband “calmly” (as calmly as he could) called Belinda to ask what he should do. We had an ambulance in front of us and, to this day, I think he thought the most viable option was to flag them down! She told him to have me blow raspberries through the contractions and that would help with the pressure. I am not 100% sure whether it actually helped or not, but at the very least, it gave me something to focus on. We arrived at the hospital at exactly 8:17 am. Yes, about 15-17 minutes after we left our home that is 20-25 minutes away from the hospital – in good weather with no traffic! Ha! I don’t know how he did it and we made it in one piece, but we all made it (Belinda and Anne arrived several minutes later!).
Why Did we Pre-Register For Our Baby’s Birth?
David, of course, pulled up to the door at the women’s center at the hospital rather than parking and helped me out of the car. We walked into the lobby and I had a contraction just as we walked through the door. I distinctly remember hearing him telling the lady at the desk that we were pre-registered as she tried to give him paperwork to fill out (we had even called to tell them we were headed in so they could alert my doctor). She kept insisting he had to fill out the paperwork. Meanwhile, I am leaning over a chair when, whoosh, my water broke all over the lobby. At the time, I was in no condition to laugh, but in hind sight, I laughed my butt off! Fill out paperwork my….
The pace definitely picked up from there and I was whisked away to labor and delivery barely getting into the room before they were pulling off my pants and heaving me onto a bed! I’m still not 100% sure why we were told to pre-register because we did, in fact, have to fill out pages of paperwork after the baby was safely delivered. One of which was a consent for an IV that I would have already gotten during labor and delivery (which I, ironically, didn’t get because there wasn’t time).
Where’s MY doctor for Delivery???
As I mentioned before, Belinda had called the hospital to let them know we were coming so that they could call my doctor. We knew that she was really the only natural childbirth-friendly doctor in the area and were very concerned about who/what might be waiting for us at the hospital.
Our fears were valid because the on-call resident doctor freaked out over my baby’s heartbeat from the second they strapped that monitor on me. He had always had a slower heart rate than any other baby I’d ever heard of. He averaged in the 110-120 range (most babies stay between 130-180). My doctor had written this in my charts, but because I came in at 10 cm (yes, I was fully dilated when they checked me), they hadn’t had time to pull my charts. I tried to tell them, Belinda tried to tell them… That doctor didn’t seem to care at all what we had to say. Our baby’s heart rate was also dropping slightly with each contraction, but it came back up quickly after the contraction would end. However (and probably rightly so), she wanted me monitored constantly, which meant pushing on my back instead of in an upright position like I had wanted. Belinda was able to convince her that I should at least be sitting up rather than laying down. She resisted, but did consent to that. However, I was not prepared to be told to push with all of my might even when I didn’t feel the urge. Pushing when your body isn’t telling you to is really, really exhausting and defeating. I remember the words I always swore I’d never say coming out of my mouth, “I can’t do it!”
You CAN Do It, Mom!
This is where Belinda became my life line. My poor husband was pretty helpless to my pain. In all honesty, I don’t even remember his presence. There are some times in life I think you need a woman’s perspective and this is one of them. Belinda had seen many women through natural childbirth (I remember her telling me a story of a lady shorter than me (I am 5’3″) giving birth naturally to an 11 lb baby!) and she knew I COULD do it. She was my quiet cheerleader who softly encouraged me and told me I COULD do it! I would do it! And, I WAS doing it!
My doctor also showed up about the time I was feeling the most defeated and she really did revive my energy. She did agree that the heart rate dropping was a little alarming, but she didn’t get all jumpy and panicked like the other doctor had. She just sat down in front of me and cheered me on. She did perineal massage to save me from the fate I suffered with the birth of my first child and hopefully avoid any tearing. She also encouraged me softly to keep pushing and that everything would be fine and I was doing great. After about 30 minutes of pushing, my newest baby boy, Micah, came into this world at 8:52 am! My sister arrived at the hospital at 9:00 am (clearly, that just wasn’t meant to be! LOL).
I had some minor surface tears and I did have quite a bit of postpartum bleeding (likely due to pushing when my body was not really contracting. I’ve since learned that often your body gives you a rest period when you are fully dilated to allow you to gain strength and to give the baby a rest – especially given that my labor was so fast), but a shot of Pitocin directly into the muscle of my upper thigh stopped the bleeding quickly. It was scary for a second though – my husband says my lips actually turned gray because my blood pressure dropped so low and I only had to get four stitches!!!
Recovery with Natural Birth is So Much Easier
My two labors were like night and day. With Jonathan, I hurt for weeks (months while doing certain “things”- if you catch my drift…). I felt defeated and down. With Micah, I was up and moving the same day without ANY pain. By day two, I felt like nothing had even happened to me. I was on top of the world!!! My baby was perfect, I nursed him within minutes of his birth, I felt great and I felt SOOO empowered as a woman! It is hard to describe the euphoria I felt over achieving my goal and feeling that I did it with relative ease! Despite the pain I had encountered (and it was painful), I felt so in control of the whole natural birth process. THAT (not surprisingly, if you know me) mattered the most to me of anything! It was MY body, this was a natural process and I wanted to maintain control! I had achieved that (with the help and support of David and several great women!) and it felt AMAZING! My baby and my birth were perfect. I am, to this day, so incredibly grateful for that experience and indebted to all who helped make it possible.
Natural Birth Leads to Changing For A Better Natural Life
I really think that my successful experience with natural childbirth paved the way for many changes in my life that lead to a more natural way of living. I brought my baby into the world in the most natural way possible – both of us free from any medical interventions that would affect his start in the world. I owed it to him to keep his life as free from “interventions” as possible.
I am not perfect in this quest. My first two birth experiences were instrumental in changing my way of thinking drastically. I am still learning and growing every day, but I strive to learn and grow every day in my quest to lead my family down a more natural path. I felt sharing my story would give insight into my background and my journey to becoming a “natural” mommy!
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