One of the classes that I substituted for was studying childbirth. I was horrified to learn that schools teach high school girls that childbirth is a medical procedure that requires numerous interventions and is always extremely painful. At one time, I was one of those girls, threatening my mother that I would always remain childless because I was afraid of the pain involved.
This is my son's birth story, written a few days after he was born. In part because of the preparations I took, my son's birth was easy with minimal pain with little to no interventions.
Matthew's Birth Story
My pressure waves (contractions) began nine days after my "guess date." I was frustrated and tired of waiting; I started false labor (Braxton-Hicks contractions) two weeks before my guess date (due date) and everyone was calling asking if we had the baby yet.
To naturally assist the birthing process, I started on evening primrose oil (EPO) and black cohosh (suggested doses on the bottles) early in the morning on Friday at 2:00am (my husband works nights). I couldn't sleep, but finally got about an hour or so of sleep by the time the intense pressure waves started at 6:30am.
By 8:30am, my pressure waves were about 2 min. apart. I called the clinic and we decided to go in. By the time we got there, they had slowed back down to every 4-5 min. (it is a 45 min. drive to the office and hospital). The dr. checked my cervix and I was only between 1-2 cm. and still at 50%! I had been at 50% and 1 cm. for three weeks! She recommended we not check in to the hospital yet and I'm really glad we didn't.
We walked around the mall for an hour and an half. By the time lunch came I was exhausted. The pressure waves were still 4-5 min. apart, but still only lasting for around 30-40 sec. We went to a park to walk
and rest in the car for a while and finally decided by 2:30pm to go home. I was so tired, which I'm sure was keeping the birthing from progressing. After I got home, I was able to sleep for about three hours
between and through some pressure waves.
at around 10:30pm and my husband was asleep before 11:00pm. I was still having pressure waves about 6-7 minutes apart and couldn't sleep. I read, sat on my birthing ball, took another dose of both black cohosh and evening primrose, and drank a few cups of red raspberry leaf tea (another natural method to assist birth).
When I awoke later in the day on Friday, we decided to stay in a hotel in Kearney for the night (the city where the hospital and clinic are); the weather forecast called for heavy rain, turning into snow. We arrived
|Matthew's first picture with me|
All through the early morning the pressure waves remained around 6 min. apart while increasing in duration to one min. and in intensity. I used my self-hypnosis with each one and it worked great! By 4:30am I was getting very sleepy and I tried to lie down for a while. I think I slept for about 20 min. during the time I was in bed. At 8:00am the pressure waves were getting very intense and only 3-5 min. apart. I called the answering service for my doctor and she told me to check into the hospital.
My husband and I checked out of the hotel and into the hospital at around 8:30am on Saturday. The doctor checked my cervix and I was 90% effaced, 3 1/2 cm. dilated, and the sac was bulging. She thought it would break at anytime and then the birthing would progress quickly. I felt great that I was finally
going to birth my baby! I tried to sit on the birthing ball, but the nausea I was having made it impossible. I ended up vomiting and feeling much better. My husband gave the nurse a copy of my birthing plan.
I ended up lying on my side during most of the birthing because it was the most comfortable for me. After about an hour I started to lose my focus (I had only slept for just over 4 hours in two days) and the pressure waves began to hurt. My husband reminded me to use my Hypnobabies self-hypnosis, which really helped. I imagined my anesthesia was like gray spray paint and I used it to cover the areas of pain.
When my doctor checked my cervix again at 10:30am, I was at only 5 cm. dilated and 100% effaced. The amniotic sac had been bulging for over two hours and still hadn't ruptured. She asked me if I wanted her to break it and I told her I didn't know. I had lost my focus and ability to use my self-hypnosis. After learning how little I had slept recently, the nurse suggested giving me a sedative to let me sleep for a while before breaking the sac. I told her that it sounded like a good idea; I didn't know how I would get through the birthing with so little energy. My doctor suggested that she come back later in the day and break the sac if necessary.
When the nurse came back with the sedative she also brought my birth plan and apologized for
suggesting the medication. I told her that I thought she was right, that I did need rest before continuing on with the birthing. After the sedative was administered I ended up sleeping for several hours. The
pressure waves continued, but I was able to use the mental anesthesia and self-hypnosis. I listened to my birth guide while I slept.
By 2:30pm, I was fairly well rested by the time my doctor came back to check on me. She asked if I wanted her to break my water and I said yes. At this point I was 5 1/2 cm. dilated. She said the most difficult part was getting to 5 cm. dilated and after the sac was ruptured the baby's head would quickly open up the cervix. The pressure waves became very intense at this point, but I continued to use my self-hypnosis and anesthesia.
At 3:00pm, I became extremely uncomfortable, exhausted again. I had a really hard time focusing on my and couldn't get myself into hypnosis. My husband tried to help me, but it didn't work. By 3:30pm, the nurse checked my cervix and I was fully dilated. She called the doctor and began getting the room ready for birthing. Right before 4:00pm I couldn't fight the urge to start pushing even though there wasn't anyone in the room to attend to the birth.
When my doctor arrived, I was so uncomfortable and in pain that I didn't care how I birthed as long as I did it soon! My husband tried to remind me to push between pressure waves, but I told him "I'M TOO TIRED!". The nurse took over since I didn't know what I was doing and I wanted someone to tell me what to do. After around 15 pushes (ten seconds long) I pushed my baby out. Matthew was born at 4:27pm. I felt great and my first words were "I just birthed a baby," in disbelief. My second words were "I hope his head is going to change otherwise people will think he 'came from France.' "
I was tired, but felt so exhilarated that I did it without an epidural and without tearing or an episiotomy. The nurse said it was the best birth without an epidural that she had seen in a very long time (she had been working there for 24 years). My son nursed a few minutes after being born and had a great sucking reflex. He also scored an 8, then a 9 on his APGAR.
|Matthew, only hours old|
I hope that women understand that most of the time they can have whatever birthing experience they want. Complications are rare, unlike the television shows and movies.
Read more comfortable birth stories at Enjoyable Births.
If you have birthed a child, what was your experience like? Did you feel like you had choices?