A Natural Birth Story: The Time I Went Into Labor and No One Believed Me
It was Monday April 30th 2012 around 8am. I woke up to the feeling of menstrual cramps. This was now the third Monday in a row that I have been feeling this way. The cramping was consistently in and out. Being that I had my weekly appointment, I decided not to make any calls and just start tracking these obvious contractions until we got to the office.
I told my midwife during the appointment that I believed I was in the early stages of labor and the contractions were 12-15 minutes apart. Now before the midwife even checked my cervix or listened to how I was feeling she told me I was wasting my time recording contractions. After she checked my cervix, she also said that I was “not ripe” (only 1cm), and probably a few days out [from having the baby]. At this point I was a disappointed and confused. I was 39.5 weeks and really uncomfortable. What is going on?
So I took a nap when I got home and by 6pm I woke up to more contractions. By this time, I started to physically see my belly contracting with each cramp. I began trying many of the positions we learned during my Bradley Class but only side-lying seemed to work. This got me through until about 8 or 9 pm where I decided to take a warm bath. The bath worked wonders! After about an hour or so I went back to laying on the couch and watching TV. I contemplated calling the doctor because of the conversation I had with the midwife earlier. I didn’t want to call prematurely. My husband went back and looked at the contraction log on our iPhone app and it was getting shorter. (6-9 minutes and more intense).
Around 11:30pm I made the call to INOVA Alexandria where the midwife on call asked how far a part the contractions were. (4-6 minutes) Then I was asked if I had taken any birthing classes (almost in a condescending way).
You see, the midwives go by the 3-1-1 rule…
Don’t come in until your contractions are 3 minutes apart, lasting for 1 minute in duration, for 1 hour.
I don’t know about this whole rule scale but my frequency was the only part that was consistent. The durations were not consistent AT ALL. Which is why I called… I didn’t know where I stood in textbook labor land.
So I got off the phone annoyed. This was the second time someone from my practice dismissed my feelings. Where were the friendly, nurturing people that I knew for the past 8 months?
Earlier in the evening, I would call out to my husband
“Here comes another [contraction].”
But decided to switch things up a bit. I told him to just sit with me on the couch and I will squeeze his hand to start the timer. This was the best idea. Our timing became more precise and at this point I didn’t want to talk anymore. I just kept my eyes closed and relaxed as best as I could through the pain.
By midnight I had doubts I was even in labor at all. Although I felt somewhat confident in my symptoms, I needed professional affirmation. But it’s now 1am and I was only feeling worse. Screw them! I don’t need their approval because I CLEARLY was NOT feeling well. I started to break out in this hot/cold sweat. Somewhere in between my contractions I looked to my husband and said
“I think I’m going to throw up.”
Well, as fast as I finished that sentence, I began to projectile vomit all over my newly shampooed carpet. (This my friends is a clear sign of labor. It is what many of us call the transition – the last part of active labor. So if I wasn’t sure I was in labor, I was sure now.)
Oh, back to the vomit. My husband reached out to catch it but he didn’t have enough hands. Lol
If you know me, you know that I was pissed off that I messed up my carpet…The last thing I had was tuna. My husband and I both just stared at the mess for like 10 seconds but the damage was done. The good news was that throwing up gave me this extreme burst of energy as if the contractions were over. I quickly helped him clean and got in the shower. But now I didn’t want to get out because bending my knees back and forth in the warm water felt so damn good! But then I came back into reality…IT’S SHOWTIME! We got dressed.
Thank goodness we left when we did because it took entirely way too long to get from the apartment to the elevator and out to the car. At this point all I could do was this little rocking dance/walk between the contractions. For each contraction I just paused.
Now we are in the car. We both expected to just haul it to the hospital because we were only 5 miles away.
I couldn’t take the movement and bumps on the road. I had to force him to drive ten. miles. per. hour. My husband looked sooo worried because he didn’t want me to have this baby in the car but I was in charge. He had to do what I said.
We arrived at the hospital and I changed my mind
“Wait, not yet…I want juice. They wont let me have juice in the hospital. Let’s go get some first.”
My husband was like “What woman!?! OK…”
So we get the (orange) juice.
In hindsight, going to the store was crazy because the contractions were so close and so long, we couldn’t even keep track anymore. haha
But now I won’t let him move the car out the parking lot. After another 10 minutes I sucked it up and gave him the green light to go. Once we pulled back up to the hospital, he brings a wheelchair. I refused and did my little rocking dance walk all the way to the door…
Where they made me get in the wheelchair anyway. (lol)
We were all checked in after 3am. The midwife looked surprised to see me. She immediately checked my cervix and guess who was 6cm!?! (Hmmm 6cm? Wasn’t I just 1cm at 2:30pm yesterday? What happen to the cervix that wouldn’t be ready for a few days? <—-–insert sarcasm there.
The nurse says
“6cm?!? Isn’t this your first? How did you make it between 3 and 4? That’s usually when women are begging for epidural.”
Nurse: “We are getting the epidural right?”
10 Minutes later.
Nurse: “If you are going to get the epidural this is your last chance.”
Me: No. (To be honest at this point I wasn’t so sure anymore but going natural was the plan. I rehearsed this pivotal moment a thousand times in my head. I wasn’t going to let anyone else talk me out of it.)
I swear the entire staff seemed so disappointed with this decision.
I don’t know if it was my hormones but everyone was just as unbearable as the bulging sac of water that needed to be broken. One minute I was told I was doing a good job managing the pain, next minute they would say I was panicking. Then all of a sudden, as I am breathing in through my nose, out my mouth the nurse says
“We are going to breathe together now. Follow me: HEE-HEE, WHO-WHO…HEE-HEE, WHO-WHO.”
I let her say it a few times by herself until it started to sound like baby talk with all the emphasis she was using. I can still see those stupid facial expressions.
“ I am not doing that sh!t”
I yelled. I wanted to slap the mess out of her.
I am sure she was offended.
I couldn’t do anything. All the moving around ‘talk’ that we were assured of was such a lie. I couldn’t even turn without permission. Every move the nurse had her hand on the monitor adjusting. So I decided to say I needed to go to the bathroom. I didn’t really HAVE to go but I was getting out that bed one way or another. Turns out they wanted me to empty my bladder anyway. Half way to the bathroom I had the urge to push. I told them but the nurse said
“It’s way too soon- fight the urge”.
I couldn’t. My body was pushing on its own. It was so strong I was crossing my legs. The midwife noticed I couldn’t hold it any longer and took me back to the bed before we made it to the bathroom. (that was a long walk by the way)
“Wow you are just about 10cm- let’s get ready to push!”
I wasn’t nervous until this. very. moment. I had barely been in the hospital an hour and now I am going to push. With no medication? For real, for real. I wanted a natural birth but everyone told me I wouldn’t be able to handle it.
Whoa. Time out.
But sometime around 4:30am I started pushing. I pushed everything like I was trying to move furniture with my legs. I thought- I am never doing this sh!t again but I was pushing wrong. Then I started to push like I was going to the bathroom. Not only was that right, but it felt soooo good. I was actually looking forward to the contractions. Even though I was tired from incorrect pushing, I didn’t need coaching anymore. I knew exactly when and how to push. There I am…all in the zone and here goes the annoying nurse again
“So who’s your pediatrician?”
Helloooo I am having a baby. Are we really doing this now?
After about 30 minutes I was done. My baby, Noah was here. Born at 5:07am, 7lbs 4oz and 20.2 in.
My husband and I didn’t cry. We were just shocked with this whole moment. Kind of like when I threw up all over the carpet. Although my child was right there on my chest, I was in another world. It wasn’t the “Oh I am so in love with this child and moment” I thought it would be. I was only glad the pain was over. My body trembled for about 10 minutes in shock.
Only once the shivers went away I became the proudest, happiest woman in the world.
I did it. We did it- whew!