What happens when it does not quite go the way you planned…
I was 24 when I was pregnant with my son, Jacob. (who I am currently in the process of high school applications for, ugh!) I was young and didn’t know much about birth but, there was some part of me that knew I wanted to work with a midwife and try for an un-medicated birth. A few days after I took my at home test I went to my local clinic and they did their test. And, yes they confirmed I was pregnant. They even let me hear the heart beat! I was so surprised by this, my partner wasn’t even there I did not think that would happen so fast.
The people at the clinic referred me out to the midwives at West Suburban Hospital…
At this time I had no car and would take the bus almost an hour each way to my midwives appointment. I was so interested in having a water birth so any amount of travel was worth it to me with the end goal of birthing in what is known as The ABC room (Alternative Birthing Center).
The hospital has 2 rooms that are considered apart of the Alternative Birthing Center. They both have full size beds and baths as well as a microwave and other amenities to make it seem a little more like you are at home then the hospital. I was so excited. My partner and I went to all of our birthing classes and watched beautiful videos of water births. He had no idea what he was getting into but was very supportive of all of my choices.
For the most part, my pregnancy was healthy and pretty non-exciting. I did have some sciatica nerve pain down my leg which I saw a chiropractor for. This was very helpful wand I highly recommend working with a chiropractor prentally. I started doing prenatal yoga at home from a DVD to prepare my body for labor and try to connect with my breath. Not really! I was 24 I had no idea why I was doing it, it just seemed like the right thing to do. But that would be what I tell my clients now that I have a little more experience 😉
My midwives offered me a free doula at one of my visits. I said what’s that?!? And then said NO, I don’t think I’ll need that. In my mind, my partner and my mom would both be there and that would be more than enough. For sure my partner would remember everything from class. My mother would of course be a natural and just know how to care for me during labor, and I had midwives so they would be there the whole time (common misconception, hospital midwives are not with you the whole time). Let’s just say I had a great team but, soon after my birth I realized what a value and asset a doula would have been and signed up for my doula training.
Let’s Get This Baby Out…
I was a little over 40 weeks and feeling ready for the baby to come. Everyone in our families started to share their old school ways of inducing labor naturally. I even ended up drinking onion water! On April 4th my partner and I decided to try to have sex to see if this would get labor going.
Later on some friends of our stopped by. Around 7pm, while they were there I started to get some small cramping, almost like menstrual cramps. My friend had already had a baby so I called upon her expertise of what labor feels like. She confirmed the menstrual cramping feel, and I said well I’m in labor then, you all need to go!
My partner and I just hung out for a little while being excited and not really knowing what to do, (pacing around our studio apartment). After a while when things started to intensify more I started calling the midwife she suggested I shower for a while. Which felt amazing!
I did start to get a little anxious because we lived pretty far from the hospital. Since we had no car the plan was for my mom to drive all the way from the suburbs to come get us to go to the hospital. It was getting pretty late so we decided my mom should at least come to our house, but by the time she got there I felt we should just go in. As we drove in things intensified even more it soon became very uncomfortable to sit in the car and I was kind of half sitting half standing if that’s possible in a car.
We entered through emergency …
I must have been in triage but, honestly I had entered labor land because this is where it all starts to get blurry. They wanted me to try to have a bowl movement before I went up to the room and I was not happy about it. I couldn’t go to the bathroom and I just wanted to go upstairs. Soon after they admitted me. I was so excited the ABC room was available and it was the larger of the two! Which turned out to be so useful because we used every corner of that room!
Upstairs I have no recollection of the order of things. I know I threw up multiple times (and then for at least a year later could not eat macaroni and cheese). I know I got in the tub and then got out! My sciatica nerve pain came back and I could not get in a position in the tub that was comfortable. BIG reminder your plan does not always go the way you planned. I know I was on the bed, on the floor, on the toilet, on the chair.
I know I looked at my mom one time and said I want an epidural! They told me you are almost there honey. So no epidural happened. Around 6:30 am they could see his head they told me only about 30 minutes more!!! I was so relieved, I could do this for 30 more minutes I had this. 4 hours later Jacob was born. I may have been seeing double but he was there laying on me with his little cone head.
Apparently his head was slightly tilted to the side…
This would not allow for him to pass easily through while I pushed. This is when the midwives stay with you. This woman put me in every position possible to get my little baby boy to come out. At one point my partner was sitting on a chair, I sat on his lap facing him. He would open his legs and let me drop during contractions. At another point my mother held one leg and the midwife held the other leg. All the while my partner was stimulating my nipples to make my contractions harder. (side note another good reason to have a doula! Your mother may not want to watch your partner stimulate your nipples!)
Then the midwife looked at me and said I know you can do this. If you want to push longer or we can get the doctor and use the vacuum. I forever appreciate her giving me the choice and power to know I could do it. And at 10:30am April 5th, I said let’s get the vacuum.
Written By our Doula: Christine