Did you miss part 1 of my experience giving birth to my first child? Check it out here
After laboring on my own for almost 12 hours (4 of them being AWFUL) I had decided it was time for an epidural. The worst part about getting the drug was sitting still through back labor contractions. I have zero memory of any pain of the needle but I do remember thinking during that time, oh my gosh, what if this doesn’t work on me and I have to keep experiencing this god awful pain! I was definitely praying like crazy in that moment for the epidural to take and take it did. After a few more contractions the pain had subsided SIGNIFICANTLY. The weird/awesome thing was that I still had some feeling in my legs. I could wiggle my toes and even move my legs some, it just lessened the pain of the contractions by about 90%.
The downside of the epidural though is now you are hooked up to a whole lot of machines. A blood pressure cuff, the pitocin IV, a catheter (sexy), a contraction monitor, and a fetal heart rate monitor. It’s definitely not an ideal situation, but in that moment I really didn’t care.
After a few hours of having the epidural 3 nurses came into my room and one put an oxygen mask on my face. Me being me, said oh no thank you, I don’t need that. The nurses firmly told me, “put it on your face!” Ummm ok. Apparently Piper was having decelerations in her heart rate which causes concern. They had to turn off the pitocin and keep me on oxygen for about 30 minutes to let her recover. This was the point in the process where the nurses were getting itchy for me to have a C-section because I wasn’t progressing fast enough for their liking. I’m so grateful though that I was working with a midwife. She wasn’t in a huge hurry and she was confidant I would be able to deliver naturally, but it just might take awhile. Plus she came in and just sat down and talked to me for 30 minutes during all this heart rate deceleration business. That doesn’t typically happen with an O.B.
While I was hooked up to the epidural I was able to roll from side to side to keep the labor going and even at one point with the help of Tyler and Jen (my doula) I was able to get up on my knees and lean over the back of the bad (which we brought up to a 90 degree angle). All these techniques kept things moving along and finally by about 730 that evening I was fully dilated.
The thing that I loved about having a doula and a midwife was that they explained the concept of laboring down to me. Laboring down is waiting to push until you are feeling lots of pressure. You are letting your uterus do the work (instead of you pushing and pushing for hours) of pushing the baby down into the birth canal. Its not something that generally can be done if you are having a birth without an epidural (you’ll feel the urge to push much sooner). So once I was fully dilated I waited almost a full hour before I started pushing.
Right before I started pushing I was filled with anxiety, to the point that I had started shaking a little bit. I was so nervous for what was to come and couldn’t help but thinking, am I ready for this? Even in that moment it still did not feel super real that I was going to be holding my daughter very shortly. Luckily my husband likes to keep things light and he entertained me with this:
Plus how can you not smile when your husband wears this to the birth of your child.
Time for the Big Arrival
I will say that for me, pushing was one of the easiest parts. I felt like I was finally doing something. It was a very natural thing. After about an hour of pushing she was here. She had the cord wrapped around her body so it was scary there for a split second, but the second I heard her cry I lost it. Here I was laying there, seeing and hearing this brand new person that I grown inside of my body. Its the most incredible thing the second you see that baby, a feeling that you can never fully understand until you experience it.
At 6 lbs 14 oz, 19 inches long she was perfection, sheer perfection.
So what did I learn?
If there are 4 things I hope you take away from reading about my experience they are this:
1. Get educated and make a plan, but be open to things taking a different path. I firmly believe you need to be educated. You are responsible for you. Don’t expect your care provider to run each decision by you or give you a lot of say in things or even a lot of time to think about the decisions that need to be made. You have to know what is going on and feel comfortable asking questions and speaking up. Things can happen pretty fast in the delivery room and so you being informed about the process and having an idea of how you’d like things to go is so important. You will be scared, overwhelmed, exhausted, and confused at times (maybe you will be all of those things at the same time). Its much easier to make quick decisions if you’ve already put thought into how you’d ideally like things to go.
2. Realize that in the end, the way your baby gets here doesn’t matter. You won’t think about it that much. I spent months saying that I didn’t want drugs, that I didn’t want to be induced. When it came down to deciding to be induced I wrestled with that decision for days. Back and forth feeling guilty, scared, and like a failure if I changed my plan. But you know what, once that baby was in my arms it was all that mattered. I know that sounds cliche, but its so true. Since she has been here I have spent very little time psychoanalyzing my choices about her birth. I just don’t think about it that often. When I do think about it, I only feel JOY. I brought a person into the world, and she is perfect. That’s what matters, not the pitocin, the epidural, or any of the other choices. I promise you when you look in that little persons eyes, your “plan” won’t feel so important anymore.
3. Don’t judge other people’s experiences
One of the biggest things I’ve learned from my experience of being pregnant is to not judge other people’s choices. Everyone’s pregnancies are different as are their births, their pain tolerance levels, and especially their babies. What works for me might not work for you. Just because someone chooses to do a home birth doesn’t make them weird, its just different than the hospital birth I chose. I could go on and on about this, but lets leave it at just don’t judge people. You don’t know what they are going through.
4. Savor those first few hours, they are absolutely incredible.
I used to see pictures of a brand new baby and say Eww, they are covered in that white stuff, somebody clean them up. But now I see a baby like that and a piece of me is jealous. That feeling of a BRAND new baby, your brand new baby, in your arms is unreal. Its the greatest feeling I’ve ever experienced. So don’t worry about letting grandparents or friends get into visit baby, just hold that little person on your chest and love on them for a few hours before you have to share them with the rest of the world. There will be plenty of time for everyone else.
Now I want to hear from you!
Did your birth go according to plan? What is one piece of advice about childbirth that you have for expectant moms? Hop down to the comments below and let me know!!!