I won’t get into all the nitty gritty because let’s be honest, you don’t want to know and I don’t really want to relive it :) SO many people have been asking me about this, I decided to blog about it, but please don’t read it if you don’t want to. I will not be offended!
I debated putting this out on the internet…it seems so unnecessary to share this with the world (Please know I don’t think the world reads my blog :)). But, then I remembered that I started my blog to share our life with my family and friends who live far away. I hope to only share things that I want my family and friends to know about and since so many have asked, I figured I might as well share.
Birthplans – have you heard of them? Basically as a future mom, you do all the research, talk to all the professionals and to all the women who have gone before you in order to determine how you want your baby to enter the world.
Birthing tub or bed?
Midwife or Doctor?
Hypnobirth or acupuncture?
As you can see, the possibilities are endless, especially in San Francisco. Important advice people gave me:
1. Your birth plan will not go as planned so be flexible
2. It is ok to have an epidural/narcotics – you are not less of a woman because you can’t take the pain or don’t want to take the pain
3. Mid-wives are a great option because they are with you the whole time where as doctors come and go from the room. Plus, if something goes wrong, the doctors are still there to be able to assist as needed. Mid-wives are well educated and specialize specifically in this as well. They know what they are doing!
4. If you want to try to go the all natural route, let your doctors/nurses/family know that they are NOT to offer you drugs. You will ask for them if you need them.
Well, 9 months ago I planned on a doctor and an epidural – seemed like the normal, most pain-free, enjoyable way to go. About 6 months ago I changed my mind. I decided to go with a mid-wife and to attempt having this baby all natural. I made this decision hesitantly because I am a major wimp and didn’t think I could do it. I also know that in the thick of it, if someone asked me if I wanted drugs, I would have said, “GIVE ME THE DRUGS”, so in anticipation of my inevitable lack-of-resolve, I listened to the advice above and followed #4.
SIDENOTE: My experience was very different from so many of my friend’s experiences in other parts of the country. Living in San Francisco definitely has it’s perks as I was encouraged to have my baby the way that the huz and I felt the most comfortable with and I wasn’t pushed into an induction, c-section or anything that wasn’t our first choice. It was pretty incredible hearing my friend’s stories and what they were forcefully guided towards when in labor with their babies. I feel like I could write a whole blog post on this specifically.
On to the birth story:
Cavebaby came a day early, which is unheard of with firstborns I guess. I firmly believe he came early because my mom is a prayer warrior. My mom came in to town for two weeks to help with cooking, cleaning, snuggling, diaper changing and more snuggling. She booked her ticket for Saturday, March 15th, two days before my due date. I just KNEW that he was going to come a week late and my mom would just be hanging out with me and then only get a week to help snuggle and diaper change. What I didn’t know was that my mom was praying he would come early or on his due date. Well, if you want your kid to come early, ask my mom to pray. We picked her up around 10am and by noon I was starting to have contractions.
I was in labor for almost 24 hours, most of which was pre-labor which feels like menstrual cramps amped way up. Around 9pm that night I decided that the contractions were getting really serious and that I needed to go to the hospital. We packed the car and drove over. I could not believe it was really happening.
The labor and delivery wing at our hospital asks that you do not arrive at the hospital unless you are experiencing the “4-1-1”:
Contractions coming every 4 minutes, each one lasting for an entire minute and that this pattern and continued for over 1 hour
(they also said that these contractions should be so intense that when one hit me I should not be able to move or speak but just power through)
I was experiencing the 4-1-1 when we left for the hospital and it wasn’t fun. When we got there they asked me what my pain level was, on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst pain I have ever experienced. Well, if you know me, you know that I have never had surgery, broken a bone, hardly even stubbed a toe, so I told them the pain was at a 7 because it seemed pretty gnarly to me. Shortly thereafter they told me I was not ready to be admitted because I was only dilated 3cm and needed to be at 5cm before they would admit me…how rude. I had two options:
1. Go home and take my contractions in the comforts of my own bed
2. Roam the halls of the hospital until my body was actually ready
Well, golly gee. I guess I will go with Option 1 then.
We arrived home around 11pm and I attempted to sleep until midnight when the contractions upped their game and until about 4am I took those contractions at home like a boss (or so I thought at the time). The intensity had really picked up. How much crazier could they get? The huz decided that it was time to go back to the hospital and this time I was 6cm (Hallelujah! Over half way there!). They admitted me and I shlumped my way down the hall to our room.
As I was filling out paperwork the nurses asked me again, “On a scale of 1-10, how much pain are you in?” This time I said 7, a true 7.
The whole time I was filling out that paperwork, the nurses kept saying, “As soon as we get you to your room, you just jump in the shower and relax”; “I bet you cannot wait to take a shower”; “A shower will be so nice after all this paperwork!”
Standing up in the shower? While having contractions? That sounds terrible.
Well, it was actually HEAVENLY. I think the reason I was able to deliver all natural was because every few hours I changed my position/mindset/environment. I also kept focused on working through each contraction by counting my breaths. Being focused on something other than the pain was HUGE for me.
I stood in the shower for about two hours while Ryan held the shower head on my lower back. It was like a massage. So warm and soothing. After two hours of this, my contractions really picked up again and we transitioned to the bed.
Sidenote: All my friends that took all their contractions while laying in a bed – how did you do it?! I was SO UNCOMFORTABLE in a bed! I actually stood the whole time until it was time to push. I figured gravity would be my friend? He was!
Let’s talk about back labor. Cavebaby was turned the wrong way (thanks bud!) and I had the WORST back labor. I am not kidding when I say that the most painful part of the whole experience was the back labor. I have SO MUCH RESPECT for all my friends and family that struggle with back pain. There is nothing like it.
Around noon on March 16th, I was at the point where I could start actively pushing. My mom ended up staying in the room, something I didn’t think I wanted. While pregnant, I thought to myself, “I don’t want my mom seeing me like this”. I mean, we are close, but not THAT close.
I cannot adequately explain what takes over your body when in labor, but one of my nurses described it as “primal”. Your body takes over and you just stop caring about pretty much anything except the baby and surviving the situation in which you find yourself. Well, as you can imagine, when the time came for my mom to wait outside, I changed my mind and she ended up sitting in a rocking chair in the corner of the room behind my head.
The moment that I remember the most vividly from this whole experience came about 5 minutes into pushing. My mom was talking to my midwife and I hear her say, “Well, with Samantha I pushed for over 4 hours”. Wait, WHAT?!
Now you must understand, growing up I had heard the whole ordeal of my birth. Apparently, it was pretty traumatic for my mom, dad and me. So, I had always heard that my mom had pushed for over 4 hours.
But, for the first time, I fully understood what that meant. 4 HOURS?! Nope. Not me. Not now, not ever. A renewed energy took over as I focused on my determination to get that baby out of me.
30 minutes later, cavebaby was born!
After being awake for almost 48 hours (thanks insomnia the night before I went into labor), I had such a renewed energy. The adrenaline was indescribable. I was also incredibly exhausted and when they put cavebaby on my chest so I could meet him, I just knew I was going to drop him. I kept saying, “Someone needs to watch him, I’m gonna drop him” to which the nurses replied, “No, you won’t” – I appreciated their confidence in me :) As the adrenaline continued to take over, I was amazed at the energy I somehow had.
Well, we are home, healthy and happy. Thanks for all the prayers!