My Best Friend’s…Birth Story

Today I get to share the birth story of one of my best friends, Alicia. We grew up together. She lives in Arizona and has not ever taken HypnoBirthing (though I’m pretty sure she’s read the book) but I love her positive, empowering tone. (She’s an English teacher and a writer, so it’s pretty good.)

My favorite things about her story are: 1. Her body kicked into labor after the Cervadil was applied, and she never needed Pitocin! 2. The nurse who told her “You can do this!” and then disconnected her from everything and allowed her to move as she pleased. Seriously…why can’t all hospital nurses be like that?? 3. How she trusted her body and went within to a place where she allowed herself to birth uninhibited. 4. No tearing! She pushed perfectly with her body at a pace that allowed her to birth over an intact perineum. 5. How she and her hubby knew just what to do for counter pressure on her hips. 6. How she visualized her baby moving down with each surge to “make it count” and shorten labor.


Benjamin Eric Wach

Time for a birth story.  I feel that birth stories need to be printed and shared.  Every story is unique and since pregnancy and childbirth make us women so vulnerable, we need to hear and process all our options and connect with others as women.This idea came from my former roommate Tina who shared a beautiful story of her daughter, Eliza.  Not a million paragraphs like mine, but I’m a talker.  Beware.  Her story was an induction, with a calm laboring experience, an epidural, a few pushes later, and a beautiful baby girl.  She even had a nap while in labor.  

Now, I lean towards less medical intervention, but Tina put it so beautifully.  She said she was so grateful for technology and medicine so she didn’t have to feel each of her contractions.  Her birth story was just as beautiful as the home water births I sometimes read about.

Here’s a little background.  Around November, baby was diagnosed with IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction).  Google it if you want, but it’s enough to make a pregnant woman crazy.  I was too small, which meant baby was too small, which meant problems. There was no reason the doctors could pinpoint as a cause, but they wanted me to take bi-weekly tests and have ultrasounds weekly.  Crazy.  It gave me serious stress and anxiety and I still didn’t take all the tests.  I didn’t feel anything was wrong and I believe that I was misdiagnosed, but what if?  What if I was wrong?  What if the baby was dying inside me?  I went there.  I call it the dark place.  I was living in the dark place.  Thank goodness for work and a great church calling to keep me anxiously engaged in happy things.

So with that said, they induce women with IUGR at 39 weeks.  I was not ready.  I was planning to go late. I did not have my sub plans ready at work, my house was a mess, and honestly, I didn’t even have a sheet on the crib.  Leaving the gender a surprise meant that I didn’t have anything prepared.  It wasn’t pretty.

Luckily, I buckled down, got everything ready, and had an induction date. 

My induction started at 8 pm Dec. 13th.  It seems I will never have a good night’s sleep before labor.  Since I wasn’t dilated at all, they were starting with a cervical softener and then 12 hours later would start Pitocin.  I researched and asked and heard such mixed things about Pitocin.  Needless to say, I was scared.  How can you prepare for anything when you aren’t sure how your body is going to react?

Since I actually did a few of the recommended tests, I felt much more comfortable in the Labor and Delivery section of the hospital and even had a bit of a rapport with some of the nurses.  That was the silver-lining to my poor, malnourished baby.  Hospitals give me an elevated heart rate, slight nausea, and general nervousness.  I have white-coat syndrome.  It’s a real disease and I’m not alone.

The nurse who started my induction was one I knew and liked.  The monitor showed that I was having a contraction an hour without anything.  They all thought this labor would be fast.  I had the cervidil at 10 pm and had a terrible time trying to get some sleep.  At about 5 am my water broke.  All on its own.  That’s rare.  The cervidil put me into labor.  So it seems like my body was right there, ready for birth.

I was able to sleep through the next two hours of contractions.  Well, sort of sleep.  I would exhale with each contraction and kind of rested.  At around 7 am, the next nurse, another one that I met and liked, told me that at around 10 am they would start Pitocin and go from there.  At this point, I had to think, breathe and turn inside to go through each contraction.  I was tired.  And the contractions were starting to give me discomfort.

Now around 8 am, I had to get up and move around.  Movement was a priority of mine and each nurse knew it and worked with me.  I needed to bend over, moan, and rock back and forth during contractions.  Labor becomes very primal for me.  I become very internal during contractions, and make weird sounds, and it just seems like my body/cavewoman side takes over.

I was getting tired.  And I dreamed of the epidural nap everyone speaks of.  I had wanted to try an un-medicated birth this round, but since the whole thing was medically intertwined, I wasn’t dead-set on any particular way.  But I was tired.  I asked Eric if I should get the epidural and he said I should.  Why be in pain if you don’t have to be?  Here was my only setback.  Each contraction, I told my body and baby to make it count.  I visualized baby moving down and out and I didn’t want to waste any time.  No 20 hour labor for me this round.

When I felt each contraction, I knew what to do to make it the most effective.  Laying on my side and back on the hospital bed was a terrible position for laboring.  So even if I was numb, I wouldn’t know the best way to maximize these labor pains.  I was torn on what to do.  Listen to the body, or avoid the pain.

It was 9 am now and I did not want to wait until 10 am to get Pitocin.  I was ready to talk pain management (epidural) options.  My nurse checked me and laughed.  “Here’s the bad news: I can’t find the cervidil.  Here’s the good news, you’re at 7 cm and baby’s head is right there.  You’re less than 5 hours to having this baby, I’d predict.”  

“Oh wow,” I thought.  I was just tired, not in the worst pain.  And maybe I could still do this without pain medication.  She looks at me.  She says, “You have three options.  You can get an epidural.  You can wait and go to a 9 like you did with your daughter.  Or, you can do this naturally.”  She gets a glimmer in her eye, “But, I really think you can do this.  You can do this.”

“I can do this.”  I smiled to myself.  She then gets me unplugged from everything and tells me to go walk around.  “You need to move around.  I know that was important to you.”

So I jump and walk around and it makes me feel energized.  Then an intense contraction hits.  OUCH!  And I pass the mucus plug.  The doctor is called with urgency and my contractions start to really make me wail and yell “ouch.”  Yes, I echoed down the hall a little bit.  Eric helped by pushing his side into mine.  It was like Novocain.  When he pushed his hip next to mine, my hip instantly relaxed and felt numb and happy.  We didn’t practice this, or read about it, or take a class.  Somehow the idea came and it worked perfectly.  It was very intuitive.

At this point, I’m in full labor and start to lose some of my normal thinking.  The nurse can tell that I’m really progressing and she is telling me that she would really like it if I could wait for my doctor to come so she won’t have to do all the paperwork of a nurse delivery.  Eric said he’d delivery the baby if she didn’t want to do all the paperwork.  But that’s even more paperwork, she commented back.  She was starting to understand his obnoxious personality now.

I understand pushing now.  My abs kind of took over and starting flexing on their own to help baby come.  The nurse didn’t know it, but I was pushing during these contractions.  I couldn’t really help it.

The nurses start rolling in tables and all the birth instruments needed, but I’m closing my eyes a lot, and am only vaguely aware of the commotion going on.  Like I said, very internal.

My doctor walks in and I go back to the bed and everything gets all set up to catch the baby.  I wanted to keep standing because my hips are buzzing and stinging and I grab them and squeeze them tight because it really hurts.  Even after contractions, I’m still not really talking and just breathing and trying to calm my body.  As baby gets closer it burns and hurts and there is serious pressure all down there.  Eric rubs my leg and jokes with the doctor and nurses.  They asked me something about if I liked bracelets but I couldn’t think straight and mostly ignored their chatting.  

I remember that I wanted to cry.  It really hurt and I really didn’t want to do it any more.  Luckily baby was tough and did not display any distress during labor.  Three big contractions and some serious pushing that I’m certain would have broken blood vessels in my face if the nurse didn’t tell me to breath and focus my breath to the baby, out came a beautiful baby boy.

It did feel like I pooped out a baby.  And they gave him to me to put on my chest all slimy and perfect right after birth.  “We did it, baby.  We did it.  You’re perfect.”  I remember saying.  The cord was around his neck, but he had a healthy cry and was rated 9/10 on Apgar.  Perfect.

No tearing and a lovely 6 lb 7 oz 19 inch angel.  No IUGR after all.  He’s little, but still healthy and normal.  Recovery has been a dream come true and I remember getting up and walking around just hours after birth.  It was awesome.

They called me All Natural Momma.  Here’s the thing.  I think it’s all natural.  Sure, I didn’t get anything for pain, but our bodies naturally grow this stuff and then out it comes.  Epidural or not, everyone is natural.  Even the C-section is natural because baby is supposed to come out.  I don’t feel any tougher or more awesome after doing it without pain medication.  Ellie’s birth was crazy hard with an epidural.  Ben’s birth was crazy hard without.  But birth is only natural.  And we women are all awesome, natural mommas!

But if you are serious about doing an un-medicated birth, I would recommend running a marathon.  The parallels are perfect.  Even my doctor, who is also a runner, told me when I was crying and tired and hurting, that I was at mile 24.  I was right there.  It’s in your mind and you can do it.  You have to do it.  The finish line is right there.  And if I chanted mile 24, I could handle the pain better.  Awesome.  We are all awesome.

Ben is a dream baby.  He just eats and sleeps and snuggles.  And with Eric’s help, we are making it through the newborn stage.  He is a such a blessing and I thank Heavenly Father that I get to be his mom.

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