Here readers can share their birth stories with mom's to be. Although I am a birth doula in Toronto, these stories can come from mom's from all around the world. If you would like to share your story on my blog, please contact me.
Maggie's Birth Story
We arrived at the hospital at 1:30 am (after the clocks went back so 3 1/2 hours since the contractions had really started to intensify). I had another contraction as we were getting out of the car, then in the lobby, then in the elevator…finally got to L&D and then into the birthing suite where Linda was already waiting. Things were still fairly manageable at this point so I was able to lie on the bed so she could check me. I was 39 weeks, 6 days and I had not yet had a cervical exam so I had NO IDEA what to expect. My biggest fear was that she would say that the contractions weren’t progressing me. BUT, I was 3 cm and stretchy she said and she could even stretch me to a 4. I didn’t find the exam painful at all (I guess because things were stretching well). While Linda was doing the check, we both heard a loud pop and my water broke! Linda wasn’t sure if she had popped it accidentally or if it was just a coincidence. Either way, things were definitely on now!
I was nervous to get into the tub too early so I tried other positions to manage contractions. I liked being bent at the waist resting my head on the bed or my husband and rocking my hips seemed to help as well. After about an hour, I finally asked Linda if it was too early to get in the tub. She said I was well into active labour and that it would be fine if I wanted to give it a shot. So we filled up the tub and I got in. In between contractions, it was heaven to be in there. I had jets on my back and I almost felt like I wasn’t even in labour. During contractions, it was hard to find a position that worked. I liked being on all fours but then the water wasn’t deep enough to cover me. I was able to get into a weird position almost like Cobra in yoga that was good during contractions but was difficult to get in and out of quickly. Being reclined in between contractions was what I needed to relax but being reclined during a contraction was awful so it was a bit difficult to find a rhythm in the tub. Regardless, I was in the tub for a couple of hours in total and the BEST part about it was that it was just my husband and I for the bulk of it. Linda came in periodically to check the baby’s heart rate with a Doppler but she basically left us alone and it was amazing!
After a while, I felt like I had to pee and didn’t want to pee in the water (lol) so I decided to get out of the tub. While I was getting out, I was holding on to my husband’s arms and was reminded of the position I had enjoyed earlier. I was really cold and started to shake but was able to go pee and then get back in the tub. We made the water warmer and tried to make it as high as possible so that I might be able to get on my hands and knees easier. I stayed there a little longer and then decided to get out and try more contractions hunched over. The contractions were getting more difficult to deal with and I was starting to think I needed to try something else. Once I got out of the tub, I started to feel like I couldn’t handle it anymore. I had read so many birth stories that I tried to focus on the fact that this meant I was probably hitting transition and that it would be time to push soon. But it was really hard to make it through each contraction. The relief in between was great though. When I had my son (induction with pitocin & epidural), I had never felt contractions like these but when it came to pushing, I was in pain with no relief for 2 hours straight. So I really appreciated the little breaks in between.
Once I was starting to feel like I couldn’t handle any more, Linda checked me and I was 7 cm. It was 4:15 am. Shortly after that, I felt like I was going to need to push. I had recently become extremely verbal. Once I started pushing, what was moaning became much louder and more desperate sounding. I simply pushed when I felt like I needed to. It was THE HARDEST THING I have ever done. Very intense. But amazing to be able to feel the baby’s head crowning. Crowning didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. It definitely burned but it helped me to understand when to ease up on the pushing. I kept waiting for my husband or Linda to say that they could see the head. I felt like it was RIGHT THERE but I couldn’t ask the question because it took every part of me to focus on what I was doing. I should mention that when I started pushing, I was standing on the floor with my head and hands on the bed. I was terrified to try any other position in case it hurt more but my legs were getting tired. Linda suggested that I get on the bed on all fours and I was able to do so with help. Soon after I started to feel too tired to hold on to that position as well. So I ended up laying on my side in the bed holding my leg in the air. Maggie Jane was born at 4:55 am. The cord was around her neck and Linda and my husband had been focused on that which is why they weren’t telling me that they could see the head. Once her head was delivered, I felt this huge surge of relief. Linda later told me that I didn’t tear at all while delivering her head. However, because she had to maneuver the cord away from her neck while delivering her body, I had a couple of second degree tears from that. She was placed on my chest immediately and my husband told me it was a girl! He was able to cut the cord after a while (not sure how long) and she just stared up at us with these huge beautiful eyes. It was amazing!! I was given a shot of pitocin in my leg to help to contract my uterus and things were looking good. After a couple of lidocaine needles (ouch), Linda stitched up my tears, which seemed to take forever. But I was happy that the pain was gone and was able to latch Maggie to breastfeed and chat with Nicole (the back up midwife who arrived moments before Maggie was born to attend to her). She showed us the placenta and how it worked which was meant to be a distraction from the stitches but was very cool. Once the stitches were done and Maggie had been weighed (7 lbs, 15 oz) and checked over, I was feeling great! We had to wait until I was able to go pee on my own before I could be discharged. Around 8 am that happened and we were on our way home! I felt so great that I asked if I HAD to be wheeled out in a wheelchair but it is hospital policy so I didn’t get to walk out.
After being induced with my first child, I was thrilled to have a natural birth the second time. I believe that being able to wait for the baby to come on her own time as well as being able to move around made a huge difference. I had to be induced due to medical issues almost 2 weeks before my due date the first time around and I have no regrets. I also know many people that have had wonderful births with pain medication. For me, however, I would choose a natural birth again over a medicated one.