Our little Natalie has arrived! It was a fantastic experience and one I'd like to share. Here's the story of our baby girl's birth:
Monday evening, Matt had been home from work for about 20 minutes when I suddenly felt a little rush of liquid, then another, and another. I walked into the living room, where Matt was lying on the couch, and told him, "Either my water broke, or I just wet my pants three times in five minutes." He looked utterly dumbfounded for a second, then broke into a huge grin and said, "You didn't pee your pants! We're going to have a baby!" We had invited over our childbirth class to barbecue, and they were set to arrive in an hour. Matt handed me my phone and told me to call everyone and cancel. I decided since I was having no contractions at all I'd actually love the distraction, the company of the great people in our class, and the food. :-) I was a distracted mess the whole time, of course, but we had a great night. My childbirth instructor and her sweet year and a half old daughter helped me make a batch of chocolate chip cookies and it made me so excited to have a little girl of my own!
The next morning I woke up and called my midwife to give her a heads up. She told me I should have called her as soon as it happened. I could hear in her voice she was irritated. Apparently if you haven't gone into active labor within 24 hours of your water breaking it's a huge infection risk and they're required to induce labor. For some reason I thought I had 48 hours. Shoot. So the midwife told me to cook some castor oil into eggs and eat it to try to kick-start things. Ugh. This was the worst part of the experience! Eating it wasn't so bad, but the stomach upset it caused was awful! We spent the day trying everything I could to get the labor going. No dice. The midwife told me there was nothing else we could do and I'd have to transfer to the hospital and induce labor with pitocin. I was so angry and discouraged! I wanted so badly to give birth with no interventions whatsoever, and was concerned that with pitocin I'd fall into the "cascade of interventions". My mom's water had broken for almost two days before her labor started - why couldn't I have the same luxury of time? Our local hospital has a 65% C section rate, and I just simply would not go there. The midwife coordinated a transfer to the Group Health hospital in Seattle that has a midwife that would be noninvasive and respectful. Thank God! She was fantastic.
We checked into the hospital, then they started my pitocin IV at 12:20 am. Our nurse was wonderful and attentive, but let me do my own thing and respected my choices. Our hospital midwife arrived and actually READ my birth plan carefully and discussed it with me. I could tell right away she'd do everything she could to help me. My mom, Dani (my best friend/certified doula), and Matt were there to support me.
Dani in all her awesome doula-ness, and me in my birth necklace my friends made me at my Blessingway.
I'd barely slept the night before because of the excitement of my water breaking, and had such a long frustrating day that they suggested I rest while waiting for the pitocin to kick in. I gladly grabbed the opportunity! After a couple hours I could feel it taking effect. My mom rubbed my legs while Matt and Dani slept, preparing for what we expected would be a long night. It was so wonderful to wake up to my mom, still lovingly doting on me after 25 years. At about 3:30am my labor began in earnest, and everyone woke up and started helping me through the contractions. I sat on the birth ball, walked the halls, tried laboring on my side, then they asked me if I wanted to sit in the jacuzzi. You're not supposed to get in the tub until you're about 6 cm, but they assured me I was ready. I was thrilled by the idea that I was already at that point! I had asked to only have my dilation checked when I wanted to push, so I had no idea what phase I was at. The jacuzzi was wonderful, and I entered into transition while in there, which had sounded so intense when we'd learned about it in class that Matt and I didn't believe the nurse when she said I was in it! She asked a few times if I felt "pushy" yet. I didn't but when she had me get out of the tub suddenly I had the infamous urge to poo feeling, and so second stage had begun!
Just getting back from walking the halls. One of the more intense moments, but Matt was an amazing support.
The midwife came and checked me for the first and only time- only 7 cm? I was surprised because now I had the irresistible urge to push and couldn't fight it. She told me to go with it. I kept asking, "Are you sure it's okay to push?" She said it was, so I did! I was convinced I'd fall off the hospital bed if I did hands and knees or squatting position up there, so they laid out a mattress for me on the floor, and that's where I gave birth to Natalie, in "classic position" (leaning back slightly, knees bent), stark naked on the floor. Didn't seem odd to me at the time. :-) They set up a mirror for me so I could see her being born. At first I was too focused on pushing, but suddenly I looked down and realized, "Holy heavens my daughter's head is coming out of my body! There's really a baby and I'm giving birth to it oh my God!"Until this point I still had a strange subconscious feeling of disbelief about there actually being a baby. If you watch the birth video carefully you can spot this moment. :-) In less than an hour Natalie was born!
Her cord was only 12 inches long, so they had to cut it before it was done pulsating. Natalie looked "stunned", so when they put her on my chest they rubbed the vernix off vigorously to get her to cry. Finally she let out a good scream! No one had said, "It's a girl!" because we had an ultrasound so everyone knew it'd be a girl, but I still had to ask, "Is it really a girl?" I guess the Hollywood image of birth was in my mind - someone has to shout the baby's sex! ;-)
She was born at 7:34 am, which was convenient because breakfast magically appeared at 8:00am. ;-) Matt fed me honeydew melon and pancakes soaked in butter and maple syrup while I nursed and snuggled our sweet new baby girl. Pancakes have never tasted so good! It was the most enchanted breakfast I've ever experienced.
No episiotomy or tears, no medication other than the required pitocin, no screaming, no "I can't do it" moments. It was a phenomenal birth and I feel so blessed with how it all worked out and all the wonderful support I had. It was all so beautiful!