The birth story- part 1

That’s exactly how it went down!

The end.

Ok, it was slightly different.

I still can’t believe I’m writing this story. It’s so surreal to me that it actually happened and I was so present yet totally gone at the same time.

So here’s the first part of the birth… and I’m going to lay it all out there, so if childbirth TMI isn’t your cup of tea, I’ll be back with other Family updates this week ;)

After the midwife stripped my membranes on Friday, I still had the feeling I’d need at least one more acupuncture appointment to get things going and didn’t want to be too optimistic. I was crampy all day, and woke up during the night with severe cramps. I really didn’t think too much of it, until they became extremely strong and regular the next morning. For everyone, labor feels different. For me, early first stage made menstrual cramps feel like a tickle. The was a lot of deep cramping along with sharp pains in my back and hips. The only position that felt good would be to get onto my hands and knees and breathe deeply…in through my nose and out through my mouth, like we were taught to do in class. 

Then my family called to see if we wanted to meet for breakfast.

We told them we were pretty sure I was in the beginning stages of labor, but went anyway, since we were both hungry (and we knew the extra movement would get the ball rolling). We got there a little late and in between conversation, I’d have to put my head down and breathe. It was awkward, but I was so glad I went, because it ended up being the only full meal I ate on Saturday.

We got back to the house, and by this time the contractions were 4 -5 minutes apart – it was difficult to speak. As I’d feel it coming on, I’d beg Tom to press on my back as I’d collapse to my hands and knees, and he helped me remember to take long, slow breaths with how much pain I was feeling. At this point, I was still able to to move around, and was quiet during the contractions, which were each about 50 seconds long. We knew it was time to head to the hospital, so we called my mom to pick up Bella, and met our doula, Tricia, at Triage.

When the nurses talked to us, they immediately wanted to check my cervix to see how far dilated I was. I wasn’t ready to be checked since the contractions were still about 4-5 minutes apart and didn’t want to risk being sent home, and the nurses and our midwife was cool with waiting, so they gave us a Triage room to use if we needed it, a birthing ball, and told us to walk around the hospital to see if it sped things along.

We walked down the labor and delivery ward and passed the lobby, where my entire family was already waiting. At 2pm, it was like a hospital family party, and different family members stayed camped out until the baby was born, 10 hours later. They couldn’t believe I was up and walking around, but our doula wanted me to try to walk through the contractions instead of stopping to help the process. When the contractions became stronger and felt unbearable, we went back to Triage, were checked by the midwife and found that I was 5-6cm dilated and 90% effaced- time to be checked in!

We went to our labor and delivery room –a pic of what the room looked like is here- and that’s where I pretty much went into another world. We turned the lights down, Tom put the Spa station on Pandora, and Tricia and Tom helped me through each contraction. The nurses were in and out –and were all fantastic- and our midwife would periodically check on us to see how we were doing. The contractions became closer together, eventually to the point where Tom stopped timing them, and Tricia would use heat compresses on my back during each one. For me, the heat compresses were something that really seemed to help since my back would hurt so badly. I couldn’t speak during the contractions, and the pain completely overtook my body. I don’t want to scare you guys, but it’s unlike anything I’ve ever felt in my life. It would slowly rise up, slam into me, and stay there while I breathed through it. The more frantic I became, the worse they felt, so all I could do was breathe.. which eventually turned into loud moaning.

We tried pretty much every position in the book (including a warm bath, shower, birth ball, birthing stool, squat bar) and the only one that really seemed to work was having the bed slanted up, draping my body over the back of the bed, warm compresses on my lower back and cold wash clothes on my back from Tricia, and Tom in front of me, coaching me along, comforting me and telling me he was proud of me. For every single contraction, and there were hundreds of them, he talked me through it. He encouraged me to exhale in the low moan we learned in class, and reminded me to set a breathing tempo that provided a minute degree of control. I knew I couldn’t fight the contraction, so I gave in to them while focusing on how they would help us meet our baby.

One of the hardest parts of the labor process was the fetal monitoring. I was monitored intermittently, and every hour for about 20 minutes. They had to watch the baby’s heart rate to make sure she was responding well to each contraction. It was really difficult to stay in a position where they could monitor while the contractions slammed into me. The nurses were amazing, and often held the monitor to my belly instead of strapping it down so I could move around freely. I also didn’t have an IV since I was well-hydrated, so I could get around as I liked without having to worry about cords. I drank ice water the entire time I was laboring, with a sip or two in between each contraction.

They got closer together and so powerful I wasn’t sure how much longer I was going to be able to take it. Tom didn’t tell me until after the fact, but they were 2-3 minutes apart for about an hours, lasting a minute each or longer. There were times when all I could do was sob in between breathing through them, and all modesty went out the window. I was walking around, naked and shaking, until I’d drape myself over the bed and moan through the contraction. My water still hadn’t broken, and I had no idea how much longer it was going to ask. At one point, I told everyone I was leaving, which was a total sign that I was in transition, the part of labor where you feel like quitting, but is right before the pushing stage.

Even though I thought I was dying, I was still too scared to get an epidural (even though it wouldn’t have been an option- I was too far along). I’ve always been a huge needle-phobe, and told myself if I needed one, I would get it, but it still scared me more than anything. I just made myself focus on one contraction at a time and with Tom and Tricia there with me, I felt safe, even though the pain level was so intense.

The nurse came in to monitor the baby and it was the most difficult one yet, since the contractions were so close together. I stayed draped over the bed, she held the monitor to my belly, and Tom and Tricia helped me get through each one. During labor, the baby’s heart rate was extremely steady. She was responding so well to each contraction, but one of the things they would watch for would be a heart rate acceleration during the time period to make sure she was still working with me without getting tired (which had occurred without fail…until now). I was progressing so quickly through each labor milestone, but after transition, I was slammed by a roadblock of contractions – 2 minutes apart…for three hours. Later, Tom admitted he got pretty nervous despite his calm and encouraging demeanor. It felt like someone tagged a few extra 5Ks on top of my marathon. Even though I was in another world, I knew something wasn’t quite right.

“Honey, we haven’t seen the baby’s heart rate accelerate for a while now. We need to talk about some other options.”

Part 2 will be up later this week <3

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Comments

  1. Oh my goodness, Gina–so glad to read this with the knowledge that everything turned out a-okay! I think I’ll be ready to have a baby in, oh I don’t know, five years after reading this! (That was the plan, anyway–don’t feel bad! It just sounds incredibly intense!)

  2. Sounds like you handled it all perfectly! I will say one of the benifits to delivering at a birth center (at least the one i go to) is they do fetal monitoring with a doppler. So much easier and you don’t have to hold still.

    Your recap has me so excited for June when my baby is born! Even though i still remember how awful the contractions were with my son :) They felt right on top of each other like you described.

  3. Omg I’m so glad I know the outcome because reading this brought tears to my eyes. You are such a fighter Gina! So proud of you!

  4. I’ve been taking a break from the blog world so I didn’t know about this! CONGRATS! <3

  5. Man, that is intense! Such suspense…I can’t wait for part 2! I’m glad to hear that the Bradley classes seemed to prepare you well for what was to come, as that I what I will be taking and it sounds like the doula was able to help a lot too, which we will also be getting for our August baby’s birth :). Can’t wait to hear the rest!!!

  6. I was afraid at the end it was going to end in a c-section but I guess you were released too soon for that! Phew!

    I’m glad you put that in there about fear of needles because I was calling myself a wuss reading that, knowing as soon as it got really bad I called for that epidural!

  7. Can’t wait to read the rest of your story. :)

  8. I’ve been waiting for this and now I have to wait some more?? lol I agree, it is NO JOKE! The first time around for me, when I finally asked for the epi, which was right after my water broke and all hell broke loose, I had to wait for two hours and WOW I thought I was gonna pass out from the pain! The second time, there was no time for anything, it was fast and furious but feeling my baby make his way down the birth canal..wow that was even more intense!! Way to go but we usually forget the pain and thats why we do it again! lol Congrats!!

  9. Ahhhh …. I can’t wait to read the rest! Such an amazing post and so beautifully written. You captured the essence that is labor and it brought back many memories … granted I had an epidural (water broke, pitocin involved, etc). Waiting on pins and needles :)

  10. an’t wait to read the rest and the first word that came to mindwhile reading was : warrior. You are a warrior girl! Contractions 2 minutes apart for hours? And I’m assuming no epi? That is no joke. I lasted for about an hour before I couldn’t take it anymore. Props to you and your hubby!

  11. Reading this knowing you came home quickly and everyone is ok makes it so much better to read. Can’t wait to hear the rest and I hope you guys are happy and settling in!

  12. So funny, that is the position I spent most of my labor in and nobody ever showed it to me, it just felt right. Can’t wait to hear the rest! 3 hours of transition is brutal!

  13. wowsers. you are such a writer, leaving a cliffhanger like that! ;) i’m glad i already know that olivia and mommy are ok! seriously though, you need to get published; i love your writing!

  14. Wait – that’s not how babies are made??!?! Crap.

  15. So looking forward to the second part of your story. You are an amazing writer. Congratulations to you and Tom!

  16. OH no!!! Total cliffhanger!!! You know we’ll all be waiting with bated breath! For this part- you did SUCH A GREAT JOB!!!! It’s the greatest and most intense challenge ever. And really, a lot of it is out of your control. Can’t wait to hear how it turned out.

    p.s. cannot believe you got this whipped out so soon after birth. It took me months…

  17. Loved reading this part of your birth story. I’ve never read one where someone described the pain part so well. actually I couldn’t really judge that, having not gone through it myself! But, I’ve always wondered, what is it LIKE? And when I’ve read stories, and asked friends, everyone gets very vague. “It hurt like hell” and then they might talk about contractions and such. But you really gave me my first sense of what it is actually like to endure contractions, individually, and over the course of labor. “There were hundreds” – like that. That’s descriptive, and shocking, and probably typical but no one has ever told me that before. Wow. Congrats on powering through, and on your new little bundle being here!

  18. Wooo! I’m still a teen and I am no where close to having a baby!! (Shoot, I just want to find a hubby right now…or a nice boyfriend would be quite lovely!) But I can’t wait to come back and look at these posts when I’m ready!!!!

  19. I was on the edge of my seat through all of this. Thank you for providing so much detail and giving us a real look at what everything was like for you. What a cliffhanger! I’m glad I know that the story has a beautiful ending. :)

  20. You know how sometimes you DVR your favorite shows because they are SO good and you want to watch them back to back one day (because you hate cliffhangers) <—-this is how I feel right now!!!! I should have saved it!!!

    All I can say is, WOW. I am so amazed by you! You did amazing! I remember that pain all too well! Like nothing you would ever imagine is right!

    My experience was similar, I was induced though and the contractions were 1-2 minutes apart from 8am-11am and later Michael told me one lasted about 5 minutes long….when my doc said no pushing for at least 3moe hours I was like that's it! stick me!

    I can't wait for the rest!!! I know I keep saying take a break and not worry about us but…post it soon plz!!!!! ;-) ;-)

  21. Wowee this is one intense story and makes me a little nervous… think I will be listening to a lot of my rainbow relaxation (i’m doing hypnobirthing, it’s amazing so far) before part two comes along. Well done for being so strong through all of those contractions and to the pilot for such incredible support, fingers crossed my husband is the same, I think he will be! xoxo

  22. These birth stories in “parts” are not cool for us readers..;) Why must everyone post part 1, part 2, part 3? Put it all out there at once, have mercy on us! haha, j/k, but I can’t wait to read what happens. Congrats, and thanks for putting it all out there for us curious readers/moms-to-be!

  23. This is so suspenseful! Can’t walk to hear the rest of your birth story and see more pics of your lil one :)

  24. Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story!

  25. OMG such a cliff hanger! Can’t wait to read the rest. I totally relate to how you describe childbirth pain – it just takes over your whole body. I had a really fast labor (5 hours – but don’t confuse “quick” with “painless”!) so my contractions were never more than 2 min apart, from the get-go! It was so intense but such an adventure, and it was kind of fun in a way (after) to see how well your body can cope. Anyway, glad no matter how this turned out – you guys are safe and healthy and enjoying time at home with the babe! xoxo

  26. Christena says:

    Ahhhhh! A cliffhanger! I am not a birth-story type gal at ALL (usually too long + TMI for me and I can’t relate) but yours is so well-written and interesting and tasteful! It looks like a long post, but it totally doesn’t read like one. I appreciate your description of the pain. I’m so worried about that aspect, so it is good to hear some one just be frank about it, honestly.

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