Since it is fresh in my mind still… Even if it has been 4 months, I figure it is time to write down my little Gabriella’s birth story.
To begin the story I’ll start with how I prepared for her birth. I read a book called “Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method”, I bought this book from Amazon but it did not come with the CD (Got it worked out quite nicely), I also listened to a hypnobirthing track that I also purchased from Amazon by Gabrielle Targett.
Since I planned a natural birth (no epidural) with Elizabeth but ended up going for the epidural at 7cm dilated I really wanted to make sure I was more prepared this time around with Gabriella. I really truly believe that reading Hypnobirthing made a significant difference in my birth experience this time around. Basically it talks about how birth should not involve fear or stress as those things will make the labor experience more painful.
On January 23rd at 4:30 AM I woke up to some pretty regular contractions. I had a contraction timer on my phone and after timing a contraction every minute and 45 seconds I figured I would call my midwife. My midwife told me to get in the shower and begin getting ready and if they stayed regular and faster then go to the hospital. I got in the shower and decided that it was the perfect time to shave my legs… I did not want to give birth with prickly legs… Hello to anyone else who does this huge and pregnant while in labor! Once I got out of the shower I was noticing that my contractions were getting closer together and definitely not slowing down. I started timing them again and they were regular at 1 minute and 30 seconds apart.
So I packed my bag as quickly as I could (hey, she came a week early and I am kind of a procrastinator). I came downstairs to get Eric, who was washing dishes frantically… Apparently coming home to a clean house after having the baby meant as much to him as it does to me 🙂
I realized that I had a weird sensation and went to the bathroom to check things out. I had started bleeding. Luckily it was not heavy but I knew we needed to get to the hospital soon to make sure everything was okay. When we arrived at the hospital around 5:30 or 6 AM I remained calm knowing that I chose a hospital birth and that I had a birth plan that I brought with me. They took me into the room to check me and they said that I was already at 6+ Centimeters. Hooray!! They also said I had a mild placenta abruption, I didn’t really know what that was but because they were calm about it I kept calm.
They called my midwife to let her know that I was progressing quickly and then took me to a room. I requested that I did not want to wear a hospital gown. I chose to wear a nursing tank top (probably one of the greatest inventions in the nursing clothing world of all time) and a flowy cotton skirt (which I purchased at Savers second hand, washed it, and knew I would not be re-wearing). I remembered wearing the hospital gown with Elizabeth and it made me feel like a giant in a really ugly moomoo so with this birth I made sure I had something else to wear that was functional for my birth experience that made me feel comfortable and pretty. I understand most people don’t care what they are wearing when they are giving birth especially naturally, some people even get butt naked, but that was just NOT for me.
I did have to receive antibiotics for Group B Strep, and since I am allergic to penicillin I had to be hooked up to a different antibiotic for the whole birth (it took about 2 hours to administer the correct dose of this specific antibiotic). However, that was really the only thing that I did not like about the whole birth experience and it was something that I knew in advance so I was able to just go with it.
Because of the bleeding I was not feeling up to using the tub as I figured that would freak me out a little too much. Mostly what I remember is my midwife having me sit on the toilet to do a lot of the laboring… sounds weird but it was actually awesome. My midwife soothingly scratched/rubbed my back and reminded me to just breathe the baby down. I began going into transition at that point. I started shaking which surprised me but again, my midwife saved the day by just telling me to allow my body to shake and to just continue breathing.
After a little while of this she had me go to the bed to check me and see how close I was. She said I was at 9+ and that we should start pushing. I was so surprised that it was time already and looking back I realize that she was eager to get the baby here because of the placenta abruption (which can be dangerous if not monitored very closely). I also was surprised that I did not question pushing so soon as in my birth plan I requested that I wait until I have the urge to push. I just knew that my midwife understood what was important to me, and she knew my birth plan, so I know that she would not have decided it was time to push unless there was a good reason.
I think if I remember correctly (it really is all a big blur) that I was pushing for about 15-20 minutes. I remember seeing her head crown and being so excited to be done and have her in my arms. With just a few more pushes she came out, beautiful and perfect at 9:07AM. They placed her in my arms and I got to hold her for a while… My midwife wanted her to make a little more noise as she was pretty quiet and her coloring started going a little more pale. So they gently took her and suctioned her mouth and helped her get breathing better. They then quickly brought her back to me.
I remember being in awe and feeling completely euphoric. I had the birth that I wanted, with only a few minor hiccups. I held my sweet little Gabriella (who at the time did not have her name just yet) and started nursing. It was so fantastic!
Now, for the funny and unexpected stuff….
Eric, who is so sweet and amazing was told by me not to talk to me or try to help unless I ask. I told him to be close to me and hold my hand but that was about all I wanted him to do at this birth…. Why in the world would I deny my husband the opportunity to help me labor? Well, with Elizabeth I remembered not liking people talking to me really at all, so when my husband would talk to me during my labor with her I would get really mad… don’t ask me why, I pretty much got mad at anyone trying to talk to me except for the doctor, who did not really talk much anyway. Because that was my experience with Elizabeth I made sure to write in my birth plan that I did not want the nurses trying to coach me, I requested to be free to labor how I feel necessary, including closing my eyes, listening to music, laying down, or walking.
So, Eric calmly sat by me and stayed close to me the entire time this labor calm and happy as could be. I think it took a lot of pressure off of him knowing I didn’t want him whispering sweet nothings in my ear and reminding me to breathe.
In the hospital room there was a TV that had little fish swimming around with some silly calming music playing… They asked me a few times if I wanted them to change the TV station but I just said no every time… Apparently I liked the little fish swimming around with the calming music while I was in labor. Time for me was a total blur but looking back now I have to laugh that everyone else in the room probably did not want to hear that same music repeat for 2-3 hrs straight, lol!
After Gabriella was born I had no idea how hard those nurses press on your uterus to help it shrink back down and check for bleeding. The first time a nurse did that I had the biggest urge to want to scream and punch her in the face… Actually… now that I think of it I am pretty sure I did raise my voice and say “What the heck are you doing?!!!”
After things calmed down after the birth I was able to get cleaned up, changed and taken to my recovery room. I was so glad that I was able to walk and use the bathroom right after my birth.
I feel super blessed to have had this birth experience. I am thankful for the nurses and especially my midwife who was so amazing through the whole labor and delivery. Because I have had a birth with an epidural and without, I feel like I can honestly say I loved not having an epidural. Was it pain free? No. Hard? Yes, it was, but it was the most empowering experience I have ever had. I in no way think that people who choose to get epidurals are bad or that it is wrong, I have just found that for me I feel better and have a much better experience without them and definitely will recommend a natural epidural free birth to friends and family who are interested.
I also owe a lot of credit to yoga and meditation. Having that foundation of knowing how to be in the moment allowed me to let go of fears and just experience the birth. I think if things would not have gone the way I planned, like needing an emergency C section or an epidural, the ability to be mindful would have helped a lot with my recovery emotionally and to not get down on myself.
If there is any advice I have to someone wanting a natural birth it would be these things:
Find a Midwife you love
Write a Birth Plan
Do meditation and yoga to prepare
And then be happy with and cherish whatever type of birth experience you end up with, be it exactly as you planned, C-section, or epidural… As long as that baby has come into the world happy and healthy you have become the mother to a new little being, and there is no other experience or role that will teach you more about love than this.
Thanks for reading Gabriella’s birth story!