Jacob’s natural childbirth story should start with talk of early labor, but through a series of events causing a minor surgery for my oldest Luke to be delayed it starts with thoughts of what seems like early labor coinciding with preparing our son for surgery on an early Friday morning. It made for an interesting natural childbirth story.
Two Days before His Birth
We put Luke to bed and started getting ready for our early wake up for his surgery. I noticed my Braxton hicks were not in my lower regions and had definitely moved. I did not experience natural labor with Luke so I didn’t really know what contractions felt like. The only thing reassuring is they were short and all over the map. This couldn’t be labor and it was probably just a false alarm.
I went to bed and everything seemed to disappear.
The Next Day
I woke up around 3:40 to the same feel I had the night before. I waited for the alarm to go off at 4 and we got up and got ready to go to UCLA for Luke’s surgery. Everything went smoothly. Minor contractions here and there, but nothing too exciting. Luke got prepped and taken back for his surgery right on time.
We went downstairs to wait and have some breakfast. Waiting in line for breakfast I had a longer contraction, maybe 20 seconds and another one about an hour later. I texted my doula and she said to keep her informed, but thought it was likely just random and would go away soon. Contractions started being short and all over the map again. Around 8:30 the doctor found us to let us know that the surgery was done and we would see Luke soon. We got to see Luke and at first they thought would be able to leave straight from recovery. Instead we were transferred and a few hours later we finally got to leave. We got home at 1:30 and took a nap.
We spent the afternoon playing and noting the contractions that I somehow was able to either sleep through or had stopped for a short period of time were still occurring. I texted my doula and she decided to come over. She recommended some tips, but suggested waiting until the morning in hopes I could get some good rest before labor actually started. I agreed. It seemed like it was working. My body relaxed, I got a reprieve from the contractions. Drank some tea, Michael and Luke watched a Star Wars Clone War episode and we had a nice time of quiet and tranquility leading up to Luke’s bedtime.
During bedtime routine (around 7:30-8) contractions started up again, Michael thought my estimate of 10-15 seconds wasn’t accurate. He decided to time the contractions; 30 seconds, 45 seconds, 30 seconds. I took a minute to go to the restroom. I remember thinking, maybe I’m not a wimp, and these contractions are actually pretty long. Wow, I wonder what is going to happen next.
We finished bedtime routine and with Luke asleep, my body knew everything was taken care of and the contractions changed. They went to being consistently 55-65 seconds about 10-12 minutes apart. I laid in bed face down with pillows all around me “resting” and riding each contraction. We called the midwives to let them know.
The midwife on call was headed to a home birth, she told me to drink water, rest and call back if the contractions got closer together. About 30 min later we called back. The back up midwife answered and asked me some questions about labor and if I thought it was the real thing. I told her I wasn’t sure, but if things continued to progress we would likely leave in 30 minutes. I called my doula and had her start getting ready to come to our house. At the same time, I called our neighbor and asked her to come watch Luke. Everything was set and contractions continued to get longer and closer together. Pretty much once my neighbor was settled in and the car was loaded I was ready to head to the midwifery.
My doula hadn’t arrived at my house yet so we decided to just meet at the midwifery. I didn’t want to stay and wake up Luke or bother anyone I was just ready to go and get settled in.
Off to the Midwifery
I closed my eyes through contractions and breathed and they stayed consistently about 5 minutes apart. We arrived at the midwifery around 10:45, just as the midwife arrived. We headed inside and she was still getting a few things organized so we waited. She asked a few questions and was pretty convinced I wasn’t truly in labor. By the time she was ready to check me she had changed her mind and when she checked me I was 5 cm dilated, 90% effaced. She said the baby would be coming soon.
They got me set up in the room I laid down had the lights off and continued to labor. I could see the candles with my eyes closed so I asked them to be moved, they were too flickery. I laughed at my description. All I wanted while in labor was darkness. Michael played jazz music and we rested. My doula would listen to my breathing and was keeping track of my contractions. She would occasionally coach me to keep on top of them, stay relaxed, but overall it was just light music and resting.
Eventually I wanted to get up and move.
We tried a birthing stool, slow dancing, sitting on the toilet backwards and a few other positions. At some point I threw up. Eventually, even though I didn’t want to I needed to lie down, I was just so tired. While laboring lying down I started talking to Baby J telling him about how I was ready to meet him and giving him encouragement to move on down. This was how I got through the pain, I focused on him and talked to him. Some contractions would start to overwhelm me and my doula would remind me to focus and take control. I would start to breath deep and talk.
Eventually, lying down wasn’t comfortable or maybe the right word is bearable. We decided to move into a standing position. I would prop one leg up on a chair and grab on to Michael and squat talking to Baby J to move on down. Between each contraction I would sit on the chair I had my leg propped on and breath. We did this until I kind of went crazy (my doula’s note said I screamed). I don’t remember what happened, but I was done. My midwife came in and said it was time to check me. In my mind I expected her to say I was 8 cm or something like that. Instead, she said your water is full and we need to break it, it is time to start pushing.
Time to push
Pushing? What? I didn’t feel the urge to push, this didn’t make any sense. In the process of being checked as if on cue, my water broke, I now had the urge to push, but it hurt so much. Contractions were kind of something I could breath through or somehow push out of my mind, but the pain of pushing out Jacob was something that I was not prepared for.
Pushing with Luke had been my favorite part and virtually painless. So having pain was not what I was expecting. I pushed semi squatting/lying down for a few minutes and was making progress, but it hurt. At one point I jumped up. My midwife ordered me to lie down, she was worried that I was going to hurt the baby or myself. I tried a squatting stool, it didn’t hurt, but also wasn’t effective at moving Baby down the birth canal. We went back to the lying down squatting position and somehow I was able to push past the pain and out came Jacob at 3:30 AM. They put him on my chest and I was so happy he was finally here.
And it was instant love!
If you are looking for tips for your own natural childbirth story read the tips I learned here.