July 18, 2012
Briar Hill Midwives

 

 I took your class in June (the 2 weekend sessions) with my husband Jesse (who is a medical student).

I had the most wonderful natural birth.  I can't believe I had a natural birth!  I secretly thought I would end up getting an epidural but thanks to your class I didn't need one!

I started feeling cramps with my contractions around 6am on Tuesday morning (July 17th).  I wasn't sure if they were "the real thing" or not.  I had my midwife appointment at 4pm so I thought I would just wait until then to ask.  My midwife didn't check me at my appointment.  She said to just ignore the cramps for as long as I could...and I did.  I read through the birthing binder again and again looking at the stages and trying to identify the signs. 

I went home and then picked Jesse up from his shift at the hospital around 6pm.  The contractions were coming every 15 minutes but I wasn't dying so I was still in denial that I was in labor.  We played yahtzee, ate Wendy's, watched the Simpsons, went for a walk around the neighborhood, and just kind of hung out until bedtime...including a trip to wal-mart to get a nursing bra.  There was no denying that I was in labor now and that was one of the last things on my list that I needed.  Walmart closed at 11pm and we got there at 11:04pm.  We drove home and I was not able to fall asleep but I thought Jesse should get some rest so he could be a good "labor coach" to me later during the night.  He fell right asleep.  I laid on the couch trying to ignore the pain.   Now looking back I think that that was my animal instinct of wanting to be alone and labor alone.   By 1am contractions were every 5 minutes.  We kept track of them on the ipad.  I practiced the techniques I learned in the birthing class.  I focused on breathing and accepting the pain...not fighting it.   I also soaked in the bath which helped a little.  At 2am I called Jesse on his cell phone (I couldn't get off the couch to walk to the bedroom).  He came out and tried to give me a back rub.  It didn't really feel good though.  He called my midwife and she said to go soak in the bathtub again and to call when contractions are every 4 minutes apart and when I became less responsive to him.  Jesse went back to bed.  I called him to come around 5am.  He stayed with me and made sure that I took sips of water...keeping me well hydrated :)...another great tip from the class!

At 6am contractions were every 4 minutes.  Jesse paged my midwife and she came over an hour later. She came into the bathroom over to the tub and I barely even acknowledged that she had walked in the room.  She checked my cervix and to my surprise I was 8.5cm dialated.  I was so happy!  I thought I would be like a 4 or 5 max.  I labored at home til I was 8.5cm!  We immediately left for the Foothills hospital (a 5 minute drive away).  Jesse and I parked in public parking...bad idea.  I should have had him drop me off (we wanted to come in together though).  That was the longest walk of my life from the car to the delivery room...not to mention the awkward crowded elevator ride up to the 5th floor.

Once we arrived in the delivery room, my midwife had me get in a hot bath.  This last phase was the worst part of the whole labor.  The last stretch--the transition phase...just like the class taught..  I remember saying "I can't do this"  "Oh no not another contraction"  "I can't do this" but my midwife and Jesse reassured me and stayed by my side (just like I wrote for them to do in my pocket birth plan reminder).  I ate lots of ice chips and tried to stay calm.  Near the very end my whole body felt like pins and needles and it was because I was kind of hyperventalating.  I had to put so much focus and energy into just breathing.  The pain was so bad.  She checked me again about an hour later and said I was ready to start pushing!

I walked over to the bed and tried to relax between contrations.  I soon began to feel the urge to push.  I pushed for an hour and a half (I had absolutely no sense of time while I was pushing).  After every push I would ask how much longer and the midwives responded "you're almost there".  Good thing they didn't say "an hour" or "20 pushes" or I don't think I could have endured it.  Jesse constantly rubbed my back and applied counter-pressure.  Anytime he stopped I would get upset and he would immediatley start again.  His arm must have been falling off by the end. It was so exciting to hear them say "we see her head, her nose, her cheeks" and then the rest of Valerie came out and they laid her in front of me.  I delivered her on my hands and knees.   I was so happy.  I didn't even register any of the pain that I had just gone through to get her out.  She was purple...and huge but I thought she was the most beautiful thing in the world.  Amazingly her head was a beautiful round shape.  I held her and then delivered the afterbirth.  I think I coughed and it came out.  No effort there.  And then Jesse cut the cord.   I barely tore at all (just one lil stitch needed) which is amazing because it was my first baby and she was 9 pounds 2 oz! (born at 10:17am on July 18th).  We were discharged from the hospital 2 hours later and I was able to recover at home.

Thank you so much for you amazing class!  It gave me the confidence to do something I never in a million years thought I could!

I hope I can take it again before my next baby!

Julie