Joseph Aiden’s Birth Story (part 3)
Natural childbirth...parenting...life in general, has so much to do with letting go...of surrendering. We don't surrender and give up those values and beliefs that are most important to us, but we understand that life doesn't always go as planned. We have to find a way to stay true to our convictions but also roll with new and unplanned circumstances...
After leaving the shower my contractions continued to be pretty mild and irregular, but baby was doing ok with them. We were getting close to the two hour mark, when Pitocin was supposed to be talked about again, when I suddenly felt the urge to throw up. I had an internal battle, trying to keep myself from vomiting, and then I just felt like I needed to let go…so I did…and my water broke!
The ultrasound was actually accurate when it indicated that I had a lot of fluid, it was a big, long gush when my water broke. The bed was soaked! They immediate put the monitors on and found that baby was doing just fine, no sign of cord prolapse. My water breaking just minutes before we were supposed to talk about Pitocin felt like a miracle, a gift from heaven, and my doula/midwife said she didn't think they would try to pressure me now that there was this obvious sign that labor was progressing.
After monitoring was done I walked around a bit, sat on the yoga ball, went to the bathroom, and then was hooked up to monitoring again. It was then, laying on my side on the bed, that I entered what my doula/midwife called a "thankful phase". And that was a very accurate description.
A week before my due date, I had googled and printed off a bunch of Bible verses to help me during labor. I highly recommend doing this! I printed them off on pretty little cards and went through them several times during the hard days pre-labor that I was separated from my home and family.
During this blissful, "thankful phase", I think my contractions were getting a little stronger and I was praising God for that. I had my husband read the verses to me and it was just a sweet time of worship, and also closeness with my husband. It was wonderful to have this restful time, because things started picking up and getting "real" after this!
It was really good to stuff those verses into my brain, because as things got harder, the negative voices of the medical professionals and their belief that a c-section was best for my baby, that my baby was too big, that I couldn't deliver him, kept ringing in my ears. Can I really do this? Is he going to get stuck? How am I going to make it through this?
In answer to all my doubts, I kept chanting the names of my five other children as I worked through the contractions. I was reminding myself that, out of my great love for them and God's great love for me, I had delivered them and I would be able to deliver this baby, too. It was just really, really hard work!
The last part of labor becomes more of a blur. I do remember that I had a very hard time finding good positions to labor in. The baby dropping lower was putting a lot of pressure on my hernias, so walking and standing was difficult. I tried doing lunges, hanging on my husband, and squatting. Baby was also putting a lot of pressure on the varicosities between my legs, so sitting was uncomfortable and using the yoga ball or birthing stool or toilet to labor on wasn't working. I remember looking wistfully at the tub in the room and wondering if being in the water would help. But then I thought of what a pain it would be to get out to monitor the baby every twenty minutes. If I had been having a home birth, I would have probably been in the tub during that part and possibly delivered the baby in the water. But the hospital policy was no water births, and I remembered from pervious labors that their mobile baby monitoring equipment was a hassle to keep on.
Anyone who would go through natural childbirth is crazy! I thought as I lay on my side on the bed and felt another contraction rip through me. I was annoyed at anyone who would even think of it. It felt like the pain was deep in my very bones and there was nothing natural about it. And then I thought of Eve, the mother of all living, and how she had went through labor without any knowledge or prior experience (except for maybe when she watched animals give birth)...and all the mothers in all of history that had delivered their babies...and how God had designed our bodies and given us this amazing, almost supernatural strength to birth our babies...I felt so connected to God and to all the women that have ever birthed. But I still seriously wished that someone else could deliver this baby for me, haha!
"Why don't I feel like pushing yet?" The midwife checked me. I was a stretchy 8.5 centimeters, but the baby's head was still a ways up and not fully engaged. She told me to listen to my body and push if I felt the urge. How am I going to do this? How am I going to birth this baby? I tried to get upright so gravity would help, but that was just so uncomfortable, I ended up on my side again. The peanut ball between my knees helped for a bit. I got on my hands and knees and wiggled my hips for a bit, and that may have helped him move, but I ended up on my side again. How am I going to get this baby out??? my inner voice cried out. Suddenly, I firmly and matter-of-factly answered myself, Just like I did with the others, I'm just going to push it out! And I finally felt the urge to push and I bore down and I pushed!
I am always amazed at women who say they pushed for 3 hours. I've never pushed for more than 5 contractions, and that always feels like long enough! About the third pushing contraction I cried out, "Someone help me, I can't do this! Help me!" I think I must have been feeling the ring of fire at that time and a lot of extra pain from my hernias from the baby being super low because the midwife replied, "I'm here to help if you need it, but you are doing it! Your baby will be born soon!" And he was. Almost exactly four hours after my water broke.
I never want to have my birth videotaped (because I am usually completely naked by delivery time), but I am always happy to have the first pictures of me holding my baby (I just usually have to crop them). I am always glad to not have the first half hour of my time with my baby videotaped, too, because I always turn into a blubbery mess. I don't know how to describe the high that comes as soon as the baby is out, but I am just over the moon with adoration and absolute bliss.
Anyone who would NOT go through natural childbirth is crazy! is one of my predominant thoughts as I hold that precious, squishy, velvety newborn in my arms. Who is the most perfect baby in the world, of course.