My labor began very early Sunday morning on October 14, 2012. I woke up around 3:45 AM and had to go to the bathroom as usual. Except this time I also felt the urge to go #2 which is pretty unusual for me. I went back to bed and tried to go back to sleep but I still felt the urge to go. So I got and went and tried to go back to bed again.
Then I started noticing some slight cramping and more urges to go. This went on for like half an hour of going back and forth to bed. Then the cramping started changing. It started wrapping around my back and I started noticing it had a rhythm to it.
5:00 AM, I started thinking that this might be the beginning of labor. My husband got up and started packing the hospital bag. He was running around washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning up.
Meanwhile, I was trying to pack last minute items for the hospital bag. Contractions were still very light at this point and it was easy to keep moving through them.
5:40 AM, I texted my doula to let her know that I thought I could be in labor. I was having contractions lasting from 30-60 seconds and they felt like menstrual cramps. I layed in bed and tried to go back to sleep, but the contractions were just too annoying to try and sleep. Plus, I was getting pretty excited that this could be the real deal.
7:00 AM, she texted me back and told me to take a shower to see if they went away. I showered and they were still coming on in the shower, so I definitely started to believe that I was in labor. I was feeling all the contractions in my back at this point. Not fun!
8:30 AM, my doula texted and told me to start timing them for the next hour. I started timing them and they were lasting about 30-60 seconds and coming every 5-6 minutes. I was feeling it all in my back at this point and while they were not very painful, my husband and I were using this time to practice relaxed breathing. I would hold onto him and rock back and forth through them. I let the doula know that I would text her when we were ready for her.
I continued to labor at home. I moved into the living room and hunched over the couch in an attempt to get the baby off my back. The contractions were starting to get more painful and I felt ready for our doula to come over.
11:20 AM, I texted our doula and let her know we were ready for her. I also let my mom know that she could come over as well.
12:12 PM, my doula arrived and we worked on trying to get the baby off my back. I was at first feeling it all in my lower back. We tried a position with my chest on the ground with my butt up, and then I finally started feeling them low in the front. Jack and the doula also applied heat to my lower back, which felt amazing.
12:50 PM, my mom showed up. I continued to labor on the floor with my butt up in the air. That’s the only position that was comfortable to me. Contractions were averaging about 4 minutes apart at this point.
2:00 PM, we moved to my bed and I layed on my side for awhile. Contractions were more painful laying on my side, but it felt nice to relax in between them. Jack called ahead to the hospital to let them know we would be coming soon.
2:30 PM, my doula gives me 2 teaspoons of honey for quick energy before we head to the hospital. I immediately throw it all up a few minutes later.
2:45 PM, Jack helps me take a shower to clean up before we head to the hospital. Contractions were coming on every 3-4 minutes and lasting about 1 minute 20 seconds. I took one last bump photo before we left.
3:30 PM, we left home to head to the hospital.
At this point contractions were very strong and painful. I had one contraction in the car on the way and then one more once we parked. I had one contraction standing in the street in front of the hospital. If you've ever been in labor, then you know once a contraction starts, it's best to stop dead in your tracks and not try and walk through it. So yeah, I stood in the middle of the street. Luckily there was a transport there with a wheelchair dropping off someone else. She scooped me up and took me to L&D before I even had another contraction. Bless her for getting me there so quickly!
I had to go into the hospital room by myself at first for some initial questions. I remember the nurse asking if I could pee in a cup, but there was no way that was going to happen. I had a couple of contractions on the toilet then moved to the bed when finally my husband, doula and mom were allowed in the room. My husband said I was just laying on the bed gripping the side bar and was rocking back and forth. At this point my memory of it all is a bit fuzzy. I had to rely on questioning my husband to remember what happened.
3:45 PM, the nurse did an internal check and I was 7 cm already! Yay! But that meant transition was starting the hardest part was ahead of me. I went #2 some more and labored on the toilet for a while. I lost my mucus plug at this point, and my husband just held me while I rocked back and forth.
5:05 PM, the nurse checked me again and I was 9.5 cm! I labored while sitting on the side of the bed. My husband held me while I rocked back and forth. My mom sat next to me and I held her hand with my left hand and I held my doula’s hand with my right. I was moaning pretty loud through each contraction. My doula reminded me to keep them low. I remember yelling over and over that I couldn’t do it. I kept saying "no, no, no," over and over. My doula started telling me "yes, yes, yes," so I started saying "yes, yes, yes" through every contraction. It felt pretty natural to just grunt and moan through every contraction. I started feeling the urge to push but my doula told me to hold back at first. So I continued to labor sitting up and resisting the urge to push.
6:15 PM, I finally got to a point where I couldn’t hold back the pushing anymore. They suggested I lay on my side and start pushing through the contractions. This part was terrible for me because all the pain was in my lower back when I pushed laying on my side. My water broke after the first couple of pushes in a huge gush.
I pushed this way for maybe 10 minutes and then my doula suggested they get the bar. The nurse didn’t think I would have the energy to get up on it, but they brought it in. On the next contraction, I found the strength and just hoisted myself up on it. It felt amazing to push in a squatting position. I made great progress pushing like this. I pushed like this for maybe 15-20 minutes and then the doctor came in.
Unfortunately, I had to move on my back to deliver him, but it still wasn’t as bad as the side position. The doctor asked if I wanted a numbing shot to take the edge off. At this point, I wasn’t in a state of mind to be making decisions, so I just agreed not really knowing what I was agreeing to. That freaking shot hurt way more than the contractions and pushing. He pulled out this huge needle and stuck it up inside me to give the shot, and he did one on each side. It was extremely painful and the only time I cussed during my labor.
Side Note: Looking back I would have refused the shot had I known what it was. When I talked to my doula a couple weeks later, she told me she had never seen that done before. I found out at my 6 week postpartum check up that what I actually got was a pudendal block, also known as a saddle block. It basically numbs that whole area down there. I'm still a little upset about the whole thing. My goal was a complete un-medicated birth. I still count it as un-medicated though since I went the whole way with out anything except for the last 5 minutes of pushing, and I could still feel every contraction in full force. If I had known about something like that before hand, then I could have discussed what I wanted with my doula and I could have put it in my birth plan.
The doctor was trying to direct my pushing, but I was pretty much doing my own thing. My body had taken over and I knew when I needed to push. I tried my best to take direction from the doctor, but it was hard! Everyone kept telling me they could see the head, and I didn't believe them! A few more good pushes and A.J. was born at 7:15 PM weighing 7 lbs 7 oz and 21.25 inches long. I had one 2nd degree tear and a few minor internal ones that didn’t need any stitches. I refused the pitocin after delivery and delivered the placenta soon after. My doula worked with me to get baby A.J. to latch on. It took a good hour but we finally got him on and he nursed one side for 20 minutes and the other for 15 minutes.
I remember being completely focused on my baby after he was born. I just could not take my eyes off of him! He was beautiful and perfect and I could hardly believe what I had just done. I also remember thinking how happy I was that all the pain was finally gone! I never felt more proud of myself as I did in that moment.
Things could not have gone more perfect. I feel so empowered and proud of myself for being able to give birth naturally and without an epidural. I also feel incredibly blessed with how smooth my labor and delivery went. I could not have done it without my support team. My doula, my mom and Jack were all an amazing support to me during labor and deliver. Had I not had them, I’m pretty sure I would have been begging for the epidural as soon as I showed up to the hospital.
Now looking back, I can’t even remember what the pain felt like. I just remember I was in a lot of pain. Right afterwards, I said I was never going to do that again. But now the some time has passed, I’m pretty sure I could do it again.... in a couple of years of course.