Posts Tagged ‘hospital birth’

Alice’s Birth Story

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Editor’s Note: We are starting to include the birth stories of bloggers here as a way to show a variety of birth experiences. These stories may be graphic in description.  

Dear Alice,

Your birth story begins the Tuesday before you were born. I was already overdue, and woke up at 3am with contractions. I began timing them, and thought they were likely labor contractions, since a glass of wine and a soak in the tub did nothing to stop them. At 7am they were still persistent, so I called the doula, Kathy. We worked through them for a bit, and then decided it was time to go to the hospital. Daddy took sister over to a neighbor’s house and then when he got back, we headed out. I ended up throwing up in the yard right outside the house before we got in the car, further convincing everyone that I was in labor.

As we drove to the hospital, I noticed my contractions all but stopped. This should have made me very suspicious that it was false labor, but I didn’t know that. We got to the hospital and the contractions picked back up. They took me to maternal observation and did a pelvic exam. I was at 2 cm. As soon as they told me that, everything stopped.

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All the pain left. Being overdue already, I was very disappointed. They said they could admit me, and the doula offered me the opportunity to labor at her house just blocks away, but I said no, I just wanted to go home. On the way home, I threw up two more times.

I was so depressed the rest of the day. This labor was starting out just like sister’s—slow. Painfully slow. I didn’t want a repeat of that experience. The rest of the week, I was pretty down. It’s hard to go overdue, and no one tells you how emotionally draining it is. It’s like waiting for a package day after day after day. Every day, you wake up thinking, “Today could be it!” and imagining yourself going into labor during everything you do, picturing different scenarios that will never play out. Even when you decide NOT to try and think about it, you can’t help it.

I had my 41-week prenatal appointment that Friday. The day before, they had me visit a perinatologist and take another peek at you. He scared us to death, saying you could be anywhere from 8-12 pounds, and saying I couldn’t go much longer because of how big you were. When I went to the midwives the next day, I was crying and terrified of being forced into an induction. They reassured me that you were not that big, and we’d be fine. They also recommended a chiropractic adjustment, saying that if I was able to get adjusted and free up a tiny bit more space, that might give you the room you needed to get down and engage to make real labor happen. I went straight there for appointment.

The next day I awoke to a friend’s posting on Facebook with pictures of her new baby girl, born at 2 am that morning. She had been due July 19, just a few days before me, and gone overdue as well. I was making waffles and started crying into the batter. I really felt like I was never going to have you!

That morning, sister and I went to the store, and then I took her into PetsMart to look at the animals. Bebe called, and I told her that no, there was no baby yet. Then we went to the pool with our neighbors and some friends from church. Going to the pool was the only thing that made me feel normal that long, hot summer. We chatted and hung out for a few hours, me doing deep squats in the middle of the pool the entire time to try to promote labor.

We got home, and even though I had just used the bathroom before we left the pool, I felt a serious urge to go again. When I looked down, there was blood. The bloody show. Shortly after, I lost my plug. My heart raced, and I became seriously hungry, like my blood sugar had just vanished. I started eating crackers, and your dad went to go get hamburgers. I still wasn’t sure it would happen today, but I knew this was at least progress.

Within an hour or two, the contractions started up. These were very different from the false labor contractions. Instead of the burning, constant, PMS-like cramps, there were definite waves, with a clear beginning and end.  I called the doula and told her what progress had been made. She talked me through several contractions, agreed that this was it and headed to my house.

I labored in the living room over the yoga ball for a while, rocking backwards and down during each wave. Then I worked on a sewing project for a bit. The doula arrived, and we walked around your room, the old guest room, stomping hard. Sister followed us. The contractions got more intense, and Daddy took sister to a friend’s house to wait for your aunt. While he was gone, my water broke right there in the kitchen and we called Daddy to see where he was. I wanted to get to the hospital soon.

When we got there this time, they did not send us to maternal observation. We went straight to a room where they asked me a million questions and then my midwife checked me. I was at 6 cm. They filled the tub and I began laboring in there while the doula gave me water and juice, reminding me to stay hydrated. Think “Wet and wild,” she said. When they checked me the next time, I was at 8 cm. I got out of the tub and sat on the toilet for a little while. I don’t know why, but that can be very comfortable when you’re in labor. Then I got on the birthing ball. I laid forward with my arms over the bed, and Daddy pulled on them during contractions. The doula sat behind me, telling me that this baby was going to be born at 10pm and that I didn’t have much time to go.

Around this time was when I started giving up and saying I couldn’t do it anymore. The midwife reassured me that me saying that meant I was close to being done. Almost right after she said that, I had a big contraction and felt a pop. It was such a huge feeling that I jumped off the ball and looked down to see what came out. There was nothing there.  I yelled that I needed to push. She checked me and said I was at a 10 and could push. She asked me what position I wanted to be in, and I said I didn’t know. The nurses guided me to my knees and I grabbed on to daddy’s waist as I started to push. The nurses got him a chair to sit in and I leaned over him, grabbing his belt loops while I pushed. I pushed for about 20 minutes, at one point again saying I couldn’t do it. I even pictured myself refusing to do it, and just walking around, continuing life with a baby still in me, still stuck down there. I’m also pretty sure I cussed a lot.

223860_10150254921771065_522296064_7721154_5438106_nFinally, at 9:59pm, you were born. You came out and almost immediately the cord popped before Daddy had a chance to cut it. None of the nurses or even the doula, who has been helping women birth for 25 years, had ever seen that happen. The nurses helped me sit back and they gave you to me to hold. I looked at you and said, “Hello Alice! You’re finally here!” And right about then you began crying.

You were the prettiest little thing—8 pounds even and 21 inches long, really plump and beautifully pink. You were perfectly clean like you had just had a bath. They helped me up into the bed where I birthed the placenta while I held you. After they got me cleaned up ad stitched up, I held you and you nursed like a champ. I held you next to me the whole night, where you nursed all night long. The nurse encouraged me when she came to check on you, saying they had babies under the warming lights who didn’t have as good a temperature as you did.

Your birth was an amazing experience, Alice. It was painful, and it was hard, but I wouldn’t have missed out on it for anything.

Love, Momma

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three daughters. She lives and writes in Oklahoma City.