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Birth story (yes, we got a natural birth!)

Posted by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 6:23 PM
  • 9 Replies
2 moms liked this

First off, thank you all for the encouraging stories you posted in response to my last post about how I needed to hear some more positive birth stories!  Here is our full birth story.  Apologies for the length, but well, what can I say, there was a lot to be said!

Elcie Diana Helena was born at 10:16 pm on February 21, her daddy's birthday. She arrived one day shy of 41 weeks at 7 lb 10 oz, 20 inches after a totally successful 100% natural birth!

On February 20th I decided it was the day to try to get things moving!  My mom and I began with a Celtic tradition of walking around a body of water three times, circling Lake Balboa in the beautiful weather, for a total of 3.9 miles.  That night both my parents and I had dinner at Caiote Café, where I had "the salad," which many a pregnant woman has sworn sent them into labor, including my sister Jenny whose daughter had the same due date as Elcie and was born on the 23rd, one day after "the salad."  I came home and watched TV while rubbing acupressure points rumored to encourage labor.  Patrick and I talked and he admitted, sadly, that he was upset because he didn't think our baby was going to come on his birthday after all, which he said was something special to him, that he had really wanted to share a birthday with his baby.  Apparently Elcie was listening because about four hours later, at 3AM I awoke to contractions!

The contractions were very mild and I spent the entire morning wondering if this was in fact, the real deal.  I started timing them from the start and they were reliably 10 minutes apart all night.  I would push the timer on my alarm, feel the contraction pass, stop the timer, then drift off into a light sleep for the ten minutes in between.  I already had an appointment with my OB/GYN at 11:15 so we headed over there with contractions now 7-8 minutes apart.  Alas, we got some scary news at the appointment- my blood pressure, which has always been in perfect range, had shot up to 145/100.  The doctor did a non-stress test on baby while I rested on my left side, which helped lower my blood pressure to a more normal level.  My Dr let me know that the only real solution to this sudden high-risk scenario was to get baby out!  Thankfully he, ever supportive of my desire to have as natural a birth as possible, sent me home with directions to walk around, eat something, rest and try to get things moving on my own.  If my blood pressure stayed high I would need to head to the hospital and if I didn't make it there on my own by midnight I would need to go in to be induced with pitocin.  I was still only a fingertip dilated but baby was at -1 station, which he said was a good sign.

Well, my little Elcie wanted a natural birth too because labor moved along on its own!  After a walk in the park and a stop to get admission blood work out of the way ahead of time, we headed home and I tried to calm myself under the stressful conditions.  A friend from grad school performed BodyTalk over the phone, exploring what was going on with me and with baby and smoothing things out.  In a very sweet moment, she heard that she needed to look at "heart," but didn't see anything in mine, at which point she heard "little heart," in reference to baby's heart!  In a situation where I was scared and completely powerless over this sudden change, it helped to feel that someone else could tune into my body.  Unfortunately, my blood pressure continued to stay high so at 4:30 PM we headed to the hospital, with contractions clocking between 5-6 minutes apart.  I rejected the hospital's dramatic offering of a wheelchair and marched myself up to labor and delivery, and into our very nice room where I spent the next hour lying on my left side while they monitored baby, the labor and my blood pressure.  Thankfully it went down a bit on its own, then more after I took a pill to reduce it, which meant I could come off the monitors and move around.  The nurse who came on two hours after our arrival and was there through the delivery was incredible.  She had also taken Bradley for her first baby (she had to be induced at 38 weeks though for preeclampsia. She later said mine was the birth she'd wanted!) and was incredibly supportive and respectful of our wishes throughout the labor.

Patrick, our doula Dawne and I walked the halls for a bit, and I paused during contractions, bending over and pressing my arms into the wall while Patrick rubbed my back.  I was still able to carry on conversations between contractions but they were beginning to come on more rapidly and stronger.  At 7:45 PM the nurse checked me and announced I was 4 cm dilated and "paper thin."  Labor intensified further as I got closer to transition but I continued on with encouragement from Patrick and Dawne's brilliant inclusion of a fan!  At 9:00 PM I had reached 7 cm and was showing all the classic self-doubt signs of being in transition.  My mom offered the option of a shower, which sounded like a great plan but I only made it to the toilet, where I sat through several serious contractions.  Patrick recognized that while the contractions were stronger, they were ending faster, so he held my face and told me that he knew these were tough, but I was getting through them in just three breaths, which helped immensely.  Throughout the labor he focused on helping me maintain my breath, even during the times I was yelling with pain ("It's ok if you yell, but breathe while you do it!"), and tried to keep my body as relaxed as possible.  Our doula left most of the talking to him since she could tell our bond was very strong and that I was really being helped by his voice.  His mother Magda was there with comfort and a cool, wet washcloth to which Dawne had added lavender oil.  My mom nervously wrung her hands, understandably upset by seeing her daughter in such pain.  Even that, though, served a purpose, as I remember between a contraction noticing she was upset and snapping outside of my body to say "Mom! It's ok! We're going to be ok!"

After a harrowing 45 minute transition, during which I moved to all fours on the bed, I was a complete 10 cm at 9:45 PM and in one contraction went from a feeling of "oh god, there's so much pressure" to "I NEED TO PUSH!"  Thankfully Patrick remembered that I'd wanted to deliver propped up on the bed with him sitting behind me so he got into position as the nurse dropped down the bottom of the bed and pulled up the large stirrups to support my legs.  My doctor arrived in perfect timing (saying in his typical Irish humor, as I was mid-contraction, "Still pregnant?") and began performing perennial massage with mineral oil, which I complained hurt until he reminded me this was how he was helping avoid an episiotomy!  It did the trick because in the end I had only the smallest tear, for which he did one stitch that he said I could have even done without!  He ended up breaking my water at some point because of meconium.  I pushed for a total of 25 minutes, enjoying the moments in between, during which I relaxed back onto Patrick as he comforted me, and during pushing when I had an entire roomful of loved ones, nurses and my beloved doctor cheering me on!  At one point I told Dr Pearson I couldn't do anymore, and he responded with "Molly!  Open your eyes.  Look at me.  You are a strong Irish woman and you can do this, just as all your ancestors did before you!"  A couple more pushes and my baby was out and on my chest, wet, slippery and beautiful!  We had requested that they not tell us the baby's sex and let us find out ourselves.  She cried for a moment then, with incredible calm alertness, she looked directly into my eyes, then at Patrick, then back to me.  At this point my mom said, "for God's sake, what is it?!?" and I just said "I don't even care!  I can't stop looking at its face!"  After all those months of wondering what the baby's sex was, in that moment, I truly didn't care!  All I could do was gaze in wonderment upon this beautiful face, saying over and over "It's a baby, my baby!  I love you baby!"

It was the most amazing experience of my life and I'm so grateful I got the natural birth I wanted, even with the scary BP issue. Instead of pitocin at midnight I got my baby only 5 hours after checking in!  I cannot imagine having opted for drugs.  Even during the most difficult moments Patrick notes that I never asked for an epidural (I do remember saying at 9 cm "I should have gotten the epidural!" and everyone laughing) and the pay off was incredible.  For the rest of my life I will have that one perfect moment, when my brand new baby and I just sat looking into each other's eyes, wordlessly communicating our endless amount of love for one another.


by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 6:23 PM
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Replies (1-9):
MommaTasha1003
by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 7:09 PM

Beautiful! Love it. Your DH needs to school mine in coaching, lol... Your Dr.s comment just about had me in tears!! :) Congrats!

RochelleFS
by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 7:12 PM
Congrats momma! What a beautiful baby!
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luvlymum2
by Member on Mar. 4, 2012 at 7:15 PM

 Just beautiful! Glad it turned out the way you wanted it, congratulations!

tabi_cat1023
by Tabi - Admin on Mar. 4, 2012 at 9:00 PM

YAY wonderful story!

WackadooMom
by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Congrats! A beautiful baby and a beautiful story. I am so happy you got the birth you wanted and a healthy baby girl.
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catholicmamamia
by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 10:49 PM

Congratulations! 


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catholicmamamia
by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 10:49 PM

Thank you for sharing your story! 


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Mrs.Salz
by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 10:53 PM

Congratulations! Beautiful story and baby :)

Juniper53098
by June - admin on Mar. 11, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Congratulations!!!  That is how a hospital birth SHOULD be.

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