She sent me text reminders of different random birth related stuff every day, asked me tons of important questions so she would know my exact wishes, helped me with my birth plan, lent me amazing books to read and birth cd's to listen to, gave me endless priceless advice, she read tons of doula books herself and even started the process to get her certification. She packed a doula bag with stuff like heating pads, a handheld fan, washcloths, food, BENDY STRAWS (she thought of everything!!) etc... I will save the rest for a blog post about the importance of doulas! I just know that this was just the beginning of the chain of events that led to my short and fairly easy labor and delivery.
I had an awesome pregnancy and I loved every minute of it! I had such a positive attitude and just tried to enjoy every minute of having my son growing inside of me.
I drank raspberry leaf tea every day during my whole pregnancy and in the end I drank about 4 cups a day. I also ate dates in the last 4 weeks of my pregnancy. I also took evening primrose oil vaginally and orally in the last week.
Our maternity photos
My Doctor recommended that I get induced at my 40 week appointment because my blood pressure was high but since I was already 4cm dilated and having contractions on the monitor 7 minutes apart he didn't push it. He offered to strip my membranes and I declined. The contractions only felt like tightness at that point. I went home that afternoon and had my husband put our bags in the car just incase. He went to work around 2pm and then I met my doula for early dinner (kids eat free day at TGIFriday!) around 3pm. The contractions were starting to get a little painful but not really closer together. I knew that at this point since they were still irregular they could just stop. She gave me her birth ball to take home and I went home to try to rest a little.
I got Juliette to take a nap and I closed my eyes for a while but I was too excited to sleep. I went into the living room and bounced on the birth ball a little and walked around a little. The contractions were getting more painful but still weren't too bad. I was texting with my doula the whole time. The more I walked around the closer together and more painful they were. I laid down for a little while and they got further apart. Juliette and I ate veggie pot pies and played Candy Land and then I called my friend Crystal to come over to sit with Juliette and she did around 9:30pm.
My doula suggested I take a shower so around 9:45 my contractions were only 6 minutes apart on average but still not regular and I got in the shower. The shower felt great and really relaxed me and got things going quick! By 10:15pm I was texting my husband to come home because my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart!! My doula said she was going to meet us at the hospital. Jeff got home shortly after and we arrived to the hospital around 11pm. He was so excited and nervous. I was so excited to meet my son! The contractions were pretty intense but not as bad as I expected. I still thought I had at least a few hours of labor to go!
We parked in the parking garage and I had a strong contraction while holding onto Jeff in the middle of the parking garage. It was so nice to have him there with me during contractions. The parking garage attendant came running out of his booth when he saw me having a contraction but then it was over and I waved to him and said "I'm okay! Thanks!" and walked into the hospital. When we got to registration we informed them we wanted to use the birth tub. I had a contraction while I was filling out paperwork and they said I sounded like I was ready to give birth and they needed to get me on a bed to check me now. They brought me to the closest room and Jeff helped me get my clothes off and I was already having another contraction. I got on the bed naked on all fours and was moaning into a pillow and it felt great. In the middle of a contraction a nurse very rudely said to me "you NEED to lay down so we can check you (she couldn't wait for my 1 minute contraction to be over?) and you sound like you're ready to push and we can't deliver the baby like that!" Which was news to me because my Doctor said I could give birth in whatever position I wanted but my Doctor wasn't on call that night. So I said "Why can't I?" and the Doctor then chimed in and said he can't deliver in any other position besides on the bed on my back which I know is untrue because even the birth classes offered by the hospital teach you about all different birthing positions and tell you the back is the worst position. I was not happy about that but I decided to pick my battles and lay on my back. I was fully dilated and they said I could start pushing. During my first push they ordered me to stop making noise while pushing which is completely unnatural. My doula walked in soon after and I was so relieved to see her face. She jumped right into action. Unfortunately she didn't know that they had told me that I had to be on my back and I couldn't make noises or she would have fought for me. I wasn't in the right state of mind to voice that. Her and Jeff were wiping my head with cool water, giving me water with a bendy straw, applying my chapstick, holding my hand and encouraging me. The nurses and Doctor on the other hand were all just standing around with pissy looks on their faces, I tried not to even open my eyes most of the time and just pretend it was me and my birth team in the room. When I did open my eyes I saw the Doctor sitting between my legs looking bored or rolling his eyes at me. At some point I felt like I needed to relieve my bladder and my body just really wanted to just stand up or squat and I said I had to pee and I was told by the hospital staff to "go ahead" I said "right here?" they said yeah there's a bucket under you and I said loudly "Well that wouldn't be awkward..." Needless to say I could not pee laying down on my back into a bucket in front of a room full of people, by the time I was allowed to pee after I gave birth I almost filled the toilet.
The Doctor and nurses were doing the typical obnoxious loud bossy counting to 10 three times during every contraction I had and if I didn't do it for as long as they wanted the scolded me and informed me that the baby wasn't going to come out with just contractions alone (which also isn't true, it can happen). You would swear that I was pushing for 4 hours or they had somewhere else important to be the way there were rushing me! I told them if the contraction is over I'm not going to keep pushing! Some of my contractions weren't strong and I didn't feel the urge to push so I didn't push during those contractions. I was scolded for that too. Again, you would think I was pushing for 4 hours right? I told them I'm NOT going to wear myself out by pushing through contractions that weren't even strong! I just ignored them and did what my body was telling me to do. In between contractions I just relaxed, breathed, and thought positive thoughts and I breathed or moaned through some of the weak contractions that I didn't feel the urge to push through. During this whole time they were insisting that they break my water. For What?? I told them no and a nurse blatantly ignored me and told the Dr. that she has the amnio hook open and ready!!. Then one nurse proceeded to condescendingly tell me after every single contraction that I pushed through that "The baby would have BEEN HERE by now if you would just let us break your water!!" I pushed for A HALF HOUR!! THAT'S IT!! Why were they in such a rush?? I had just got there! She had me second guessing myself and thinking that he was never coming out unless I let them break my water so I looked at my husband and doula and asked them what I should do and my husband lovingly said "It's not a race babe, let's just stick to your plan, you're doing great." My water broke on its own and Lachlan was born right after at 11:38pm!
Checking out our SON!
The Doctor suctioned him and I remember my husband sternly saying "she wants the baby, she wants him on her!" because apparently a nurse was trying to take him. My husband had already informed the Doctor that we wanted to delay the cord clamping by just 2-3 minutes, no shots, no eye ointment, no bath, immediate skin to skin etc.... They put him on me and he was 8lbs 8oz's of perfection! I was in love. The Doctor asked my husband if he wanted to cut the cord and he said no we're waiting. The Doctor said its unnecessary to wait longer than 30 seconds and he cut it himself.
Me trying to protect the cord and beg The Doctor to just wait a couple minutes while the Doctor impatiently squeezed the blood through the cord instead of just waiting for it to naturally move through like we requested.
Daddy doing skin to skin-you can see the Doctor still sitting in between my legs in the window reflection.
I was so relieved when it was finally over. After that was over they were still bothering me trying to get my blood pressure and make me pee etc... The nurse cleaned me off and was wiping me roughly where I just got stitches, like I wasn't even human, and it hurt so I said "do you have to be so rough?" and she muttered "oh yeah I forgot you're not numb." One nurses proceeded to tell me that if I want a natural water birth next time I should go to a hospital that has midwives 50 minutes away, but I pointed out that I wouldn't have made it to the hospital that is 50 minutes away and she agreed and said I probably would have given birth in the car. I couldn't get to my baby fast enough. When I finally got to nurse him it felt like it took him forever to latch.
My doula helping me nurse Lachlan
He was so fussy and irritable for the next 24 hours or so he had a really hard time latching every time we nursed, he cried a lot, and I didn't sleep for 2 days. He still won't sleep unless he's touching me so I let him sleep on my chest. We were both traumatized. I'm not the type of person to hold onto negative thoughts or "play the victim role" I would much rather put things behind me and move on but I still get jolted out of my sleep sometimes with flashbacks of him inside me when I have uterine pains. The first night was the worst I cried all night but I'm getting better every day.
I'm trying to focus on the positives of my birth experience. I'm so proud of myself for laboring at home until I was 10cm and doing it all natural like I planned with no interventions. The whole experience just made me want to become a doula even more. I don't think I would have been able to have the experience I wanted if it weren't for the knowledge and power my doula gave me. My son is 5 days old now and breastfeeding is going great. I'm so disgusted with the way that women are treated during what is supposed to be one of the most sacred and special times of their lives. I'm on a mission to educate and empower women and change birth. I was mistreated, dehumanized, and degraded but I refuse to let it overshadow the overall amazing birth experience that it was (NO THANKS to any of the hospital staff) I will never give birth in a hospital again. THIS is why more women are choosing home birth. I wanted a home birth with Lachlan because I didn't have a great experience in the hospital when I had my first child but I couldn't afford it. Next time I will save up the money BEFORE I get pregnant.
Our first picture with our son
So happy to be with Mommy
LACHLAN RIVER 12/4/13 @ 11:38pm 8lbs 8oz's 19 1/2 inches
For more information on Natural Childbirth I highly recommend reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. The Business of Being Born is an awesome, informative, and empowering documentary that is available to watch on Netflix.