- 4 years ago
- Wedding: November 2011
My winter birth story began this past January 2014. This was my second pregnancy, the first one I had miscarried at around 4 months just about a year ago and I had experienced contractions/labor naturally. But this was my first labor full-term. My due date was on Feb 4 and knowing that ‘due dates’ are just ‘estimated dates’, I started preparing for my LO’s arrival in January. I’m the type of person who goes by the 5 P’s (Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance) so I like to do lots of research! Knowing that I had wanted a natural labor, I had prepared months in advanced, watching movies like ‘Business of Being Born’, ‘Call the Midwife’ and reading books like ‘Your Best Birth’. Of course I knew that no matter what happened, as long as the baby was delivered safely was all that mattered (even if I did wind up needing a c-section). But I wanted to prepare as much as possible for a natural/vaginal labor.<br /><br />So in mid-January, following advice from a fellow church friend who had walked 8 hours at a mall right before she delivered, I did the same thing at around 36 weeks. My feet were swollen but that didn’t matter. On one weekend, I spent the entire day walking around Queens Center Mall. At the end of the day, when my husband picked me up and I relaxed at home, I noticed that my feet were back to normal. Thanks to all the walking at the mall, this helped the circulation in my feet and the swelling went away. At this point, my baby felt very low and I felt like he was going to fall down! On Jan 17, I had an appointment with an OB, not the regular one but someone else in her office. She checked me out and said I was dilated 2cm and 50% effaced. It looks like all of the mall walking worked! I was also going to work via subway/walking so that probably also helped.
During the next two weeks, I had a few false alarms as my baby inched his way down. I was nervous that at any point, my water might break (on subway or at work, who knows!). My next appointment was on Jan 27 with my regular OB. We were getting closer to my due date and when she checked my cervix, she said I was 3cm! She said that she was scheduled at the hospital on Wed, which was in two days, and I should come in at 6am to be induced. She mentioned that I was 1/3 of the way there already. I asked about the process, what she thinks the baby might weight and what my chances were to deliver naturally. She said they would start with pitocin to begin contractions, then probaby break my water afterwards if it wasn’t broken already. She also thought the baby was around 7lbs and my chances to deliver naturally were pretty high because of what I had been through previously. So I agreed and was a bit relieved because I really felt as if I could have a baby at any moment. One of my friends also warned me that pitocin would bring on intense contractions.<br /><br />I was nervous about being induced because it also meant that it would increased my chances of a csection. I really wanted a natural birth and was afraid of going through csection because I plan to have a few more kids (God willing) down the road. After my appointment, I started working from home and told my boss/coworkers that I would be starting maternity leave in two days. I started transitioning all of my work and at the end of that day, my mom dropped me off at Target so that I could walk around some more. I spent about 4 hours walking around Target and picking up some things here and there. I didn’t really plan to shop but couldn’t help it as there were some things on sale. I also called the nurse who would visit my house to provide p17 shots, and she said that I should walking up and down the stairs as much as possible. So the next day, I completed transitioning my work and afterwards, I walked up and down the stairs in my apartment building for about 30mins. I was excited and nervous. I knew the best thing for me to do was to keep walking and stay vertical as gravity would help the baby move downwards.<br /><br />One of the pros about being induced is that you can plan things since it is scheduled and you have a good idea of when the baby is coming. The next morning, I woke up and threw some pre-baked organic cookies/brownies into the oven. It probably sounds crazy that I would bake cookies on my delivery day. In my childbirth class, one of the homework assignments was to plan an activity to do to help keep us busy during labor. Baking cookies for the nurses was on my to do list. We headed for the hospital right before 5am and got to the hospital at around 5.15am. Since we were pretty early, I got a breakfast sandwich at au bon pain and walked around the waiting room until around 5.50am. We checked in just a few minutes before 6am and was one of the first couples! After that, I saw about 6 pregnant couples check in after us. Good thing we got in there early! <br /><br />The nurse came to escort us to the labor room. The labor room, which was more like a suite was pretty nice. I changed into the hospital gown and my husband set up a water bottle filled with coconut water so that I could stay hydrated. I got hooked up to an IV to stay hydrated (even though I was drinking coconut water) and was hooked to an external electronic fetal monitor. I asked the nurse if I could walk around, and she said I could walk within the room, but stay hooked to the IV. The nurse asked me some questions that were on our birth plan so I asked my husband to give her the birth plan from our bag. It was a basic plan that we had filled out from babycenter. One of the things on our birth plan was a yoga birthing ball, so she went to check to see if they had one. Unfortunately they didn’t have one so we took ours out and my husband started inflating the yoga ball. We asked the nurse how long they thought I might be there, and she said I would probably have the baby before 6pm.<br /><br />At around 8am, the pitocin began and the nurse said I will probably begin experiencing contractions in an hour. I started feeling contractions in about 30mins. They came in waves and felt as if there was a ton of pressure on my cervix. I knew that I had to relax so I could dilate further so I started playing this ‘Hypnosis for Birth’ mp3 that I purchased on amazon. It was played out loud so the nurse probably thought it was weird. It helped me relax and remain calm though. Then after a few mins, my OB came in and broke my water with a crochet like hook. After that, I stood up and started feeling water gushing down. I tried to stay up for a bit longer but the contractions started getting really intense. The were so intense that I couldn’t stand up any longer and had to lay down. So I got back onto the hospital bed and got into a comfortable position, with my right leg elevated. My husband was on one side and when each contraction started, I would squeeze his hand and when they would let go, I would stop squeezing. With each contraction that came, I would groan and kept my mouth open (because keeping your mouth open helps keep your cervix open). I also kept listening to the mp3 and had different thoughts running through my mind that would help my cervix dilate further.
I thought of my cervix opening up to the size of a grapefruit, I thought of relaxing on the beach, I thought of funny things like this youtube video that I saw of men being hypnotized and giving birth. The contractions were so intense that I couldn’t speak. People would come in and out of the room, introducing themselves to me and trying to talk to me. My husband would tell them that I was going through a contraction. At one point my OB came in and saw the state I was in and asked if I was meditating or having a contraction and I groaned out.. ‘boothhh!’. The pain was so intense that I was thinking of having an epidural. It was definitely way more intense than when I first delivered. By this time it was probably around 10.30am. Then around 11am, my OB checked my cervix again and said I was at 8cm! WOOHOO! YES! I couldn’t believe it and was so happy to hear that. For the next few minutes, I continued to groan through the contractions, think of positive thoughts, imagining my cervix open up further and my baby coming down. Then all of a sudden I felt like my baby was about to come out, there was so much pressure down there. So my wonderful nurse (Vicky, who had midwifery experience) checked my cervix and said I was about to deliver and started getting everything ready, calling my OB. We were all surprised that I had moved so quickly. I’m also glad because I couldn’t imagine laboring for any longer without an epidural!<br /><br />My OB came in and I remember telling her that I didn’t want to push because I didn’t want to tear. She said that she had two children and that every woman tears. I knew if I didn’t push, the baby would still come down if we placed a warm wet towel in that area. Unfortunately, I didn’t really prep my husband that much on putting the towel down there so he only half heartedly helped with this. I know during labor that some women will say crazy things, and I’m sure my OB thought that I was crazy.
When she checked my cervix again, she said she could see the head and I could start pushing. I didn’t really want to push but the pain was really strong so I pushed a bit. After a couple of pushes, my beautiful baby boy came out at around 11.29am! It was such a relief and I could feel his whole body just slide out and I could hear him crying. As soon as his entire body came out, they quickly handed him to me, I held his squirmy little white body while his dad cut the umbilical cord. I remember holding him in my arms, he stopped crying and looked up at me with his right eye open while his left eye was closed. It was almost as if he was winking at me. It felt so surreal at that point but I’ll always remember that moment. I wanted to take off my hospital gown and hold him skin to skin but everything happened so quickly. He had a heart condition so they had to whisk him away to NICU shortly afterwards so he could be examined.<br /><br />I couldn’t believe how fast things went. I thought I would be in labor for a very long time. In the end, I’m so glad that all the research and techniques paid off. The nurse had even suggested that I teach birthing classes. In summary, here are some cliffnotes that helped me have a quick vaginal delivery that I hope might help others:
- read Ina May’s, ‘Guide to childbirth’ which provided a lot of helpful tips on labor.
- listen to hypnosis for birth mp3 each evening a few weeks before labor and play it during labor
- keep your mouth open and kiss your partner during each contraction (I did the first part but my labor went so quickly that I didn’t do the second part much)
- stay hydrated (have your partner have a water bottle with a straw to feed you with)
- sit on birthing ball a few weeks before labor and during labor (this helps open up your cervix)
- stay vertical and walk a lot before/during labor if possible
- during contractions, stay calm and relaxed.. allow each contraction to come and go.
- Think of things that will help your cervix dilate further. For example, I would imagine my cervix opening up to the size of a grapefruit (tip from Ina May’s book)
Lastly, here’s a picture of our beautiful baby boy.. thanks for allowing me to share my birth story!