When did you realize you were really in labor?
On May 15th, I woke up with contractions coming regularly at 2:00 am. They were about 45 seconds and 4 minutes apart. After about an hour of continuous contractions that were painful and regular, my husband called my mom who lives an hour away to come watch our daughter. We left for the hospital at 4:00 am, went to triage, got on the monitor, and found that I was 80% effaced, 3 cm dilated. I was luckily given the choice to labor at home, which I picked. No one told me it would take 3 days!
I regularly contracted all day May 15th and May 16th. I couldn’t sleep through them, but they didn’t get much closer and often would spread out. I was so frustrated and tired. I made an appointment with my midwife, Erin, to see what was going on at 3:00 pm on May 16th. I asked to be checked and she found I was 4 cm and 100% effaced and -1 station. Finally, I felt like it wasn’t for nothing. I asked to be stripped at this point, which was completely painless.
As soon as I walked out of the office my contractions were 5 minutes apart and 1 minute long. I went home and labored for a couple hours while my husband packed the car back up and took our daughter to our friend's house. We got to the hospital at 7:00 pm and I was 0 station and 5 cm.
What was the most challenging thing about going natural?
Honestly, I was surprised at how in control I was throughout labor but the most challenging part was definitely pushing for me. It didn't feel easy and I wanted to fight against it.
What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?
Chiropractor, hypnobabies (life changing!), positive affirmations, sitting on a yoga ball
What surprised you about your birth?
Throughout my labor I used hypnobabies and my midwife even said she couldn’t tell I was in labor because of how calm I was. My mood completely changed. I got back in the tub and labored there and started really losing control. I decided to use nitrous oxide which did literally nothing to help this phase. I was asked if I was feeling like I had to push and I honestly wasn’t sure. I tried it and my body took over and it shocked me. I was completely unprepared for my inability to figure out how to push.
She was laid onto my chest and I screamed over and over “I did it!” I seriously couldn’t believe it actually happened.
What pain relief strategies worked best?
Counterpressure, heating pad, and a spa bathtub!
What position did you end up delivering in?
I started in the spa tub but I needed to get out because I couldn’t get traction to push but when I would try I’d just have another contraction. From the tub to the bed I had 3 contractions. I got to the bed so I could hold onto my legs, which felt most comfortable. I delivered in that position.
How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?
I think the photo says it all! I had a VBAC. She was laid onto my chest and I screamed over and over “I did it!” I seriously couldn’t believe it actually happened. I cried and cried. I achieved my VBAC. One of the best days of my life.
What advice can you give to other mamas who want to go natural?
Get a doula! A supportive provider. If you are questioning if the provider is supportive, they probably aren't. I switched providers at 32 weeks and no regrets!