** For journaling sake: Camden Jared Hyde, born 1-14-15 at 1:38pm. Weight: 9lbs 5oz Height: 20in even
It's late and I'm tired and yet I can't sleep. As I sit here in the hospital with a perfect little one lying next to me I can't help but reflect on the experience I have just had.
I'll just start by saying this pregnancy was a tough one. Though sickness in the beginning was mild this babe grew, FAST! By 30 weeks I was no longer sleeping. At 35 weeks I started having regular braxton hicks. Every other night until this baby was born I was up with contractions for 2-3 hours. I was dilated to a 3 at 35 weeks and 70% effaced. I stayed like that until 38 weeks when I finally showed change being dialted to a 5 and 75% effaced. I was huge, uncomfortable and so tired! And yet, the little baby inside me decided to hangout and come when he was good and ready. I had so many contractions lasting for so long that I refused to be excited when actual labor started (because I thought I was in labor several times). However, the night of the 13th I started to have contractions and this time they didn't stop. This is where my journey through natural childbirth began.
Before I start I'm going to introduce some people so I can freely name/title drop later (if you don't care skip ahead). First, Julie, our midwife. Some folks are confused as to why I would choose a midwife and its usually because they don't know what a midwife is. We used a CN (certified nurse) midwife, which is a medically trained professional. They are not qualified to perform surgery (C-section) and thus is the difference between them and an OB. So why a midwife? I think this paragraph from babycenter.com mirrors my thoughts, "Births attended by CNMs usually have fewer interventions – such as continuous electronic fetal monitoring, epidurals, and episiotomies – without any difference in outcomes for women or their babies. Women who opt for midwifery care tend to have a lower rate of cesarean section, too. In general, midwives tend to have more time to answer all your questions and help you learn about the physical and emotional changes you experience throughout pregnancy." Second, Courtney, our doula. When people hear doula they think of hippies and home births. However, a doula is just a title for someone who knows an INSANE amount about women and babies. They are there to provide support and comfort. They are like this awesome book of answers and solutions for anything that ails a women giving birth. Basically, if you are planing a natural birth get one, they are awesome!
And roll Camden's birth...
Tuesday I had been having contractions on and off all day. At this point in the pregnancy this was not uncommon. I went to see my midwife who stripped my membranes and informed me I was dilated to a 5. A 5 and still no baby!! I left defeated, feeling like this baby was never going to come. That night my contractions were closer together. My mom, who came in town on Sunday and was just as anxious as me for the arrival of this baby, suggested we start timing contractions. However, when they were only coming every 15-30 minutes we decided it was a waste of time and went to bed. However, I never did fall asleep because contractions were keeping me awake. I decided to take a bath around midnight. Finally, contractions got closer together and strong enough that I knew this was the real deal. I tried to sleep with no luck. I decided a shower would feel better than a bath and Jesse called our doula and told her we'd meet her at the hospital in an hour.
When we got to the hospital our doula was already there. She had already informed the nursing staff we were headed in and scored us a room with a tub (awesome!). I got there signed a paper and was good to go. The check in process was so much easier than it was with Weston. We delivered at St. Marks Hospital and the L&D nurses were fantastic! I was checked in and as per hospital policy hooked up for 20 minutes of monitoring. With Weston I was forced to a bed for these 20 minutes but the nurse this time around made sure I had some cord space to wander the room and bounce on my yoga ball. When it came time for my IV they easily placed it in my arm so I had full function of my wrists and elbows; essential for a natural birth. Also, instead of insisting on an IV they connected a hep lock instead. The whole thing was exactly how I wanted it and I didn't have to fight for anything.
Once I got to the hospital labor seemed to slow a bit. I was getting depressed again thinking that this baby was just playing tricks on me. My doula suggested all sorts of things to help speed things up naturally and avoid pitocin. We went for walks, did some exercises to move baby (he was posterior), and even borrowed a breast pump from the MBU for a little nipple stimulation (TMI, sorry). It worked! Things after that sped right up. Up until this point labor felt controllable. I felt good and was really confident in my ability to relax and manage contractions. It was calm and peaceful and I felt connected to my husband (who was awesome support). I didn't feel like I was in a hospital. I had freedom to move, the nurses rarely bothered me, and my doula helped Jesse keep me relaxed with massages and counter pressure. It was great. Once things picked back up and started to progress again I got in the tub. At this point I was at an 8. Sometime in the tub I went from remembering and loving the experience I was having to feeling like I was having an awful out of body experience. I believe they call this phase of labor transition! Transition was everything people tell you it will be, terrible! I stayed in the tub during the entire thing. Time faded away and I entered my zone. I don't really remember what I said, how long I was in there, who was in there, etc etc. Things just kind of faded away. At this point I had been awake for 36 hour and laboring for 11. I was tired and fading in and out of my focused state/sleep. When I started to show signs of wanting to push it took Jesse, Courtney, Julie, and a couple nurses to get me out of the tub. I was determined I was not leaving and put up a good fight! They got me to the bed where they realized that I wasn't quite at a 10. They let me relax through a few more contractions hoping it would help get me there. When they checked me again they realized there was a small lip of the cervix stuck on babies head preventing me from dilating fully. At this point baby was distressed and getting him out was top priority. Thus went my comfort and when the next contraction hit my midwife stretch that lip of cervix over his head. I don't know what death feels like but I'm sure its something like that. I do remember screaming "What are you doing!" After that it was 15 minutes of pushing and out came baby.
At the time I was so completely tired and hurting that I wasn't fully able to grasp what had just happened but it felt beautiful. Jesse was crying and though I felt like I got hit by a bus (or a 9lb 5oz baby named Camden) there was a calm in the room and you knew something amazing had just happened.
I have now done both a medicated and non-medicated birth. They were completely different experiences. Weston's birth was beautiful in it's own way and there are definitely things I loved about it that I didn't love about a natural birth. Camden's birth however, provided me with complete agency over my body. I had a sense of control like I was being guided through it by something divine rather than a doctor looking at a monitor. It was so extremely hard but it gave me confidence in myself and in my body. It also brought me insanely close to my husband. With Weston, once I got the epidural I really didn't need support because I couldn't feel anything. My husband became a by stander to the whole experience. However, this time around he was an essential part of the birth and I think that helped connect us as a couple.
The whole experience was overwhelming. It was so hard and yet so perfectly wonderful that my mind still can't fully grasp it.
Stay tuned for Jesse's side of the story and pictures!