Everett’s Birth Story

Well, it has taken me nine million years, but I’ve finally written down Ev’s birth story. So here goes…

 

Many of you may remember that we had planned to have a water birth with Everett, something that I was really excited about and really looking forward to. My midwife, Genny, is all about water births and felt that I was the perfect fit for one…which remains to be seen, since it didn’t work out. Whomp whaaaaaaa. But that turned out to be a good thing. (Didja like that teaser?? Eh? Eh???)

 

I was given two due dates, the date based on my last period and the ultrasound date based on measurement. So we all thought sometime between September 20th and 22nd we’d have a baby. Kiddo was born on the 21st, so he was right on the money! On the 20th, which was a Friday, I went in for a checkup with Genny and was maybe at 3 cm. They had been worried about the size of the baby since he seemed pretty large, so I asked Genny what she thought. She suggested I have an ultrasound done just to see where we were and then gave me a “rough” exam in hopes of getting things started.

 

I met up with the OB that Genny practices with, who had done my previous ultrasounds. He’s a nice guy and all, but let’s just say that his philosophy on birth isn’t exactly in line with mine. In his estimation, Everett was measuring “very” big, somewhere between nine and eleven pounds, and the OB basically told me I’d need a c-section if the baby didn’t come over the weekend. He suggested I schedule a c-section for Monday.

 

Naturally, I had a lot of questions and was kind of surprised at how pushy this doctor got about me having a c-section. He told me I had a 50% chance of the baby developing shoulder dystocia and that the baby could suffer severe nerve damage. According to my research, which I based on the estimated weight of the baby, there was probably about a 5-9% chance of developing shoulder dystocia and the odds of life ending nerve damage were much more rare than this OB led me to believe. 

 

Now, I am obviously not a trained medical professional and I clearly don’t know everything about all of this. However I am fairly well-read and I knew that there were lots of positions you can try during delivery to help get a stuck baby out. I asked him about the Gaskin Maneuver  and some other labor positions I’d read about, all of which he said were “impossible.”

               “How would you move a mother from her back to her hands and knees during delivery?” he wanted to know.

I pretty much stopped the discussion right there and said I’d like to talk to my husband about it since there’s no point in talking in circles.

 

Needless to say, I was kind of upset about the whole thing. Obviously I was aware that there were some real risks involved, but since I’m definitely NOT a small-framed woman and I’ve never had shoulder dystocia in delivery before, AND I was still not technically past my due date, I felt very pressured to schedule a c-section and I just really didn’t want that. I felt with everything in me that I was capable of delivering this baby naturally. I trusted my body, I trusted my baby, and none of the evidence I was shown was persuasive enough to make me think otherwise.

 

So, this was Friday. Vin’s brother, Dan, was in town for the funeral of his fiance’s brother, which was very heavy on everyone. That day was Dan and Kate’s last day in Cleveland before they had to go back to Chicago and I had really wanted to have the baby while they were here. They’re going to be Ev’s godparents, so I thought it would be amazing if they were in town when he was born. They had to go back to Chicago the next day so we all went out for dinner at Sokolowski’s. Guys. If you’re in Cleveland, please let me take you there. It’s basically magical Polish grandma cafeteria-style deliciousness. I always get the Salisbury steak, AKA shot put of meat, as Vin says…and I get it with corn and mashed potatoes (’cause starch on starch on starch, that’s why) and I’m not sorry. And sometimes I get pierogis, too. And I’m definitely not sorry about that, either.

 

During dinner, I started having contractions, and I thought, “Whelp. Definitely going to be seeing this meal again!” Some of you may remember the Ole Burger Incident of 2012. I don’t know if Salisbury steak was a better decision, but I definitely don’t regret it. The contractions weren’t anything consistent so I didn’t even mention it to anyone at the time. Once we got home, I started timing things and just when I’d think we were cooking, they’d slow down or stop. So we went to bed where Vin promptly fell asleep because he’d been up since 3:30 for work that day and I read my latest Real Simple since I just couldn’t get comfortable.

 

So contractions kind of started picking up then. I’d sit cross-legged on the bed, reading my magazine. I’d have a contraction and then have to pee like crazy. So basically it was sit, read, contract, bathroom, repeat for a few hours. By the time I’d finished my magazine, things were getting more serious and I woke Vin up. I was bent over the bed and pacing the room trying to move things along by walking. At that point, contractions were still about 13 minutes apart, so we decided to call his parents since they had a 20 minute drive to get to our house.

 

And then things moved SO much faster than any of us expected. When Vin’s parents got to our house, contractions were only 4-5 minutes apart and I knew I was getting to transition because I felt like throwing up. Vin, his mom, and I jumped in the truck and headed on our way. I called Genny, who said she was on her way, too, and told me that we wouldn’t be able to do the water birth because of the baby’s size. I was disappointed, but I’d expected that. And honestly, I didn’t think we’d have time to fill a tub much less get me into one, so I was fine with it. In the heat of the moment, I was less worried about a birth plan than about the birth itself.

 

Once we got to the hospital, my labor went into overdrive. The baby was coming and I knew it was going to be fast. I got really nervous on the elevator ride to L&D because I felt super nauseous and vomiting in an elevator wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. For a hospital, it seemed like there was a surprising lack of trash cans anywhere and I kept thinking, “At Disney World there’s a trash can every 25 steps! I wouldn’t have this problem at Disney!!” Clearly, I have a secret wish to give birth at Disney World.

 

We finally made it to the L&D floor and had to wait in the lobby for a nurse to unlock the doors and let us in. Vin picked up the phone, which rang and rang at the nurse’s desk. I’m sure the nurses were busy with something important, but they were right there and they looked at us waiting to get in and didn’t pick up the phone. At which  point, Vin started knocking. I was leaned over a side table in the lobby moaning and breathing when these hill billies who were also in the lobby decided to give us some advice.

“Ya gotta use the phone.”

In my head:  Oooohhhh, you mean the phone we’ve already tried using? That one???

“Haaaaay! I thank she’s havin’ a baby! Are you havin’ a baby??”

Out loud: Jesus, take the wheel!!!!  (This is my favorite expletive to use when I’m trying real hard not to say anything worse. Also, I think Carrie Underwood gets the point across in most situations.)

 

After what seemed like an eternity, but what was probably more like two minutes, the nurses finally let us in, and we all had a laugh about the crazies in the lobby. They checked me when I was admitted and I was at 5-6 cm. When the house doctor came to check, I was already at an 8, so we were moving really fast, evidenced by the fact that I was throwing up a lot. Thank goodness Vin’s mom was there. She’s got some sort of 6th sense when it comes to knowing I’m about to throw up. Every time I felt nauseous, there she was with a bucket and a cup of water, like magic. It was really special to have her there and not just because of the nausea thing, obviously. (Side note, I think nausea is one of the crueler tricks of labor. Not only are you dealing with pushing a human out of your body, but you throw up, to0?? Unjust, I say!) Anyway, I really loved having Vin’s mom in the delivery room and I still get kinda teary about it. I had initially wanted both our moms there (a first for me, since I usually have a closed door policy) but my mom was stuck somewhere in Missouri getting no sleep. Le sigh.

 

And it was funny because during this pregnancy I had read a lot of Ina May Gaskin and really wanted to focus on working with my body, surrendering to the contractions, being at peace with labor. During labor with Lily, I tensed up and kind of had a freak-out moment and I really didn’t want that to happen again. I focused on breathing and Vin helped a lot with this. He kept reminding me to breathe like a horse so I could relax my face. I tried to keep my toes and fingers completely loose and imagined myself rolling with the contractions and just floating on the bed. I kept reminding myself that I wasn’t the only woman in the world having a baby right then. I thought about how I was a part of a larger community, a sisterhood of women connected in those very moments by one of the most primal and holy experiences any of us would ever have. I know it sounds very hippie and new age, but those thoughts were very special to me. They made this labor almost meditative. It was really, really wonderful.

 

Once Genny arrived we decided I was good to push. I was so relaxed, I almost felt too weak to lift my  legs and I needed help, so pushing was a group effort, which I greatly appreciated. I only pushed for five minutes and Everett John-Daniel Delagrange made his appearance into the world! Gosh, it was just magical to finally have him there! Ev was born on September 21st 2013 at 2:05 am. He was 9 lbs 15 oz and some inches long. I can’t remember how long because he’s my third baby and I barely remember to shower. Sorry, Ev!

 

Here’s the remarkable thing. This baby had the shortest umbilical cord I’ve ever seen. It was so short, Genny couldn’t even put him on my chest because he wouldn’t reach. So, basically, it was pretty miraculous that we ended up not having the water birth. If we’d been in the water with a cord that short, we wouldn’t have been able to get Everett to the surface, which would have been truly frightening. Obviously the pros would’ve figured it out, but it’s nice that they didn’t have to.

 

Genny was just phenomenal during labor. She was calm, patient, and she followed my lead.  I had my usual bout of placenta trouble in which my placenta didn’t want to separate and there was lots of bleeding. This happens every delivery with me, and is likely to always be an issue. Luckily, it’s not that serious if we know to expect it. Genny was a rock star through all of this and was so encouraging. After it was all over she hugged me and kissed my cheek, a gesture I’ve never gotten from another medical professional. Genny’s pretty much the best baby doctor I’ve ever worked with. We really love her.

 

 

All births are special for mothers and I think all births should be learning, growing experiences. Before I left work for my maternity leave, I met a mom who told me that with your third baby you really hit your stride. And I think that’s true of the actual birth process, too. At least it was for me. Even though this birth didn’t go as I planned -har, har, like one ever will- it was such a sweet whirlwind of wonder. I was amazed at how truly in tune with my body I was. I was in awe of how connected Vin and I were; how he knew to make me a playlist of music from Up and Wall-E and Finding Nemo to relax me. Right before we went to the hospital, he gave me the sweetest gift possible, my very own Adventure Book to collect all of my favorite memories in.

 

Just like Carl and Ellie…If there was any doubt, this is all the evidence you need to know that Vin is the King of Etsy.

 

And that’s what birth is, an adventure. It’s challenging and trying, and completely awe inspiring. I was in wonder at my body’s ability to do what was necessary to birth my baby. I was in wonder of my mind’s ability to let go, be at peace, and rest while challenged.

 

Once we had a minute to ourselves, Vin and I both laughed at the fact that this labor and delivery was so easy! We were surprised when Ev came so fast because we both kept waiting for things to get crazy, for me to shriek or cry or say the F-word or something. None of that happened. Everett entered into the world pretty quietly and peacefully into a room filled with concentration, focus, and love. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

 

Ev’s birth was so surprisingly easy and, I have to say, it was so satisfying to see that OB, who was called to the hospital at two in the morning “just in case,” congratulating me on the completely drug-free vaginal birth of my large baby. It took everything in me not to say, “I tooooold you so!!” but I tried to keep it classy.

 

Another remarkable thing is that Dan was able to come to the hospital and see Everett right after he was born.  What makes it all the more special is the fact that Ev was born on the feast day of St. Matthew. Remember how Dan was in town for Kate’s brother’s funeral? Her brother’s name is Matthew. I can’t help but think the timing was just providentially perfect there.

 

 

We left the hospital as soon as we possibly could so that we could get back home to the girls. Maggie got to come visit us in the hospital, but sweet Lily was sick and throwing up, so she didn’t get to come, poor girl. My mom and dad made it into town and we all set up camp.

 

Coming home was good but challenging since I always have issues with breastfeeding for the first week or so. Once I pass the one week mark, I’m usually fine. Ev has been a breeze to nurse, but that first week is always completely miserable for me. Anybody else have this problem??

On top of the nursing pain, Lily had a really rough time adjusting to Everett at first. The second night he was home, she stayed up all night just crying and wanting to be held, clawing to be in my lap and furious that Ev was always nursing. My mom and I were zombies and stayed up with her until she finally passed out at 4 am. As hard as it was, I really treasure those times with my mom. It reminded me of how we stayed up all night with Maggie and I was so clueless and she showed me the ropes. It’s such a blessing to have her during those really raw, emotionally draining times. I can’t think of anybody better to stay up all night laughing and singing to babies, remembering silly times, crying, praying, and just being friends. My mom puts up with a lot of crap from me during those long nights and I’m just so grateful she does.

 

 

 

Everett is just the sweetest, easiest baby ever. He’s four months old now and I’ve never heard a baby laugh so much! Lily is now pretty enraptured with him and she loves to hold him and snuggle him. Maggie just naturally steps in as big sister and takes care of her little brother. I’m really impressed with the initiative she shows in giving him a pacifier when he needs it or trying to make him laugh while he’s crying, which she’s very successful at, by the way. Having a boy around the house has been so fun and different and I just really love the dynamic we’ve developed as a family of five.

 

I look around through all the chaos and mess and the inevitable crying of children and think to myself that I am, without a doubt, the luckiest woman on Earth. I worry that I’m not worthy of such gifts and pray that I’ll be the mother and wife that they all need me to be. Even when it’s hard, I’ve got the best life ever and I couldn’t be filled with more joy.

 

 

 

Want some tunes to relax and inspire you? Here’s my faves from my Birthin’ Mix:

Natural Childbirth Series: Reading Recommendations

To continue our series on natural childbirth, I thought I’d share some reading/viewing recommendations that I’ve found to be useful. My list is not long. Heck, I don’t know if it really even qualifies as a list.

 

But here’s the deal: This is a biiiig topic and it is easy to become overwhelmed by the veritable cornucopia of options out there. It is also easy to become overwhelmed by bloggers who use phrases like “veritable cornucopia”…so, sorry. Anyway, I’m going to list a few things that I’ve found to be extremely helpful in preparing for a natural childbirth and then I’d like to open the comments up to other (probably more experienced and better read) mamas and daddies to share their suggestions.

 

Please note that these are books that I have found to be extremely helpful as your average, every day person. I am not a medical professional, blah, blah, blah, consult a physician, yada, blargh…

 

So, here goes!

 

1.) In my opinion,  the Bradley Method is pretty much the gospel of natural childbirth. You can take the actual classes, but we’ve never been able to afford them and honestly, Husband Coached Childbirth has been our go-to book time and time again.

 

 

This was the first book on the subject we picked up when we found out we were expecting Maggie and it’s so great. I really appreciate the premise that childbirth should be an experience shared with a partner, that it builds the relationship between man and woman, rather than causes a rift, as seen in the movies.

 

I also like it that Bradley’s ideas are derived from observing how “perspiring mammals” behave during labor. As someone who has seen many a house cat deliver kittens, it totally gelled with me. The entire book does a great job of giving practical examples and great comparisons (there’s the metaphor of labor being like climbing a mountain, for example) that make the whole process easier to understand. Basically, it’s my fave.

 

 

2.) When we were expecting Lily, I knew I really, really wanted to deliver without medications and interventions. I picked up a copy of Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah J. Buckley, M.D. and really enjoyed it.

 

 

This book does a great job of balancing scientific research with real-life stories that have a lot of heart. You’ll get the bare-bones facts about the effects and risks of medications and interventions during pregnancy and labor as well as Buckley’s birthing experiences with her own children. I liked that the research was very approachable and that it’s easy to tell that the author is incredibly passionate about the subject.

 

I will say that this book tends to be more on the “hippie” side of things, for lack of a better descriptor. Buckley endorses lotus births, for example, something that I don’t disagree with at all, but also won’t be attempting any time soon. But that’s just me.

 

 

3.) Also, you should totally watch The Business of Being Born, a documentary executive-produced by Ricki Lake and directed by Abby Epstein.

 

 

Guys, this is really just so eye-opening and great. And it made me have all kinds of respect for Ricki Lake that I didn’t have before. She’s kind of a beast. Also, there’s a sequel and a new movie set to come out soon about breastfeeding. Awesome and awesome-er.

 

 

4.) I’m also anxiously awaiting my copy of Ina’ May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, CPM.

 

 

I’ve got it on hold from the library, so hopefully I’ll get it soon-ish so I can report back. I’ve heard good things!

 

 

 

So, what about you? Have any go-to books that you’d recommend for someone considering natural childbirth? Let us hear about them in the comments!

Natural Childbirth: A Series

So, I’ve got birthing on the brain and I wanted to start a dialogue with on natural childbirth. I’ve been having a conversation with a friend who is preparing for a natural (unmedicated) delivery after having previously given birth under induction, etc. What’s really struck us, and what I’ll be focusing on in this first post, is the initial negativity that most people have regarding natural childbirth.

 

As Everett’s arrival gets closer, I find myself gearing up for one of the most transformative and soul-satisfying experiences a person can  have. I can’t begin to tell you how totally psyched I am. Seriously, can’t wait.

 

 

Mama, Daddy, and Ev at the Bean in Chicago.

 

 

And I know I’m not in the majority here. I’ve been blessed to find some really great online communities of people who are as excited as I am, but more often than not, when I’m out and about in the “real world” and the subject comes up, I’m greeted with emotions of horror, put-downs, negativity, or self-depreciating comments.

 

Why is that? Why is it that our culture is so incredibly negative regarding the “earth-shattering” idea delivering babies without drugs? I believe that, ultimately, it all boils down to fear, ignorance, and intimidation.

 

Unfortunately we’ve got a long history of negative imagery deeply embedded in our minds. Think about every movie you’ve seen in which a woman is depicted giving birth (natural or otherwise). What happens?

 

Looks pleasant, doesn’t it?

 

There’s always a great wailing and gnashing of teeth. People panic, run for hot water. We find out that Prissy “don’t know nothin’ bout birthin’ no babies, Miss Scarlett,” and then Prissy gets the biz slapped out of her. Hateful words are shrieked across sterile hospital rooms. The doctor bumbles around and the hysterical mother usually casts blame on the father, as in, “YOU did THIS to MEEE!!!”  I cannot recall one instance in which birth is depicted as a peaceful experience. I’m sure one exists, I just don’t know where.

 

Now, I get it. “Knocked Up” just isn’t as funny without all the scrambling and the chaos. And it’s genuinely hilarious to think of Bill Cosby’s wife literally pulling his lower lip over his head. But if these are the only images of childbirth that are out there, I mean really getting out there to a large audience of young women, what message are they receiving about the miracle of bringing a new life into this world?

 

And the blaming of the father? The screaming of condemnation that he is solely responsible for the allegedly horrible situation in which the mother finds herself? What does that say about our culture’s view of sex and responsibility and the gift of children?

 

Besides a boatload of cultural misconceptions surrounding childbirth, I think the main thing to combat is the simple fact that the average Joe has no idea how the female body works, much less how it works specifically in childbirth. Blame public schools, cultural stigmas, shyness, over-protective parents, whatever, but let’s face it we just don’t know our bodies.

 

 

Pretty much sums it up…

 

 

For many years I considered myself fairly well-informed on the female anatomy. It wasn’t until I took a Natural Family Planning class that I realized how little I really did know. Later, when we were expecting Maggie, we researched and learned even more, and I felt like I was an informed parent-to-be; I felt like I knew enough.

 

But it wasn’t enough. Not enough for me to trust my initial instinct to wait for labor to begin on its own. Not enough for me not to be tempted by the alleged ease and quick pace and “routine-ness” of an induction. Not enough for me to avoid being in labor for eighteen hours. You can never know enough.  When I became pregnant with Lily, I hit the books hard and never looked back. I was intensely more satisfied with my second labor experience and I credit that to my continued pursuit of knowledge. Never stop learning. Never.

 

Ultimately, guys, we’re mammals. We need to understand that the female body was gorgeously created to give life. Childbirth is intuitive for the body, but not the mind. We have to re-introduce ourselves to our bodies and get to know them intimately to get the best results.

 

I understand that medications can be helpful and that they can make things a zilliondy times better for us in the right situation, under specific circumstances, but I will never be comfortable with the idea of medicating the body when medication isn’t required. It is counter-intuitive to chemically change the dynamics of a machine that is doing exactly what it was designed to do. Period.

 

I know that natural childbirth is intimidating. It hurts. A lot. Is it the most horrendous pain of all time that no one alive can live through? Not even close. And the way I look at it is that, based on the research that’s out there, a drug-free delivery is the best option for my babies, so why wouldn’t I be willing to sacrifice of myself for them? Labor is not forever. It is completely doable. People climb mountains and run marathons. Childbirth is no different. It’s a physical challenge to the absolute extreme that will take you to the edge and back…and that’s why it is so incredibly rewarding.

 

 

 

 

I think a lot of women don’t choose natural childbirth because they’ve been told they can’t do it, by society, by other women, by themselves. I’ve literally had people tell me that I’m crazy for wanting to deliver naturally. I’ve been told, “Don’t be a hero, take the drugs.”

 

I’ve often wondered what makes women so negative about the birth choices of other women.   It may be that they don’t understand the desire. It may be that they don’t feel capable and, when met with someone who wants to try, they feel threatened.

 

Maybe they’ve met one too many of those “militant” people. You know, the kind who use their lifestyle choices -which are fine in principle- as weapons to make you feel like absolute garbage.

“I don’t eat that I’m vegan.”

My child wouldn’t know about that…We’re a screen-free family.”

“I delivered my baby on top of Mount Kilimanjaro with only a                                  Sherpa to attend me.”

 

 

Regardless of the cause, I think it’s a shame that women aren’t more empowering of one another, specifically in regards to childbirth. While I’m as pro-natural childbirth as they get, I will never condemn another woman for the choices she makes in delivery. Every woman, every pregnancy, every delivery is unique. I am not the one who walks that road. I only take my own and I don’t think that belittling someone based on their childbirth choices helps anyone.

 

But I do want people to learn. I do want people to give natural a chance. Most importantly, I want to foster a community of women that is encouraging and uplifting. I want my stories and your stories to be an encouragement to others who may be considering natural childbirth, but never though they could do it.

 

Because self-doubt is the biggest enemy. So many women who initially want natural births cave under the negativity, they believe the lie that says they aren’t capable, and they give up before they’ve even begun. And it’s a shame, because you really can do it if you want to. Really.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. I’m not even really all that professional in general, so I’d suggest that you get out there and decide what you think for yourself. And then come back here and tell me about it, ’cause I want to know what you think! This series is meant to provide my personal opinions and to foster dialogue, so chime in and consult a trained medical professional if need be. But definitely chime in! 🙂

Natural Childbirth Part II: Lily’s Birth

Here’s Part II of my reflections on my childbirth experiences. You can check out Part I here.

 

While giving birth to Maggie seemed to be an absolutely endless process of pain and waiting and more pain, Lily’s birth couldn’t be more opposite. My greatest desire was for this labor to be as peaceful as possible and it was pretty close to perfect.

 

I started having contractions around four in the afternoon on May 19th. I had spent the day running errands, playing with Maggie outside, and doing housework. Vin’s parents picked Maggie and me up to go out for dinner around 5:30 and we had a lovely meal at a cute restaurant. Even though I was fairly certain that I was in the early stages of labor, I was also fighting a very Texan craving for some spicy food. So, naturally, I ordered the “Ole Burger” for dinner. It was a huuuuuge burger with pepper jack, topped with onion rings, chipotle mayo, and, best of all, pickled jalapenos. It was soooo good!

 

I mention this burger because it ranks right up there with some of the dumbest food decisions I’ve ever made. I just couldn’t stop myself. The “Ole Burger” called my name and there was no turning back.  It was very similar to the time my brother ordered the “Blowout Burger,” or the other time he ordered the “Big Nasty.” We all knew no good could come of it, but sometimes you just can’t tear yourself away. And apparently the ability to resist terribly named menu items is not a skill possessed by either me or my brother. Suffice it to say that the “Ole Burger” will, like a bad, bad penny, keep turning up.

 

So, after I shamelessly destroyed the “Ole Burger,” we went home. Vin’s parents decided to hang out for a while until he got home from work which gave me the opportunity to take a nice hot shower and shave my legs, which I’m sure the medical staff greatly appreciated. The shower was a perfect comfort measure for me. I truly believe that going into labor is one of the most natural things a woman’s body is designed to do and therefore takes us back to our most basic nature. It only stands to reason that darkness and privacy are just what our animal nature needs to prepare to bring a baby into the world. It reduces stress, which can slow down the labor process, and relaxes the mind, body and soul.

 

After my shower, I felt very peaceful and continued timing contractions, which varied from about eight to five minutes apart. It was about 8:30 or 9 at that point so I went ahead and called Vin at work to let him know it might be a good idea to get home as fast as he could once his shift was over.

 

I basically spent the next two hours chatting with my family, watching TV with Maggie, rounding up bags, and swiveling my hips through contractions. I looked pretty hot doing my “dance moves”, I’m not gonna lie. But, whatever works, right?

 

I was kind of in awe that my body was actually doing what it was supposed to do so easily. Since Maggie was induced, I definitely had some nerves and anxiety throughout my pregnancy about how I would know when I was really going into labor. However, I was coached for months and months by Vin and my friend, Kate, a doula in training, to trust my body to do what it was designed to do so I adopted a lot of faith in my body and its ability. It was so refreshing and delightful to experience the natural onset of labor and I just kept thinking, “My body’s doing it! I’m really doing it!!”

 

When Vin got home from work a little after ten, my contractions were anywhere from three to five minutes apart and getting stronger. Vin changed clothes, we gathered up our loot, kissed Mags goodbye (since we couldn’t get her to stay in bed) and hopped in the truck to go to the hospital.

 

By 10:45 or 11 we were checked in and I was hooked up to the monitors to make sure this was the real deal. The house doctor checked me out and, much to my joy and surprise, I was already dilated to 5 – almost 6 – centimeters! Lily was doing great and, not only did we get to hear that precious heartbeat, but she had a ridiculous case of the hiccups that literally sounded like she was trying to sledgehammer her way out of my belly.

 

Soon after that we were shown to our room and the real fun began! Vin’s mom and dad were there for a while, which was nice while it lasted, but soon and very soon the “Ole Burger” began to take its revenge. It seemed like such a very good idea at the time…but, alas, if you’re a gal like me, the transition period (going from about 7 to 10 cm’s) means that vomiting is in your future. And for me, it most certainly was. I threw up while in labor with Maggie and, sure enough, the “Ole Burger” exacted its revenge about three times during Lily’s labor. Definitely not as good the second and third times around, I can assure you.

 

Shortly after I began puking my guts out I asked my in-laws to go wait in the waiting room. I don’t know if I’m super-private about this sort of thing, but I feel very strongly about it just being me and my husband in the delivery room. Personal preference, I guess, but I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those women who delivers babies with a ginormous audience of family and friends. The medical staff is enough for me! Also, I think it’s easier to focus and concentrate without having too many people around.

 

The only other person besides Vin who was with me the entire time was our nurse, whose name was Luda. You know, like Ludacris, only more eastern European and less thug. But basically the same. Luda was a complete rock star. She was incredibly encouraging. When I told her I wanted to do everything naturally she was immediately on board and never once did she pressure me to get an epidural or pain meds. She was pretty much the best nurse of all time. She stayed with us the entire time, mainly because Lily was so low that the only way we could get a consistent heart beat was if Luda held the monitor in place, readjusting it as needed.

 

Let me take a moment to tell you how much I detest those monitors. I know it’s important to get a good read on the baby’s heart rate and keep track of the contractions, but, Lordy be, those things are SO frustrating. I had hoped to be able to use a birthing ball and/or walk around during this labor, but since I was hooked up to an IV and both monitors, one of which was finicky, it was pretty much impossible for me to move around the way I’d like to. I spent the majority of the time on the bed, but it was nice to be able to adjust the bed how I liked it and move around a bit there. Still, though, I’m not 100% sold on the fact that the monitors are really, really, absolutely necessary. Again, I get the point, but they seriously get in the way and cramp my style. But, I digress…

 

Unlike Pitocin induced contractions, which are non-stop pain, natural contractions are, in my humble opinion, a total breeze. This is not to say that natural contractions are completely painless, but there’s a definite beginning and end to each one which makes the whole thing a lot more doable. I also thought that the contractions were a lot less painful. Vin, Luda, and I all talked and joked throughout the majority of the labor, which was really fun. Vin and I both agreed later that we kept waiting for it to get really, really bad, but it just never happened.

 

In my usual luck our OB was off the weekend that Lily decided to be born, so the doctor that delivered her was a mystery man from our OB’s practice whom we had never met. By the time we were ready to push and things were getting really serious, I had reverted to keeping a cloth over my eyes so I didn’t actually see the doctor when he came into the room. Imagine my surprise when I looked up at one point and saw that he looked like the cheap Halloween costume version of this man:

 

Gilderoy Lockhart, eat your heart out.

 

This doctor seriously had long, curly, poorly highlighted hair and had the personality of Gilderoy Lockhart. I need you to know that I almost laughed out loud when I saw him. Also, I don’t know if I’ve ever felt closer to my husband than when we both brought up the resemblance as soon as we had a second alone…as if it were the most important aspect of the whole night. Oh, how we love us some Harry Potter.

 

So anyway, once Lockhart finally got there, he pretty much took one look at me and told me to start pushing. Now, I’m not going to lie, the pain got pretty intense once it was time to push. I also cannot deny that I did drop another f-bomb during the process. Apparently I cuss when I’m in labor…what are you gonna do? Luckily for me, though, we only pushed through three contractions and perfect little Lily was born at 2:15 am! Yes, you read that right…we went from checking in around 11 pm to having a new baby at 2:15. Super-fast and super-awesome!

 

 

Lily was immediately put on top of me after she was born, the hospital’s version of kangaroo care. I requested that we have immediate skin-to-skin contact, and was assured that it was standard procedure, but we didn’t get as much time as I’d have liked. I think this is a classic example of both sides assuming that they’re on the same page. In the future I think I’ll be far more specific so that we get exactly what we want out of the situation.

 

The only other complaint I have about this birth experience is regarding the IV. I was told by my OB that everyone gets an IV when they’re admitted so that if anything goes wrong they don’t have to rush to get one put in. Sounds completely logical to me. Granted, I had to have antibiotics anyway because I tested positive for Strep B, but I still get annoyed with IV’s because they get in the way in the same way the monitors do. Anyway, I totally understand the preventative uses for giving everyone an IV upon admission. However, I found it highly ironic that, after having a serious amount of blood loss after delivery which required medication to control, the IV stopped working. Luda actually had to give me the meds through regular shots in order to stop the bleeding. Obviously, I understand that things malfunction and that those things can’t be controlled all the time. It’s just really ironic, that’s all.

 

I can honestly say that I’ve never felt so empowered than after delivering naturally. It was something that I’ve always wanted to do and I was so grateful and proud that we had actually done it. I’ve also never felt closer to my husband. I can’t say enough how wonderful it was to have Vin by my side. Unlike, Maggie’s labor, in which I didn’t want to be touched at all, during this labor I couldn’t get enough. I basically wanted the affirmation that Vin was with me. He rubbed my back like a champ and I couldn’t imagine a better companion. I really feel like we got to be a team this time around; Vin got to take an active role as coach during this labor and he was absolutely amazing. Gosh, I love that man.

 

So, basically, delivering without drugs was really, really excellent. In my humble opinion, given my druthers, I’d much rather do things naturally. Stay tuned for a few more of my thoughts on the subject and a guest post by the hubz…and then we’ll stop beating  a dead horse, I promise!