We all make birth plans going in, and what do they say? We make plans, and God laughs? So, I knew that what I had pictured in my mind and what was actually going to take place, very well may not be one in the same.
My first delivery with Dorian was long, hard, and scary. I had no idea what to expect going in, and honestly was just hoping that my body could pull this seemingly impossible feat off. And after a grueling 16-hour delivery and a gnarly episiotomy, little man finally joined us earth side.
After going through this experience with my first, I had an entirely new outlook going into the second. First and foremost, I knew that my body could deliver a decent sized baby vaginally – a “proven pelvis” if you will, and second, I knew what to expect this time around…
I knew that getting the epidural was probably the scariest part of the whole thing, that the IV hurt like hell for some weird reason, and that once you get drugged up you are pretty much chained to that delivery bed by wires, catheters, blood pressure cuffs, and the rest. Basically, I knew I wanted a different experience. One where I felt more in tune with my body, I was free to move and feel my way through contractions and have a speedier delivery that wasn’t slowed down by the drugs… aka, I wanted a natural drug-free delivery.
But could I do it? How bad would it actually hurt? Was I completely insane for even attempting it? Was I going to put myself through intense amounts of pain for no good reason? Well it was intense, that’s for damn sure, but it was for the very best reason… her.
I went into the delivery feeling confident and calm. I was hoping that labor would start naturally for me, but after waiting a week past my due date, my doctor said her time was up and we needed to evacuate the little missy. This made me a little bit nervous because induced labors are known to be much more painful due to the forced contractions by the drug Pitocin.
But my doctor knew my plans and she started me off slow so my body could respond on its own. She broke my water as soon as I got to the Hospital and started me on a slow Pitocin drip. My body started contracting, slowly and gently… so far so good.
After about an hour of what I would describe as pretty legit period cramps, my doctor checked me and I was already 6-7cm dilated. Keep in mind, I came into the hospital at 4-5cm dilated, so I had a bit of a head start. But she said despite my progress, we would need to increase the Pitocin drip.
A couple of more hours passed, and the contractions started getting more intense, but were still manageable. I tried different positions to help ease the pain; sitting on a ball, leaning forward on the edge of the bed, and ended up in the super flattering position of kneeling on all fours on top of the bed, ass to the wind. When you are in labor, a funny thing happens where all decency and modesty fly out the window.
Pretty soon things got intense. I had to loudly moan my way through each contraction as my entire stomach balled up into the most intense rock-hard knot for a duration of about 90 seconds. I would get roughly a minute of reprieve in between while I caught my breath and prepared for the next onslaught of pain.
My husband and my mantra helped me cope through the intense pain. My strategy going into the labor was to view the pain as a separate entity, and not as a part of me. The pain was simply a signal that my body was doing exactly what it was meant to do. To help me remember this, my mantra was “I am not the pain, the pain is not me”. This helped me separate myself from the pain and experience it as an observer instead of being inside the pain, if that makes any sense. I must say, it really did help.
As the pain reached an unbearable place, I told my husband that I couldn’t do this anymore and asked for an epidural. They didn’t even have time to check how dilated I was and called in the anesthesiologist. As I was told to sit still so they could stick a needle in my spine, I went through three of the worst contractions yet, I yelled out loudly in pain.
This is the exact moment when my body started pushing. I was still sitting up getting the epidural, and my body knew it was time. I told the nurse, “I have to push!” and she said that I needed to wait until I was laying back down. As soon as he taped up my back, I laid back down and my body started pushing. There was no stopping this train!
The anesthesiologist had just enough time to give me one pump of drugs before the doctor was down there telling me to push as hard as I could with each contraction. The drugs had not kicked in yet when I felt her head descending to the “ring of fire”. With three huge contractions and the biggest pushes I could muster, her head entered the world. One more push and her shoulders and body slid through. She was here! It was all over, and I felt every single bit of it. I ended up pushing for a total of 8 minutes.
At 2:17pm, 8lbs, 3oz of pure love and joy were placed on my chest, and she was perfect. It was not the birthing experience I predicted, but in the end, it was exactly what I wanted. It moved quickly, I was free to move around, and in the end, she was alert and healthy. I am in awe of what women are capable of and what we give in order to become mothers, it is truly astounding.
Now we are one week in, and I can say she is the sweetest girl. Do my nipples hurt like hell? Of course, they do! But man am I so incredibly grateful for the family we have built that is now complete. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.
Whatever your birthing experience may be; natural, induction, c-section, epidural… only one thing matters, that sweet baby that you get to go home with. There are so many different ways to become a mother, and all of them are incredibly powerful. To all the mothers out there, you are badass and I am so honored to be a part of such an incredible community.