This is part two of my first (and only other) discussion. I started off a worry wart about delivering med-free and intervention free in the hospital setting - this is my story:

After switching docs twice and seven months into my pregnancy, I finally found an awesome midwife! 

The catch with my insurance was that I would be covered under a midwife in the hospital setting only...I'll take it!

I read Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method (http://www.amazon.com/HypnoBirthing-natural-approach-comfortable-bi...). My midwife was very familiar and complimentary of this method so I was comfortable knowing we'd be in sync come birth time. I couldn't afford to take a hypnobirthing class so I stuck to the book, reading it three times. My husband was skeptical of the method and never wanted to practice the relaxation techniques with me (which I was fine with - it wasn't his thing) so for you women out there who are counting on the book and yourself only - no worries! It can be done!  

About a week before I went into labor, I noticed three bright drops of blood in the shower. I couldn't have been more excited! I called my midwife to exclaim I was in labor and my husband quickly packed his hospital bag....days later and it was still a no go. This was the hardest part...being anxious. The waiting game.

On September 22, I began losing my mucous plug continually all day and I felt what seemed to be random menstrual cramps. I also felt gassy and constipated. I was excited, but didn't allow myself to get as anxious as before. I didn't even call my midwife this time.

I could only sleep a couple of hours that night. I kept going to the toilet, hoping to let out some gas or something. I wasn't in pain. It just felt like the first day of my period. 

The next day, September 23, I figured I was in labor...maybe...I still wasn't sure! But this mucous plug kept on coming and I still felt crampy once in a while - not like the Braxon Hicks, just exactly like bloating or period cramps. My husband suggested I start timing them. I'd get two "cramps" an hour and they lasted between 15 and 30 seconds. This was my mom's birthday and I decided to throw a family get together to celebrate. My husband thought I was crazy for secretly laboring while throwing a birthday bash. It was kind of fun...but my sister caught on to me when I ran randomly to the bathroom thinking I was going to let loose a whole lot of gas. While I was out of the room she spotted the scratch piece of paper I'd been writing down my times on. She called out after me, "Are you in labor!?" I didn't fess up to it as not to create a frenzy and everyone went home at the end of the evening not really knowing my little secret. By the time they left, these "period cramps" were 20 minutes apart (off and on) and lasting sometimes up to two minutes. 

I cleaned up the house. My husband went to bed. I told him I was going to camp out in the living room so I can medal around, watch T.V., toss and turn in peace, listen to my hypnobirthing CD -  just in case this was it...

Well, this was it. The cramping remained the same intensity as period cramps but kept getting more frequent. I snoozed in between them as best as I could while listening to relaxing music. I kept myself super hydrated with gatorade and well fed for my energy. I was peeing every half hour. Halfway though the night, I'd catch the chills a couple of times and shiver for a good couple of minutes, and then become burning hot. Like hot flashes, I guess. I never became nauseous, but I threw up a few times (drinking red gatorade before throwing up will really put a scare into you when you see what comes out! :)  )  I also felt a lot of pressure on my anus and wanted so badly just to take a big dump! The cramps had also now consumed my entire torso - front and back. This wasn't unbearable, mind you. 

I continued on like this until 11:00 when I'd recorded my cramps occuring every five minutes consistently. I woke my husband to tell him and called my midwife. Her response: "You still sound like you have a smile in your voice, so I want you to stay home another hour or two - until you feel like you've had enough and can't take it any more."

A half hour later, I couldn't move an inch without getting one of those uncomfortable cramps. That made me very irritated and the hospital was an hour away. So my husband and I thought it best to leave. 

I arrived at the hospital seven cm dilated! I exclaimed aloud, "Yes! That's awesome!". I settled into the bed with my iPod in my ear and deep breathed through what I'm still going to call period cramps because, really, that's what it felt like to me. I went in fearless and never allowed one part of my body to tense up - keeping even my facial muscles cool and calm. Nothing happens between the contractions so that's when I ran a checklist up and down my body making sure I was totally relaxed. And then I deep breathed through the contractions taking them one at a time, forgetting the past and not even thinking about the future.

My birth plan asked that I would not be offered medication and I wasn't. The staff hardly even spoke to me. I loved that. My husband rubbed my feet. Awesome! Those pressure points felt good! I continued going to the bathroom every once in a while and I threw up here and there - not out of nausea, just because my body needed to, I guess. 

When I felt like I had to take a crap and wouldn't be able to control myself otherwise, I told the nurse.  She checked me and called my midwife in. Game time! Boy was I happy to get the okay to push! This was my favorite part because I was starting to feel restless and now I could finally do something! I pushed when I wanted to and I chose to give it a go with every contraction. The intermittent monitors reported my baby as being "too sleepy" so they put an oxygen mask on me which actually felt refreshing. It's those dang intermittent belts that were the worst part of labor! Imagine having two thick belts tightly around your waist on the first day of your period! I came close to ripping those off! Hospital procedure, though. Mandatory unfortunately. 

Twenty minutes into pushing (which just feels like taking one of those stubborn dumps), I was moved to the birthing throne - the toilet - to push there. That really helped. The nurses were against me "birthing my baby into the toilet" but my midwife was my advocate and allowed me to push for ten minute there. I ended up delivering on the bed.

I remember my midwife telling me to slow down in the end - probably because I was tearing. But I couldn't feel myself tear. It's true about your body kicking in those natural pain killers! I felt great! I even ended up with a second degree tear. I wouldn't have known it if she didn't tell me. 

The staff and my midwife followed my birth plan to the T. She waited until the umbilical cord to stop pulsing before she clamped it, and I held my baby (wow! my baby!) for an hour before they even took her to weigh her or wash her. 20 inches 8.1 pounds. 

I arrived at the hospital at 2:30PM and delivered at 7:25PM. It felt like an hour. My relaxation techniques alloted me total time distortion! 

Not to brag (okay, maybe a little), but the nurses told me I was the only labor room that day that wasn't screaming! They all kept telling me how impressed the staff was and that they see me popping out another baby real soon. That felt good to hear. They kept remarking on how good and alert I felt right afterward. And they were equally as impressed with how alert my baby was and how quick she took to nursing. 

I praise the Lord for the strength he gave me, for helping me prepare for that day, and for blessing me with a midwife who was my advocate in the hospital setting for a natural birth! 

This is really long-story-short (Yet still long! Sorry!). But in a nut shell, that's my birth story.

Love, Susan

P.S.
Newborns are intense! I wish there was hypno-parenting!! :)



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Thanks for sharing! Sounds like a beautiful labor and birth!
Yay! I love reading positive birth stories, especially with your concerns before. I think you'll inspire others with your experience, so way to go, rock star mama!
Thank you, Amanda. I remember having to sort past a lot of "negative" birth stories in order to find some positive ones. Seems like all the positive ones were natural birthers who really did their research (and were low-risk of course).
I'm happy everything went so well for you. Great birth story. Evie is a beautiful baby!

I have an Eva, and if your Evie lives up to her name as much as my sweet girl does, you will be truly blessed. My mom's birthday is also Sept. 23. How funny.
Wow! Double coincidences! :)

Thanks for reading! Eva is so cute! Looks like a fun age!
Congrats to you and Welcome to baby Evie! Thanks for your story. Details and honesty in stories, such as yours, are very encouraging and helpful! You hear so many horror stories when you're expecting, which personally, I feel are from the women who had a hard time and hope that all other women do too. You know, misery loves company.. So, I don't know if there are actual studies supporting this, but from what I've gathered, it seems women who have cramps during menstruation are usually the ones who say labor was bearable, and the women who've always had easy menstrual cycles are the ones who have a harder time with the "pain" of labor.
Totally agree with you on the misery loves company thought! I had dozens of women roll their eyes at my desire to have a natural labor. They didn't believe I'd do it because theirs was "so aweful".

I rarely have cramps when I menstruate! So I want to bust that myth! Someone told me that theory before I gave birth and it scared me. It wasn't true in my case.
So many mysteries of child-birth! I thought I had that one figured out! Well, praise the Lord for helping you through! I'm praying for a low-key labor myself.

I am learning to keep some details to myself to save the earful, eye-rolls, etc. Baby names and preference for no intervention are pregnancy topics comparable to voting choices and religion; sometimes they're just subjects better to avoid in conversation with acquaintances and strangers.
Hahaha. Well said!
Congrats on your beautiful birth and daughter. Don't you feel so empowered? Thanks for sharing your story.

As an advocate for understanding of Informed Concent though I wanted to say that nothing about hospital policy is actually mandatory--by law they can't force you to agree to anything just b/c its their policy. Your right to informed concent is absolute and supercedes any policy they wish to make. The Continious Fetal Monitoring belts are very uncomfortable. And while the hospital will tell you you have to use them you don't. You can refuse them and request intermittent monitoring by a handheld doppler. So for next time...you know you don't have to put up w/the discomfort if them on top of labor & delivery. And for others that may wish to avoid the discomfort you described, they have the absolute right to refuse them--policy or not.

Again congrats on your achievement. :)
I knew it! They really make you feel like you're breaking the law sometimes! Thanks for the info. Next time I'll know.
Thank you so much for sharing in such detail!! Congrats on a peaceful birth and a really beautiful baby.  Isn't it nice you got to show the nurses what a normal birth should look like!  

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