Unmedicated Childbirth.

Asher, just moments after his arrival.
On September 4, 2011 at 8:24 p.m. I gave birth to our second child.
Asher Rhys Hobbs (otherwise known as TWO) weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and was 19 1/4 inches long when he entered the world. Through the grace of God and an awesome support system, I completed this process without medication or interventions of any kind. And yeah … I’m really, ridiculously proud of myself.
I had been in prodromal labor, or false labor, or “pre-labor,” or whatever you want to call it (hell) for weeks. I kept reading about my latest symptoms in my pregnancy and childbirth books and according to the “signs of labor,” I should have had TWO several times over before I actually went into labor for real.
I quit working at 37 weeks because I was sure that I would go into labor early — because of the amount of contractions, etc. — but the joke was clearly on me. TWO was born a week late. BUT. When it happened, it happened fast. Apparently, that is what takes place when you wait for a baby to come when he’s ready. He just pops out. It was very hard on me to be patient and wait on him, but there was no medical reason to induce and I just wanted to do what was best for him. So I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

On Tuesday night, I called my parents because I was sure I was in labor. I had contractions all day and they were increasing in intensity, although they weren’t getting closer together. They immediately drove 6 hours from Baton Rouge and of course by the time they arrived my contractions had vanished and we were back to waiting. 
I might have cried a little bit. I felt pathetic.
Luckily they were planning to come for the long Labor Day weekend anyway, but I still felt horrible about them rushing up only to find that there was STILL no baby. Looking back on it, I am so thankful that they were here for those few days before real labor actually began. Husband was working and it was really nice to have someone with me at all times. I needed moral support. I needed to be fed. I needed to be distracted. I needed help with ONE, and I needed to be told over and over and over again that everything was going to work out fine.
Being 41 weeks pregnant is, in my opinion, harder on the mind than it is on the body. I started to truly believe the baby was never going to come, or if he did, that something would be wrong with him. It was emotionally draining to tell people every day that yes — I was still pregnant. I didn’t like feeling like I had to explain why I was still pregnant (the baby wasn’t ready yet) because a lot of people seemed confused as to why I would allow myself to go even one day over my due date. I started to question my decisions and my plan to have a natural, unmedicated delivery.
Husband was equally as worn out but in a different way. He was anxious to meet TWO and worried about me, and he was trying to be supportive — although I know he was sick of being bitched at by a very pregnant lady. At this point I’d been pregnant for almost a year which is a freaking long time to be hormonal. We were both just ready for the baby to get here so we could move forward. He kept assuring me I was doing great, that TWO would be here soon and he was 100% supportive of my plan to go without medication. There were several points where, had he suggested that we just go ahead and schedule an induction, I definitely would have caved. But he never did. He always made me feel like he believed in what I was doing, and even if he didn’t understand it, he knew I could DO it.
This is why I love my husband.

I tried to distract myself with ONE’s birthday, which was Saturday, September 3. He turned three and it was so much fun. Who wouldn’t be distracted by this cuteness?! This is probably the end of the high chair era for him — it’s getting hard to squeeze him in there — and that kind of makes me sad.

ONE turns three!!

 I felt happy that his special day wasn’t disrupted by anything crazy. We celebrated all day and went to bed late. On Sunday, my entire family except for my mother went to a reunion in Gadsden, AL which is about an hour and a half away. My mother didn’t go because she wanted to be here if I went into labor. Husband was off work so he was home with me as well.

I woke up in a terrible mood. It was rainy and gross outside, which matched my mood exactly. My mom kept telling me that she felt certain that the baby would arrive before they had to leave the next day, and suggested that we go for a long walk to see if that would get anything started.


Around noon, we went to the mall (again) to walk (again) and by the time we were on our third lap around I knew something was UP. I started having contractions that took my breath away and I said we needed to go home right then. From that point on, things started happening. Time seemed to stop, or maybe it’s just that it didn’t matter. I was sort of in denial that this could be the real thing, so I pretended nothing was going on. I basically ignored my contractions and puttered around the house for a little while, getting last minute things together while Husband took ONE over to my aunt’s house. He said it was just in case this was for real … my guess is, he could probably tell this was finally it.

When my contractions were 7 minutes apart, I decided to call my doctor. I could still walk and talk through them, they were just like bad menstrual cramps. I wasn’t in what I would consider any real pain, so I wasn’t planning to rush off to the hospital just yet. But when I spoke with the doctor on call and she learned that this was my second baby and I was already super dilated, she “strongly recommended” that I come in as soon as possible. 

Actually, she asked me if my support people were comfortable delivering babies. And when I laughed, she said “I’m going to need you to come in as soon as you can.” So we did.

As soon as Husband came home we got ready to leave. My mom said a prayer with us and then we headed to the hospital. I felt relaxed and oddly comfortable on the way over. Everything looked super clear and crisp, I could hear everything and see everything. I’m sure it was probably from adrenaline, but I remember the hyper-awareness felt strange, like I was on drugs, but I wasn’t.

When we arrived at the hospital it was very quiet. It seemed like I might have been the only person in labor that day. The nurses were all so nice and they immediately led us to a large birthing suite which was in a wing off to the side. The “Crazy Lady Wing,” as Husband called it. For people who didn’t want to be medicated. The room was dimly lit and had the cozy feeling of a bedroom, and it was strange that I still felt relaxed even though we were in a hospital. My nurse was very NORMAL, which is all I wanted … I had hoped I would get one who was just plain normal, and I did. She checked and found I was at 6 centimeters with a “bulging bag of water” and when I found that out, I was glad we were there and not at my house or in the car.

The doctor on call came in to check me out as well and I instantly took a liking to her. Her name was Dr. Duke and she was youngish; my mom pointed out to me that she reminded her of my friend Kate who is now a doctor. That might have been why I liked her from the beginning. She was very warm and personable and seemed to appreciate what I was doing. She took the time to read over my birth plan. They told me I was free to do whatever I wanted to do, but I couldn’t leave the room because they needed to keep a close eye on me. I had no idea that it was possible for things to progress so quickly, but in a really short amount of time I went from feeling okay and walking around the room, to feeling like I HAD TO GET INTO WATER, like right this minute.

Brookwood Medical Center does not allow water births, but they do provide a massive inflatable tub that you can labor in until it’s time to push. This apparatus was … SOMETHING. Had I not been in active labor, I would have thought it was funny. It looked like a gigantic life raft with various handles all over it and a bench built in, if you want to sit on a bench. I did not. I wanted to sit in the middle of it so as much of me as possible could be submerged. They frantically blew it up and filled it with water and it was ready at the exact time that I really needed to get in. 

The warm water was instant pain relief. Honestly, I coped very well with the pain when I was in the tub. When I got out, which I think was only two different times because they needed to monitor me, I was astonished at how much it hurt. It felt like I was being crushed. But as soon as I got back in the water, I could handle it. I started out chatting with Husband between contractions, and he offered to rub my back if I needed him to, but very quickly I got to the point where I didn’t want to be touched or talked to at ALL. I went deep into myself and I concentrated on what I was trying to think of as a task.

I expected to start throwing up but I never did. I have vague memories of my mother coming in and out to check on me and I heard her say that we needed to manage my breathing so I didn’t hyperventilate. Husband got at eye level with me and made me look at him and breathe with him through each contraction. I wanted to tell him thank you, but I couldn’t formulate coherent thoughts. It was such an intense experience. It’s like I was unaware of anything except for dealing with what my body was doing. I think Husband put some spa music on at one point, but shortly after that I needed him to hold my hands during the contractions because I just felt like I needed to hang on to someone. I felt like if I didn’t, the intensity was going to sweep me away.

Suddenly, I felt like it was time to push. This shocked me because I felt like it was really soon for that. I figured I had just entered transition because I knew that was when it was supposed to get really, really bad. Husband ran into the hallway and yelled for a nurse. They helped me out of the tub and checked me — and this part is a blur — but they said it was time to push and I did. Almost involuntarily. It was also around this time that I started coping with the blinding pain by screaming at the top of my lungs. The doctor didn’t have all of her gear on in time … and in 2.5 pushes, he was OUT.

And it was over. As soon as he was out, I felt no pain. I felt exhausted, but I felt exhilarated, like I could have stood up and walked out of the room holding him right then and there. My poor dad was waiting down the hall and he had to listen to me screaming. I didn’t expect to be a “screamer,” but until you are in that kind of pain there is no way to predict how you will react. I joked with the nurses that I probably scared all of their other patients and they assured me that this happens all the time.

I bet it does, at least in the Crazy Lady Wing.

TWO is perfect and although it was intense, I couldn’t have asked for a better delivery. It was over in 3 hours and 2.5 pushes and my recovery has been almost ridiculously easy. Actually, everything has been easy since he was handed to me. Some people thought it was insane that I would want an unmedicated delivery, but it was the best decision I could have made for myself and for TWO. We just got in there and knocked it out.

Recovering

ONE has some adjusting to do, but so far he is being a very sweet big brother. He saves his angst for us, which is fine. We can’t believe we are now the parents of two children. It’s scary, but I am trying to take it one feeding, one battle, one day, at a time.

  

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3 thoughts on “Unmedicated Childbirth.

  1. Oh, Harmony, it's perfect! The whole thing is perfect. You did AMAZING, as I knew you would. You were patient and let your body do what it needed to do – God's timing, as our doula said. I know how hard it was to wait, but you hung in there like a superstar.

    I remember the feeling of being so inwardly focused that everything else just kind of faded into the distance. Our bodies are made to do truly remarkable things. I am just so happy for you. Congratulations again on your sweet, perfect, beautiful baby boy! I can't wait to meet him.

    Like

  2. I am THRILLED that you had the birth experience that you wanted so badly! It is so wonderful when your body is allowed to do what it is meant to do. I wish more women could have this type of experience. I think it's sort of life changing. You feel so in tune with your body and feel a sort of pride and amazement for your womanhood. This is a beautiful story and such a happy ending! Thank you for sharing it! Congratulations to you all!

    Like

  3. Pingback: My Middle Child. | Modern Mommy Madness

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