The Longest Push of My Life (a natural, hospital birth story)

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Being pregnant for my third baby brought about so many emotions. In the beginning I had this strong anxiety that something would go wrong. How on earth was it possible for me to be pregnant again so easily and how would I ever be so lucky to have another healthy baby and pregnancy (sidenote: my pregnancies aren't totally easy)? It all felt too good to be true. 

That brings me to my birth...I had already had two beautiful, unmedicated births and I just had this fear that things wouldn't go our way this time. I mean, I KNOW a woman's abilities and I know just how natural childbirth is, but I still never take that for granted. It also didn't help that at our 36 week ultrasound this baby was measuring a lot bigger than our other two. Now don't get me wrong, I know a woman can easily deliver a large baby vaginally, but being my others were smaller and I hadn't delivered a bigger one yet, it did manage to mess with my head a little. 

At 39 weeks and 6 days, I laid down for a nap and as I went to get out of bed an hour later, I felt a few large gushes of water come out. I sat there totally confused because leaking a little urine was unfortunately not a foreign thing to me this pregnancy. But this time seemed different since it was SO much. I finally decided after about 20 minutes that maybe I should just call the nurse and see what she thought. Two hours later and the nurse had yet to call back and I was staying relatively dry, so I convinced myself it was just a bladder issue. 

After playing outside with my kids and then beginning a lasagna for dinner, I decided to post about my issue in a natural birthing group where to my surprise tons of mamas chimed in to tell me it sounded like my water broke. A few minutes later and the nurse called back and agreed as well. I was a little surprised since my water breaking for my second child was totally different. But nevertheless, I was contracting a little and knew that there was likely no way I really did pee myself that much (even though my husband thought I did). So we finished dinner and slowly packed things up and dropped our kids off. We even stopped for milkshakes on the way to the hospital at 8:30pm (thank God because the labor diet would hit me soon). 

We will sum up the first night as this -- the assessment center was packed so overflow sent me to a labor and delivery room. The first test showed it as negative for my water breaking and finally after a more thorough test, they proved it was my water. So we were admitted and set to stay in the labor room until the baby came. Unfortunately the contractions coming in were mild and nothing consistent; so we went to sleep and hoped for the best. Having my water break before labor scared me because I know that it puts a time limit on a birth. Once that water breaks, doctors don't like babies to stay in typically any more than 24-36 hours (so I even fudged the time it broke by an hour or so to give me more time). 

At 4:30 am I awoke from my crappy night of sleep to a stronger contraction that made me decide to call my mom and tell her to come up so we could start walking and have a baby. By 7:00 am the on call doctor came to check on me and I was disappointed it wasn't my actual doctor (she wasn't in for my first two births either). While the on call doctor was fine with my natural birth plan, she was intending to do what I feared -- she was putting a time limit on my birth because of the broken water bag and wanted me to either induce or naturally induce with a membrane sweep. I was disappointed and it especially didn't help that I still wasn't progressed past 3cm and I wasn't in "active, painful" labor. She left for me to have some time to think it over when suddenly a few minutes later MY doctor was in for the day and alleluia -- everything was better! My doctor being as fabulous as she is, wanted me to do my thing just as I pleased and encouraged me to pump once an hour to stimulate labor. She'd then come back to check on me after lunch some time. 

Don't worry, this story speeds up soon. 

 By 2:00ish I was still sitting around 3cm but my cervix was looking better. I knew though it wasn't looking good for me because I wasn't in my normal, zombie like labor mode. I was still able to speak, text and even Facebook -- the contractions just weren't that painful yet. I was scared I would soon be induced when my doctor came to check on me. She came and decided to check me for a forebag of waters (basically another bag) and low and behold there was one. She broke the water bag and I kid you not that by 2:30 I was in complete zombie mode. I was finally in REAL, active labor. My goal was to have this baby quickly (I was tired) and before my doctor left for the day. I wanted her to deliver my baby SO badly. 

I'm not sure what time it was, but probably two hours later I felt the urge to push and this is where things become SO different than my previous births. In the past my urge to push resulted in me hopping onto the bed and pushing a baby out within minutes. But this time, my urge to push was met with a wall that was only 8cm and not completely thinned. And as it turned out, baby was positioned occiput posterior as I suspected. 

I just wanted to push. I just wanted the painful, exhausting contractions to end. With each labor I go through I always tell myself there's no way I can handle it for as long as I did with my first; but I know that's a lie because I'm too damn determined. I pleaded and begged God the whole time for it to be quick. I just wanted to meet my baby and have all of the pains go away.

Every birth I have a weird mantra in my head and for some reason this time I kept singing Nelly Furtado's song "I'm Like a Bird." I'm not totally sure why, but I think in my head I would envision a bird opening it's wings and that symbolizing my cervix opening up and the "fly away" part as birth. I sang these lines through most of my contractions as I walked the halls of the hospital (in my head of course).  

My doctor did manage to turn baby the right way (which was a crazy, weird feeling) and along with my awesome nurses, I would get into many odd positions (squatting, squat bar, positioning over the toilet, hands and knees with hip rotations, etc...)  to help aid in completion. This whole process lasted probably near an hour -- a very defeating hour that left me hopeless towards the end (all do to a small piece of cervix that was in the way). And before I go on, let me say that stratling the toilet totally helps open you up and encourage that need to push. DO IT - as weird as it is! 

I remember as I sat there over the toilet that I started to doubt this would end the way I envisioned. I feared I wouldn't have the strength to push; I feared he would stay stuck in the birth canal. For some reason I also kept misreading my nurse's signals as she was frantically trying to keep a hold of the baby's heartbeat. I assumed on many occasions his heartbeat wasn't doing that great and a few times I feared she couldn't even find it. But I later realized this was never the case and I was just misreading her expressions and determination to keep tabs on his heartbeat (she was actually holding the wireless monitor on me wayyyyyy down there for a long time while I squatted over the toilet, poor thing lol). 

As I finally now stood by the bed and was trying to ride out the contractions, I began to push and finally felt what I believed to be a baby coming out of there. They had grab the doctor as she had undressed for a quick second to step out of the door -- poor thing couldn't even suit back up for my birth because I wasn't stopping pushing! I hopped into bed and began pushing for still what felt like an eternity. It took quite a few tries, but finally I could see in the mirror that there was indeed a baby coming out. In fact, his birth was the first one I really witnessed in the mirror.

Part of my birth plan was to pull him out myself, but when the doctor asked me to do so, I just couldn't get myself to do it and in fact I screamed out, "No I just want to push him out." I was just so focused on pushing, that I couldn't get myself to pull him out. His shoulders were a tad harder on me to get out and even I can look back and tell you that I wasn't quite as quiet during this birth - let's just say I truly felt every 8lbs and 10oz of him coming out! The process of pushing him out seemed longer and more intense than my previous two, but no matter what, it's still the best few minutes of my life. 

That beautiful baby boy finally laid on my chest. Finally.

He was perfect and he was here. It was over. 

My birth plan included a saline lock with no IV, intermittent wireless monitoring, tub access (that I never used), pulling baby out, immediate skin to skin, delayed cord clamp, immediate nursing and delayed bath. My amazing doctor waited what was probably close to five minutes it felt like on the cord clamp - so awesome! My doctor was truly amazing and I'm so glad that she was able to deliver my baby. And if my nurses get a hold of this post, I can't say enough about them. They had so much knowledge and patience with me and my birth. They took the reins and really help me get that baby out. They were amazing and I will say it over and over again, if you have the right doctors and nurses you CAN have a beautiful, natural hospital birth. 

I can never say enough about these birth experiences. While people say I am crazy or "amazing" for doing what I do, it's just birth. We are all amazing no matter how we birth our babies; I'm doing it the way that so many have already done before.

It does take a whole lot of determination and perseverance (and even mental preparation) to make it through such a painful, yet glorious process. Feeling every detail, every ache, every burning sensation as that baby comes out is SO worth it. I relive my births all the time and can truly put myself back into that moment. The pain of the contractions fade...you forget about that. It's the pushing and the actual birth part that you can always "feel" and always relive over and over. It's one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life to do this and I will forever cherish these moments and births

I can't believe I am blessed enough to be the mommy to three beautiful, healthy children. There are days where I don't feel worthy enough and days where I feel like I'm supermom. Adding this sweet baby boy to the mix was the best and sweetest blessing ever (no matter how crazy life is right now). He has completely stolen my heart more than I imagined he could and I look SO forward to the first smile he gives me, the first time he says "mommy" or "I love you," and the first time he brings me a flower. I hope years from now I can share his birth story with him and tell him how that moment he was on my chest crying for the first time, was one of the best moments of my life. 

Lastly, a special thanks to my amazing mom and husband who always work and support me so much during my births. I could NEVER do it without them. <3 

Thanks for reading and sharing our story to encourage others. 

READ MY FIRST BIRTH HERE  // MY SECOND BIRTH HERE

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Sasha Savoy

Sasha is the owner and founder of The Mushy Mommy, a natural mother and baby boutique and The Mushy Mommy Village. She is a SAHM who works hard at living as minimal and unprocessed as possible, but never claims perfection. Her mission is to inspire, encourage, enlighten and empower mothers all over to feel good about their choices, to make healthy choices and to enjoy motherhood and all of its beauty and chaos. 

Topics for a Natural Minded Birth Plan

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There's a million ways that a birth can go; we all know that. We all know that sometimes things just don't work quite as planned or sometimes we surrender into things that were not on the plan. And that's okay. The beauty of a birth plan is having the awareness to realize that things don't always play out perfectly.

However if you are someone who has a certain vision for their birth or the process immediately following the birth, then perhaps this post can help you think of the different things that YOU want. Not the things that you think you need, what your doctor says you need or what your mother says you should do. This birth is all about you, your baby and even baby's father too. It should be a special moment to have a special day of memories and some of the most breathtaking moments of your life. 

So what are some basics for a good natural minded birth plan? Keep in mind that this blog post is just a recommendation of some wonderful things to consider, but there are many others that you can even consider that are likely not mentioned here. Also, do not feel that to be "natural" you have to do ALL of these. Especially in the afterbirth process, you choose what you're comfortable with. 

For the actual labor 

  • No induction. Unless it is absolutely medically necessary and can be evidence based, don't get pressured into induction. Pitocin  makes labor pains much more intense and very hard to handle naturally, so avoid induction at all costs. Don't buy into the pressure that baby is too big or that you're over your due date. Do some research on these topics if they begin to come up. 
  • Narcotics vs Epidural. If your goal was a drug free labor but unfortunately you're having a hard time handling the pain (hey, it happens!), but you are hesitant to try an epidural - you can ask for narcotics first. Talk to your practitioner about this before the birth to have an idea of their typical protocol. 
  • The ability to move. For all of my labors I request wireless or intermittent monitoring. Some mothers don't want monitoring at all and only for brief checkups throughout the process (this is intermittent) and some moms like myself, enjoy the sound of baby's heartbeat the whole time. The only reason I choose monitoring is because my facility offers wireless monitoring that allows me to move freely, take warm baths and walk the hallways, etc... Typically a laboring mother finds the most comfort when she can move. 
  • No IV. Being trapped down to IV lines can be awful for a laboring mother as these can prevent the mother from moving as well. If you have to be stuck to one (I was with my first) it is actually easy for your coach or partner to wheel around as you walk around. However if you do not need one, ask to NOT have one or to have a saline lock put in place for emergency use. Hospitals will likely require the saline lock but midwives and birth centers are more prone to not use one at all.
  • The right to eat. This is such a controversial subject sometimes. Quite honestly, I don't typically request food other than popsicles or something cool during my labors. However, it is your right to request food. More research lately is showing that food during labor is not as "taboo" as considered before and can really help the laboring mother gain her an extra dose of energy. Bring your own nut snacks, granola bars, fruit, etc... to snack on if you are unsure that your nurses will actually get food for you. 
  • Tubs and water relaxation. Getting into a warm bath is amazing. Unfortunately not all places may be equipped with a tub or blow up tub for a mother, so this may be something that you want to ask about in the beginning of your pregnancy. If they have it, use it; it's your right. Don't let a doctor or nurse stray you away from what can be truly relaxing. However be aware that sometimes a warm bath in the early stage of labor can possibly relax you enough to slow labor down, so you may be told to wait until around 5 cms dilated to get into the tub. Each situation can be so different sometimes when it comes to this. 
  • Use of other amenities. Your birthing room whether you're at a hospital or a birth center, should be equipped with a birthing stool, a birth ball, handles on the bed and even hand massagers. All sorts of goodies! Ask about these items and have your birth coach or partner remember to request them during labor just to try so you can determine what works. 

For the afterbirth 

  • Delayed cord clamp. It has been widely known for some time that delaying the clamp of the umbilical cord does wonders for baby. Luckily this practice has finally been accepted by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Straight from their website: "Delayed umbilical cord clamping appears to be beneficial for term and preterm infants. In term infants, delayed umbilical cord clamping increases hemoglobin levels at birth and improves iron stores in the first several months of life, which may have a favorable effect on developmental outcomes." Request that your doctor delays the cord clamp until the cord has stopped pulsating. 
  • Immediate skin to skin/breastfeeding. Request to have baby placed immediately skin to skin with you followed by the right to breastfeed soon whenever you are ready. I ALWAYS breastfeed before visitors come in, before bath, before they move me to my recovery room, etc... Once my baby is placed on my skin, baby doesn't leave. Most things that they "want" to do and check can be done while baby is still on you. 
  • Delayed bath. You may be thinking this is gross, but I promise it really isn't. The longer baby is coated in all of that gooey stuff, the better for their immunity and resistance. Basically that gooey stuff helps fight off germs. But don't worry, you can wipe baby up enough to look clean without actually bathing it off. It's up to you how long you choose to delay the bath. 
  • The right to your placenta. Want to eat your placenta? Or use it in capsules postpartum? Or perhaps have an artist make a placenta impression? Your placenta is yours. 
  • The right to a voice. Say no to things that you may be uncomfortable with such as pitocin for afterbirth, baby's shots, circumcision, baby's eye ointments, etc... Just make sure you have done your research to make these decisions based off of your own beliefs (and not others). Just because you want to be natural doesn't mean you have to say no to things that you may believe in, such as circumcision or the vitamin K shot. 

These topics are the most frequently requested topics in plans but still, not every millennial mama realizes she can have a VOICE on these. So many mamas fall victim to just following their doctors and nurses like zombies, that they don't realize until after that they could have said no. It's not that this is a bad thing, we obviously want to trust our practitioners. However we need to do what is in the best interest of us and our baby, and unfortunately even the best doctors in the world don't always do things in that way. 

Have a voice. 

Have a plan. 

And have acceptance for how your plan may or may not get altered. 

Birth is a natural and beautiful thing, so enjoy every moment of it. 

Here's to hoping you have the birth of your dreams. 

 

My Two Births: Scheduled vs Not

My husband kept telling me, “Don’t be a hero.”
— Jess Bedsole
 Contributor Jess' two very different births!&nbsp;

Contributor Jess' two very different births! 

My first baby I was positive I wouldn’t need an epidural. I knew I had the pain tolerance. I knew I was a warrior. I knew I could do it. 

And then labor happened. 

I had prodromal labor for two days before I went into “real” labor…but my prodromal labor was two days of 90 second long contractions that were two minutes apart. 

After a few hours of what I thought was “real” labor we went to the hospital and learned I wasn’t making cervical change. Prodromal. Crap. The second time they kept me because I had an abruption. I won’t go into details, but it got gnarly. 

I ended up delivering a gorgeous baby after 36 total hours of misery. About 30 hours into it, I begged for the epidural. I was in so much pain I was hallucinating. I truly believed my beloved childhood horse was in the room with us (hilarious now, then…totally confusing)

My second baby was scheduled. Around 20 weeks I started having contractions from as little as walking down the driveway, so we worried he would arrive too early. By 37 weeks I was beyond miserable and I asked my midwife if we could induce. She let me schedule it for 39w4d. 

Want to know how that went down? My husband and I dropped our toddler off for a sleepover at Grandma’s. We went out to a delicious dinner together and laughed nervously about how much our lives were about to change. We excitedly drove to the hospital, following the speed limit. 

I slept in a hospital bed. In the morning they pumped the meds and by 4:15 in the afternoon we had another gorgeous baby boy. I laid in that bed for 20 hours, painlessly. Around 3:15 in the afternoon I started feeling my baby move to transition and knew go-time was coming. 

I experienced 36 hours of discomfort the first time and one hour of discomfort the second. 

Granted, my deliveries were much different. My first baby descended smoothly and with grace. I pushed for 35 adrenaline-filled minutes (some of the most thrilling of my life) and there he was. 

My second ricocheted all the way down through my hips like a pin ball and I had to power-push him out in under 5 minutes. 

I am proud of my experience with my first baby having done as much as I did on my own. My husband kept telling me, “Don’t be a hero.” That phrase helped as I went into my second pregnancy and planned the birth. 

In the end, I had two beautiful baby boys. How they got here doesn’t really matter but since pregnant women can’t seem to think about anything but what labor and delivery will be like, I thought this post would be a good one. 

The most important thing is health of baby and mama. For me, mentally I couldn’t do another labor like my first. Having it scheduled was a weight lifted. The experience was completely different and exactly what I needed in that chapter of my life.

How do you feel about scheduled labors? It isn't for everyone but it worked out beautifully for Jess. We would love to hear your thoughts. 

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Jess Bedsole

As a breastfeeding advocate, cloth diaper enthusiast, essential oil user and garden-appreciating homebody, Jess Bedsole is pretty crunchy. She can usually be found in the kitchen or scouring Pinterest for new recipes because she's passionate about what she feeds her kids. In her online life she can be found on Instagram as @sparklesandcrafts and @whatifeedmykid as well as blogging (occasionally) at sparklesandcrafts.com.