My husband and I had been married for 8 years before finding out we were expecting our first born. Even though I was excited to meet our baby, I knew absolutely nothing about what I would experience during childbirth. I started by reading Birthing From Within, which then turned me on to the movie The Business of Being Born. Both caught my attention and I became focused on childbirth methods. I wanted to hear personal accounts, so I tried to sit down with as many new mom’s as I could, to hear their stories of labor and delivery. What I heard was not always positive and the thought of forceps, episiotomies, and babies struggling during medicated childbirth terrified me. So I was looking for another option. I sat down with Rachel when I was five months along and she kindly shared Ellie’s birth story with me. When I realized how beautiful and positive her story was, I just knew that this was the path I would try to pursue for my own baby.
I was 4 days away from my due date and had just finished our final Bradley class. Around 2 a.m. I was startled awake with strong contractions and an emergent feeling like something was different. A few nights before I was reviewing my notes on what a contraction would feel like. At this point there was no question about it; this was the real deal! I immediately woke my husband, David, and he began timing them at 15 minutes apart. By 11:00 a.m. the contractions were 4-5 minutes apart and I felt as if my water had slightly ruptured. David felt like this would be a good time to make our way to the Natural Birthing Center at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. I was admitted through the triage area where my blood was taken, an external fetal monitor was briefly placed, and I was examined for the first time by our midwife, Jessica. Of course every woman in labor is hoping for a high number, but I was saddened to hear that I was only 3 cm dilated, with 90% effacement. Our doula, Evie, met us in the triage area and was prepared with an arsenal of natural birthing equipment. So we were admitted into the Natural Birthing Center and we went to work! Evie, David and I walked, exercised, attempted every squat position known to man. They desperately tried to encourage me to eat and drink, but I could not even fathom the idea. My stomach was in knots because the contractions were so intense. Our baby’s heart rate was checked by the nursing staff every 30 minutes with a doppler to insure that our baby was stable. By 1:00 am (day 2) I was examined for the second time, with contractions remaining 4-5 minutes apart. I was near devastation when Jessica told me that I was still at 3, maybe 4 cm dilated. I wasn’t sure if I could continue. I was nearing 24 hours without food, water, sleep, or relief. At this point, I was asking for options. The first option was pitocin to try and speed things up. Not what I was hoping for since I wanted to take a natural approach. The second option was an epidural for pain relief and possible sleep; once again, same dilemma. The third option was being placed on a breast pump for stimulation. All three options would mean I would have to transfer out of the Natural Birthing Center and be admitted into the hospital. I was not about to do that! I had 10 weeks of Bradley classes under my belt, and my goal was for a natural childbirth without the assistance of anesthesia or narcotics. Evie looked me in the eye and said, “You’ve made progress. You are doing it!” David reminded me of what I wanted for my labor and delivery, and since I was good, and Baby was good, we would stay the course. I was put on IV antibiotics since my water had broken 18 hours prior, and I was also given a sleep aid to HOPEFULLY allow me sleep through the contractions. Needless to say, the sleep aid did not work like it was supposed to. I would fall asleep for 4-5 mins and then startle awake and have an intense contraction. This went on for about 2 hours! Around 4:00 am (on day 2), I felt the need to go run to the bathroom, every time I would wake up like a Jack-In-The-Box for my continued contractions. My husband would try to help me with the IV stand during my bewildered, frantic run to the bathroom. I would sit on the toilet and then come back. That went on for about 30 minutes before a nurse came to check on us. “Are you trying to push, while sitting on the toilet?” All I could do was nod my head YES as a retort to the question. So Jessica came back in to check on me and I was at 7-8 cm dilation. The whole room rejoiced! Since I had requested a water birth, the nursing staff filled up the pool and I was ready to go. By 6:26 am, after 28 hours of labor, Aria Noelle was born! I was so relieved, elated, and delirious. David and Evie coached me through the most challenging moments of my life, and I could not be more thankful to them and for all that they did for me. Aria’s delivery ( or pushing stage of labor) had only taken 22 minutes, and I did not tear. I birthed the placenta a short time after she arrived and established breast feeding right away. Aria was bright, alert, pink, and crying. She was the reason I was able to continue our natural childbirth and stay the course. By 10:00 am, David and I were welcoming our family to meet our beloved baby. My recovery was amazing and I was able to bounce back immediately thanks to the birthing method we chose for our labor and delivery.
Looking back, the advice and guidance I received from Rachel was priceless. She was the reason we pursued Bradley Classes through Lisa, where we met our doula, Evie, and achieved the birthing experience we really hoped for. Without them, we would have a much different story to tell. We owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to all these ladies, and everyone who lent a hand during this unforgettable time in our lives.
December 9, 2014 | 6:26am | 19 inches | 6lbs. 11oz.