Unmedicated Hospital Birth

It has been two years since we gave birth to our first daughter and truly the best years of my life. My birth with her was my first experience of bringing a baby from my womb and into this world. We all dream of how our birth experience might go (I think we still do this even after we have babies) and then we hear how it might go and then well, it goes and that is what we get. So, let’s talk about how our girl came into this world.

I am gonna set this up in two parts for y’all – leading up to birth and the birth. 
This way if you’re only interested in one part, you can skip down to it and get right to it! This is a long one but I wanted every detail in one place.

Leading up to the birth

Let’s give a quick backstory recap shall we – I had a rough pregnancy. I was so sick the whole time and literally threw up everyday (multiple times a day) for 27 straight weeks and then the nausea/vomiting would come and go each day after that. I stayed in the negatives as far as weight the whole pregnancy until my last few weeks. I experienced a concussion from a fainting episode during my first trimester that led me to be bed ridden for the first 3 months. (that’s a story for another time) It was kind of like hell on earth but simultaneously feeling so much gratitude for this tiny human growing inside of my womb.

I started out with an OBGYN, who I absolutely loved btw, but then we moved states so I had to find a new one. I was high risk for the first 24 weeks as we were keeping an eye out on Nanyori’s heart. Mind you, we were waiting until birth to find out the gender. (spoiler: we found out the gender by accident) By God’s grace alone, baby girls heart was strong and we were released from the high risk doctors and could go to low risk and move to a regular OBGYN or Midwife. (truly one of the biggest reliefs) I desired from the jump to have a natural unmedicated home birth but seeing as my husband is very much a part of this journey, his voice mattered in what we chose to do. He wasn’t comfortable with the idea, so we made a compromise. The hospital we were going to at the time offered Midwifery, which is the care we wanted to be under since they take a more natural and holistic approach to birth. Midwives can do everything your OBGYN can do besides a cesarean, then the on call OB will be there to assist for that if needed. Honestly, it took me meeting with several midwives before I found the midwife that was right for me. (I was in my third trimester!)

So, it was a Wednesday morning and I was going in for my last midwife appointment. I was 39W1 day, so the day before I was 40 weeks. (due date) I was discouraged because I was hardly 1cm dilated and like 50% effaced. I know a due date is a guess date and most first time moms go over their due date but it still felt discouraging to not be progressing at all knowing I had little time left. In our hospital, you weren’t allowed to go over 41 weeks gestation. If you got there they would induce labor, so since I was so close to 41 weeks my midwife went ahead and scheduled my induction date that day for the following week. I was so sooo sad, I cried many tears that day. (part hormones and part fear) I asked if there was anything she could do to help progress labor naturally before then and she told me all about the (magical, imo) membrane sweep. Which basically was a more intense cervical check but your care provider “sweeps” their finger around your cervix to help loosen your amniotic sac from your uterus and this helps to jump start labor. I asked the pros and cons then decided it was right for me. I normally have people ask if it hurt and honestly, it definitely wasn’t enjoyable but it’s nothing to what is coming. So, that’s what we did.

The Birth

The next morning around 0600 I started having my first contractions, they woke me up out of my sleep and because I was so excited to meet our girl, I just couldn’t go back to sleep. It kind of just felt like I had big gas bubbles and needed to take a booboo (you know what I mean) they were annoying but wouldn’t go away. By around 0900 I was up and making egg and sausage tacos with spicy hot salsa and a big ole orange juice. I got on facetime with my mom (she lives in Oklahoma) and during that call I got pretty emotional because I knew it was happening, labor was definitely in motion and I had been at 4-1-1 for several hours now. Which means 4 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute for 1 hour, except I did several hours because I knew I wanted to labor at home as long as possible and my midwife said that’s what we should do. Around 1300 we decided to pack up and head to the hospital to see how much I was progressing. I was feeling quite a bit of pressure so I assumed surely this was active labor. HA yall.. get ready for what comes next, this is so funny to me. 

We got to the hospital we went to the emergency room and I got all checked in and had to be taken to the midwifery part of labor and delivery, you just get whichever midwife is on call for that day. So, my midwife wasn’t there at the time (remember this – it gets better) and the midwife who came in was a midwife student. She got me all set up and attached the electric fetal monitor and the contraction monitor around my belly and then had me lay down for her to check me. I was struggling to lay still on the bed because contractions would come and it was rough to lay in one spot while actively having contractions. Like I was squirming all over the table trying to stay still but couldn’t. lol Anyway, she checks me and I am at 3cm… yes, you read that correctly. 3cm. That was it. In order to be checked in you need to be at 4cm or higher because like people can stay at 3cm for weeks. So, my options were to stay at the hospital and labor for 2 hours in that room ALONE because COVID allowed no visitors until check in, and see if I progressed or go home and come back later that night to see if I had progressed any. (I now understand why I was in intense pain during that time and being at only 3cm – positioning of baby will be another blog post) In that moment I had the midwife come in and encourage me that if I wanted a natural unmedicated hospital birth, I needed to go home. I made the best decision by choosing to go home and labor at home with Tryce because it empowered me that I could do this and it saved me from giving into any pressure of trying to speed my labor along. When the midwife left my room, I heard her and the student say, “I am so glad she made that decision, she is going to do this.” and in that moment, I believed I was strong enough to endure. Always speak truth over people, you never know when someone needs it most.

Let me start by saying, contractions in the car are TERRIBLE. Never ever again. We finally arrived home and it was around 1500 at this point. I stayed laboring on our bed for a few hours and then Tryce came over to me and told me, “3 out of 5 women don’t move in labor, you have to get up!” I truly had no desire to move out of the comfortable downward dog position I was in on our bed and thought to myself, “well count me as part of the 3, cause your girl ain’t moving” but I knew if I wanted labor to progress, I needed to move and help my body out. It was time to do the work I had been preparing for up until this point. (did a lot of practice contractions) I sluggishly got out of the bed and started walking down our long hallway. Tryce had me squatting down when a contraction would come and holding around his neck for support. (oh and trust me, I was not happy during this lol) We did this several times and the time was flying for me because I couldn’t focus on anything else. Eventually it got to the point where I couldn’t talk through contractions any more, I knew I was in active labor and moving through transition because the intensity I was feeling felt like I couldn’t catch a break. We called the midwives on call and low and behold, MY MIDWIFE, Penny answered! She had just clocked in at 1900 for the night shift and I couldn’t even believe it. I felt so much peace and joy to know that she would be there when I gave birth. She was talking to Tryce and gave us the go ahead to come in and get checked to see where we were at.  

This is next part is where the hospital setting is just different

Not knocking hospital births, I obviously had one. It’s more the negative stigma around physiological birth within that setting.

Wanting a natural unmedicated birth in the hospital setting, to my surprise, is something that is rare. (approximately 60-70% of women get epidurals) So, you instantly get discouraged or even the feelings of insecurities like can I really do this without medication, the way I believe God designed our bodies? It felt like everyone around me thought it not possible. Remember, not coming for anyone who gets an epidural, this was my personal desire to have a natural unmedicated birth. When we arrived at the hospital, Tryce had to drop me off and go park. He wasn’t allowed to come in until my COVID test came back negative. (very annoying rule, imo) Got to labor and delivery and up to the midwifery ward. Being alone during that process is so hard because you want your spouse or support person with you but because of COVID, I didn’t get that and I felt robbed of that but tried to remain as calm as possible. Once I got into the check in room, in walks Penny, it felt like an intimate hug from the Lord to give me the reassurance that I actually wasn’t alone and that I was seen and that I had support. She checked me and I was 8cm dilated, 100% effaced with a bulging bag! This baby was coming, fast! I had only focused on working through my contractions that I didn’t even realize no one called Tryce! I looked up and asked a nurse if someone was going to call my husband and she was like, “yeah honey, you gotta do that yourself.” I literally about said a few curse words in that moment… because like sis watchu mean… I am IN LABOR… But I didn’t. I didn’t even know where my phone had went and thankfully Penny found it and called him to come up and she made sure to tell him, as quickly as he could.

Penny stressed in the next moments to everyone in the room that it didn’t matter if my COVID test had come back or not that my husband could come up and that we needed to get into a delivery room asap. They wanted me to walk all around L&D to get to the room I was going to deliver in and I told them, nope, I need to be hauled there in this bed because there ain’t no way this baby isn’t gonna come flying out if I have to walk there and I wanted her to stay put as long as she would until Tryce made it up there. I got to my room and shortly after walked in my beloved husband with all of our luggage for the hospital stay and wow was I beyond thankful to see his face.  

My midwife knew my birth plan and she was helping to make sure it came to fruition and I am so grateful for the ways in which she fought for me. Every routine thing you do in a hospital, she would tell me patient decline. Example: when the nurse asks pain tolerance, I would simply say “patient declines” and that was that. I didn’t feel push back or anything because my midwife stayed there the whole time and would advocate on my behalf if she could see me getting anxious. She asked everyone to leave the room besides Tryce, her, one nurse and the midwife student who got to learn during my experience. I was more than happy to welcome her into our experience, I honestly thought it was really cool and I hope she did too. My water broke shortly after getting into the room and that mug bust, everywhere! Like a water balloon, it was legit. But I also felt so much pressure release, it was the best feeling. The fluid was really warm too, which was weirdly comforting for me. Then I got on all fours and got checked and was at a ten. She gave me the option to do a practice push and I did and she could see sisters head, so I said alright cool let’s do this! I wanted to push on my back because my back labor was SO intense. They allowed me to sit up tall and pushed down the bottom half of the bed and it relieved a lot of the pressure I was feeling in my back. My second push or so, I had a blood vessel rupture somewhere in my lady bits and blood literally shot every which way. Like, the nurse holding my leg had blood on her mask and I felt so bad but also didn’t care because I just needed this baby out of me. My midwife had me stop pushing for a second to be sure we were all good and then back to regular scheduled programming. Waiting on my body to contract, I would push with each contraction as Tryce and the nurse held my legs and I hunkered down pushing with all I had.

30 minutes of pushing later…. Our precious girl entered the world. Our due date baby.

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