3.24.2011

our birth story.

I guess I should start by saying, Chris and I made the decision early on in our pregnancy to attempt an intervention free delivery...meaning: no epidural, no IV, no drugs what-so-ever. It's not that I'm an anti-drug person, but after doing a bunch of research and taking a birthing course, an intervention free delivery was something we were completely committed to. 

It can be extremely difficult to deliver intervention free in a hospital setting (most doctor's/hospitals have protocol they like to/have to adhere to), which is why most people chose to deliver at home or in a birthing center with a midwife. But the idea of delivering outside of a hospital setting completely freaked me out for some reason? What if the cord was wrapped around our baby's head? What if I needed an emergency c-section? What if? What if? What if? I knew I wouldn't be able to fully commit to an intervention free delivery if I wasn't in a hospital.  I hear most women who choose a natural delivery feel the exact opposite, but I knew the hospital was the place for me.  After a lot of searching for a doctor who we felt comfortable with, we were able to find a doctor who was willing to work with us and my long birth plan. And luckily, I was blessed with a husband who was willing to lay the smack down when a few nurses/on call doctors wanted to vary from our plan.

now, onto our birth story.


friday, march 11th. At 11pm my contractions began. Knowing I wanted to have an intervention free birth, Chris and I wanted to labor at home for as long as possible before going to the hospital.
I'm not sure what I expected contractions to feel like but they were different than I prepared for, kind of like menstrual cramps at first. I never had a braxton hicks contraction or any other pre-labor symptoms really, so when labor began the day before my due date, I some how instinctually knew this was it. Since the pain was tolerable, and the contractions were far apart, i was able to get a fairly good night sleep that night.

saturday, march 12th. I woke up around 6am to more intense and frequent contractions. In an attempt to let chris sleep as much as he could, I got out of bed, made some breakfast and packed our overnight bag (yes, that's right I didn't have my bag packed until then). From 6am to 9pm I continued to labor at home.  Until 7pm, contractions were still extremely manageable, on a scale from 1-10 I'd say my pain level was a 3 . Around 7:30, my contractions were measuring about 2 minutes apart and getting harder to manage, and I could start to see a bit of worry in Chris' face. My doctor had counseled me to not come in until the contractions were so intense that I couldn't talk and/or were 2 minutes apart, so at 7:30 Chris called the hospital, told them my numbers and they thought we better come in.   Wait?!  Yes, my contractions were 2 minutes apart and harder to manage, but they were still no where near where I thought the pain level would be when I was checking into the hospital.  I'd say the pain scale was around a 5 now, but Chris was getting nervous about the whole "2 minutes apart" thing, so I decided to go to the hospital. By the time we checked in and they hooked me up to the monitor to check Cohen's heartbeat, I had now been in labor for 24 hours. Although it was against my original birth plan, I asked the doctor to examine me because I couldn't believe I was as far along as they thought (once again my pain level was still about a 5). At 11pm, the doctor's exam revealed I was now 100% effaced and 6 cm dilated.  Farther along than I thought, but I still had a long ways to go before we started pushing.

sunday, march 13th. It was a long night. A really long night. After getting to my room, I could tell a big change was happening in my body. I didn't get a minute of sleep. My contractions were intense, but what was hurting tremendously was my back.  My back labor was almost unbearable. Laying down was nearly impossible, so I spent most of the night pacing the halls, on exercise balls, praying and trying every position possible to get comfortable. Around 4pm {yes, that's 41 hours of labor now} the nurse informed us that she thought our baby was turned in the wrong direction, " sunny side up", she called it. She assumed this was the culprit of my back pain, and recommended I try a few different birthing positions to help get the baby turned.  I was now 8cm dilated and in extreme pain. My body was shaking uncontrollably and I could hardly walk, but getting this baby turned was my top priority, so I did as I was told.

At this point,  Chris could tell I was feeling defeated, and about to give up. He knew how bad I wanted this baby, and he knew it was time for him to step up and get me through this. He coached me though each contraction in the crazy positions my nurse instructed me to use, then all of a sudden in the middle of a contraction, my back pain went away. Just like that it was gone! I immediately burst into tears, and hugged my nurse.  I know hospitals get a terrible wrap with "intervention free" mothers, but at this moment, I realized why I felt so convicted to deliver in a hospital setting with my amazing team of nurses and wonderful doctor. She knew exactly what to do to help me deliver naturally, and even said to me after Cohen was born, "Only about 5% of mother's in this hospital are able to deliver their child in a Posterior position.  There's a good chance you would have needed a Cesarean delivery, had you used an epidural."  Wow!  Can you believe that? Once again, my team of nurses were the absolute best. Although my contractions were still coming full force at this point, my back pain was instantly eased, and at that moment, I knew I was going to be able to do this. I was re-focused and ready to meet our baby.

From there, the next few hours until delivery where a whirlwind. Around 6pm my water broke, 7pm I started pushing, and at 8:14 Cohen was born. All 9lbs and 21 perfect inches of him. I did it!  I did what most people told me I was crazy to attempt.  I just delivered a 9lb baby boy, after nearly two whole days of labor, without a single iota of medicine, in a hospital. I really did it. I had tried to imagine what it would be like to hold our new baby for the first time, but nothing prepared me for how great he felt in my arms. The minute he was born, the nurses placed him on my chest, skin to skin.  He was the warmest little thing I had ever held. I just laid there basking in the glow of motherhood and held him tight. His eyes were wide open and alert and he soon thereafter began nursing without any coaxing.  I remember reading about a newborns innate desire to nurse prior to Cohen's birth, so it was incredible to see that first hand.  Within minutes of his arrival he was already eating, and to be honest he really hasn't stopped since.  I know this sounds cheesy, but Chris and I just looked at each other, we didn't say anything, we didn't need words, it was an unbelievable moment. I had never loved Chris more, than at that moment.  Our love created this new life.
 You know it's funny, labor was an intense, arduous process, but I also loved every minute of it. It's truly amazing what the human body can accomplish.  Thanks for taking the time to read this long , but oh-so special post. happy thursday! {monica}

16 comments:

  1. That is such a great birth story! and WOW! you are wonder woman! 48 hours with no drugs and a 9 pound baby!! I will definitely remember you when I give birth in the future. Doctors these days are so quick to go to c-section, I'd like to try natural. But I'll be honest I have a very low pain tolerance :)

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  2. Aw...what a great post. I have to agree with Katie, you def are some kind of wonder woman. I dont have kids yet but I'm sure I'll be begging for pain killers when my time comes, haha. Thanks for sharing :)

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  3. You are amazing!!!! Congrats again!

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  4. Oh my word. You are SUPER MOM. Amazing!!! You are so incredibly brave. Thank you for sharing this! I can't wait to meet the little man that changed your whole world. :)

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  5. Note to self: whirlpools saves lives. You are so courageous! Congrats!

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  6. Monica, I am so proud of you for sticking to your plan. It is so hard as a first time mommy to get through the whole long process. Way to go!!! Your story made me cry, could be the pregnancy hormones getting the best of me, or the similarities in our first birth. What an amazing blessing you have. And Congrats to Chris for keeping it together and being so helpful, I know a lot of daddy's who lose their cool. Welcome to the world Cohen!

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  7. Thanks for sharing your experience. Such a sweet story. My best friend is pregnant now, so I've been reading a lot about birth experiences. Enjoy your cute little man :)

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  8. Oh my goodness I am so proud of you! It's stories like these that make me think I'd be able to do a natural child birth, but I don't think I'm brave enough! We'll see though : )

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  9. Monica, thanks for sharing this.
    The moment you hold that little one the first time is indeed an amazing experience. The fact Chris was there for you when you needed him will remain in your heart forever as well. You have now gone from being a couple to being a "FAMILY". Congrats and God Bless you and your new family. Love and Hugs, Aunt Cherie

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  10. Monica... you have always been tough, but this is AMAZING! What a great story. I am so proud of you! You can expect to hear from me when it's my time... I'll need advice from an expert! Can't wait to come over and meet the little guy that has changed your lives!

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  11. I seriously have goosebumps right now after reading your story. thank you so much for sharing! I'm not pregnant (yet), but when I do have a baby eventually, I'd like to also plan for an intervention free birth. congratulations again - he is beautiful and you did a wonderful job!

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  12. Thank you for sharing your birth story with us. I too am planning a drug-free hospital birth, but in Canada and with a midwife. I think we have far less interventions in our hospitals here, at least in BC where I live...but I am still grateful my midwife will have my back! It was inspiring to read that it can be done!

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  13. Thank you for sharing this! I had the same intentions with my girl but didn't have the support of my husband or my doctor and ended up with a c-section. Although I never took drugs for pain, I did induce. Your story gives me courage to try a natural VBAC. Thank you so much for being so open. And congratulations on your beautiful family!

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  14. So amazing! Thank you for sharing :)

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  15. Thanks for sharing your birth story :)
    So amazing!

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  16. Congrats Monica! My nephew is named Cohen! It was great to read your birth story, and that you choose the bradley method! I was glad to read that water soothed you, I will be having a water birth in September! Good luck with everything! He is adorable!

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