I had never really thought out a birth plan or imagined how labor and delivery would go whenever I dreamed about having children. But after my sister-in-love, Lessye, had her first daughter and described her experience with having an all natural delivery, it inspired me to consider it (check her story out here). After Jason and I researched the benefits of an all-natural delivery, we decided that, barring any medical complications, it was the route we wanted to take.
I'm not sure I'll ever forget the words coming out of my mouth that evening..."my water broke.......Jason, my water broke." J woke up in a panic, trying to process what was going on. It was 1:30 am on Monday, December 16th. We had gone to sleep around midnight. I had been sleeping lightly and somewhere in my dreams or my subconscious, I genuinely knew a few minutes before my water broke that something was going to happen. My contractions began immediately and were between two and four minutes apart and lasting over a minute each.
For the next hour, we prepared to leave to the hospital. I took a shower and tried to calm Jason down while he frantically ran around packing his things. Despite the fact that we knew I could go in to labor any day, I think the fact that it was the middle of the night and the realization that our lives were about to change made him a little frazzled.
So after trying to relax with a shower and take it all in, and cleaning up the spill that occurs when your water breaks (thank goodness for waterproof mattress covers and for it not happening in public!), we loaded up in the car and headed to The Children's Hospital at OU. Initially, I had wanted to labor at home as long as possible before going to the hospital, but because my water had broken, Jason was too nervous to stay at home as he did not want to risk delivering a baby on the side of the road or dealing with me in serious labor while driving. So, I obliged. I definitely didn't need an even more stressed out hubby while laboring, and the contractions were a little more intense than what I had imagined, so I definitely wasn't opposed to going to the hospital.
|Right before heading to the hospital!|
While it wasn't ideal that we had not gotten much sleep, the drive to OU was nice since there was no traffic. We arrived there at 3 am and I was admitted to triage. There they checked me and I was a dilated to 5 cm and completely effaced. I was pleasantly surprised, as I had refused any cervical exams prior to going in to labor. Apparently my weeks of frequent Braxton Hicks contractions had done some good and I wasn't starting from ground zero. So, I told my doula and my parents to go ahead and head over to the hospital. Baby was definitely coming today! Which was so exciting! After having thought he might come even weeks earlier, I was happy that he at least decided to come before his due date of the 19th and not after. I was ready to meet him....and, let's be honest, to be done with the discomfort that comes with having a huge belly.
While waiting to be moved to the delivery room, I labored with Jason. He did his best to talk me through the contractions until my doula, Brandy, was able to arrive. She immediately got to work getting me to change positions and getting me more comfortable. I labored for a while standing up and holding on to Jason while Brandy stood behind me helping relieve the pain in my hips. Contractions became a bit more bearable. Before heading to the room, the doctor on call checked me again and I was at a "good 6". I was a bit discouraged. We had been in triage for 2 hours and I had only dilated a centimeter more.
Around 5 am, after walking to my room, Suite 17, I immediately got into a tub, in a dimly lit room that Brandy had prepared for me, and labored in there with my iPod playing music in the background. Let me tell you, laboring in the tub was one of the most comfortable, if you can call it that, ways to manage the contractions. I was able to work with the contractions a lot better and relax. I barely said anything to anyone the entire time I was in labor, other than the occasional "I don't know if I can do this" and "I just want this to be over" pleas, but J, Brandy and my mom were constantly encouraging me. Through it all though, I kept thinking, I could not be doing this without Brandy, our doula. I never would have thought to labor in the tub or labor in some of the positions she suggested, and I'm almost certain I would have caved and gotten an epidural. So, we were both extremely grateful to have her guiding us through the process. Because, as much as I had read and tried to prepare, it's really easy for all your plans to go out the window when you're in the heat of the moment.
After laboring for three hours, I finally was offered by my nurse, Jacqui, to be checked again. I was nervous to know where I was at, because I didn't want to be disappointed again, but at the same time, I needed to have a goal in mind. So, they checked...and I was complete! 10 cm fully dilated and at 0 station. I could start pushing to move the baby down to a positive station. And looking back and talking with Brandy afterwards, I think I was probably at a 10 for a while in the tub, because I admitted to her later, that I had urges to push, but I kept ignoring them because I didn't want to find out I wasn't as far along as I had thought and I figured it was all in my head since I was so ready to just be done with the whole laboring process. While in the bed, we switched up positions several times trying to find the most comfortable position, then I finally got settled in and started pushing. 45 minutes later, I had my 8 lb, 10 oz. baby boy on my chest!
When it's all said and done, I'm happy with my whole labor and delivery experience. I was in active labor for 7 hours. I had been nervous the entire pregnancy that I would end up with a c-section. My mom had c-sections with both my brother and I, and her mom had also had c-sections with both daughters, so I felt like history was against me. I am so thankful to have the experience of naturally delivering a baby, and with no complications! My entire support team was wonderful, from the doctor, to the doula to my wonderful husband and mom. I really don't think there's a whole lot I would change from my experience and I thank God for allowing me to have such a smooth delivery. I still love replaying that whole day in my head, it was special in so many ways, with Austin being the best part about it all!