I had planned to have a natural at home water birth. I had also practiced hypnobirthing everyday during my last trimester and was so excited to have a gentle water birth. This is far from how my experience actually was.
When Labor Started
I was 40 weeks and 2 days when I started having contractions. I wasn’t sure at first if they were “real” but I hadn’t really experienced any Braxton hicks at all in my pregnancy so I figured it must’ve been the real deal. It was the middle of the night when I started feeling them so I tried to get some sleep but couldn’t because I was so excited. They got pretty intense and I didn’t want to be alone anymore so I woke my boyfriend up to time them for me. He got up, cleaned our apartment and started letting people know (my mom and the midwife etc.)
These contractions went on for 6 hours and then completely stopped!! I was so disappointed. I think this was my body’s way of telling me to get some sleep. My boyfriend and I napped for 3 hours and I woke up to even stronger contractions. I labored at home for the next 20 hours.
10 Hours In
The first 10 hours were manageable. I mean they hurt for sure, but I was breathing and vocalizing through them and I had a great birth team supporting me. My boyfriend was hugging me and my mom was rubbing my lower back. I found the only position that was bearable for the pain was standing. I had to be walking around and stopped for every contraction. At one point I had been standing for so long my legs started to spasm really bad and that make my contractions so much worse and I was forced to change positions.
The midwife came to my house and broke my water as things were not progressing. After she broke my water is when things got crazy for me. The pain was so much, we decided to fill up the birthing pool. The water felt amazing but things were moving so fast. My contractions through this time were very strange (my midwife who has attended over 600 births had never seen anything like it). They were short, VERY painful and back to back. I had about a 10 second break in between for hours. It was horrible just being in constant pain for that long. I find myself wondering if my birth could’ve gone differently with normal contractions.
After being in the water for a couple hours, I felt the urge to push. It was a really strong pressure in my butt and my back. This was so painful. I got out of the pool and walked around, pushing on the toilet, in a squat and other positions. I pushed at home for 3 hours with no progress. My midwife then suggested we go to the hospital as I was experiencing maternal exhaustion because I had been in labor for 29 hours already! I felt I had failed but was relieved to go to the hospital and get an epidural.
I threw on some random clothes and my crocs (lol) and we walked down to the car. The drive to the hospital was the worst part. I felt like the baby was coming out of my butt and the contractions were their worst at this point! We also had to drive very slowly because the roads were thick with ice and the hospital was about 30 minutes away.
When we arrived there my mom dropped my boyfriend and I off at the front door. I literally couldn’t walk at this point, I was in so much pain and so tired. They got my in a wheelchair, thank goodness, and took me upstairs. My boyfriend had to stay and fill out paperwork. I was so scared to be alone. When I got upstairs, I felt the nurses were all annoyed with me that I was screaming but I couldn’t help it. They all kept telling me “ok you need to relax”, “calm down” etc.
They got me in a gown and put an IV in my arm. I needed to get through a whole bag of fluid before they could call the anesthesiologist and that it would take an hour. I felt like I couldn’t do it for another hour. They ended up giving me gas and air for the pain. It didn’t really help with the pain but made me feel drunk and that helped a bit. I hauled on it so much my boyfriend had to hold me up so I wouldn’t fall over. There was even a point where someone mentioned the baby and I said “I forgot there was a baby!”
Finally the anesthesiologist came in and gave me the epidural. Some people say getting the epidural is painful but I was in so much pain already I barely felt it. After you get the epidural it still takes about 30 minutes to fully kick it, but once it did, I felt amazing. I took my best nap of my life. And when I woke up, I tried to push.
They turned my epidural down so I could feel my contractions a bit and I would push into them. I tried pushing in every position for 2 hours and still nothing. That’s when the talk of a c-section began. I was so terrified to be cut open but I was so done and ready to meet my baby. I felt so defeated and like all the hard work I did was for nothing. But I agreed and signed the papers and they had me in the operating room within the hour.
I guess I had pushed my baby down far enough that they had to stick a balloon inside me to push him back up. That was SO painful. Then they froze me up completely, called my boyfriend in and started doing the surgery. I don’t know if it was all the drugs and fear but my whole body was uncontrollably shaking.
I felt them tug really hard 3 times and then he started crying! My son was born! I was so happy, my boyfriend and I both started crying. That amazing feeling is something I can’t even describe. It was the happiest moment of my life and it was worth all the pain I went through. They showed him to me quickly and then took him away again to cut his umbilical cord and weigh him. He was 9 pounds 8 ounces! Then after about 5 minutes they came and put him on my chest. I was so weak I felt I was going to drop him so my boyfriend had to take him.
I still feel really sad that I didn’t get to hold him and love him for the first minutes of his life. We were then wheeled into the recovery room, where you stay for an hour. They checked my heart rate and blood pressure etc while I held my son. I was shaking so bad but as soon as they let me hold him it stopped!
It was the hardest 36 hours of my life but I would do it over a million times. Thank you for taking the time to read my story 🖤
For more great Birth Stories like Cassia’s (or to submit your own), check out the full list here: https://growingourfamily.com/birth-stories/
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