A mother’s joy begins when new life is stirring inside… when a tiny heartbeat is heard for the very first time, and a playful kick reminds her that she is never alone. -Author Unknown
Kayla and I met in Cosmetology school. She was my “natural” friend. Me, being a single college girl, didn’t really think much about being organic. I was lucky to have a full meal at the time. She was married and had her life a little more figured out than I did, and now, knowing the importance of health, I go to her about any and all things natural! She is amazing and everyone deserves the pleasure of knowing her!
Right before we graduated, she found out she was pregnant! She chose to have her first child in the hospital with epidural and all.
3 years later she found out she was pregnant again (I may have had some influence on her timing since she had just found out I was pregnant as well). With the outcome of her first birth, and the front row seat to my natural, midwife attending home birth(you can read about my birth story under “My Exciting Home-Birth Experience”) she decided to have a natural birth at the hospital!
When I asked if she would like to share her experiences she was thrilled and wrote it out so well, that I’ve decided to quote her story for you guys!
“Surprise! Two pink lines. Quickly, my shock and awe turned into great excitement that we were going to have a baby! I always wanted to be a mom, but was told in my teenage years that the chances of me conceiving were pretty slim. We were so thankful to be pregnant, no matter the timing!
I began to prepare for my sweet baby boy, from the clothes to the crib, and everything in between. I watched what I ate, and followed the “pregnancy rules” by the book. I took tons of vitamins, including ones that were known to help with labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery.
Through all of my preparations though, I didn’t do much research on labor and delivery, other than talking to some trusted friends who had been through it before. I knew it could be awfully painful, and automatically knew I would have an epidural. No question about it ever entered my mind. They were deemed “safe”, so I didn’t second guess it, and I wasn’t mentally prepared, nor did I have a desire to deliver naturally. Why would I want to do that anyway, if I can just pop a baby out with no pain???
The delivery to come showed me differently, much to my surprise. It was my first baby, and I knew nothing of what to expect. I was being induced for pre-eclampsia, and opted to get my epidural first thing in the morning, before the anesthetist got too busy. Receiving the epidural in general wasn’t terrible, but not fun either. Once it was administered, we waited. Contractions picked up, etc, etc, but no progress was happening. Liam wasn’t budging. His vitals remained stable, but for hours, I just laid there. The epidural didn’t allow me to move around and help Liam moved into the birth canal, but I didn’t know I needed to move, and none of the medical personnel were flipping me side-to-side. My epidural wore off, and a second was given. I was in labor for almost 24 hours before one of my best friends was able to come to the hospital for support. At that point the scary “C-section” threat was being thrown at me from the dr.
When my friend arrived and found out that I hadn’t been moved and that Liam wasn’t budging, she took action. Already birthing five children herself, she knew the importance of movement, even with an epidural. She flipped me regularly from side to side, and we started getting progress. When it was time to push, I tried and tried, but I had no strength anymore, to the point that my mom and mother-in-law had to physically hold me up so that I could push. The problem was, I couldn’t feel my hips, stomach, or legs to be able to feel where I was putting my “pushing” into. So my “pushing” pretty much did nothing. Not to mention the fact that Liam’s head was stuck on my pelvic bone, and because I couldn’t move around much, I couldn’t help him get dislodged. But with the help of my amazing and hard-working nurse, and the support around me, Liam was finally born, 27 hours into induction, and my happy husband was given the honor of catching him when he was born.
Recovery from birth was easy for me HOWEVER- recovery from my epidural was brutal and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I couldn’t hold my baby because had the “epidural shakes”, I was groggy, nauseous, couldn’t walk for hours, and my back hurt terribly. I needed lots of heavy pain meds afterwards.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for a healthy baby and no c-section by the end of Liam’s birth. I also know that even though the epidural caused issues for my personal birth process, I was not mentally ready to attempt it without an epidural. The epidural did serve it’s main purpose. But everything that happened during the birth was absolutely not desirable, and when I started reflecting back on his birth later on, I KNEW it didn’t need to happen that way again with my second baby.
Fast forward to the days leading up to my second birth. I researched. I read. I talked to my trusted friend (Cassandra) who had recently gone through natural birth. I planned and prayed. All was going according to plan in my pregnancy (minus a ridiculous bout with kidney stones) until I developed pre-eclampsia again. Knowing my concerns, my doctor was great and didn’t jump the gun on induction, and let me monitor my blood pressure at home as long as I could until it just got too high for safety of the baby and I. So an induction was scheduled, but I was still determined and ready for a natural birth. People thought I was crazy to be induced and not choose an epidural, but my baby’s health was all that was important to me, not the pain.
On Phoenix’ birthing day, I was SO blessed with an absolutely amazing nurse who told me that she knew how to run the induction in a “calmer” way to make it more bearable for me. “Calmer” basically means slower, and she had no problem with the process taking a little longer. Induction meds started at 9 am, and the contractions were not fun but I was able to breathe through them and (literally) lean on my husband and friend for support. My body was in sync with my mind and all was going smoothly and my sweet baby girl was doing well. I progressed quickly. So quickly that my nurses didn’t believe me when I called via intercom to say that the baby was coming out, but that’s another story haha. See the funny thing is- your body knows EXACTLY what to do. Our bodies were made to do it whether there is a nurse/doctor in the room or not. My body was pushing FOR me! What a turn around from my first labor when I couldn’t push at all!
The last 10-15 minutes of my labor were painful. It was the first time that I had the thought that maybe, I couldn’t keep going like that, with no meds. But what did keep me going was Cassandra’s voice in my head saying (from her own personal experience) “When you think you can’t do it anymore, you’re almost done!”. And she was SO spot on. See, what I didn’t know at the time, was that those more painful few minutes was my transition period. This is the time when you go to full dilation and baby is in the birth canal.
Y’all, once that happened and my body started pushing, (despite some random nurse who kept yelling over the intercom “Don’t push, hold her in until a dr gets there!!” -Insert eye roll here) and Phoenix was born seconds later. I literally “pushed” two times! Once for her head and once for her sweet little body. Three including delivering the placenta.
As soon as she was born, I had INSTANT relief from the pain. She was healthy, my pain was pretty much non-existent, and not one doctor or nurse was in the room because of how quickly it happened. My husband literally delivered her! They arrived right after she was born with such surprise on their faces!
Thirty minutes later, I was in a postpartum room, up and WALKING AROUND, holding my brand new baby girl, needing no heavy pains meds besides prescription-grade Tylenol, and talking to some visitors that stopped by. Can you believe that!? She was born three hours after induction started!
All-in-all I was so floored and pleased how my second birth went when I just prepared my mind, and let my body do it’s thing!!! Knowledge is power, especially for this subject matter. When you know what God made your body capable of, you have so much power!!!”
Wow! From what I hear about the induction process, she had some serious commitment to not give in to getting an epidural.
I love being able to share with you guys hospital births that can be positive experiences when birthing naturally! Even though I am 100% for midwife home-births and see so much beauty in a natural setting, I am also not naive to how much more comfortable people feel knowing they are at a hospital. My whole point of ALL of these birth stories and blogs that I have shared, is to encourage you to think more positive about you, your body, and your pain tolerance. To, also, consider the long term safety of our children and not exposing their weakened immune systems to unnecessary medicines. The birth place is not important to me as you have read from previous birth stories of home-births, hospital births, and “didn’t quite make it to the hospital” car births. Although, the place can have some effect on our thoughts and comfortableness, it does not change that our bodies are made to birth naturally!
Kayla’s stories have shown us that even though we do everything by the book some things are out of our control, yet we still have control to make decisions that consider the safety of you and your baby. There are options! Like Kayla stated, the nurse was about to give her a “calmer” induction, to insure that she would still be able to have the birth she desired. There are options! Don’t be afraid to research and get other women’s advice. I don’t think anyone would be opposed to talking about their births.
Comment below on any thoughts and questions that you may have about birthing, and share with other expecting moms who you feel might benefit from knowing a little more about the process of labor and birthing.