I have now been meaning to write this story for 9 month! Better late than never. When preparing for delivering each of our babies, I really enjoyed reading and listening to people’s birth stories. It’s like this major event that no one really talks about in detail in normal life, women are just pregnant and then next you see the pictures of tired parents with squishy little newborns. But what happens in between? I liked the idea of a natural birth (what I mean by that is no pain meds/epidural) and aimed for that with O, by making a nice little birth plan I showed to my doctor, reading a Bradley book and practicing through fake contractions with Chad. But boy were we unprepared that first time around, and ultimately I had an induction, followed by epidural, overnight labor, and plenty of unpleasant physical recovery afterward. So, this time around with baby #2, I still liked the idea of natural birth but had that previous experience of getting an epidural, so I doubted by ability to ‘gut it out’ when I knew differently from prior experience. Over the course of this pregnancy, though, I came to two key points to help me decide on my birth plan: 1- stop asking ‘why do I want a natural birth?’ and try to justify it to myself or others, and start asking ‘Why not?’ … and 2- focus on goals for a better postpartum experience instead of the birth itself, as a numb birth led to some painful aftermath from bad tearing that I wanted to avoid experiencing again. So, we hired an amazing doula (birth coach) who could take over the hard work (well, I had the hard work I guess, but she did the heavy lifting when it came to guiding me through it) and let Chad just be Dad, and help give us confidence and negotiate decisions. I read somewhere that if a doula were a medication, every insurance plan would cover it in full for every birth. It’s that beneficial. We met with her twice beforehand to talk about goals, get tips, etc. I also was under the care of midwives for this birth, instead of an obstetrician, so that totally changed the vibe of pregnancy care and turned out to dramatically change things in terms of delivery philosophies as well. Highly recommend a midwife practice for a healthy, low-risk pregnant woman!
By noon our doula texted she was stuck behind a car accident, so got there closer to 12:30. That’s where the text message string on my phone stopped 🙂 But between starting to focus through contractions and our doula’s arrival, I got checked and was at 6cm (yay!), soon after my water broke (that’s an interesting thing, just leaking out dripping around everywhere), so I was in a great place when she got there. My parents had gone to get lunch in the hospital cafe, but Chad just grabbed his sandwich to go and returned quickly so I wasn’t alone before our doula got there. He ended up walking back in with her. Very soon after, a few ‘stop me in my tracks’ contractions, and I didn’t want to sit on the birth ball anymore, it sounded good to try laboring in the tub or try something different. So that was getting filled up while they helped me get situated leaning forward on the end of the bed for a bit. (I learned after that my doula whispered to Chad at this point that I would not be actually making it to that tub). That’s when the next contraction hit, probably around 12:45 or 1, that literally must have been the baby dropping right into place and it was game ON. This is when natural labor got primal. Sounds I didn’t know my body could make. An internalization of my attention/focus that is hard to describe. A team of people was suddenly in the room, Chad was heaving me up onto the bed as my knees were buckling (sorry about that, honey). Somewhere in there my parents wandered back to our room from the cafeteria and got a shock I believe (Mom can chime in on exactly how their arrival fit into the time series). And onto delivery we were! Our doula spoke right into my ear words of magic and regularly applied her elixir of essential oils and about 30 minutes later lying on my side and one contraction at a time, little Greta inched her way out, born around 1:30pm. All 8lbs 4oz with her arm up against her face superman style (very helpful position, sheesh). When she finally came out and was up on my body I gushed with tears, just overwhelmed by the intensity- emotionally, physically, psychologically- of the whole event. We did it! I did it! She was here! Although I still didn’t know she was a she at that moment. Chad got to check and announce boy or girl, so we soon had the big news 🙂 We snuggled and nursed a bit and then while they did all the newborn checks and immediate care items, I got my clothing switched from my maternity t-shirt dress- that had gotten a bit, uh, messed- to a hospital gown for transferring to the postpartum room, and we started getting organized to head out of the labor suite after a couple hours to chill and bond. Oh, and somewhere in there I delivered a placenta and they checked me out, reporting ZERO tearing. Mission accomplished. I officially felt like a superhero and was in love with my midwife and doula. I don’t think this labor and delivery could have gone better. I am soooo thankful! If only Chad hadn’t rubbed my hair into a birds’ nest during the pushing stage… ah, can’t win ’em all!