My Birth Story

Our little guy gave us quite a surprise this month.

dad holding baby boy

Though he wasn’t due for another 3 weeks, our son decided he wanted to join us early!

It was a Friday when I hit my 37-week mark, and it felt like any other day. I wasn’t having an uncomfortable pregnancy, and I was showing absolutely no signs of labor up to this point. I didn’t even know what a Braxton Hicks contraction felt like! (Though, my doctor did confirm that when I felt like my baby was sticking his rump out out of my tummy, that was most likely just my uterus tightening– they just never felt uncomfortable or like my entire stomach was tight.)

So, imagine my surprise when late that Friday night, I got up from sitting in my bed and found myself sitting in a large wet spot. My water had broken, and I didn’t even feel it! I looked at Austin, and told him I was pretty sure my water had broken, since I could still feel warm liquid dribbling down my leg. It was either that, or I had peed myself. (And I was hoping it was the latter– we weren’t ready for labor yet!) We were both oddly calm about the whole situation, and after texting my doula to let her know what had happened, we decided to go to sleep to see if contractions would start on their own during the night.

When I woke up in the morning, I still wasn’t feeling any contractions, so I decided to keep my Saturday morning breakfast date with one of my girlfriends and ended up chatting over a large egg breakfast for a few hours. I figured if I was going to go into labor that day, I might as well relax and eat up!

When I got home, it was time for us to be productive. Austin and I hadn’t installed the car seat yet, or the baby monitor above the crib. Luckily, both didn’t take too long to install, and we were able to relax by the afternoon. I even decided to work on a few pre-scheduled blog posts for the upcoming week, knowing that the blog would be the last thing on my mind once the baby arrived. I sat on my exercise ball while working, which I used regularly during this last trimester, and that’s when I started to feel some cramping start, around 2pm.

The funny thing about contractions is, no one can tell you what they’re going to feel like. I didn’t believe I was having “real” contractions, because they still only felt like menstrual cramps to me. I thought they were supposed to feel distinctively painful, not just cramp-like. But, because they started to become more regular, I started timing them using a free app I downloaded to my phone. My doula kept in touch with me all afternoon, and by 7:30 I was pretty sure these “cramps” were really contractions– though they still weren’t very consistent. At that point, they were anywhere from 3-7 minutes apart and about 60 seconds in duration.

In hindsight, I think the fact that I wasn’t sure about these contractions helped keep me calm and relaxed about the whole situation. If I had been positive that I was in labor, or had I been getting cervical exams to monitor my progress, I’d probably have been more anxious– and possibly in more pain.

By 10:30 pm, my contractions started to become REALLY uncomfortable. I still hesitate to use the word painful, because they weren’t the kind of pain I was expecting, but I wasn’t able to talk or walk through them anymore. Talking to my doula, she still thought I sounded cheerful enough to be in “early labor,” but I told her if this is what early labor felt like, I was going to need an epidural! So, at the urging of Austin, we headed to the hospital, praying that I was progressing enough that I wouldn’t need any medical interventions.

By the time I arrived at the hospital, I needed to moan and vocalize while breathing through the contractions– they were pretty intense! They gave me a wheel chair when I arrived at the hospital, and during my next contraction, I experienced the “bloody show” that I had heard about. They checked me in quickly, made me walk to the bathroom to pee in a cup, and then got me to triage to determine how far along I was. They put a monitor on my stomach to check on the baby’s heartbeat, and did a cervical exam to check my progress. When I heard the doctor say “I don’t feel anything,” I got nervous. Could I have really made no progress? She had another doctor check, for a second opinion, and he confirmed that he felt nothing.

As it turns out, “nothing” meant I was completely dilated and effaced–> ready to start pushing! Thank goodness.

In fact, I was so far along, there wasn’t even any time to treat me with antibiotics, which is their standard treatment for mothers who haven’t been tested for Group Strep B. (I actually had been tested the day before, but the results weren’t back yet.) They did manage to put a Hep-Lock in my hand, just in case of emergency.

I was transferred to a delivery room, accompanied by my husband and my doula, and things progressed quickly. I felt the urge to push almost instantly, but I had no idea what I was doing, so I was grateful for all of the support in the room. The baby was positioned at “zero station” which meant the baby was in the middle of my pelvis– halfway there! I remember hearing a nurse say that I should be able to meet my baby in about an hour, and I thought to myself, “I don’t want to push for a whole hour!” So, I felt an extra burst of motivation to meet our baby faster, and pushed with all my might. After about 6-7 pushes, with some nice, relaxing breaks in between, our baby was out with just 17 minutes of pushing. I remember being surprised that the “ring of fire” everyone talks about lasts for so long (I thought it would be brief, like ripping off a band-aid), but feeling immediate relief when our little guy’s body emerged. What an amazing feeling!

Almost instantly, the entire labor experience felt like no big deal. My baby was here!

He was immediately placed on my chest, and we were allowed to bond for about an hour while I delivered the placenta and was stitched up after experiencing a small tear. The hospital normally attaches the mother to an IV bag of pitocin after delivery, to help the uterus contract and prevent too much bleeding, but as it turned out, I knocked the Hep-Lock out of my hand while pushing. Instead of making me go through that process again, we all decided to just skip the pitocin. So, I truly managed to avoid every medical intervention I could have imagined. Lucky me!

My doula helped us establish a good latch for our little boy’s first breast feeding experience, and then we were eventually transferred to a different room for the rest of our stay.

baby boy

The nurses swaddled him like a little burrito, and he slept as long as he will probably ever sleep in the next few months. Austin and I quickly discovered how much we will NOT be sleeping– we couldn’t take our eyes off of him!

Other than a slight case of jaundice, our baby is perfectly healthy, weighing in at 6 lbs. 11 oz. As it turns out, my Strep B results came back the next day, and I was actually positive for it! So, our son managed to avoid a dose of antibiotics that he surely would have gotten had they known that result the night before. Because they didn’t administer the antibiotics immediately after birth, the staff decided to simply monitor him for 24 hours, after which he got the “all clear” diagnosis from our doctors. Whew!

I still can’t believe how lucky I was to have my labor and delivery go almost exactly how I wanted it to go, as I know it is often not the case– especially with hospital births. Of course, no matter how our little boy arrived in the world, we would have been ecstatic! We’re so happy that he’s here, and are loving every minute of being his parents so far.

Sleep deprivation and all.

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Comments

Kristin

What a beautiful birth you experienced. I am so happy it went so well for you. I have 3 healthy beautiful children that are now teenagers or almost, and I wished for a birth like the one you had. Unfortunately none of mine did turn out that way but like you said no matter how he came in the world you would have been escatic. I agree, having them ultimately arrive healthy is a blessing and sometimes the way they come may not be how we planned. I am glad you had both, such an overall peaceful birth and a beautiful healthy boy. Enjoy this time and nursing, it is a magical time in your life. Congratulations.

Living Outside of the Box

I didn’t realize you had posted this already–wahoo! Thanks for sharing the details, and I’m so glad that you were able to deliver without interventions. Sounds like things worked out *just* right! I’m proud of you–Mama!!!

Rhonda

Congratulations on the baby boy and congrats on the quick birth! Two of my nine were “ready by the time you get to the hospital” births and trust me, they are the best!

Alia Vo

Congratulations, Meghan! All the best to you and your new family. Thanks so much for sharing your birthing story!

Penny

Thank you for sharing! I love birth stories!

Your baby boy is gorgeous!

SoarAway

I love a birth story with no interventions! Good for you for sticking to your guns… my birth was similar – my boy was a water birth with no interventions and he was born 30 minutes after arriving to the hospital. Although it sounds like I screamed louder than you did. 😉

Cait

Wow, what a blessed birth! I’m so happy you were able to avoid so many common things, down to the antibiotics and pitocin. How awesome to arrive fully dilated, too! My first baby was a 15 hour homebirth, which was a beautiful experience, but I’m still hopeful for a slightly shorter birth this February 🙂

Kari

You made everything sound so EASY!! 🙂 I hope that my experience is similar to yours! Congratulations! 🙂

Krystyna Bowman

Found you from a friend’s link on facebook – glad she pointed me this way. Can’t wait to see your recipes for “clean” eating. I couldn’t agree with you more – with the age of the internet, our children will have an electronic record from birth if we post pictures/news about them everywhere. I enjoy sharing pics of our family on our blog, and make every effort to post as many as I can of side/back views of their face so that their privacy is somewhat protected as I share how we are learning to live an AP, green, GF life as a family of six. Best wishes to you as you start your journey into parenthood – it’s amazing! So happy your “wish list” came true, and that you got the natural birth that you wanted for your child. Thank you for sharing!

Stacey

What a great story! Thanks for sharing! For any moms reading, that would like to avoid pitocin, breast feeding immediately after birth has the same effect to help the uterus contract and expel the placenta. 🙂 It also helps with bonding, and if you and baby are skin-on-skin, even better! Enjoy your now-1-year-old!

Anna

Your first birth story is very similar to mine. Before giving birth I hardly ever heard positive stories like yours. I wrote mine down and share it with mom’s to encourage them (especially the ones that want to birth unmedicated). My 2nd and 3rd also went great – much faster and also unmedicated. I was also able to breastfeed my 2nd throughout my pregnancy with my 3rd (since he was only 9 mo when I got pregnant) and then breastfeed them both until my 2nd was almost 3 yo. My 3rd baby stopped nursing (with minimal help from me) at 2yo. I’m looking forward to reading more about nutrition and recipes from your site. Thank you! Got your blog address from your sweet sister-in-law. Our daughters are in the same 1st grade Spanish Immersion class. Congrats on your 2nd!!

Taman

congratulations…!!! so happy for you guys.! may god bless ur family..!!

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