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This is a birth story! It will be fairly detailed. If you're not comfortable with hearing about lady-parts and/or some kinda gross stuff, then you really should leave now.
I'm grateful to have gotten my Monkey out of it, but it was a hellish experience, and not one I wanted to have again. For that reason, I decided to switch from doctors to midwives, and shoot for a natural birth, in the hopes that I wouldn't have to deal with epidurals or medicines or any possible adverse effects from them.
Now, to each their own. This was my personal decision, and having gone through it I understand why people would want pain meds - believe me, I do. But having climbed this mountain, I feel confident I can do it again.
On Sunday Aug 26th I was having what I thought were random contractions, like I have been most of my pregnancy. Brandon told me to time them, just to see what it looked like. Turned out they were coming one every hour. Not much, but at least they were consistent.
From then until Tuesday the contractions were strong enough that they'd wake me up at night, but not strong or close or long enough to really mean much. Then Tuesday night they started coming every two minutes. I was still handling them well enough, but I wanted to go down to the hospital because we live 30 minutes away from it. Plus, I hadn't really slept for three days, and I REALLY wanted this to be IT.
At the hospital we got up to triage, got checked, and I was dilated to a 3. I sat on the monitor for 20 minutes, then walked the halls for an hour, and got checked again - still a 3. My midwife, Janice, could tell that I was exhausted. Knowing all I needed was sleep, she offered me a shot of morphine to help with that. We decided to take it (honestly, that was better for me than getting an epidural) and we went home. I slept for seven hours and it was wonderful.
When I woke up the contractions were back, but spaced out again. For a couple days I made sure to rest and relax as much as I could, knowing I'd have a lot of work ahead of me. By Friday I felt ready to try something else. I'd been talking to a close friend about the possibility of castor oil. She'd used it to kick start her labor for like, 5 of her 7 kids. She's very natural-minded so I trusted her judgement. Based on our conversations, I took two tablespoons of castor oil at about 10am on Friday. Spent a lot of time in the bathroom that day, but contractions didn't get going until about 5 or 6pm. By that time, Brandon was home, and we decided to kick-start again with intercourse. (Never know when it'll be the last time at this point.) That got the contractions going faster and longer, but we made the effort to go to bed and I fell asleep around 1am. I slept until 6am - which was great - and the contractions came right back. We had sex again and the contractions started to come even closer and longer and stronger.
My mom came over to watch Monkey at this point, and we left for the hospital around 10am. My contractions slowed during the drive. Got checked - 4 - monitor for 20 min, walked for an hour, checked again, still a 4. At this point, Janice said I could either go home and labor more there, or walk for another hour and see if I progress. We decided (Brandon and our doula and me) to stay, since I knew that the drive was not helping. After that hour I was about 5.5, so they said I could stay! Yay!
|Ahhhh, the pool... notice I'm not smiling anymore...|
For the next few hours I went from the pool to the shower to the bed to a birthing ball, all the while the contractions coming harder and longer. My nice relaxed breathing soon became shouts of "Ow ow ow ow ow!" and "I don't know how much longer I can do this!"
Around 8pm (I think... Brandon could tell you better) Janice checked me again and I was about 7 cm. I felt deflated. I was really getting tired and seriously falling asleep sitting up between contractions. Janice said that my bag of waters was really cushioning the baby's head, making it hard for me to progress very fast. She said that if we ruptured it, the contractions would be harder, but shorter, and I'd likely dilate much faster. I talked it over with Brandon and Amanda, and we decided to go for it. A few minuted later it was done and I moved from where I was on the bed to sit on the birthing ball (that seemed to be where I labored the most). I stayed there for a while, then got in the shower and let the hot water run over my lower back. About half an hour later I started to feel the urge to push (and holy cow, when that comes you really can't stop it).
From there I got back on the bed and tried a couple of different positions until I found one that was comfortable for me. I was 9 cm at this point and Janice told me to push when I felt like it. I did for about 20 minutes, until we realized that I had a small lip of cervix acting like a rubber band on Ribbit's head. I'd push him so far, and when I'd stop to rest he'd be pulled back in by it. Janice told me to rest for a bit and try not to push to see if my body would work past that lip. After a few contractions it hadn't, and I couldn't not push any more. So Janice (watch out) actually reached in an held that little bit of cervix out of the way while I pushed.
Did it hurt? Honestly, I couldn't tell the difference. There was so much going on down there already. I pushed for another... 45 minutes or so before Ribbit finally came sliding out. Pushing was freakin' hard. I don't think it didn't hurt as much as the contractions did. With contractions the trick was to get my mind out of the way and let my body do its thing. Pushing required so much more from me physically than I thought it would. Janice actually told me that his head had been tilted wonky on the way out, so I had to push harder and stretch farther than I would have if he'd been coming straight. This kid made me work for it.
If you'd asked me right after the birth what I thought of "natural birth" I would've said I'm never doing it again, it's a horrible experience, it hurts, it's way too much work, and I can't believe I actually chose to do it of my own free will. But after having experienced the recovery, I would totally rather do natural again than risk the effects of what I went through the first time as the result of interventions and medicine.
Having climbed this mountain - which I wasn't sure I could do in the first place - I feel like I can do it again. The thing that made it possible for me was the supportive people I had around me. Brandon was a strength to me and believed in me the entire time, Amanda was such a support to both Brandon and me in that she could help us work through emotional issues, she and Brandon both kept us laughing and positive throughout the labor and delivery, my midwives were fantastic throughout the whole pregnancy, and Janice was great that night in reading my energy levels and knowing how much I could handle.
I'm not ready to actually be pregnant again yet, but I know I will at some point.
There you have it! That's how Ribbit came into the world... But the story continues just a little longer.
The inspiration for Ribbit's nickname is here...