**This post contains birthy terms. If that makes you uncomfortable, you may just want to skip this post!**
Thankfully, the car had been packed for weeks, so we loaded just a few things and jumped right in to head to the hospital. On the way, I called the doctor’s office to see where I should go. After much debate, and circling in the parking lot while having contractions, they decided I could head straight to labor and delivery. Upon arriving at L&D, there was not a soul to be found. All was quiet. I had to go sneaking behind the desk to find someone. I smiled and said, “I think I’m in labor.” (still not willing to admit with confidence that this was it! I’m crazy…I know!)
They quickly got me into a room, and began the long task of admitting me. I still don’t understand what the point of “pre-admitting” is if they are gonna ask you a billion questions over again when you arrive. Anyways, they were thoughtful enough to start electronic fetal monitoring, so I could get my 20 minute strip and be done with those things. (side note: I requested the “wireless” monitors so I could continue to walk around. Fair warning…they are not “wireless” in the truest sense of the word. The cords are just attached to a battery pack, so you aren’t hooked up directly to the computer. You can walk around, but you still have cords draped all over you.)
While they were admitting me, they got in touch with Dr. Lacy who requested that I be checked to see how far along I was. At my previous doctor’s appointment, I think I was barely 3 cm. I was hoping and praying I would be at 5 cm at this point. The nurse checked me and started counting 4…5…6…7…almost 8! I couldn’t believe it!! We were nearing transition! I was well beyond my expectation, and still relatively pain free and comfortable.
I immediately requested to get in the tub. This is the one place where we ran into trouble. The nurses insisted that the whirlpool tub was only for after delivery. I insisted that Dr. Lacy said I could get in whenever I wanted. I referred to the birth plan signed by Dr. Lacy. They finally agreed to call Dr. Lacy and ask permission. They returned to my room ready to take me to the whirlpool. Thank you. Amen.
I don’t know why I fixated on getting in that tub, but all through my pregnancy and labor, I focused on getting to the tub. I think it was some sort of marker for me that I was going to do this. So we paraded down the hall and they loaded me into this whirlpool. The tub was not ideal. I had to get in it before they could fill it with water. I found it very difficult to get my whole body submerged in a comfortable position which is what I wanted. We were in a very small closet type room.
When I finally got myself relaxed and “in the zone” listening to my labor music, someone comes in wanting to draw my blood. I kid you not. I am in the middle of transition, and this woman insists that she must draw my blood. Then she tries to tell me I have to get out of the tub to do it. Oh heck no! Thankfully, my doula encouraged her to just draw it where I was if this was necessary, and she finally consented. I flung my arm over the side of the tub and waited for it to be over.
All too quickly it got too hot in that tiny room to breath. I was so entrenched in working through the contractions that were intense and painful at this point that I couldn’t manage to say I wanted to get out. Every time a contraction ended, the thought of getting out of that tub was overwhelming. Finally, my doula said something–I’m not sure what–but it gave me the boost I needed to get out of the tub and trudge back to my room.
I collapsed on the bed and begged for water. I don’t think I’ve ever been more thirsty in my life as when I’m in labor (with both boys!). Thankfully, this time I was allowed water! As soon as I lay down on the bed, they were wrapping those stupid monitors back around me. Even though it was probably the worst possible position to labor in, all I could do was lay on the bed. I always thought people were crazy when they said they “slept” between contractions, but I really think I did. I rested at least. At one point, I remember telling my doula that I know I need to get up. She told me I was just fine that I was getting good rest between contractions. That was all I needed to hear to stay put. So I zoned out again listening to my music.
At some point I asked my doula how she did this 4 times.
I asked Michael to check on Thomas.
I wanted to know who thought natural labor was a good idea.
I told myself I was never having another child ever.
I probably squeezed the life out of my doula’s hand.
This was by far the worst part.
Then I started feeling grunty. Other folks call it pushy. I call it grunty. My doula called in the nurse to check me to see if I was fully dilated. I was 9 cm with a “bulge” meaning my bag of waters was bulging and I think preventing complete dilation. At this point, I had to get up and try to move around. This didn’t go over too well. I realized no matter what position I was in, I was terribly uncomfortable. Welcome to labor! It’s not supposed to be comfortable.
It seemed like we thought my water broke about 15 times (probably not really that many), but each time they said the bulge was still there. Finally, someone checked me and said I was close enough I could try pushing if I wanted to (I really had already been pushing…I think?!). Dr. Lacy was in the room at this point, so it was probably her. I tried squatting at the end of the bed. I tried kneeling in the bed leaning over the upper portion. Nothing felt right, so I finally flipped over and started pushing the same was I pushed Thomas out. Again, not the ideal way, but it was the only thing I knew. This time was different though because I had complete control of my body…well as much control as you have in labor.
I finally got into a groove and started moving the baby down. The contractions weren’t really painful anymore as long as I pushed through them. I felt like I pushed for an eternity. We were still waiting for the bulge of water to break. All of a sudden, it felt like a water balloon exploded. Apparently the breaking of the water was much more dramatic to me than it was for anyone else. My doula said she didn’t really even remember it! At this point, everyone jumped up and announced that we were about to have a baby. Dr. Lacy put on her gear. We all thought his delivery was imminent.
But I kept pushing and pushing and pushing. His head just would not come through. They all kept telling me how large he was. Dr. Lacy said his scalp was wrinkled (meaning he was big). She finally said she was going to give me some lidocaine just in case she needed to cut an episiotomy. I pushed a few more times with no progress, and we all agreed that an episiotomy was our best choice. I remember her asking me if I wanted a mirror and me yelling back: I don’t care, just get this baby out of me now!!
She cut the episiotomy and with the next push, his head was born. I pushed one more big time, and apparently my little man shot out both shoulders at once! Everyone started hollering “slow down slow down! One shoulder at a time!”. He was here! All I could think was “We did it! We did it! It’s over!”
Dr. Lacy immediately placed him on my belly. His cord was short, so I just held him there until the cord was white and ready to be cut. Michael cut the cord, and I got to snuggle Parker up good for the first time. This may sound gross, but I don’t know that there is a better feeling in the world than holding a newborn baby on your bare chest. The warmth. Even the wetness. The satisfaction of knowing God has blessed you with this new life. It’s amazing.
Much like his brother, Parker didn’t take long to latch on and nurse like a professional. The placenta delivered easily, and we were done. As everyone expected, he was a big baby. We could tell just by looking. I held him for about an hour before they did the newborn examination. He weighed in at 10 pounds 5 ounces and an inaccurate 24 inches long (I think the nurse just got so excited about him being big that she mis-measured). He was actually 22 inches long. He was born at 9:21 p.m.
Dr. Lacy and the hospital did an amazing job helping me follow my birth plan and have a safe, natural delivery. Everyone respected my wishes. No one ever even mentioned the word epidural (except me. once. ). While I would never have wished for an episiotomy, I wouldn’t change anything about Parker’s birth. Even though there was pain involved, I look back on his birthday and smile. It was a beautiful day.
If you have any questions about natural childbirth or breastfeeding feel free to leave them in the comments or email me at newlifesteward @ gmail . com (remove spaces). I plan to address these topics in more detail after I finish Parker’s birth story and would love to address your questions as best I can!
Subscribe below to receive free e-mail updates (including the rest of Parker’s story)! You can unsubscribe at any time.