I am back to the topic of birth. Things have been hectic here. I've been writing this in my head, but I knew I needed a significant time block to sit down and type it out. Which means you need a good chunk of time to read this!
During this labor, I remember only thinking and focusing on the contraction that I was doing. I never thought of the next one. This is huge! It's the reason I was able to sleep and relax during contractions. I also recalled Martha Sears's comment about relaxing "like you are 11 months pregnant." This, too, was very useful.
At one point, the midwife checked dilation and found that I was a 9. She said the bag of waters was bulging and asked if she could break my water. I told her no. I didn't want any intervention. The cervix also had a lip, or rim, and so she pushed it out of the way. This was very painful, but I felt immediate relief.
I remember going to the bathroom and while I was there, I grunted at the peak of a contraction. It was totally involuntary and everyone knew the baby was descending. I went to the bed and continued to labor on hands and knees because of the back labor. After a short period, I started to say that I had to poop. Everyone was excited (!!) and the midwife said that was the baby. Although I had learned in class that the sensation is exactly the same, I was in total denial. Why wasn't anyone helping me off this bed to go to the bathroom?!
Susan checked me again and said that the baby was "right there" and if she broke my water, I'd have the baby immediately. I, at this point, said ok. She tried several times to break it -- usually a simple process -- but she said the bag was so thick. She said I must have eaten great protein. Yea!
She was right. My daughter was born eight minutes later, at 5:04 a.m. I gave birth on my side. I have this fantasy that I am this quiet birther -- that my babies enter this world in a dimly lit room that is quiet and peaceful. I finally came to terms with this on the 4th birth, that I am not a quiet birther. I am vocal. But I am a very vocal person, so it makes sense that I would sound it out. AND THAT'S OK. I felt so bad about this for so long. I always tell my classes that it is OK to be a vocal birther. Our midwife, Barbara Pepper, with our 4th birth, encouraged me to sound it out, like an animal. That felt so good, so right.
I didn't tear, but felt like I had. Women are always so afraid of the possibility of tearing. It does sound awful, doesn't it? The reality is, even if you don't (about a 50/50 chance), you will think you did. When the skin stretches, it burns. This is a very intense, but extremely short period -- usually a contraction or two.
My daughter was immediately placed on my chest -- oh my goodness, she had so much black hair! (Our son was completely blond.) I was so emotional. I DID IT! Even as I type this, my eyes are welling up with tears, remembering that moment. Everything I had been afraid of before -- for what? This was amazing! Shortly after she was born, I remember saying, "I can't wait to do that again." Even when we watch the last 3 births, this birth is the most emotional. She weighed 7 lb. 2 oz., a whole pound more than our first baby. Dr. Wolsey told me that I would probably never give birth to a baby weighing more that 7 pounds. We booed him in the delivery room when she was weighed!
We were incredibly prepared. We started off so great with this baby. Confident in ourselves and our baby. She was gorgeous -- still is! We named her after her great-grandmother, who I am certain was smiling down on her, probably sad to see her go, and yet excited for her to experience this life.
If I could do this, anyone could do this! This is why I teach Birth Boot Camp, so that all women can have this experience. It's not about pain at all. It's about doing what God has given you the gift to do. I believe that He wants us to use the powers of birth and not numb them with pain medication. The body works together so beautifully, that is, until we intervene with the natural process.
If you are thinking about having an unmedicated birth, do it! Surround yourself with positive people who believe in you and the power of your body to give birth! Boo to all the naysayers who tell you that you can't do it. You can!