I wrote my birth story in my journal a week after my beautiful daughter was born. I was 18 years old at the time. I am 22 now, and my now 4 year old daughter gets more and more beautiful and amazing everyday! Since my boyfriend and I have recently started trying to have a baby (this will be my 2nd, his 1st baby), I felt like sharing my birth story. 4 years ago, after 3 years of dating, my daughter's father left me for another woman when I was 17 years old and 3 months pregnant with his baby. I was still single when she was born, but I let her father be my labor partner so that he could be there when she was born. All-natural labor was extremely challenging, but I think childbirth is a beautiful (though graphic lol) process, and I am positive that I want to have an all natural childbirth with my next baby as well. Here is my story.
November 13th, 2008
My mom and I arrive at the navy hospital for my 39 week appointment with my OB. So far in my pregnancy I have never felt any contractions. My OB asked if I had been feeling any contractions, had any leaking fluid or blood. I as always replied no. He said that even though I wasn't feeling contractions, if I would like he could check my cervix (it would be the first time he'd ever done that) and see if I had made any progress at all. And he offered to strip my membranes, which I replied YES PLEASE!!! So he checks me and I am expecting to either be 0 cm dilated or 1 at the most. And then he says "...Yep, you're 3 cm dilated and 90% effaced. I'm sending you to Labor and Delivery!" And then he pulled his hand out and there was blood on it! He said, "...that's a good sign too."
I couldn't believe it!!!
Next thing I know I'm in triage hooked up to the monitors. After 30 minutes of having contractions every 4 minutes, they decided to admit me!!! Now the first couple of contractions that showed on the monitor I couldn't feel at all, but after 5 or 6 I started feeling a little bit of discomfort with each one, nothing painful but just enough for me to recognize that I was having a contraction. Now my mom was pretty flabbergasted that I was in labor and in no pain at all. She kept saying how unfair it was and that I should be in pain!! Strange when your mom wants you to be in pain, huh?!
Now that I was officially admitted, I called Andrew (baby daddy) to let him know. Because I wasn't in any pain yet, I told him he didn't need to come right away and that I would call him in an hour or two when i actually got into a labor suite. He sounded so terrified!! (he was 18 yrs old too btw) He mumbled "Uh...okay...that's cool..." Because I was so nonchalant about it all I guess he didn't realize that we were actually having a baby TODAY and SOON! Afterwards he told me that he would have come to the hospital a lot sooner if he had realized that this was the real deal. Also at 11:00 AM, my mom left to go to our house and pick up my hospital bags, birthing ball (aka exercise ball), etc. She wanted to hurry and leave to go get them so that she would be back before baby arrived. Luckily, I already had my bags pretty much packed, and I had made a list of things I still needed to pack so she found everything real easily. My birth plan definitely went out the window, however. I had everything planned down to what outfit I would wear and what color eyeshadow I would have on. What was I thinking?!? (Well, I was 18 yrs old after all lol) I had planned to labor at home until the last minute, and then when at the hospital I still wanted to labor out of bed: walking, squatting, using the birthing ball, etc., along with a million other things. And even though my birthing plan didn't happen at all and was way too unrealistic (example: writing her birth story while IN LABOR. What!!??!?) I'm really glad I did have a plan, especially since it allowed me to be strong in knowing that I did not want an epidural or any other pain medication. I was also really scared that they were going to put me on pitocin to make labor stronger and progress faster (and be much more painful!!), but amazingly I progressed really fast all on my own.
A nurse gave me an IV with Penicillin since I tested positive for GBS. It made my arm burn for about 15 minutes but other than that I didn't notice it. Because of the IV and two monitors on my belly - one for baby's heart rate because it was too high, and the other to measure the strength of my contractions - I was restrained to the bed the entire labor :(. I didn't mind except the fact that I had to lay perfectly still or else we would lose baby's heart rate.
An OB I had never met before came in and did a quick ultrasound to make sure baby's head was down - it was. He also asked if I wanted an epidural or pain meds now or if I might want some later on when the pain got bad, I said no.
Some nurses came in my triage room and helped me move to a labor suite (I had to drag my IV pole behind me lol) I normally would have been transferred to a labor suite right when they admitted me at 10:30 AM, but all the rooms were full. All the nurses kept apologizing, but I really didn't care since I wasn't in pain. I got changed into a hospital gown, re-hooked up to monitor belts and laid down in bed. The contractions were starting to get more uncomfortable, but still not painful. A nurse came in and sat next to my bed for about 30 minutes asking me a bunch of questions to fill out forms with.
Andrew arrives. ...Looking scared out of his mind, haha. Right after he came the contractions started getting painful and more frequent, about 1-2 minutes apart. Andrew was a great labor partner, every time a contraction came on he came real close to me and started rubbing my back and neck while reminding me to breathe, breathing with me, and telling me I was doing such a good job. I couldn't have asked for anything more. My Mom, as well as Andrew's Grandma, arrive at about the same time and come into my room. My mom was in the room for like 10 minutes setting the camera up for me, bringing my bags in, etc. I really didn't want anyone but Andrew in there though, especially since the contractions were getting pretty bad. It took everything I had not to scream at them to get out, and luckily they did soon enough. My mom brought my boom box so that I could listen to music during labor, but we couldn't get it to work. I seriously didn't care at this point though.
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
My OB came in along with a really nice midwife. They checked me and I was 5 cm. My OB decided he wanted to break my water, so they did. Then they inserted an internal monitor on the baby's head since the belt kept showing the baby's heart rate at 170, with 160 being the highest normal heart rate. From this point until she was born I had on an oxygen mask, which I kind of liked, in hopes of bringing her heart rate down. Before they broke my water, the contractions were BAD, I couldn't talk through them and I had to really focus on my breathing. And they HURT, like a burning, stinging, my-body-is-on-fire pain. But AFTER they broke my water - and they warned me that it usually makes the contractions more painful - the contractions became INSANE. I started to feel out of control, knowing that the contractions were going to keep coming and coming and there was nothing I could do to stop them. I only got by because I would make myself focus on the current contraction and not allow myself to think about how there was another one coming. Now to get through contractions I definitely needed Andrew, the oxygen mask smashed against my face, my whole body shaking and trembling, my hands grasping on to the bed rail for dear life, and panting breathing techniques. After a while I also had to add low groaning and a little bit of loud yells. After what seemed like an eternity of contractions, I started getting confused as to why no one had come in my room to check my dilation for such a long time. What if I was already 10 cm? What if the baby's head is right there and my body pushes her out and no one is there to catch her?! I thought about calling the nurse but I didn't want to annoy them. Soon after, every time I felt a contraction, it kind of felt like I needed to push. After several contractions of the feeling, it got bad enough that I accidentally pushed a little bit so I called the nurse right away. The midwife came in, checked me and said I was 8 cm and asked me if I wanted an epidural. The pain was more excruciating and all-consuming than anything I had ever felt, but I knew how quickly you can progress from 8 to 10 centimeters and so I was able to say no. I really wanted to say yes, and the only reason I was able to say no is because of how many birth stories I had read about women caving in and getting an epidural at 8 cm, only to have to sit up and SIT STILL on the edge of the bed while they got the epidural, which they said was awful, only for the epidural not to kick in until after they pushed the baby out, because they progressed so quickly once they got to 8 cm. I didn't want that to happen to me, and the thought of sitting up and sitting still sounded horrible at that point. So I said no. So the midwife told me to just breathe through the contractions, and then she and the nurses left. After a few contractions, I kept accidentally pushing and so I called them to check me again. I was 9 centimeters. The contractions were UNBEARABLE and pushing felt SO GOOD!! It was so hard not to. They got my OB and pretty soon I was 10 cm and ready to go.
I started pushing. The midwife delivered the baby but my OB was standing right next to her the whole time. The midwife said I was an amazing pusher and therefore she was going to let me direct my own pushing. She said to push whenever I felt a contraction. The only problem was, there was so much pressure it felt like I was constantly in a contraction!! So I really had no clue when to push but I did the best I could! I would push 3-5 times and then take a little break. Then push again. Oh my gosh, I pushed SO HARD!! I felt like my head was going to just fall off because i was going so hard. I remember when the head and shoulders came out, it was as if the pain was more painful than possible. My mouth let out 2 screams and it was as if my soul was screaming. I know that sounds strange, but it's the best way I can describe it. I pushed from 4:10 to 4:25 pm. Only 15 minutes!
At 4:25 PM on November 13th, 2008, Anemone Cadence Kennedy was born. Right when she came out they put her on my stomach. She had lots of brown hair and I stroked her arm before they picked her up and took her to the warmer because she wasn't crying. She took a really long time to cry. I was so scared. They had to clean out her lungs a bunch, but eventually she did cry. Next, came the worst part of my whole labor and delivery. Yep, that's right, the worst part by far was the 30 minutes after she was born. Because I had no pain meds or epidural, I could feel EVERYTHING.First, I had to deliver the placenta. The midwife pushed down on my belly to make it come out, which hurt really, really bad. Then it came out, and I saw it and it was really weird looking haha. Then they told me that I tore, a 2nd degree tear and my OB started stitching me up. So they gave me a shot of demerol in the area where the tear was that was supposed to numb me. He started stitching me up, and the demerol wasn't working. I could feel everything. And it hurt....SO BAD. I was sobbing and screaming so hard the whole time. Also, I was losing way more blood than normal and it wouldn't stop coming. My OB said I lost a total of 700 cc's of blood- which is a lot. My OB said if I had lost any more, I would have needed a blood transfusion. They gave me a couple more shots of demerol throughout the stitching because I was in so much pain, sobbing and shaking, but the shots never numbed me at all. To stop the bleeding, my OB kept pushing down on my belly extremely hard and pulling huge clots out of me. Which also hurt EXTREMELY BAD. After what seemed like an eternity of pain, but was probably closer to 30 minutes, the bleeding finally slowed down and i got to hold my beautiful little girl. She was so gorgeous and fragile and perfect. She had no health issues or problems, except for a small cataract in her left eye. She has since seen an eye specialist and he said she will not need surgery, it is just a small speck in her vision.
I breastfed my daughter until she was 18 months old. She never had one drop of formula her whole life. I just went straight from breastfeeding to regular milk when she was old enough.
All the doctors and nurses said I had a "picture perfect labor", the best delivery of the year, etc. I guess because I progressed so quickly, didn't need any pain meds, and I was never mean to anyone. All the nurses, my midwife, and my OB were really nice throughout the whole thing. My only complaint was that I wish my Midwife had directed my pushing. I pushed WAY too hard. I know this because I ended up getting apezea (sp?), little dots all over my face and neck for a day after my daughter was born. I also really wish the midwife had told me that the baby was getting closer to coming out while I was pushing. She never told me anything, so I thought I was doing a terrible job and the baby wasn't moving closer at all!! Which made me push harder!! I was shocked when all of a sudden the baby was out, because I thought they always told you when you were making progress. I hope my 2nd baby progresses fast as well and I am able to have an all-natural child birth again. If only I could not tear this time lol. Feeling the stitching was by far the worst part. Good luck to any women that are hoping for an all-natural child birth, and I hope you enjoyed reading my story. Thanks for listening :).