I had an awesome hospital birth experience. I was induced at 40 weeks and I couldn't have asked for a better labor & delivery. I'll share my story, but I think the keys to my positive birthing expereince were:
* GREAT support from DH - he was an awesome coach!
* Also had great support from Mom and Dad...the only other family members there. I didn't want a room full of people, personally.
* Excellent OB - very thorough and caring throughout the whole pregnancy. He wanted to deliver our baby since he was our OB the whole pregnancy and he was the one that got to deliver her, so we were all happy with that.
* Wonderful nursing staff - especially during labor & delivery. Very encouraging and helpful throughout the whole process.
* Excellent facility. I delivered in the brand new womens center at a local hospital and it was great! I was in the same suite from the time I arrived until we left with the baby which DH and I both appreciated very much.
Also, I kept my attitude up the whole time by reminding myself of the miracle that was taking place. I felt so empowered by the whole process - even through the painful parts - that I was able to remain confident for the duration of the labor and delivery. It was purely amazing!!
Here is my birth story...it's a long one and really doesn't even begin to capture all the beautiful and raw emotions of that most incredible day!!
*********Macey's Birth Story
Mickey, Mom and I got up early on Tuesday, July 1, 2003 for the big day! It was gray and cloudy that morning when we left home. We checked into the hospital at 7:00 a.m. and after filling out the required paperwork, we were on our way to Labor & Delivery to get the induction started. We were met in the elevator by our nurse and a nursing student who came to meet us and would be with us through the delivery. As soon as we got to the 4th floor, we saw my Daddy – he was there and he was already pacing with nervousness. We got settled into the room then I got changed into the hospital gown and got into bed. I had to answer a bunch of questions and then the IV drip for hydration was started (OUCH!) and the monitors were hooked up to monitor my contractions. Turns out that I was already having contractions, but they were not big ones and were not regular at all. I just thought I was having cramps, so I was sort of relieved to know they were contractions. After that the pitocin drip was started to strengthen and regulate my contractions. I was told I might start really feeling the contractions in about half an hour. My OB came in to check me soon after that and I was already at 4cm. His recommendation was to go ahead and place the epidural and then he would come back and break my water. So, the anesthesiologist was called and came not too long after that to place my epidural. Mickey and my Dad left the room for that procedure and Mom stayed with me. Having the epidural placed was definitely not fun, but worth it. I had to sit up on the side of the bed and curl over a pillow while the anesthesiologist worked. The local anesthetic went in first and that stung quite a bit, but was over quickly. The anesthesiologist was VERY nice and talked me through it all – he was even patient with me when I moved even though he needed me to be as still as possible. When the epidural tube was placed, I did feel a shock sensation, but that was short lived. Finally, the epi was in place and ready to go. The anesthesiologist did some tests to make sure everything was working well and I was already starting to numb as I should. It wasn’t long after that when my OB came back and broke my bag of waters to really get labor moving along. As I recall, that was somewhere around 10:00-10:30 that morning because I remember thinking that no matter what, after the water was broken I’d have to have the baby within 24 hours and that would be around 10:00 the next morning at the latest. During the whole day I was in the best mood – talking, cutting up…just excited as could be. I wasn’t in pain at that point and was just doing great. I remember looking out the window and seeing it POURING rain and I was glad we had gotten to the hospital ahead of all that. Mom left around 11:30-ish to go to CVS across the street, shortly after that Mickey and Daddy left to get some lunch and I was left alone, but the nurse (of course) was there with me. Sometime after they all left, I started having some pains in my “tailbone” region – that’s how I knew I was contracting stronger and more regularly. I got just a little bit panicked in having that pain with none of my family there at that time, but I settled myself right down and just stayed calm. Lee Ann (Mickey's boss and our friend from church) stopped by to bring Mickey a cheeseburger from BJ’s, but he was already gone to lunch with my Dad. While she was there my contractions in that lower area really started to intensify and she didn’t stay long at all. My nurse had me push the “extra” button the epidural to help relieve the pain, so I did that but it really didn’t help. Mom was the first one back and she helped me breathe through the pains (deep strong breaths…in through the nose, out through the mouth). Another anesthesiologist was called back in to give me a block to help with the pain and that was administered shortly before Mickey and my Dad got back. The block didn’t really work either – I was still having intense pressure in the tailbone region with each contraction. The contractions were coming about 2 minutes apart and lasting about a minute to a minute and a half at that point. Mickey was especially helpful with helping me to breathe through the contractions – he was right beside me, held my hand and talked me through it all. My Mom and my Dad would sometimes come over and coach me too. The nurse and my family just kept telling me how great I was doing and I was happy to hear that. I would just breathe through each one as it came and that helped tremendously. The nurse checked me at around 1:15 or so and I was between 8-9cm already, so I had made a LOT of progress. I kept feeling the urge to push, but I didn’t – I just did the deep breathing through each. When the nurse went to tell my OB how far along I was, he was finishing up a c-section. I kept looking for him to come in so that I could start pushing. Every time the door opened, I would hope it was him. I think I was at 10cm somewhere around 1:45 or so. At one point a nursing student came in and I got all excited because all I could see behind the curtain (the door was behind a curtain) was tennis shoes and I thought it was the doctor, but it wasn’t him yet. The nurses went ahead and prepped the room and my bed for delivery while we were waiting. Finally my OB came in just after 2:00 and we were ready to start pushing. My dad went behind the curtain and my mom went across the room, Mickey stayed right there with me. They sat me up and got me situated in the stirrups before I started to actually push and that helped with the pain and pressure in my lower region. I could not feel the contractions though, so the nurses had to watch the monitor and tell me when to push. Mickey was standing beside me to my left and I had one nurse beside him close to the doctor on that side…I had the student nurse close to me on the right and my regular Labor nurse next to her. My first pushes were good – I was moving the baby along. They said for me to put my hands beneath my legs and use that to help bear down. That worked fine, but wasn’t entirely working for me because I couldn’t feel my legs at that point. So, the nurses pulled up these handles on each side of the bed and I gripped them when I pushed. I would push three times with each contraction – 10 seconds each push. I would take a deep breath in and then PUSH as hard as I could during each of the three times. The first set was pretty easy to get through, the second was a little harder and by the third one I was out of breath and the veins in my head were pounding. It wasn’t painful, just hard work, but I knew I could make it and I felt empowered beyond anything I can describe. The doctor and nurses kept telling me what a great pusher I was and said I was doing a great job! Mickey was a tremendous support too – he would squeeze my hand with our “I love you” code and that was reassuring to me as well. One of the first things they told me about the baby is that she had hair – they let me know that because I had said ALL along that she would. They brought a mirror over after a few pushes so that I could see her head. I didn’t want the mirror there the whole time, but it was cool to see her head and know I was making progress. After a couple more sets of pushes, I could REALLY tell that her head was ready to come out – I could fee a different pressure than before. By that time the doctor was gowned-and-gloved and ready for the baby to be born. It took maybe 2-3 sets of pushes to get her head out and that was such an amazing relief just to start to see her. The doctor had me push sort of slowly to get the rest of her out and at 2:32 p.m. out came Macey Charlotte. To see her being born was completely miraculous! As soon as she came out, I just looked at her in awe and couldn’t believe how beautiful she was and that she had come from me. I watched them suction and stimulate her and I told her to cry – which she did. I looked over at Mickey and he was crying and then I looked at my mom and she was crying. Of course, I was crying too, but mostly I was just so happy to see our daughter and see that everything was just perfect. Macey was laid on my tummy to be further suctioned and cleaned a bit and I just couldn’t take my eyes off of her. I was instantly and completely smitten with her – as was Mickey. I got to hold her for the first time then and I just stared at her while I held her…just taking it all in. Soon after that, they took her to get her APGAR score (8 and 9), check her vitals, weigh and measure her and give her that first bath. I just watched everything as my OB worked on me. When I heard them say she weighed 9lb 4oz and was 21.5” long I was amazed, but not completely surprised – I knew all along she’d be a big baby. I also had to tell Dr. Lazenby that I told him I was all baby and not brownies. (HA!) He couldn’t get over how big she was – he asked what her 36 week ultrasound estimate was and when I told him they guessed 7lb 5oz at that point, he said he guessed that was wrong, huh? J Pretty soon, Macey had her first bath (much to her dismay) and was brought to me in the bed in just a diaper and her hat for some skin-to-skin time with Mommy under the warming lights. That was heavenly – just to hold our little girl so close to me, helping her warm up and welcoming her into the world in such a sweet way. Mickey, of course, was in awe too…we just couldn’t believe that we were finally seeing and holding our little girl. As soon as she had time to warm up, she was dressed in the gown that Mickey picked out for her to wear and we got to cuddle up with her again. Mickey took her and held her and I realized right there that I was more in love with him than ever before! The doctor finished up and before he left he told us how much God had blessed us and how happy he was for us. We also got a picture made with him and the three of us. Soon after that I breastfed Macey for the first time and she didn’t initially get the hang of the latch, but she finally did latch for a bit and the nurses were happy because some babies just don’t latch the first time around. Everything was so magical and surreal – Macey was finally with us and in our arms and I was so full of adrenaline that I was just FULL of energy and alert, so happy to be with my wonderful husband and our sweet baby.
The story really doesn't do justice to how magical, wonderful and miraculous the whole day was, but I do hope that it conveys what a wonderful birthing experience I had at the hospital. Granted, I had an epi...but I believe that my birth experience would have been beautiful under any circumstance.