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The Birth of Belle

My due date was June 19, but at my 36 week appointment, I was dilated to a 4 and 75% effaced with her head at a zero station (engaged), so we thought she was coming early, but she ended up hanging around like that for almost 4 weeks!

On my birthday June 16th, we had lots of people over for cake and ice cream and had a good time. The next morning I got up around 5 to use the bathroom (a not uncommon experience, as I'd been getting up every hour or so all night long for the past 9 months), and I noticed a very slight tinge of pink on my pad. It was so slight that I convinced myself I was imagining it and went back to bed, not wanting to get my hopes up. Then as I was laying there I felt what seemed like an extra amount of fluid coming out. But I again convinced myself that it could be just more of the cervical fluid that had been increasing as my pregnancy progressed.

I had always had contractions, but I started having them regularly every 9 or 10 minutes. They weren't painful at all, but definitely noticeable and intense. When I got up to go to the bathroom again, a lot more fluid came out, and when I got in bed again I snuggled up to Matt and told him I was pretty sure that my membranes had ruptured.

Around 7, Mom got up and we told her we thought it was going to happen today. She asked what we wanted her to do and I asked her to make brownies for the nursing staff (to give along with the birth plan, in hopes that they would like me and be nice!) She got started on that, and eventually Matt got up and started getting ready and gathering things to take to the hospital. I laid in bed for awhile. As long as I was laying down, the contractions stayed 10 minutes apart, but if I got up for anything, I would have one, even if it had only been a couple of minutes since the last one.

As soon as I finally got up, probably around 8, the contractions became more frequent-maybe 7 minutes apart. I told Matt and Mom that I didn't really feel like it was that urgent, since the contractions weren't anything near what I would describe as painful, but I guess we could page the midwife and ask if she thought we needed to go to the hospital. I paged her and took a shower and threw in a load of laundry and talked with Sariah a bit, getting her ready. I could tell Matt and Mom were getting anxious and thought we should just go. The midwife hadn't called us back so I just called the hospital. When I told them my membranes ruptured around 5 am, they said I needed to come in and they could get a hold of the midwife.

So, when the washer cycle finished, I put the clothes in the dryer, and the brownies were done so we piled in the car. Mom kept track of the contractions and they were about 6 minutes apart and I would stop and concentrate on relaxing during a contraction, but in between them there was nothing and that's why I didn't believe I was really in labor. I was so worried I would get to the hospital and they would announce I was at a 4 and 80% effaced, and I'd be so disappointed because I'd been like that for weeks!
Once we got off the freeway I decided I was kind of hungry and wanted something with fruit, and a smoothie would be perfect. So we drove around a bit looking for a Jamba Juice or something like that but couldn't find anything. We started to go to Wendy's for a frosty, but they weren't open yet (it wasn't quite 10 a.m.), but then I saw McDonald's and decided I was really hungry and wanted food, not just a smoothie. So we drove through McD's and got a Sausage McMuffin and some water. I finished about ¾ of it before we got to the hospital and I was having another contraction and didn't want the rest anyway.

Mom dropped us off and went to park the car and bring in the rest of our stuff (the exercise ball and brownies, etc.) and Sariah. We went into the little triage room where they have to put you on the monitors for 20 minutes and assess your labor before they admit you. They knew I would be staying though because my water had broken and I was already at a 5 when they checked me. The nurse asked if there was anything particular I would want to do and I told her I just wanted to get in a hot bath so she had the tub in my room getting ready for me while I did the 20 minutes of monitoring.

The tech was going through her computer questionnaire and asking me questions like what have I eaten and what medicines have I taken in the last 24 hours. She also asked me perfectly irrelevant questions to ask a woman in labor, like, have you ever experienced any physical abuse in your home?
Finally a real nurse was assigned to me and she came in and took over for the tech. Her name was Becky and she was very nice (except her perfume was very strong and I wondered why anyone working with pregnant/laboring women would even wear perfume.)

It was about that time, still in the triage room, that the contractions became pretty intense. Becky could tell and saw that I was experiencing them in my hips and thighs, so she showed Matt how to push on my knees to relieve the pressure. It was heaven. When he did that, the contraction just melted away and I couldn't even tell when it ended because I couldn't feel it at all. He did that during contractions until they had their 20 minutes of monitoring and I was allowed to go to my room.

Becky asked if I wanted to walk or wanted a wheelchair and I said I could walk and got off the bed, but as soon as I did another contraction came and I bent down to the floor to handle it. Someone walked by and said maybe I needed a wheelchair but Becky said "I think she's just having a contraction; she wants to walk," and I heard someone else say maybe she should check me before I got in the tub. She asked if I wanted to be checked and I said yes. I was 6 cm open.

I got up and walked to my room, took off my hospital gown and slipped right into the hot tub. Heaven again! The water was amazing. I turned on the jets and just relaxed. Matt turned on my Rainbow Relaxation Hypnobirthing CD in the background. I decided the water was a little too hot and since my belly was sticking out of the water, I asked him to get the shower nozzle and spray cool water on my belly. Sariah came in and she was so sweet. The whole time she would rub my arm and say, "It's okay Mommy, I'm here, Daddy's here, it's okay." Soon I wanted Matt to "do that thing to my knees" again during the contractions so Sariah took over holding the shower head over my tummy and Matt got down at the end of the tub and pushed on my knees.

The contractions were very close together and all of the sudden everything was so intense and it seemed like there was no time between them. I started getting nervous and worried that I wouldn't be able to handle this for very long. Becky came in and told me to look at her and breathe, breathe, and it was helpful to just focus on her eyes and breathe, although I think I was breathing differently than she instructed. I was doing the long, slow breath in and out that they tell you to do in Hypnobirthing. I started to feel cold because the cold water from the shower was cooling the water off too much. I also started putting my head under water because that felt better, but then my stomach would come out of the water too much.

My relaxation and Matt's help with pushing on my knees had been working so well but then suddenly everything sped up and the contractions were coming all at once and I didn't have time to refocus and try to relax again and I started to get scared. It was so powerful! I was afraid of the magnificent force inside me-how much stronger could it get? How much more could I handle? I think if I had had time to use some of the strategies we'd learned in hypnobirthing, especially hearing affirmations about what my body was doing, or getting into a different position, I would have eventually calmed and coped better with it. But this intensity-the actual pain, and the only time I felt anything in my abdomen at all (before this, it was always just in my hips) only lasted a few minutes before I felt like pushing! (At one point in that really intense few minutes, I remember saying, "I just want to take a break!" and instantly the contraction relented a bit and I calmed and was able to rest for a minute. It was just what I needed.)

So just as I was wondering how I was going to handle this for another few hours, I suddenly said,"I feel like I need to push," and I seriously didn't expect anybody to believe me and I thought maybe my body was lying to me, because it hadn't been very long at all. But I heard Becky say, "I think I better check her." She came down to the end of the tub where Matt had been so patiently pushing on my knees. Being checked hurt incredibly, but it was such a surprise and wonderful relief when I heard her say, "She's complete." But then, "We need to get her out of the tub," and "Noooo, I don't want to move!" And, "I am not delivering this baby in this tub, we need to get you to the bed."

Somehow I got out of the tub and over to the bed and I just crawled up on it and ended up on my hands and knees and was pushing. I heard someone ask, "Who's the doctor," and then Becky said, "The midwife isn't here, we're delivering this baby. This baby's coming now!" She was also saying I needed to turn over and I asked why I had to move and she told me it was hard to control the tearing in that position and it would really be much better if I could turn over. I felt good in that position, and I was pushing and not wanting to think or move, but somehow I got turned over.

I continued pushing this whole time though, but it was just a very natural bearing down-no one coached me or anything. I can't imagine being coached or how it would be any good because my body was just doing it and I was listening to my body and doing what felt right. It wasn't a hard pushing by any means, but I wasn't just sitting there either. I was working, and I was blowing out slowly and steadily-the birth breathing that they teach in Hypnobirthing, but it just came very naturally. I think I did stop naturally for a few seconds when the contraction paused for a minute, and then I naturally started bearing down and blowing out again when the contraction started again a few seconds later.

This whole pushing stage only lasted a minute or two and her head was out. It felt so great-all of the pushing and having her come out. It was such a relief to be pushing, to know she was coming and it was almost over. I was so afraid of the pushing part and was so surprised that it felt so good. At first I was a little embarrassed because it felt like I was having a bowel movement. I was afraid I was going to poop in front of everyone and I said, "I feel like I'm pooping, I think I am. Is that a head or is it poop?" And someone said "It's a head, don't worry!" And it was out! Her head was out and then her body came out easily too, at 10:57 a.m. It was all so easy! There wasn't any straining involved or any pushing that was ineffective. With every second of bearing down I could feel her moving down and then coming out.

As soon as she was out she was on my tummy and she was all purply-gray and beautiful and I was so surprised. I had made some noises that scared Sariah and Jan took her out of the room. I felt so bad because I wanted them both to be there so as she was coming out I kept saying, "Go get your mom! Tell her to come back in! She wanted to be here for this! Somebody go get Jan!" But she and Sariah came back as soon as the baby was out. I asked for Sariah to come up on the bed right above my shoulder. The nurse was rubbing Belle with a blanket and then put oxygen by her nose and she pinked right up. I was so glad they did that all with her on me instead of taking her away. I got her latched on and she started nursing and I was just enjoying her and still in a kind of delirious state while it seemed everyone else was taking care of things. I heard Becky say the cord was finished pulsing, is it okay to cut it now, and I said yes, and she asked Matt if he wanted to and he did.

At some point Dr. Saunders came in and helped deliver the placenta. I remember now someone saying something about just giving the cord a "little tug" and the placenta will just come right out and, and I think I briefly thought, "isn't that the 'cord traction' I stated in my birth plan that I didn't want?" but I was too much in my own world to respond. But that's what he did and luckily everything was fine.

I didn't actually realize the doctor was even there, though, until he was yelling at me. Yes, yelling. Apparently I had said "Ouch" when he started "manhandling my labia" as the nurse later put it, and he was either annoyed or offended that he was hurting me. He started lecturing me about how he was "just doing my job," and "doing the same thing he's done to thousands of other women," and a whole bunch of hurtful comments. It was obvious that he was angry and exasperated with me. I was almost to the point of tears, but I was so stunned as well-who was this man, why was he being so rough with poor, sensitive vagina that just gave birth? And was he really yelling at me for saying ouch?

Luckily I saw the nurse reach over and touch him and tell him to calm down and then my wonderful husband asked him to please speak gently to me. The doctor started yelling at him and went off again, mentioning that he was treating me the same way he would treat his wife. Because I could tell that everyone else in the room thought the doctor was out of line, I was able to handle it just fine.

Anyway, once the doctor was gone-he gave me a few stitches (I didn't tear in my perineum at all, but I did have some tearing in my labia)-and the midwife was there, the nurse apologized profusely for the way the doctor had acted and she and the midwife went to talk to him about it. He eventually came in and offered a rather insincere apology. The nurse and midwife both urged me to write a letter to the hospital administrator about my experience, and the nurse felt so bad that she brought me a gift basket.
Aside from that little incident with the doctor, everything was great. And that incident didn't really taint my labor or anything, because I had so much support from my husband, the nurse, and later the midwife and Matt's mom.
 

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That's a lovely story! Sorry about the butthead doctor though. Congratulations on a wonderful birth!! Happy Babymoon!

Namaste, Tara
 

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Just the kind of inspirational story I love to read two weeks before I'm due! Sounds like a great birth despite the rude doc. Congratulations!
 

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Congratulations! Thanks for sharing your beautiful story! Welcome Jane Elizabeth!!

P.S. What a jerk of a Dr. Sorry you had to experience that - I'm glad you didn't allow it to taint your wonderful experience.
 
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