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This is my first birth, our daughter Julianna's....5 years ago Nov 28 1999.

After an easy and uneventful pregnancy with my first baby, labour began albeit rather naturally...except that I was a first time mommy and, well, first timers usually worry a bit when the big moment arrives. It began pretty obviously. I was sitting at home watching TV, relaxing, and I heard this loud sounding "pop" come from inside of me. I freaked out! What just happened to my baby? I had never experienced anything like this before. I tried calm down, and after a few tears of worry was able to. Later that evening after a bath, and upon going to the bathroom yet again, I happened to look down into the toilet bowl and saw my mucous plug! Yay! Labour should start soon. At my regular doctor appointment the next day he agreed I could go any time, and that I had indeed lost my mucous plug. I wasn't sure personally, as there was no sign of blood or show like I'd been told to expect. I started to feel cramps, very slight, 3 days later, and by the 4th day felt even more.

We managed to go shopping for Christmas items we hadn't yet bought. On the Thursday as well I cleaned out the entire fridge top to bottom. "A severe case of nesting". I had a great burst of energy that Friday, and as we went to bed that evening at 10pm, I was hit with a strong contraction. For about two hours I tried to sleep, ignoring the ever-growing pain, but by midnight I had to wake Mark up to help me deal with what was happening. We kept track of the minutes between contractions for about three hours, and by 330am we had to get up. I was in true but manageable pain. Mark was a fabulous coach. I laboured at home with him at my side for nearly 24 hours, naturally and happily, until 8pm the following day, where we finally got the contractions down to every 5 minutes lasting about 2 minutes long. We were excited! My mom met us at the hospital, and I was assessed quickly. I was already 7cm dilated, all on my own! The nurses were shocked! I had done most of the hardest work on my own med-free! Just like I planned! But, we had no idea what lay ahead in terms of planned.

I got into a nice labour & delivery room, with whirlpool tub and all. I decided to try the tub, but soon found the jets of water too painful to withstand, not to mention the ignorant nurse who ignored my request for HOT water, leaving me freezing, so out I got. I managed another 5 hours med-free, at this point we were at the 29 hour mark of a very long and tiring labour, and two days of no sleep-so far. By 1am they "found" me to not be progressing at all, according to their plans, as we were still at 7cm dilation. The nurses were concerned about me, especially that I hadn't any sleep in a couple of days, so…I opted, for the epidural. I was finding I had the urge to push and could no longer manage the nurses warning me NOT to do so. I only took it to fall asleep, as the pain wasn't the problem. The fact that I hadn't gotten any sleep was hindering my relaxation therefore not allowing me to further dilate. I was given the epidural-a very uncomfortable procedure. It was truly horrible sitting up and staying still for two whole minutes through very strong contractions and urges to push which I had to fight. Finally I got some rest once the epidural took effect. Mark slept on a couch chair our nurse had brought him, and we both slept from about 2am until 530am, when they came to check me. I had easily dilated to a full 10cm and was ready to push. But, I asked to sleep a bit longer, and was very happy to be able to. At around 6am I awoke and we started the pushing process. We were told this should last about 2 hours. But, after 4 hours of no progress, the doctors "finally" came to "assess". I was checked many times, and the baby was wedged up under my pubic bone with a hand stuck to her face. This was the reason for the lack of progression. At this point, through exhaustion and feeling literally that I would die, I begged for a C-Section, as the pain was horrible. They said we were going to have to have a Vacuum Extraction delivery to help me get the baby out, as it was too late for a C-Section because the baby was too far into the birth canal to do one. They hooked up the Vacuum and I was told I "NEEDED" to push with every ounce of energy I had left and that the baby had to be out "NOW". Needless to say the scare tactic the doctors placed upon me worked. So I somehow pushed like there was no tomorrow, and out "squirted" (no slow crowning head first, shoulders, etc like I'd imagined and dreamed I'd get to feel) our baby girl! We were so shocked! We had thought we were having a boy! Mark cried out "It's JULIANNA" and that, happily, was the birth of our daughter, Julianna. She weighed 6 lbs and 15 oz and was 19.5 inches long. She had a full head of black hair, and was the cutest thing! Unfortunately, thanks to the usual medical interventions the hospitals push upon you during birth when they deem it necessary, I was given an episiotomy and tore on top of that. I needed a lot of stitching done after the birth. I was totally exhausted, and my labour totalled 36 hours. Breastfeeding had a very rough start due to the effects of the epidural on my daughter, but we eventually succeeded nursing for over 2 yrs until she self weaned. Looking back, while we got lucky and had very good medical care, even though through interventions I did NOT want, I knew in my heart this was not the birth I had dreamed of or would have expected. I knew in my heart I could do birth med-free and joyfully, not so exhausted that I couldn't enjoy my baby. Little did I know my years of mothering that lie ahead would teach me just how to obtain the birth I'd dreamed of.
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