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Thursday, August 16 at 7:30pm, I was at DH's parents' house watching Big Love when my water broke. I jumped up and ran to the bathroom fast enough that I didn't get any amniotic fluid on anything but my jeans (which were soaked). MIL called his cell and told him. DH had just finished teaching classes and was about to order food at a restaurant. She was so excited, she wanted to drive me to the hospital immediately - in my soaked jeans. I had to argue with her and insist that DH was going to take me home so I could shower and change my clothes. She was on the verge of physically dragging me to the hospital. (Even though she always tells the story that when her water broke with DH, she locked herself in the bathroom and curled her hair.)<br><br>
I had no intention of going to the hospital until my labor was well under way, but I wasn't having any contractions yet. DH drove me home and I showered and did laundry, and made sure everything was in my hospital bag. After a few hours, I still wasn't having any real contractions. DH was super mad at me and yelled at me a lot because I didn't want to go to the hospital yet.<br><br>
I got in the bath and did manual nipple stimulation. I had mild contractions about every 3-5 minutes, but they definitely weren’t strong labor contractions. It was thrilling to see the little flakes of vernix floating in the water. I thought, “That is the first real part of my baby that I have seen!” My nipples eventually got sore, so I stopped pinching them and got out of the bath around midnight. I really wanted to go into labor and get on with it, but I was tired and I didn't know what to do. I called my doula, (who is also a CPM), and she told me to go to bed. That was the best advice I've ever received. So DH and I went to bed and I got a great night's sleep. I was hoping to wake up with labor pains, instead I woke up in the morning feeling wonderful. All the fluid had leaked out by then, so my belly was much smaller, and I felt a lot more comfortable than I had in weeks. At that point, I knew my labor wasn't going to start naturally, so DH and I got breakfast at McDonald's then headed to the hospital.<br><br>
It was kind of hilarious at McDonald’s. DH was talking on his cell phone while we were sitting there eating. He was telling his friend how my water broke last night and we were headed to the hospital. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a businessman sitting at a nearby table looking like he was about to panic. With eyes as big as saucers, he was staring at me like I was gonna have a baby right there.<br><br>
When we got to the hospital, at first, I lied and told the nurse my water just broke this morning, but they were going to just let me sit there to see if my labor would start naturally, so I had to confess that my water had already been broken for over 14 hours.<br><br>
My midwife checked my cervix and I was dilated 3 to 4 cm. She then left because she had a dentist appointment. The nurse did a bunch of intake paperwork with me, then set up my IV and started fluids, Pitocin, and antibiotics (for the prolonged rupture of membranes). This was about one o’clock in the afternoon. They had to put the monitoring equipment on me to track my labor and make sure the baby was handling contractions. This consists of two belts around my belly, and a blood pressure cuff on my arm. All attached with cords to a machine.<br><br>
DH called the doula to let her know what was going on. She was attending another birth, so she would be sending her backup doula, who was newly certified.<br><br>
The contractions slowly built up in strength. I labored standing next to the bed mostly. It was really annoying being strapped to all this equipment. It was a big hoopla just to go pee. All the cords had to be unplugged, and I had to drag my IV pole along. After a couple trips to the bathroom, I asked the nurse if the cord on the machine was long enough for me to just labor on the toilet. So she pulled the machine as far as the power cord would let it go, and it worked! The cords were just long enough for me to labor on the toilet. At this point, it was the most comfortable place for labor, because each contraction pressed the baby’s head against my bladder, and I was happier when I could empty my bladder during each contraction.<br><br>
My mom had been staying with our 3yo DS at our house, and they came up to visit. I was still on the toilet and they sat out in my room talking with DH. I wanted DS present for the birth, I was glad he was there. I wanted to see him and he wanted to see me too, but I had to cajole him to come into the bathroom. He was timid about being in a new environment. But he came in the bathroom and gave me a hug. We talked about me being there to have a baby. He was really tired and crabby, so my mom took him back home for a nap.<br><br>
At about two-thirty to three o’clock my contractions started getting really painful. The doula arrived just in time. I started to enter ‘laborland’. I worked through a few contractions standing up next to the bed, leaning over a birth ball on the bed.<br><br>
MIL had been calling my hospital room every half hour since we arrived, and the phone rang again. I was seriously annoyed. I said, “Don’t answer it.” But DH answered it anyway. It was his mom, just checking in. I said, “Tell her she needs to stop calling,” but DH didn’t, he chatted and said goodbye.<br><br>
I felt really tired and laid down in bed. I hadn’t really planned on laboring in bed, but that’s where I could relax the most. DH and the doula took turns holding my hands or rubbing my back while I moaned, then roared through contractions. I lost all sense of time by this point. I was mildly aware of my midwife coming back and hanging out in my room. I had a hideously bitter taste in my mouth, I guess from the IV antibiotics. I started feeling like I was going to throw up at the peaks of contractions.<br><br>
I got up to go to the bathroom again and got ‘trapped’ on the toilet having a contraction. I was alone in the bathroom and I panicked and yelled, “I need help!” The midwife came in talked me through it and told me to lean forward. When I leaned forward it hurt a lot less. When it was over, I shuffled quickly back to the bed. I wanted to lay down before the next contraction. The midwife noticed I had blood running down my legs and made me stand next to the bed so she could get a towel and wipe it off. I did not care about the blood, I wanted to lay down!<br><br>
Labor hurt soooo bad! There is no way you can know how much it hurts until you’ve done it. I was screaming like an animal through contractions. I knew you aren’t supposed to make high-pitched screams because it takes away your energy and tenses your muscles, so I screamed as low-pitched as possible like a cow bellowing. A low-pitched grunty scream helps relax muscles and open the cervix. But I don’t think there is a word for the sounds I was making.<br><br>
The baby’s heart rate started dropping during contractions. I know decels are pretty normal, so I wasn’t concerned. They put an oxygen mask on me and I felt like I was suffocating, because it didn’t let me breathe in deep and fast enough. After a few minutes, the midwife let me just hold the oxygen mask in front of my face, and that was more comfortable. The oxygen helped keep the baby’s heart rate up.<br><br>
At some point, I asked the nurse to check my cervix, because the contractions were getting hard to cope with, and I wanted to know that they were actually helping me progress closer to birth. I was 5cm. I was a little disappointed, hoping for more centimeters, but that is halfway at least.<br><br>
I felt like I had labored for like three more hours, and someone came in and asked if I had my cervix checked recently. The nurse said she just checked me about five minutes ago. I shouted out incredulously, “THAT WAS FIVE MINUTES AGO????” I thought to myself I was never going to make it. Then I sank back into unaware laborland to deal with the pain.<br><br>
After a while, my contractions became extremely intense. I felt a contraction coming and said, “I’m going to throw up.” My doula grabbed the garbage can for me, but I didn’t throw up that contraction. Someone gave her a vomit bag and the next contraction I did throw up. It wasn’t much,my stomach was pretty empty. It actually felt good to throw up, because I felt the contraction starting, then when I threw up, the contraction stopped. The next contraction started and I threw up again, but there wasn’t really anything left in my stomach. So I had several minutes of rest for those two mini-contractions. My doula said, “Throwing up is just like having ten contractions,” like she was trying to console me, make me feel better about throwing up. I have also heard before that vomiting really helps you dilate. The pain was so intense, that I couldn’t remember how to talk. I wanted to tell Vanessa that I actually preferred throwing up to having contractions, because throwing up didn’t hurt. I would have rather vomited for the rest of my labor than had contractions!<br><br>
Vomiting also signals the beginning of transition, the most painful part of labor where the cervix dilates from 8cm to 10cm. I thought to myself, this can’t possibly be transition, I haven’t been in labor long enough. I figured I was just throwing up because of the awful bitter taste in my mouth.<br><br>
I decided I didn’t want DS to come back for the birth. I was screaming way louder than I thought I would. Between contractions I forced myself to black out in an attempt to escape from the pain. It wasn’t exactly like just falling asleep, I actually forced myself to pass out hoping in vain I would sleep through the next contraction. But I wasn’t that lucky.<br><br>
I suddenly kept feeling really hot then really cold every few minutes. And at the peak of contractions, the muscles in my legs would shiver. Sometimes my legs would completely tense up and my midwife would touch my leg and remind me to relax, and I would. I said I was cold and someone put a blanket over me. It was the most itchy, uncomfortable, hot blanket I’ve ever felt. I wanted to kick it off, but I was having a contraction and I couldn’t move or speak. But the thought of not having the blanket made me feel cold. I couldn’t decide if I felt really hot or really cold. I can’t remember what happened to the blanket after that.<br><br>
I had a contraction and felt the baby move down a little. It was a totally wierd feeling and didn’t hurt at all. I asked my midwife to check me and I was nine and a half centimeters dilated. I ignored the urge to push through a couple more contractions. People were yelling at me to stop pushing, but I wasn’t pushing.<br><br>
I had another contraction and the baby moved down some more and my body pushed involuntarily. I yelled, “My body is pushing!” It still didn’t hurt at all that the baby was moving down. I think my midwife asked if the baby was coming down, and I said yes. She checked again and said I was ready to push. She asked what position I wanted to be in, and I replied, “I want to take this off,” tugging on my hospital gown. I wanted the baby on my naked chest immediately after birth, so the gown had to go. DH and my doula helped me take it off.<br><br>
I laid back down on my right side like I had been through most of my labor. I didn’t feel the urge to move or push. My midwife asked again which position I wanted to push in. I said, “squatting.” Someone said, “OK, let’s get you up,” and there was the squat bar up on the bed. I thought to myself, “Wow, that was fast,” I didn’t even see them put it up.<br><br>
So I grabbed the squat bar and tried to get comfortable, putting my arms and legs in different positions. The blood pressure cuff on my right arm was really uncomfortable to work with. I was relaxed just hanging on to the bar waiting for a contraction. My midwife was getting the table ready with some medical tools. I saw the bulb syringe and reminded her that we weren’t suctioning the baby and she threw it in the trash. That made me happy.<br><br>
A contraction came, and I felt like I really had to pee, so I peed. That contraction hurt! There was NO WAY I was going to trek to the bathroom again. That’s what all the absorbent pads on the bed are for! I pushed a few little test pushes and the baby came down a little more. The pain passed, and I laid down again to recover.<br><br>
The next contraction came and I got back up to squat and push. It felt like the baby was trying to rip out of my butt. If I had leaned forward, gravity would have angled him more towards the birth canal. At the time I didn't realize the positional thing. All I could think of was the searing pain of the baby trying to rip out of my butt. I needed and wanted someone to apply strong counter pressure against my butt, but I was beyond the ability to speak. I reached down to my crotch myself, but I couldn't reach the back of my butt. My midwife thought I was trying to touch the baby's head, and encouraged me to do so. So I felt the top of his just-about-to-crown head.<br><br>
I noticed that there was a strange woman in the room. It took me a few moments to realize it was the baby nurse. I thought to myself, 'I wish I knew her name at least.'<br><br>
At some point, while I was hanging naked from the squat bar and screaming, a strange man opened my room door and I could hear him talking in the doorway. I couldn't see because the curtain was pulled, but it was still disturbing and invaded my privacy. I knew the whole maternity ward could hear me screaming. I didn't really care who heard me birthing, but the thought crossed my mind. I actually felt spiritually connected to all the other mothers on the maternity floor, sharing this moment with me.<br><br>
Another thought that crossed my mind was that maybe the strange man was a father-to-be from another room that wanted me to be quiet. Later I would find out that it was a doctor who was there to give me a Cesarean section. But to me at the time, it was just a strange man invading my privacy.<br><br>
Anyway, now I know what it’s like to scream with my whole body.<br><br>
My left leg got all tingley from squatting so the midwife and the nurse made me lay down on my back. This is when the baby went into distress I think, but at the time, I had no idea there was anything wrong.<br><br>
Once on my back, everyone was screaming at me to push and the midwife and nurse were trying to force me to grab my legs behind the knees, trying to force my legs way up and apart in the classic lithotomy position birth. I was fighting them on everything, yelling, "NO!" and screaming. I intended to birth on my own time, in peace. I was irritated that everyone seemed to have forgotten the birth plan. I think I ultimately won that battle and left my feet on the bed, but I can’t remember.<br><br>
Ever since I began pushing, the midwife had been doing perineal ‘massage'. Basically, the midwife puts all four fingers of both hands into my vagina and pulls my vagina open. In theory, it is supposed to help the tissues stretch and allow the baby to be born more easily, but there are a lot of birth professionals who doubt its effectiveness and even think it hinders the natural process of birth. I HATED it and my midwife never asked me if I wanted this done to me.<br><br>
Once I laid down my back she really increased the force of this. It HURT!!! I wanted her to stop so bad, but I was beyond speaking. I finally figured out how to scream, "STOP IT!!!!" But she said that she had to. So I just screamed in anger and my body was pushing with the oncoming contraction.<br><br>
Then the baby’s head was crowning, and everyone was all "PUSH, PUSH, PUSH!!!" And I'm thinking, "Shut up, people!" But I just had to keep pushing with no breaks, even between contractions. Everyone was ordering me to push, and I was in so much pain I couldn’t think, so I just kept pushing. Now that the head was against my perineum, my midwife was pushing my tissues over his head like a sweater. Again, now I know what it’s like to scream with my whole body. My whole consious being was pain and screaming. There was no room for any other awareness.<br><br>
Finally the head was out, and I thought, "Thank God, I get a break!" But everyone was still yelling to push and the midwife screamed very seriously at me to push, so I had to keep pushing without a break. She popped the baby’s shoulders out and tore me with them. I screamed again.<br><br>
My midwife said, "Reach down, and pick up your baby," so I did. I blindly grabbed him around his chest and pulled him up and the rest of his body was born, and I was surprised because I thought he was already out. He came out screaming and I opened my eyes. I plopped him on my belly and saw his beautiful new eyes looking at me. He cried vigorously, “Waaaa, waaa, waaaa, waaa!” Someone threw a thin blanket over both of us, and I rubbed him dry.<br><br>
I felt guilty. I thought that I was screaming too loud when he was born and it scared him and that’s why he was crying. I thought (and I still think) that my screaming scared him. Poor little baby, as if being born isn’t traumatic enough. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
The nurse flipped him onto his back, I suppose to give him Apgar scores. After a moment, I turned him onto his belly again. I wanted the fluids to drain from his nose and mouth naturally. I kept drying him with the blanket. The nurse said to wipe his nose and mouth, so I did. After a few more minutes, the nurse flipped him onto his back again to do the five minute Apgar. He had settled down and stopped crying. The nurse told me to rub him harder and get him crying again, so I did. She was done with the assessment, so I flipped him back to his belly and calmed him down again.<br><br>
Everyone pretty much left us alone then. Torin had pooped all over me, and my doula used the blanket to clean up a little. My midwife asked me if she could clamp the cord yet, and I said no.<br><br>
After a few more minutes, she asked if she could clamp the cord again, and I said yes, even though I wasn’t really ready. I had wanted to deliver the placenta first, then cut the cord, but I was so happy with my baby, I didn’t care anymore. So she clamped the cord and DH cut it. I was really annoyed with that big metal hemostat clamped onto my baby’s cord, but at least she left like 8 inches of cord on him.<br><br>
My midwife pulled a little on the cord to get the placenta out, and a massive amount of blood squirted out of my vagina, spouting like 10 feet across the room. I didn’t see it, but I felt the blood gushing out for like 30 seconds. I wasn’t concerned at all, but I guess DH really freaked seeing all the blood all over the floor. I’m not sure if the midwife thought I was hemorrhaging or not. She pulled the placenta out and it hurt like hell coming out over the tear in my perineum. Then she used a local anesthetic and put in some stitches. Later she told me that I did not hemorrhage, it was just blood pooled behind the placenta, and when the placenta flipped forward, the blood came out with some force. She also said she had to throw her shoes away. I laughed and said I was sorry, but secretly I thought, ‘Serves you right for hurting me so much!’<br><br>
Baby and I stayed naked together for an hour, he breastfed really well on both breasts about 20 minutes after birth. When I was done getting stitches and feeding the baby, DH brought DS in to meet his brother. He was so excited! He stood next to the bed and his eyes were glued on the baby. I said hi and hugged him, and he hugged me but never looked away from the baby. It was magical. I was prepared for DS to be jealous or ignore the baby, but he was just in love with the baby and sort of ignored me! He lifted the blanket off the baby and said, “Penis!” I cracked up and said, “Yep, he’s a boy!”<br><br>
DH helped DS climb in bed with us and we all sat together for quite some time. When I was ready, we called the nurse in and put the still-naked baby in his basinette, DH helped me get into the whirlpool bathtub to clean up and relax. I had to change the bath water three times from all the blood and all the baby poop that was all over me! While I was in the bathroom, my mom, MIL, and FIL got to come in and meet the baby. And the nurse diapered and dressed the baby and did his initial newborn exam. He weighed 8lb8oz and was 20 inches long.<br><br>
The aftermath:<br><br>
My midwife told us what was going on during the birth. While I was pushing, the baby’s heart rate got dangerously low and never went back up, that’s why they made me push so hard with no breaks. After Torin’s head popped out, my midwife found the cord wrapped around his neck, and there was a true knot in the cord right against his neck. I think she freaked and that’s why she didn’t let me rest and then she pulled him out so hard and tore me. When Torin had fully entered the birth canal, the knot was compressed and cut off his blood supply. The doctor and nurses wanted my midwife to use the vacuum to pull the baby out, but she knew that I wanted a natural birth, so she just ignored them and coached me to push harder.<br><br>
I ended up with a bruised tailbone from when I was squatting too upright and pushing the baby against it. I had a sore throat the next day from screaming so much. And my back and shoulders were sore from being so tense. Luckily, I didn’t break any blood vessels on my face or in my eyes, but I did break a whole bunch of blood vessels inside my right elbow from the blood pressure cuff. I also kinked my IV catheter during pushing, even though it was in my arm, not my hand.<br><br>
It was a traumatic birth, and it has taken me a long time to process it all and write this. At all of my prenatal appointments, my midwife and I discussed all my birth plans. I was going to ‘labor down’. That is a gentle birthing technique where the mom doesn’t push at all, but just relaxes and lets the contractions birth the baby. I fully intended to birth listening to my own body, and I wasn't allowed to. Now I understand why, the baby being in distress and needing to be born quickly. But at the time, I just felt totally disrespected. I KNEW I could listen to my own body, but they didn't let me do things my own way. It was like me versus everybody. No one was on my side. I shouldn’t have had to fight them like I did, because they should have let me be. If someone had actually told me the baby was in distress and needed to be born NOW, I would have pushed him out much harder. But no one ever told me what was going on, they just all yelled at me to push. I actually had it in my birth plan that no one should tell me to push or coach me on pushing at all.<br><br>
I think I did very well dealing with the labor pains for the most part. I was very, very focused and calm. I had this birth ‘path’ that I was instinctively following. Even at the end, when everyone was trying to interfere and throw me off my path, I fought them to stay on it.<br><br>
Three months after the birth, I had to get some blood drawn, and I was totally triggered. Just the small pain of the needle stick gave me a flashback to being in labor and I panicked inwardly. I don’t think I could ever have a natural birth again. We aren’t planning any more children, but if I did happen to get pregnant again, I would order my epidural in the eighth month I think. Which is sad. But I think part of me knows that I really could do another natural birth, but it would have to be a homebirth. I would be too triggered at the hospital.
 

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Congrats on your little one, Mama. My first birth was traumatic as well and I honestly was <i>petrified</i> of my second birth but it was completely opposite and healing of the first experience. Time does heal - I am still sad about Kiera's birth but know I did the best I could just like you...and I too had a doc who was there to do a C/S but I ended up pushing her out too... You did a great job.
 

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Congratulations on your sweet baby. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Thanks for sharing your experience so honestly and graphically. I'm due with my first in January, and it's so good to remember that the best laid birth plans don't always go as designed. That was very scary, but glad you and babe made it through. I am soo scared of pitocin...
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> Thank you for sharing your story.
 

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I'm so glad that you wrote this. I think it'll help a lot in processing the emotions around the birth.<br><br>
I know how you felt with the blood draw afterwards. My first was a cesarean, and I CANNOT deal with hospitals or doctors now. It even took me until about 16 weeks to go see a midwife for my DS2, because I was paranoid about the medical community. Luckily, she was a homebirth midwife, and her office was more like a living room. That made me feel a lot better. She was also very understanding of it all, and was okay with forgoing certain procedures and delaying others. I needed a good month to prepare for anything, even a simple blood draw. I had to know it was coming in order to mentally prepare and be okay with it.<br><br>
I think I can understand your midwife's mentality through it all, and thankfully you had her and not a cut-happy OB. But I think that for any possible future births a very hands-off midwife at home would be better for you.
 
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