Forrest arrived into this world a day after his due date completely natural and unmedicated. This was my plan and the hardest thing I have ever done. It was also the most rewarding and amazing experience I have ever had. Although I was saying otherwise during my 12+ hours of laboring, I would do it again in a heartbeat. Birth is unpredictable and plans are preferences. I was lucky to welcome my sweet babe into the world as I intended, but I would have done whatever was needed to get him here safely.
Preparing for a natural labor and delivery
I read a ton of books, and joined a ton of mom pages. The pages were overwhelming because with natural birth sometimes comes anti everything medical. I am a medical professional and wanted a happy medium. There are ton of Hypnobirthing resources I read some but mainly focused on positive birth stories and birth stories throughout history. We forget women have been giving birth for years and not all countries (developed included) rely on epidurals etc. These are the top resources I recommend for anyone who is interested in going natural!
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth: this has a lot of home birth stories but also hospital births. It make you feel confident and believe in your body, as women have been giving birth naturally for years.
- The birth hour podcast: more birth stories. The more you read the more confident you will be in whatever happens during your birth. Also listening to people who went naturally after medicated births and why they preferred the natural delivery.
- Your birth, your baby by Hollie de cruz: this included Hypnobirthing techniques which got me in the right mindset during the strong contractions and tough parts of labor. The book includes an mp3 of affirmations and music that I played while laboring at home.
- Your bag packed with goodies (truthfully my Doula provided everything I needed but I had this all packed)
- headphones for music/affirmations (never used as planned)
- Essential oils for nausea (peppermint) my saving grace, clary sage, orange and lime are recommended also!
- A diffuser (I ended up just using oil on a cotton ball in a bag from my doula, heaven sent during my nausea spouts!)
- A speaker to play music (I never used this)
- Yoga ball/mats if not provided (I used these very much)!
- A birth partner! The doula and my husband were the only reason I was able to get through this day. It’s important to have someone you trust and that able to calm you.
The morning of his arrival
I had a feeling when I woke up in the middle of the night with contractions that “this was it”. I have been waking up for weeks with them but I had a feeling today was the day. I was an insomniac my entire pregnancy so went to the couch and started imagining the fact this may be my last night pregnant and uncomfortable on the couch, but trying not to get too excited. The contractions continued to happen every 15 minutes. I told my husband when he woke up my contractions were steady but to go into work since they were far apart. By 7am they were 5 minutes a part lasting about 45 seconds. My OB wanted us to go to the hospital when they were 4 minutes apart, lasting one minute for one hour. I was not able to sit and was walking through the contractions but was handling them well. I told my husband to plan on being home around 9am. Terrified I would bring him home for a false alarm (not that he would care), I did what my books all said to keep labor progressing and went on a long walk with my dog. I was definitely needing to stop every 4-5 minutes to breathe but was handling them well still. It was a beautiful 70 degree day outside and I just soaked in nature’s beauty knowing that I could do this, I am close to meeting my baby. I got home and had a random surge of energy. I fed my chickens treats, filled my bird feeders, made banana bread (which I happily packed and ate at the hospital), and took a long hot shower. My husband arrived home adorably excited and finished getting last minute things together in preparation around the house. Offering to help by doing counter pressure but I was tolerating it well by breathing and using my yoga ball (little did he know he would be doing hours of this later). By 10am my contraction timer was yelling at me for an hour to go to the hospital because they were 4 minutes apart lasting a minute for well over an hour. Being fearful I wasn’t dilated enough I thought about staying home but they were getting stronger and we made our way. The car ride was painful, but not terrible. I made my husband stop at Starbucks for my fav tea (that they were out of 😪) as I know I wouldn’t be able to eat or drink soon.
The hospital arrival
We arrived to the hospital and got all checked in. I was still in disbelief because I was handling this too well and walked in to L&D calm saying “Hi I am in labor”. I went back and got checked to see my progress and unfortunately was only 4cm. This was what I was last week and the midwife knowing I wanted to avoid medical interventions said to go home for a couple hours or go walk around for a couple hours. This was my biggest fear about leaving too soon and I was obviously upset. Right when I was walking out of the triage room with our bags we brought in excitingly, my doula showed up. She took our bags to her office and got us some goodies to set up “shop” outside in the courtyard for me to labor. My contractions were getting pretty painful. Little man was sunny side up and his occiput (back of his head) was giving me terrible back labor. The doula showed my husband some counter pressure techniques and we headed outside. She has a peanut ball, a yoga ball and mats. She knew once I was admitted I wouldn’t be able to eat and made me a smoothie and grabbed us snacks (which is hard to do since I don’t eat gluten or dairy!). I was getting pretty tired and knew I had a long day ahead so tried to sip and eat something for the energy, although I didn’t want to. I was uncomfortable but with the counter pressure and the multiple balls and positions I was making it through the contractions. Not caring I was in a public place or who was watching. They were 3-4 minutes a part at this point and I kept referring to my books in my head. Trying my hardest (it was hard) to breathe, relax my shoulders and visualizing my cervix opening so I could meet our baby. Every time I started to lose control I came back to “I’m going to meet my baby soon”.
Here was our set up (again all thanks to the doula!). We were so lucky for this great area and weather. It just shows you can labor anywhere! I didn’t care who walked by or heard the noises I was making, as my baby was coming today! I even went on a walk around the hospital. Needing to pause every three minutes for my husband to do counterpressure during my contractions with plenty of spectators.
Re entering the hospital
This time I was not calm at the desk saying I am in labor. I was moaning very vocally and having stronger snd longer contractions in my back every 2-3 minutes. After about three hours of being outside and waiting for triage I was checked. Thank the heavens I was 7cm and going to be admitted! I told my husband prior I was getting an epidural and screw the plan if I didn’t progress much, so we were so happy to hear this and I was able to continue to try to follow my plan. The IV was placed. Which PSA- if your going naturally don’t let them put in your dang wrist! From all the tensing and movement and bracing I was doing I am not sure how it stayed in as long as it did. This was about 430 and my doula joined us in the room for the rest of our journey. I labored in the room with intermittent monitoring every 20 minutes for the baby. I planned on walking around the room but I was exhausted and labored on the bed in different positions and on the ball. I had the help of my husband and doula pushing my hips open with each surge of a contraction as the babies head was really hurting me. I swear this baby was coming out of my butt and back wt this point. Between the counter pressure constant huffing of peppermint oil and breathing I was doing it but getting tired.
Almost pushing time
I met the OB since mine was out of town. I was 8cm which I was a little bummed about after the hours of pain. I was getting super tired almost laboring 12 hours at this point. My water was still intact and my bag was bulging. They ruptured it on purpose (after asking of course) in hope to speed everything up as everyone could tell I was in pain and tired. I think this was around 630 and the contractions really picked up after being ruptured. I was having less breaks between surges and was losing my control at this point and wanted to push. My doula helped me control my breathing and urge to push as I wasn’t dilated enough. At 730 the doctor came in checked me and said if I can push over my cervical lip I can start pushing- we were almost there! This was hard and honestly I was getting discouraged because it took me a little to do so, but I did it! The doctor allowed me to push with the nurse, doula and husband and would pop in between checking on me and another laboring mom who was also close.
Evacuation of the baby!
The doula looked at the nurse and said she is getting close. Within minutes I needed to push like the most natural instinct I have ever ever had. The nurse had called for the doctor who was currently delivering the other mom’s baby. An agency doctor luckily swooped in because there was no not pushing going to happen. I waited the extra few minutes for the doctor to come and I began to push differently. I did do controlled pushing although some books advise against this. I think being controlled helped me not tear as my body was preparing for the size of his head to come out. Using my body to open up my hips and allow a slow but steady opening for the baby. As hard as this was, because I was able to feel everything I was still in control of my pushes. The baby was stable the entire time and the nurses and doctors kept saying “Wow your baby is a model baby so happy in there” from the monitor readings. Which I continued to say, they can be happy out here too!!! At this point we didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl so the baby was referred to him as “they” often. After pushing with the doctor for not terribly long baby was here! I was planning on letting my husband announce the sex but from how I was positioned I saw right away and we simultaneously screamed it’s a boy!! Then I made everyone laugh by saying, “oh my gosh he looks like us”. Not sure why I thought he wouldn’t but that’s when it hit me, we made this.
Moments after birth
Forrest was always positioned very low and although I labored naturally he didn’t have that great descent down and came out rather juicy. After holding him for a minute they had to swoop him up for some stimulation and suctioning. Being a baby nurse I knew what was going on and that he was stable but all I wanted was him on my chest. The doula was taking pictures and running them over to me as they got him stable and settled. After the longest thirty minutes ever I got to hold my little grunting baby and in about an hour he was stable enough to feed. I finally got my magic hour and felt like a mama. Forrest William arrived at 8:21 pm on April 5th 2021 💙 7lbs 3oz and 20.5 inches long.
I do not have another birth to compare it too but multiple health care professionals I met during my day had said they had done it both ways (naturally and medically) and naturally they healed better. You can feel the urge to push and the contractions fully, resulting in less medical interventions because baby is hopefully not in distress and putting you at a lower risk for tearing. My biggest complaint was I felt like jello after giving birth. The hours of laboring and bearing down to push was the biggest workout I had done in 9 months (honestly maybe ever). The agency doctor who jumped in like a superstar kept complementing me saying I was so controlled and impressed with me. Which I did not feel like I was in control in the moment looking back I was. I could trust my body. I had a slight tear and was getting around slow for the first week and was sore (ice and honeypot pads are the bomb). By two weeks I was going on walks and getting out of bed without pain. Luckily I didn’t have to deal with any of the side effects such as constipation, swelling or headaches from the medications. I just got to soak up being a family with my husband and baby boy. Thank you for reading. Hopefully it wasn’t to much information and you enjoyed my birth story.
Due to covid I chose a doula through the hospital as you only can have one person with you in the delivery room (at the time I birthed) at GBMC. The doula program was worth the money and then some. Everything happens for a reason and I am blessed Lanny came into our lives. I am not sure we could have done it without her. If you are local I totally recommend delivering at GBMC and using their Doula Touch Program. Here is their link for more information!
Hopefully this helps you want to try to birth naturally. You were made to do this ✨.