Courtney's Birth of Natalie Joy
My baby girl was born on April 13th, 2012 at 7:13 am.
Here is her birth story!
Early in the month of March, I started having strong Braxton Hicks and some pretty intense contractions. I don't remember how many times I thought I was in labor, but one thing I do know is that it was one too many times. I'd get excited and hopeful that "this was it." And then everything would stop and I'd feel that "woosh" that you get in the bottom of your stomach when a chair gets pulled out from underneath you.
Emotionally, it put a lot of strain on me and my husband. We were already going through some stressful situations and the added stress of "is this labor" just kept us on this ever rolling, never stopping roller coaster.
I often found myself praying, asking God for grace to make it through just the next minute, the next hour, the next day. My hormones were going absolutely bonkers and every little thing grated on my nerves; if someone didn't agree with me, they were like the worst person in the world. If something dropped on the floor that wasn't supposed to, I'd cry. Etc, etc. You get the point. It was just one of those hormonal times where my brain didn't function the way it was supposed to. I got kind of depressed, because I felt that I was frustrating everyone with my attitude, yet I felt completely out of control of what I was feeling, thinking and saying. One of the worst "symptoms" I had was speaking my mind before I thought about what I said. Then I'd regret it later, but the damage had already been done. Hormones are just plain horrible, to say the least.
So I had about 3 1/2 weeks of this prodromal labor, where every day to two days I'd think I was going into labor and then wouldn't. Another thing that I went through with the prodromal labor was feeling like something was wrong with my body. After about 2 weeks of going through the prodromal labor, I began to think that my cervix was incompetent. I thought that maybe it just wouldn't open anymore. I thought that maybe I had cancer. I thought and thought and thought and thought. It just kept making me more and more uptight, and I felt like a failure. The emotions that came with that weren't all that positive, of course. I started to loose faith in God. I started to question Him and I began to wonder why He was allowing me to go through all of this. I felt completely alone and abandoned.
Then on April 12th, I had an appointment with my midwife where she checked to see if I'd progressed at all, because 2 weeks earlier, I had been at 3 cm, and was at least 80% effaced. Sure enough, I was at a 4, almost 5. I was so excited. She asked if I wanted my membranes stripped and I said "yes!" I just wanted to get this show on the road.
All that day I had some contractions, and they were actually pretty painful, but they were no where near long enough, or close enough together to say it was labor. I just thought it was more prodromal labor. So around 11 pm, I took a warm shower to loosen my muscles and went to bed. Around 2 am I woke with a start. I think I woke up moaning...and I can't be sure, but I believe it was my moaning that woke me up, more than the pain. But once my brain realized why I was moaning, the pain became apparent. I remember sitting up in bed and thinking, "wow, this is really, really intense!!!" But then it passed and I laid back down, curled up under our down comforter, pulled my leg pillow back between my legs and settled back down. I think I drifted off, but once again, the whole process happened again. I just kept denying the fact that I was in labor! After the 2nd bout of moaning, waking up, realizing the pain and trying to settle back down, I realized that this wasn't stopping. It was getting more intense by the moment.
I got out of bed and went to the living room where my husband was trying to get some things done. I told him I was in a lot of pain and didn't know if it was real contractions or not, but that they were certainly pretty bad. He knew by the look in my eye that I was really serious and that the pain was pretty bad. So he offered to run me a warm bath; an offer I didn't turn down!
Moments later, I sank my pain racked body into warm blissfulness and tried to rest. But the bliss lasted all of 2 seconds. I gripped the side of the tub with both hands and just moaned. I felt this sharp pain rippling through my stomach, all the way down into my thighs. My husband reached over and massaged my back for a while but then another one hit. I gripped his arm as hard as I could (later on, I had to check his arms to make sure I hadn't left them black and blue with bruises. I hadn't, but I certainly gripped him like my life depended on it all the way through the whole birth). I moaned very loudly the whole contraction. I was afraid I'd wake my 18 month old son and my mom who were sleeping in the other room. But I couldn't help the noise.
My husband told me, "You need to call the midwife. Now."
I remember shaking my head and saying, silly enough, "No, I don't want to call quite yet. What if this isn't real labor? I'd hate to wake her and find out it's nothing and just fake labor again."
My husband looked at me like I was crazy! "Honey, you just about ripped my arm off with that last contraction. You need to call her now."
So I called. I ran into some complications getting a hold of her, so I moaned and groaned my way through 30 minutes worth of contractions. They were getting closer together and more intense. I could feel with each contraction the pain intensifying. Finally, before we could get a hold of my midwife, the contractions were so intense and close together, my husband decided we just needed to leave, head for the birth center in hopes she'd be there.
Finally my midwife called me back and we met her there somewhere around 4:30 am.
She checked me as soon as we got in there and I was at 6 cm, almost 7. I remember feeling completely relieved and was able to just relax my body to go with the contractions. I think I was slightly holding myself back because in the back of my mind, I kept thinking that this might still be fake. When the midwife told me I was definitely in labor, I was able to relax and let go.
Around 5:15 am I was on my hands and knees, throwing up with each contraction when the gush happened. My water broke! Things progressed very fast from there. The midwife had me try sitting on the toilet, but with each contraction, I stood up, unable to stay seated. They wanted me to try to make it through one contraction sitting down, as they said it would help open the cervix faster, but the pain was way too intense for me. I kept going high pitched with my moans and groans, and they kept trying to have me go "low" with them. Didn't work for me. LOL...I'm a squealer through pain like that. After trying to sit on the toilet and then a few minutes in the shower, I couldn't stand anymore. I crawled into the tub of warm water and felt the pain almost wash away from me. I was able to sleep for just a couple of moments, but the contractions just kept coming, harder and faster, to the point where I couldn't tell where one started and one stopped. My body started pushing.
I remember saying, "I'm pushing! I'm pushing! I'm pushing!!!!!" and of course, the squealing continued. My husband was with me every step of the way, allowing me to use his arms as my anchor to grip onto through each intense contraction. He said he was moaning through each contraction too, because my grip was sooo tight and strong. (in his words, "I didn't know you were that strong!") I pushed 2 times and got her head out. I remember being completely surprised that the ring of fire (also known as crowing) wasn't more painful and that it actually felt "good" to know she was right there. The ring of fire gave me the strength to push through the pain and just get her out.
I had another contraction and pushed with all my might, yet nothing happened. All of a sudden my midwife said, "We've got to get her out of the tub, now." And I was being lifted and pulled out of the tub. Waddling over to the bed, they got me on all fours and told me "PUSHHHHH" and I pushed with all my might. I felt my little girl come out and saw her beautiful little form laying on the sheet below me. I started rubbing her back and crying all at the same time. I remember looking up into my husband's face and seeing his smiling eyes!
"We did it! I did it! She's here!"
They told me I started pushing at 7:03 am and that she was born at 7:13 am. If her shoulders hadn't gotten stuck, I would have had her out in 3 pushes!
Tags: birth, birth stories, birth stories on demand, natural birth, natural birth stories, birth center, midwife, midwife stories, primordial labor, long primordial labor