Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Birth Story

My baby is nearly one week old! Just a little under a week ago, I started feeling labor contractions--those business-like ones that for me resemble menstrual cramps. We left for the hospital after dinner, but stopped on the way to get me a large chocolate Frosty at Wendy's. While we drove around eating our Frosties, we timed my contractions in a sitting position (in the car passenger seat) so that we'd know exactly what to report when checking into the birth center. We finally arrived and got me checked in at around 8 or 9 p.m., when active labor was just getting started. I labored without too much pain until around 1 a.m., then transition arrived and stayed and stayed and stayed. By the time my "water broke" and I was ready to push, I had no patience to wait for the doctor to come in. It was time for the pain to end, and delivery was the way to do it! All the nurses were yelling at me to not push and to wait for the doctor, but the only thing that slowed me down was hearing that they had to take care of a nuchal cord (umbilical cord around the baby's neck, just like Mommy at birth). Some doctor made it in time for the birth at 2:54 a.m., and my doctor (who I'd never met--she was just the one on call that night) came in afterward to help with the placenta and aftercare.

This was my third drug-free childbirth, and I can honestly say "ow". Childbirth does hurt, although not the whole time. Contractions do ebb, thankfully, and by being able to change position and spend much of my labor upright and mobile, I think I speed up my labors. The pushing stage certainly goes quickly. I can't imagine needing more than ten minutes or so to push a baby out, but that could just be how my body works. Also, I tend to recover rather quickly which I put partially down to having felt what's going on with my body during labor and delivery (it helps that my babies have been such great little nursers, too).

It was odd to realize that here in the USA, doctors don't typically see you during labor. They do everything through the nurses until the baby is about to come. I don't like that aspect of US hospital birthing. I purposely chose a certified nurse-midwife for all my prenatal care so that I could be assisted by someone who dealt regularly with non-epidural births. In the end, except for her faxing in my birth plan to the hospital ahead of time, she had nothing to do with how my labor was managed because she wasn't on call that night. I was at the mercy of the random nurse assigned to me. Luckily, I ended up with a very supportive nurse during transition, bless her heart!

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