Birth Story #29

Natural Birth With a Doula – Trevor Allen’s Birth

I was due on December 31st. I started having some contractions one evening, but didn’t pay attention to them because I’d had contractions on and off for weeks. They were coming every seven to ten minutes and were not painful. Kevin and I watched some television and talked about my next appointment with our obstetrician, Dr. Hill, which was scheduled for that next morning. I was thinking of asking her to strip my membranes in hopes that I would move past 3 cm dilation and 100% effacement.

When my contractions didn’t change or become painful, we went to bed. I didn’t watch the clock. Sure that it was false labor again, I didn’t want to waste my excitement. I was restless and got up several times to use the bathroom. I thought about waking Kev up, but changed my mind when I realized that if this was the real thing, one of us should get some rest.

The next morning I was tired, but felt great. I ate some peanut butter toast and took a shower. I put on my favorite maternity outfit. I still had contractions, but they were still very mild. I told Kevin that I was determined to have the baby that day, feeling very frustrated that nothing big had happened after an evening full of contractions. I was so determined, in fact, that we put the hospital bags in the car and we put on our crosses before leaving for my doctor’s appointment.

My appointment was at 10:45 a.m. Dr. Hill checked me and got a big smile on her face. She said I was 6 centimeters dilated and the baby was at +2 station! She told us to go right over to the hospital and get checked in. I was so happy and so scared when we left the office. Kevin and I smiled so much those next few minutes!

After I called my office, Kevin called his parents, and I called my mom to tell her to start driving from Toledo. We also called Robin, our doula, and told her everything. Knowing that labor could still last all day, we discussed going for lunch before checking into the hospital, but decided to follow the Dr.’s advice instead. After getting checked in, the orderly piled our bags into the wheelchair that was supposed to be for me, and we all walked up to the Labor and Delivery unit. I was feeling great! It was about 1:00 p.m.

I changed into a gown and when nurse Patty checked me I was still 6 cm. They asked questions, took blood and my fingerprints, and put a hep-lock in my left wrist. We showed the nurses our signed birth plan and explained that we had taken Bradley Method childbirth classes and were planning a natural labor and birth. Finally, after a monitoring strip showed the baby was doing great, I got out of bed. Kevin went to the cafeteria and smuggled some crackers and a banana because I was really hungry.

When Robin arrived, the three of us walked up and down the hall. I rocked in the rocking chair a little. The contractions were still quite manageable and I was happy to be doing so well. At 3:00 p.m., I was still at 6 cm and my doctor wanted to break my water or start Pitocin. They were unnatural interventions so she gave us another hour to walk around and stir up more contractions. When I still hadn’t dilated, we put our trust and confidence in the doctor’s advice and she broke my water at 4:30 p.m. The amniotic fluid was clear.

My contractions were stronger immediately and got just a bit more painful. Other than getting up to use the bathroom, I laid in bed for the first time since I got to the hospital just breathing through the contractions. Robin turned down the lights and muted the television. My wonderful husband pulled up a chair and stroked my arm and hair as we practiced our relaxation. I closed my eyes and turned inward, concentrating on his voice and thinking about my son, who was on his way.

I made it to 7.5 cm by 6:15 p.m. The contractions were getting intense – even a bit painful, and Robin reminded me to get up to use the bathroom. It really hurt to sit down on the toilet and I panicked. Kevin knelt in front of me and looked me straight in the eyes. He held my face and told me to stay strong. I started to shake a little. I wanted to get back into bed, but Robin told me to stand up. I didn’t want to at first, but gravity really helped my labor. I hung around Kevin’s neck and softly groaned during contractions. He talked me through each one, reminding me to take them one at a time and reassuring me that I was doing a wonderful job. He told me to think of the baby, to think of the beach. He said he loved me and was proud to be helping me do this. I was grateful for the calm of his voice and the strength in his arms as they held me up during transition.

Robin stood behind me and patted my neck with a cold washcloth. She told me that it wouldn’t be long before my son was born. The nurses had the delivery cart outside of my door and they turned the baby warmer on. That gave me strength and made me so happy! My little boy would be in my arms soon.

I remember shaking and being afraid during those last contractions. I didn’t think I would make it and at the peak of each contraction, I would briefly think of asking for something to take the edge off the pain. It was like thunder inside of me, but as soon as the contraction started to subside, I privately congratulated myself on getting through without medication.

The pressure was so strong; I was scared that I would tear open and the baby would fall out of me. Robin and Kevin noticed how low my belly was getting. Kevin said it felt like he could hug me again. With each contraction, I prayed for the urge to push. Soon, I was pushing involuntarily. Robin pressed the nurse call button and asked them to check me. Patty checked me and at 7:00 p.m., I was completely dilated.

Things went by very quickly then. Kevin put on another shirt – I guess he thought he might get messy. Patty called Dr. Hill and attached the squatting bar to the bed. She set up a mirror. I climbed into bed and it was so painful sitting there – the pressure was so intense and I kept leaning from side to side trying to get away from it. Robin stood in front of me and kept me focused, telling me to give little bitty pushes. During this rush of activity, Patty’s shift ended and Kathy took over our care. The nurses did a good job following our birth plan; they didn’t miss a thing. Those last few minutes before I was allowed to really push are a little blurry, but I recall Robin saying it looked like I’d had a manicure for the arrival of our son. It was nice of her to notice that.

Dr. Hill arrived at 7:30 p.m. and we were ready. When I started to push, I felt like I had to pee and they told me to go ahead – but I never did. Instead of counted, directed pushing, they told me to push through the first part of each contraction and keep pushing as long as I could. The first part of the push always hurt a little until I got on the other side of the contraction, then it was a relief. Using the squatting bar was a little too scary for me, so I used it to hold up my legs. I rested between each urge I had. Everyone was relaxed and supportive of our natural birth plan. One nurse did come in to help briefly and started counting during a contraction. She was hushed quickly and left the room.

I looked into the mirror and saw my son’s head each time I pushed and that helped me to push harder. The baby fell asleep once while I was pushing so Dr. Hill tickled his head to wake him up. I was getting tired, but there was my hero – the only voice I listened to – telling me that I could do it. Each time I pushed, Kevin cheered me on. I am so grateful for his participation in this experience. We were delivering our baby together.

I pushed for almost an hour, though it didn’t seem like that long. I could see everyone watching the baby’s heartbeat on the monitor and it made me nervous. At one point, I got frustrated and told Dr. Hill to just “suck him out” but she laughed and said, “no way, he’s right here!” Trevor’s heart rate was great, so she let me take my time. He was moving around and kicking like crazy! Robin reminded me to reach down and feel my baby inside of me for the last time. I kept looking at his little head. Dr. Hill lifted up a tuft of hair with her finger; that was inspiring.

I felt the burning sensation they’d told me about, but went took my time so that I’d stretch. Finally, during my last push I opened my eyes and saw my son’s little scrunched-up face. The rest of his body was born very quickly and Dr. Hill lifted him up onto my chest. He was so tiny and wet! I felt such pride, joy, fear and love for that little boy. It took my breath away to see that he looked so much like – me! Our son, Trevor Allen, was born at 8:24 p.m. on Thursday, December 28, 2000.

Almost six months later, we are all doing great! When I think about Trevor’s birthday I get tears in my eyes at the beauty of that day. Above all, we are grateful for every single detail of our experience. We cherish the relationship we had with our doctor, Pam Hill and our doula, Robin Weiss, as well as the valuable tools we learned from Bradley Method childbirth classes. We realized many things during Trevor’s birth that we hadn’t thought about – how sweet and deep the love for your child is, how wonderfully solid and strong our relationship is, how much we support and respect one another, and how the birth of a child can make you fall in love all over again. We can’t wait for the next one.

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One Response

  1. What a great birth story. I love how the husband was so involved and supportive throughout the entire experience.

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