Skip this post if birth stories aren't your thing...
This is the story of the birth of my second son on 8/20/07. It was written by the doula who assisted me during the birth. I went ahead and added my own inserts here and there in italics.
I met Cristina and her husband in February of 2007, when they were looking for extra support for the birth of their second son. They asked me to be their doula, and we had three visits to get to know each other and go over plans for the birth. Cristina was preparing for her birth using the Hypnobabies method, hoping to use deep relaxation as a tool to give birth naturally.
On August 19th, the day after her due date, Cristina called to tell me that she had been having mild contractions (or pressure waves, as Hypnobabies calls them) all day. By midnight, they were getting stronger. She called at 12:40 a.m. to say that they were 3-7 minutes apart, and she wasn’t sure when to go to the hospital. I arrived a little after 1 a.m. and found Cristina up and moving around. The waves were now coming every 3-4 minutes and lasting about a minute. She tried several positions, including sitting on the ball (too much pressure) and kneeling leaning on the couch, but the most comfortable position seemed to be standing and leaning on the table or counter. Cristina was very relaxed but working through the waves. Her father arrived to take care of M (Little Guy), and we started to think about leaving for the hospital.
Cristina wanted to relax as deeply as possible for the drive to the hospital, so we went into the bedroom and she lay on her side in bed, listening to a Hypnobabies script with headphones. [I found that the hypnobabies wasn't really working for me at this point. It was too hard for me to focus.]
After a couple of waves, we were ready to go, then decided that we should call the hospital to let them know we were coming in. A comedy of errors ensued (not too funny at the time to Cristina) as we searched for the phone number for labor and delivery, which didn’t seem to be in the paperwork from the hospital, in the phone book, or on the hospital website. [I was so frickin pissed off that we did not have the phone number ready in advance. I think this is when the cussing out of Husband really started to get into gear, poor guy.]
Finally Cristina's husband reached a nurse in labor and delivery. The nurse asked a seemingly endless series of questions, and Cristina was ready to go [how did she know I was ready to go? maybe because the contractions were forcing me down to my knees in the driveway...]
so he finally interrupted the routine questions and told the nurse that we were on our way. [He interrupted the nurse as I was screaming at him to get the f--- off the phone and drive me to the goddamn hospital.]
We arrived at the hospital around 2:45 and were in the triage room at 3 a.m. [Previous to this, I couldn't believe the insane amount of paperwork they made me fill out while I was in active labor.]
A nurse hooked up monitors and left us mostly alone as Cristina continued moving through the waves, leaning on the counter or on Husband. The nurse midwife, Madge, came in at 3:50 and did an exam. Cristina’s cervix was 6-7 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced, with the baby at 0 station (the middle of the pelvis). [Woo-hoo! So much better than with Little Guy's birth when I was only 3 centimeters when I went in.]
We moved to a room and met our nurse, Lori, who was very nice and supportive of Cristina’s birth plan. Lori placed an iv and started a dose of antibiotics to prevent group B strep infection. Cristina relaxed well with each wave and still seemed to be her normal self in between. She seemed most comfortable resting her head on her husband's chest, and he stayed close by so she could lean on him when each wave began. [He really was very good in helping me. I guess all those months of telling him he better be there for me during labor this time or else I would kill him really paid off.]
The admissions paperwork [that would be more paperwork than what we had filled out when we got there]
took a long time and we were finally able to turn down the lights at 5 a.m. By this time, Cristina’s focus was turning more inward. She moaned softly through the waves and relaxed deeply in between, sometimes dozing for a minute or two. [At this point, I really felt like I was in hell and briefly considered asking for an epidural.]
At 6 a.m. she felt nauseated and threw up. [I was SO happy when I threw up because I thought I was in transition. Unfortunately, that was not the case.]
At 7 a.m. Cristina decided to try lying on her side so she could rest more in between. The nursing shift changed and we met our new nurse, Tanya, who was also very sweet and supportive. [Both nurses were GREAT. They were both supportive of natural chilbirth and said later that there were other nurses on the floor who hadn't wanted to work with me because I was trying to do it naturally, but that they supported natural childbirth and had been excited to assist.]
She did an exam at 7:35 and Cristina’s cervix was 7 centimeters dilated. [I was so pissed! I hadn't even moved. But I tried not to get caught up in it. It was just a number was what I kept telling myself. And I remembered that some women plateau in their labors and then advance quickly and that's perfectly normal so I didn't stress about it.]
Within a few minutes the waves were getting stronger. [I was SO tired at this point. SO SO tired. That was one of the hardest parts about the labor for me. I was literally moaning like an animal. I was afraid that people in the hallway could hear me. It was nuts.]
Cristina was ready to try some different positions again. First, she kneeled facing the head of the bed, which we raised up so she could lean on it. At 8:35 a.m. she moved to sitting on the ball and resting on her husband's lap. Tanya started the second dose of antibiotics, and the nurse midwife on day shift, Pam, came in to introduce herself. After the antibiotics were done Cristina got in the shower and Husband changed into his swimsuit so he could support her. [I really didn't want to get into the shower, but my doula said she thought this would speed things up and she was right!]
When she got out at 9:25 I suggested spending some time on the toilet, and Cristina was now feeling more pressure. [Again, didn't want to do it, but it totally helped move things along.]
Pam did an exam at 9:55 and Cristina was 9 centimeters dilated. The amniotic sac was really bulging and Pam thought that breaking it would cause the baby’s head to move down quickly, so Cristina agreed and Pam broke the water.
By 10:15, Cristina was pushing spontaneously. Pam came back in soon after and suggested that Cristina try lying on her side to minimize tearing. Cristina pushed beautifully and eased her baby out, following Pam’s gentle coaching. Baby boy F. was born at 10:27 a.m. and lifted straight onto Cristina’s chest. He was beautiful and healthy, with apgar scores of 8 and 9. He latched on to the breast and began nursing well at 11:05. F stayed in his mother’s arms until 11:40 a.m., when he was weighed: 8 pounds, 3 ounces. Cristina had a very small tear that didn’t need stiches.Overall, I had a much better experience with this birth than I did with my first. I was a bit disappointed that the hypnobirthing didn't work as well as I had hoped, but I really think this was more due to my inability to focus on using the program than it was a reflection on the program itself. I would still recommend it to others. I am also happy that I hired a doula to help me through the birth. She recommended positions and had ideas to help speed the labor along naturally, which I wouldn't have thought of myself. I highly recommend hiring one if you are trying for a natural birth in a hospital.