"My journey to natural childbirth began after having my first child, Haven. During that pregnancy, most of what I read about pregnancy and labor was very basic. I just found out what I wanted to know and
"After seeing several close friends and my sister tackle a natural birth I knew that if they could do it, I could. I read books, among my favorite was the Dr. Sears Birth Book and Birthing from Within, and watched The Business of Being Born. It seemed like I was learning things for the first time even though it was my second child. I also talked and talked to people who gave natural birth and they were always so positive and happy about what they’d gone through. I also felt a deep confidence that Heavenly Father had blessed me with a healthy and capable body to give birth naturally. So I knew I was on board for a natural delivery, but it would take a lot of effort to convince
"So let’s begin the labor story already! Being a second pregnancy, I had more Braxton Hicks from pretty early on. They were just bothersome, but otherwise unnoticeable. I was still terrified of the day when an actual, real, non-pitocin, contraction would hit me and I wouldn’t know how to handle the pain. Saturday seemed pretty normal except for some reason, I didn’t have much of an appetite and was going to the bathroom a lot. After having a fun little baby shower at the mall the night before with friends and watching the RS broadcast late Saturday night, I went to bed late. I woke up at 2:30 and my belly was really tight and I was a little shocked at how much it hurt. I went back to sleep and woke up with another one about ten minutes later. This pattern went on for about an hour. I got a rice bag and heated it up in the microwave and put it right above my pubic bone, because that was where each contraction would end and began. I just kept trying to focus on normal breaths during each one and went over in my mind if this was “it” or not. As the pain increased, I started imagining a little rainbow starting at the pubic bone and arching up and over my belly and then retracting back down. I have no idea where this imagery came from.
"I got into the bathtub and watched the clock until about 4am. The contractions were about 6-7 minutes but only seemed about 30-40 seconds long. I took a shower and laid back down in bed with the rice pack again listening to
I loved grabbing his warm hand during each contraction and then talking about what we should do about everything between each one. (Haven was sick and couldn’t go to nursery and so we needed someone to stay home from church with her.) Well
A note on doulas and midwives: UNC Hospitals is awesome. They have an amazing staff of midwives and VOLUNTEER doulas. I had been visiting for my prenatal care an OBGYN at the student health just for convenience and then requested to have midwives deliver me. I also requested a doula and had met with her the week before and she looked over my birth plan and we got to know each other. I basically got her to help
"Haven at this time was getting prepped on meeting her new sister and trying to figure out why she wasn’t going to the hospital too. I basically just ignored her. By this time I threw up some and was going to the bathroom a lot too. She was really concerned about me throwing up. She also leaned against the wall with me and imitated my swaying hips during a contraction. I just ignored her. At 7am we called over my wonderful neighbor and friend and she told us not to worry about anything. By 7:20 we were in the car with bags packed, garbage bag on the seat, and throw up bucket in hand. Luckily we only live a mile away from the hospital. It was also a quiet Sunday morning and there was no one on the road.
"The nurse came back and I told her my water broke and I was feeling a lot of pressure. A peppy OBGYN resident came in and told me she was going to check my cervix. She went in---pain—her fingers opened really wide and she said “You’re ready to go.” I asked her, well how many centimeters then? “Ten. You’re fully dilated.” I told her that that was the perfect answer to that question. (I still had a sharp wit about me, I was kind of impressed with myself throughout the whole ordeal.) Tyler and I were shocked! Then people started moving fast. They cancelled the IV (Yes!) and told me they were going to wheel me to the labor room. I thought they meant by wheelchair and I just wanted to walk, but the nurse just started wheeling THE WHOLE BED to the room quite fast. I was going through contractions, closing my eyes and breathing,
"The midwife got there, Deb, and I told her how famous she was around Baity Hill and that she’d helped my friend give birth only a month ago. Deb and I were fast friends and she sat very calmly at the foot of the bed and commented on how wonderful it was that we were all going to have a fast delivery. She encouraged me to push when I felt like it. My doula got there and I told her she was just in time. For a contraction? No, I’m pushing! And then I started to push with the contractions. This is the point when I start to make noises I’ve never made in my life. Then the contraction would end, I’d calm down, and do it again.
"I requested a mirror to see my progress. That was awesome to me for some reason. I just focused on the mirror during pushing or closed my eyes and screamed like a banshee while I pushed. I was propping myself up in practically a squat, but my sacrum was still on the bed. My arms were behind my thighs gripping the sheets and mattress. The pillows and the bed were really bugging me and my doula helped rearrange everything. She was basically put in charge of water and chapstick and comfort duties.
"Then Deb brought up dental school and she started up a conversation, between contractions, about dental implants, something
"Apparently, we were amusing and enjoyable for everyone and everyone really seemed to be having a fine time, just staring at my crotch and listening to me scream while pushing. And boy was I screaming! I remember a point in my screaming and moaning that I sounded like a Native American drum circle, which I am really good at mimicking normally—being from a town situated near a Ute Reservation— but this time it sounded really tribal. Then I screamed like a hyena and would apologize for my behavior between each contraction. They encouraged it all. The nurse reminded me to do small breaths and that would help me not tear. I obeyed. All the while the mirror is showing me that my crotch has a large hole in it and that something is definitely coming soon! This is when we asked the doula to go get the camera from the car. By the time she came back, I was crowning and experiencing THE RING OF FIRE OF HELL AND BRIMSTONE TIMES 20. I’ve never in my life experienced anything like that and curse the time when I have to feel it again. Then Deb poured hot mineral oil on it all, and it felt minutely better and the urge to keep pushing and getting that baby out was insatiable. I just kept on screaming and pushing. Then Deb, very calmly, said, now, Heather, with this next one, low sounds and long and hard pushing. I made a very low sound, pushed way deep into my bottom and long and hard and saw a head emerge in the mirror. I look down and see a slimy black head and a cute little right ear. An ear! I remember saying “Oh hi baby! Hi!” And then just pushing out the shoulders and grabbing the baby and putting it on me. Blood guts and all. I never thought I’d ever want to do that or touch something so nasty! But here was the fruit of my labor and it was warm and cuddly and beautiful! She wasn’t really crying, but gave a good squawk and blew bubbles out of her mouth. She was perfect in every way!
"By this time (8:33am)
"Then the baby came back and I got some apple juice and tried feeding her and she did great. They let us hang out for about an hour in the labor room, all the while we are answering questions to fill out the paperwork we missed out on in the beginning. The staff (which was only like three women) were all relieved that after their long, hectic Saturday shifts the day before, they’d had such a peaceful Sunday morning birth. Deb commented that my labor was one of the most amazing she’d seen. I was so pleased with myself!
"The most amazing thing about natural birth is that it’s NATURAL in every sense of the word. I was so worried that I’d turn into someone completely out of sorts and nutso, but I was NATURALLY MYSELF. I was able to think clearly, even make a few jokes here and there, and completely obey what my body was telling me. After having a natural birth I cannot go back to a medicated one and hope I don’t have to.
"There were many, many miracles throughout labor that only a loving Heavenly Father would think of to bless us with. Like how awesome that we had her on a peaceful Sunday morning when we wouldn’t get a ticket for parking where we had and when