I hope this post is helpful to someone out there who is debating between a natural birth or a medicated one and who also might feel nervous about delivering with a midwife outside of a hospital. All I am going to do is tell my two birth experiences and you can take from them what you want or need.
First Labor and Birth: Aida Mariana Klein
|A few hours after delivery|
I wanted to do a natural birth for my first child. Everyone is my family does natural labor and are pros at it, so I thought I would naturally be good at it too. I also try to keep my body healthy and stay in shape which they say makes natural labor much easier and go a lot faster, so NATURALLY I thought I had it in the basket without much work. I signed up to take Hypnobirthing the Mongan Method because it was MUCH cheaper than the popular Hypnobabies classes and teaches much of the same thing.
Hypnosis Birthing Classes
These turned out much differently than I had originally thought they were going to be, and though there were a lot of things I really liked about the classes, I can honestly say they didn't help me at all in being able to deliver naturally. I know that for some people they work really great, but for me they didn't. It's kind of the same thing as when your at a show with a real hypnotist and random people go up on the stage. He goes through a series of things to find out who there is actually prone to hypnosis, the ones who aren't are asked to leave the stage. I think it is the same with women and birth. Some people can go into that deep hypnosis (an extreme state of relaxation and peace) when qued by their parenter or themselves, and some people might have a harder time. Some people feel more pain during labor and some people feel less. The things that I did like about hypnosis birthing classes were all informational lectures. They teach you about your body and about how labor and delivery work and about how it is a natural and perfect process and about how you can control yourself and your emotions and your pain to do it naturally. Today, labor and birth are talked about like you will never survive them without that oh so stealthy yet painful insertion of the plastic epidural tube into your spinal chord. But guess what? You can. Women have been doing it for ages and continue to do so around the world. Most women can give birth naturally without any life or death problems. But, the medical world has brainwashed us into thinking that our bodies either can't do it without problems, or that it is just to plain painful to go through and survive. At the same time, there are many people who are blessed regularly with the modern technologies of the medical world. Some people suffer from health problems that can't allow their bodies to work as they should and sometimes it is the baby that is having the problem. In those cases, a hospital is definitely the place to deliver a baby.Anyways, I was saying that what I loved about the classes is that they teach you the truth: your body was meant for this and you can do it. What I didn't love about the classes is all of the stories about the women who sneeze and their baby comes out (I didn't actually hear that in the classes, but a lot of the stories are like that) and the scripts and CDs given. They are just not my thing, but maybe they might be yours.
Now for the actual labor and birth story. Aida was due the 15th and was two days late. I went into labor at midnight on the 17th of May. I had eaten lentil bean soup for dinner (don't do that if your near your due date) and went to bed at about 11:45. Obviously I was NOT preparing to have my baby. After taking the courses I was convinced I would feel light contractions start and they would be ten minutes apart. I'd throw in my CD of birth affirmations that I got from my class and float pain free through my labor and delivery. That didn't happen. I laugh even thinking about the fact that I could have believed that. I felt my first contraction around midnight and woke up to what I like to call pain. It wasn't pressure. I didn't wake up from pressure, it was definitely pain. The next one came on just a few short minutes after. My contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and I was in very bad pain. I would try walking through them but would pretty much just collapse onto the thing nearest to me. The walking didn't help me that much. I stayed home until about two and then we decided to go to the hospital. Contractions were still 2-3 minutes apart (which is exhausting). We got to the hospital and right before going in I puked into the hospital's plants outside the door. Lentil soup straight up my nose. I couldn't get all the lentils out. Yeah......So I was admitted. They put the IV tip into my hand(I forget what it's called but you have to at least have that in your hand if you deliver in Provo, its annoying but still allows you to move around freely. My nurse was really nice at the beginning but it was the end of her shift. I sat there on the bed writhing in pain. She said, “so you took hypno-birthing classes I'm guessing because of the list of things you want and don't want? My sister did that. It worked for her but it didn't work for me.”
“Yeah. I took them” I said still writhing in pain.
“Well it looks like you aren't using the techniques right? I know you don't want anyone to ask you if you want it. But just so you know, you can ask for it whenever you want.”
She was talking about an epidural. It was two hours later that I asked for it. Contractions still 2 minutes apart and they stayed that way the entire labor. I finally got to go to sleep which was amazing. But I definitely couldn't move around anywhere and by that time I had more than one thing that I was plugged up to. My legs were so numb I could not feel ANYTHING from the waist down. When it came time to deliver my husband had to come hold my legs while the nurse sat there silent with us (she had been in a nasty mood the entire time) and right before my baby came out my doctor came in (who is so freakin' awesome....Shelly Savage in Provo. Go to her.) and caught the baby. I got to hold her right after they wiped her off and she pooped and peed all over my arms. I loved it! She immediately started sucking her little fist and cuddled me. Then they took her away for all of her cleaning and shots and tests. Staying in the hospital sucked. Husbands, don't plan on staying with your wives. It's really boring. I really wanted to get the needle tip out of my hand for the I.V. because it was aching. Something had hit it and moved it around my hand. It was aching bad! They told me they would take it out in an hour.....take it out when they switched my rooms....take it out after I take some medicine...etc....I had it in for probably four hours after I had delivered her. Super annoying. One really awesome pro of delivering in the hospital is the nursery. They take your baby away and let you sleep all you want and bring them back whenever you want or when they want to eat. The first couple of nights are always hard with a newborn. At least for me they are. The total labor and delivery was 13 hours and I don't regret getting that epidural at all. I was not prepared at all mentally for what labor and delivery actually was. I decided to get it because I decided I cared more about being happy throughout my laboring process and happy when my baby came instead of exhausted and depressed about everything that I had just gone through. I loved getting the epidural, even though there was still a lot of things I didn't like about that day (nurses, my hand, throwing up, the hospital in general,etc.)
We moved south, so I was in St. George for this baby. I decided to deliver with a Certified Nurse Midwife, Liz Smith, who runs a birth suite with another Certified Nurse Midwife. Liz is awesome. I decided to go with them because they are literally 5 minutes away from the hospital AND as certified nurse midwives they are able to administer drugs that a traditional midwife can't in case of emergency (i.e. petocin in case of hemorrhaging...numbing meds for stitching if you tear badly). The big reason I chose Liz is because I told her I needed a lot of help throughout the laboring process with actively trying to move it along and help me through the pain. This time, I was going to be prepared. With my first baby I thought it was a lot like doing weights or running. You give it all you got and just push through the pain and give it more power. In movies when women are delivering naturally they are always beat red and screaming and same thing for going through labor. That's how I thought of it....push through power through. That does NOT work. Its quite the opposite. It's still very mental like any workout that is pushing you. But, you do the opposite, you are not supposed to exert at all...this is “hypnosis” for me. And it was still painful.
I wasn't due until the 23 of March and luckily I ended up going to St. George earlier than I had planned ( we had moved up North and I had planned on going up a week before my due date). Never think you can know when your baby is going to come.We got into Parowan on Saturday night and I woke up Monday morning a few times through the night thinking I had peed the bed. I changed pants. It happened again. I changed again. Then it happened while I was awake so I decided I definitely wasn't wetting the bed (haha. I was depressed when I thought I kept wetting the bed). I called my midwife and she was at a different delivery. She said to call her when I started feeling mild contractions and head to St. George. At that point I had no pain at all. Half an hour later the contractions started coming. They were 3-5 minutes apart each time and that was SOOOOOOO nice to have a little more time inbetween them. My husband got our little girl and everything loaded and ready into the car...and he heated it up (which is nice cause it sucks being cold and in labor). All the while I just laid on the bed and tried to relax completely and breathe through each contraction. No way I was trying to walk through them like the last time. I still felt the same but I wasn't falling all over everything. After a contraction would end I'd concentrate how there wasn't any pain. Id close my eyes and relax my head, my neck my shoulders, my chest, my arms my fingers, and everything else all the way down to the toes. Then another contraction would come. Same routine over and over, but boy did it help. I wasn't powering through anything, I was pretending that I was flubber melting onto the bed or something. The hour drive to St. George was a bit rough but overall pretty great. When I got to the birth suite the other midwife let us in and helped set me up because Liz was still at the other delivery. The other midwife was great and helped me as much as she could for the short time she was there. I laid on the floor. I laid on the bed. Throughout this my husband would massage my legs and arms (that helps take your mind off of the contractions while going through them). My midwife got there and I got into the bathtub with hot water. That is great. Some people call it a water-dural or aqua-dural. My sister told me when she was going through transition she got in the water and her contractions almost completely subsided. My didn't do that, but the warmth definitely helped me to relax. EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. If you hear a story, don't expect it will happen for you. It creates a lot of disappointment which makes it harder. My midwife thought I was going to drown cause I was getting water in my mouth while breathing through contractions. It felt so good in there. My husband would poor warm water over my belly the whole time. One of the things I was most grateful for was that when I would go through a hard contraction, my midwife would tell me what to do to make the best of that contraction....how to make the most progress. She would remind me verbally of what my body was doing and how that pain was good and it meant everything was right and productive. When in the hospital you are left by yourself. No one is there to talk you through it or help you. You end up on the bed writhing in pain just thinking you are going to die. You forget there is a whole purpose to the labor and to the pain. Having someone remind you that your baby is coming and that there is purpose to the pain is TREMENDOUSLY helpful. It gives you a huge mental break. I got out of the tub when I finally dilated to a ten and began to push, first squatting and then laying on my back on the bed. I delivered my baby perfectly posterior. It was amazing and fast and awesome and she bawled and bawled, but she didn't pee and poop on me. My midwife made us blueberry smoothies and egg croissant sandwiches and sat with us and talked with us while we all ate. My husband and her took the baby while I slept for a couple of hours. Bam! We left. Cypress Sky Klein attended her 0 birthday party with about 11 people at a house having a St. Patricks Day celebration. Music blasting, kids dancing around and holding her, and me feeling great, not groggy or drained.
I enjoyed both of my labor and deliveries. I enjoyed my first because I brought Aida into the world and she is one spunky, playful, loving, helpful, intense, dramamama, touchy little girl(does that make sense? She makes it work.) She blew my mind and my world into pieces and helped me realize I needed to shape a new one. And she is patient with me and my process in doing that every single day. She is amazing. I'm thankful for the modern medicine that helped me get through my lack of preparation and utter despair(that's what it was). I enjoyed my second labor because it was awesome! I love Cypress. She is so different than Aida. For starters she is mild. She is sensitive and cuddly and loving and a bit of a scaredy cat. She is smiley and happy.I loved that my labor was only four hours(due to her being posterior. My midwife said if she hadn't had been I would have delivered on the road...blessings in disguise). I loved everything that I went through for her and that I was able to do it. People make it seem impossible and it is completely possible. It is a gift from our Heavenly Father to deliver our babies. Labor and delivery is only the beginning of pains and trials we will experience in raising them and I don't want to numb myself through those experiences either. I think there are certain things in life that have to be experienced. Traveling to Paris or the Bahamas is not one of them. Delivering a child that you created from love and that is being lent to you to teach from your Heavenly Father definitely is one of those things. Harder things bring greater rewards. I have experienced natural labor and loved it and that I did it, but who knows. Maybe on number six I'll do the epidural as my celebration? Haha.
I also want to make it clear. I'm not anti-epidural. Even just the beginning of labor is hard. And even if I had known what labor was going to be like, no way I would want to go through that for 13 hours. I bet I'd still choose an epidural for my first one.That is some tough stuff. Four hours is a completely different story. But, I loved everything about a natural labor, more. I enjoyed it more and I bet you would too.