I have two birth stories to tell. Before I begin, I would like to make a note that the first birth had a doctor attending, and the second was a natural midwife birth.
When I got pregnant the first time, I was 18 years old. I did want to get pregnant at the time, so I never enforced that my boyfriend should wear a condom. That boyfriend has to this day not seen the baby. I met my true love when I was 4 months pregnant, after leaving my ex-boyfriend. My true love, Steve, wanted to adopt the baby as his own, and to make it legal for the birth certificate, we got married in April, of 1995. We lived with his parents at the time. Neither one of us were prepared to go out into the world alone. We paid for our own food and had me and the unborn baby on medicaid. I have wanted a midwife to deliver my child from the time I was 10 years old, but in the area where we lived, there were few midwives, and we just couldn't afford them. So, I started off at the local health department with nurses doing the monthly check-ups. They knew my preferences to have a natural birth, and figured that they would send me to a new woman doctor in the area. What they didn't know is that this doctor took turns being on call with two other male doctors. But, I didn't want to go through all of the chances of being stuck with a new doctor that I knew nothing about, so I didn't change.
My baby was due in early July. I never made it to my due date of July 5th. The last day of June, I noticed what appeared to be a small leak in my bag of waters. Not much, just a trickle. I have read a lot on pregnancy and the birth of my baby and had read up on about everything. I even knew a lot of the medical terminology so that I wouldn't feel confused in the hospital. Well, according to my natural birth books, I stayed at home. I didn't call the doctor for fear that they would make me come to the hospital and induce my labor. Besides, my contractions had already started, but they didn't hurt much and were about 10 minutes apart. I didn't fall asleep that night until the late hours of the morning. My contractions then were about 6 to 8 minutes apart and keeping me up. I was so excited that I was going to have a baby soon! When I did sleep, I only slept for about 10 to 15 minutes at the most before another contraction would wake me up. I tried this for about 3 hours before I decided that I couldn't sleep anymore, and so, my husband and I stayed awake, and in our bedroom just timing the contractions for the entire morning. We didn't want to tell his parents what was going on. They are a bit old fashioned and Steve's (my husband) mom had really fast labors, the longest being about 5 hours. We waited and waited, but nothing would happen. My contractions got to about 5 minutes apart, but they wouldn't last longer than 40 seconds before we told his parents. They urged us to go to the hospital immediately. I was so tired by then, I didn't argue. I just wanted to sleep, though I knew it wouldn't be possible. We got to the hospital at about 2 pm, after trying to convince a nurse that I had been in labor for over 24 hours. She kept telling me to drink juice and lay on my side! I didn't drink much more than about 3 cups of water all morning and I couldn't eat anything. I had an upset stomach. We got to the hospital, and they timed the contractions and checked to see how far I was dilated, which was 4 cm at the time. Unfortunately, I had a fever. (I found out later that I had the beginning stages of the flu). The nurses kept telling me I was dehydrated since I couldn't pee in a cup much. I had peed before I left home, and didn't have to go at the time! I told them of my leaking water, and they immediately thought 'bacteria infection!'. Of all things, they catheterized me trying to find urine. It made no sense to me! Couldn't they have waited until I had to go to the bathroom again? The nurse, who we later dubbed the 'bad' nurse, after cramming the catheter tube all inside of me, took it out and splashed pee on my socks! I thought it was disgusting, and I tried to take off my socks, but the nurse wouldn't let me! She told me that it was my own pee, and why should I be worried about it? I secretly wondered if she peed on herself all of the time to think that way. : ) But, needless to say, the hospital kept me and stuck an IV in my arm. Minutes later, I had to have a nurse help me to the bathroom. She was a little shocked when I did have to go pee! And a lot of it too. But she didn't say anything to anybody. I guess they aren't willing to admit that they make mistakes sometimes. Another nurse came in and told me that I had a fever, which I didn't know about until after I had the IV. She also said that it was because my water had broken. I told her that my water hadn't broken, that it was only leaking, and that I think the leak had sealed itself. She argued with me, saying that they found water on the bed I was on when I was being checked. I remembered the splashed pee, but I said nothing. I just shook my head at their stupidity. With all of the commotion, my contractions had slowed down to about 7 minutes apart again, and were still at 40 seconds long. It wasn't even an hour later that I was told that they were going to induce labor using Pitocin. I didn't want an induced labor, but they said that I needed one with the bacterial infection that I had. I figured they knew best, and when I asked about how bad the contractions were going to be, they told me that I could get an epidural. Well, if there was one thing that I didn't want, it was an epidural. I had argued against it my entire pregnancy. I wanted to feel what was going on with my body!
They induced labor shortly before my mother got there. It was sometime in the evening by then. Not long after that, the nurses noticed that the baby's heart rate fell with each contraction. I figured it was because of the contractions being so un-natural, but I wasn't a nurse, who was I to say! (sarcasm, of course) I argued about having an internal monitor, but my mom said that with the induced contractions, it would probably feel better. My mother has given birth 5 times, so she was the only person I would listen to. The nurse who came on duty then was the night nurse. Her name was Sheila, and I'll never forget her. She was the only one that I liked of them all, including the doctor. I told Sheila that my water hadn't broken yet, and she looked at me kind of funny when I said that as she inserted the internal monitor. When she did that, my water did break! I told her that my water had broken just then, and I had to repeat it to make her look. I guess she didn't expect for me to know what was happening. She did look, and I guess was a little surprised that the papers said otherwise. I do believe that she changed them then. Good thing that the water was clear! At least my baby wasn't going to be sick. (we hoped)
Immediately, my contractions got very hard! I was in major pain, and I couldn't breathe with them. My mother finally convinced me that induced contractions were much worse than normal ones, so no one would hold it against me if I asked for an epidural. Plus, the nurse, Sheila, she told me that with me hyperventilating and with the baby's heart rate dropping, I would have to have an epidural to calm down, or else get a C-section. I remember screaming for the man who would come to do my epidural. I had to sign papers in the middle of the contractions that were one on top of the other. It was also harder than anything to hunch over my contracting belly and be still while the needle was inserted into my back. After that was done, I got a sense of light-headedness, and I couldn't feel my contractions anymore. Around 11:30, I felt a bearing down sensation in my bottom area. I told my mother, and she called the nurse. The nurse was summoned, and I was told that it was time to start pushing. Oh I was so happy! I guess it was then that the doctor was called. I pushed the baby out, the whole time watching the clock to see if I could have him out by midnight. I remember feeling an slight stretching sensation as the baby's head crowned. Then, right at the peak, Sheila told me to stop pushing. I remember my husband being in shock. He let my mother and another nurse to hold me up while I pushed, and he stood away from us. So much for his help! Oh well. 'Men!' I thought. : ) At the time of the baby's peaking, the nurse told me that she was instructed to tell me that doctor's order were that I wasn't to push until he got there. My mother kept hinting that it was okay to push, that she was sure that the nurse had delivered many babies before, but I never got the hint. I sure do wish my mother had yelled at me to push that baby out! We sat there, or rather laid there, doing nothing for about 4 contractions until the doctor got in. Before the doctor got there, I remember asking Sheila if it looked like I had to be cut. She said no. I was stretching nicely. The doctor got in, and immediately he grabbed the scalpel, without even asking me if it was okay. I didn't have time to yell, and I figured that my husband would tell him that I didn't want an episiotomy, but he didn't. The doctor cut me, and to my horror, I realized that I could feel it! It felt like a razor blade was cutting me open! I screamed, and for some reason, though I couldn't feel the pressure of the baby anymore, the doctor cut me again. I could see the worry on my Mom's face and the anger in the nurse. I wish now that I could have kicked the doctor. I don't like him to this day. One push and the baby's head was out!!! We then found out the reason for the lowered heartbeat with every contraction. The baby had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck 2 and a half times! One more push, and, "It's a boy!!!" He gave a little yell, and I expected that he would be handed straight to me. I held my arms open, but all I got on my belly was a cut umbilical cord. At least the baby was taken care of in my room. If I could, I would have jumped off of the bed to see him, but I still couldn't move my legs. After a shot to my bottom area, the doctor started stitching me up. I guess he finally figured out that I could feel in that area. He took forever, and when I asked if he was almost done, he would reply that he had to do 3 or 4 more. I asked him, "How many 3 or 4's do you have left to go?" He didn't answer. I guess he felt stupid. I kept begging the nurses to let me see my baby, and they finally did when Sheila told them to hand him to me. I remember peering into his face, and his little voice was making soft cooing sounds, he was a little upset I guess. I started to take off my top so that I could breast-feed him, but the nurses freaked out and put my gown back on. I wasn't allowed to feed him until after the doctor had left. So much for a natural birth! I guess I'll know better next time, I thought. The worst part is, is that I was cut all the way to my anus. I didn't realize that I had stitches in my anus until I had my first bowel movement. I sure do wish that someone had told me to use laxatives! I don't even want to tell you how that went. I used Tylenol for 6 weeks after that birth. It hurt me to move for a week. Having an epidural, I didn't know what muscles to push, and I guess I tried all of them.
By the way, the baby was born at 12:20 am on July 2nd, 1995. I named him Jack, which I found in a baby book and is North American for Moon. He had white hair, and very little of it, and white skin, until he got jaundiced. The jaundice was never bad enough to take him to the doctor. He weighed 7 pounds and 14 ounces. I remember from the way that I looked, everyone thought I was going to have an 8-pounder. My relatives had even betted on how big the baby would be. : )
Jack was 11 months old when we got pregnant with the second baby. We really wanted to have one that was biologically related to Steve, and we knew how important it was that we have two children close in age to grow up together. That pregnancy started off strange. I had just gotten off of depo-provera, and according to the nurses, It was barely possible that I would get pregnant within the next year. I kept taking pregnancy tests and they kept coming up negative. I felt pregnant though, even if I didn't have morning sickness. I kept doing my daily routine, and I was working as a housekeeper at an Inn at the time. I felt my uterus grow, and finally decided to go to the health department to get an official test. I thought for sure that I would be going home with good news! To my surprise, the nurses said that I wasn't pregnant. I went home and told my husband that the test was negative, and argued with him that I was pregnant. I knew it, and I just wished that someone would believe me! I was still breastfeeding my oldest at the time. I even started to think that was the cause for a delayed period, and not getting off of depo. One week later, I bought another test, after getting nauseated at work. I was really excited when the test was a very definite positive! I went to the health department again and had another positive test. I was in awe that I was already 9 weeks pregnant! And they told me that the test was so sure! : ) Well, my husband and I were determined that this baby was going to be birthed naturally, so we moved 2 hours away to the mountains where there were midwives that accepted medicaid and delivered in a hospital. The prenatal appointments were so much nicer! They even gave us birthing classes. My husband learned a lot from that, and I learned how to best cope with the contractions. I breastfed my oldest child until he was 15 months old and I was four months pregnant. Feeling the unborn child kick, and trying to nurse the other at the same time was just to much for me. My baby was due on February the 10th, 1997.
February rolled around, and right on through! It was February the 27th when I went to the hospital for an ultrasound. They had to check to see if the placenta wasn't deteriorating and make sure there was enough fluids left in the sack. The baby checked out as being due anytime. The midwife on call asked me if I wanted to do Pitocin again, but didn't really see a need being that the baby was all right. So, we went home, and I didn't tell Steve that I was that the baby was a boy on the ultrasound. He hadn't seen that part when it rolled around on the screen. I wanted to keep it as a surprise. He was really wanting another boy.
March the 1st, Steve and I had sex in the morning, hoping that it would induce labor. It was Saturday, and we thought it best that the baby was to be born on a weekend, like the first one. My after-sex contractions kept going and got stronger! They didn't go away when I walked around, and we thought, 'Today's the day!'. Steve figured that he had time to change the breaks on the car, which he did. The ride to the hospital is up and down a 2% grade. We didn't want the breaks going out on that ride. That day, Steve, Jack and I walked to the mailbox. We thought it was funny when our neighbor asked us when the baby was going to be born. We didn't tell him, only said that we didn't know. But we were smiling. :)
When the contractions got closer together, and uncomfortable, I called my sister to come and get 20 month old Jack. Jack knew we were going to have a baby soon, he was a smart boy and used to hug my belly saying, "baby!" I knew then how to check and see how far I was dilated, and I was disappointed when every time I checked, I would only be at 3 cm. Even so, my contractions got to the point where I couldn't stand up with them anymore. By then, it was 8 pm. I figured that if I went to the hospital, that I would be there all night. As long as my first labor was, I really expected it! Even so, we figured it best to go ahead and get settled into the hospital before it got to be too late at night. I ate before I left, figuring on not having anything to eat at the hospital and grabbed an apple while heading out the door. I had to hold on to my husband for support on the way to the car. My contractions were 4 to 5 minutes apart and about 70 seconds long. The ride to the hospital was pretty rough. Every time I would have a contraction, I would yell at Steve to slow down. And then, after the contraction was over, I'd laugh. We got to the hospital at 9pm. It took us about 20 minutes to check in. I still felt no urgency and we walked up to the Maternity ward. We had to stop about 4 times, so we figured that the contractions must have been about 3 minutes apart then. I got to my room, and changed into my gown. The midwife got there just before I got into my gown! I guess my Mother must have known I was going to birth the baby soon, for she had called up the midwife at least 3 times leaving messages that I had been in labor all day and went to the hospital to give birth. The midwife was expecting me to be lying in bed, I guess. I got into bed, and found out that my contractions were only 3 minutes apart, and lasting about 75 to 80 seconds long. The midwife checked me and found that I was only 3 cm dilated still! I thought it was going to be a long night, but, my water broke. The midwife figured that she had done it, and would much rather my labor be done with a bag of waters to cushion the pain. It was then that my labor turned hard!!! I started shaking, and vomiting, but the entire time, my husband was right beside of me telling me what to do. He did a wonderful job!!! I was still waiting for the hard contractions to come, like that ones I had with Pitocin, when I felt the urge to push. I kept saying, "Why am I feeling like this? It isn't supposed to happen this way!" The midwife and nurse laughed and said that I was just opening up real fast! It was 10 pm and she checked to see how dilated I was. I was 10 cm dilated!!! I couldn't believe that it had happened so fast! We still had our suitcase in the car, and didn't even have the camera with us. We didn't even get a chance to call our family yet to let them know that we had arrived at the hospital safely! I didn't even have my blood drawn yet! I found out later that during my transition phase, they wheeled the syringes and vials into the room on a cart, but the nurse was chased back out. I was getting ready to give birth!
I remember now that I was so stunned that I got to that point so fast, that when the midwife suggested I lay on my side to push, I didn't budge. I wish that I had now. My baby was turned sideways and I had real bad lower back pain during pushing. The midwife didn't cut me, she just rubbed oils on my vagina to help loosen me up. The hardest part was the crowning, it felt like a burning and stinging sensation, but really severe, and the midwife told me to not push hard so that the baby would come out gently. I remember looking into the mirror at the baby's head coming out. All I saw was a lot of black hair. I cracked a joke about how I was going to get rope burn with all of the hair on that baby's head. I had to push, and I only pushed a little, and out came the baby's head! I saw in the mirror his scrunched up little face, with the eyes still closed. One more push, and the baby's body slid out! He let out a cry that had to have been 5 times as loud as my oldest boy ever gets, and I heard, "It's a boy!" You should have seen the pride on my husband's face! They handed the baby straight to me, and I was able to nuzzle him against my breast. He wasn't interested in sucking till about 5 minutes later. I only needed 3 small stitches on the inside, and they didn't hurt even half as bad as the one's I had before. They also healed very well, with no after-soreness. After Steve held his new son, they put him under the lights in an incubator in my room, and weighed him. He weighed 7 pounds, 6 and a half ounces. He came out at 10:32, only an hour and a half from the time I got to the hospital. I'm glad I made it there! His name is Zachary. Zachary was a little jaundiced too, but I was just told to let him lay in the sunshine on a blanket under a window in my home. He didn't have to go to the hospital for it either. It was then that I figured that we should call the family. Just then, we got a call. It was my sister. She wanted to know if we had gotten to the hospital safely. She was surprised when I told here that the baby had already been born! The best part was when my oldest boy, Jack came over to the hospital the next day. He didn't recognize the baby until I held both boys in my arms, and I told Jack, "This is your baby!" And I let Jack touch Zack. He was so proud!
I only had to take Tylenol for about 2 and a half weeks after that birth. The hurting after that one was my after birth contractions. They hurt about as much as the ones before I had given birth! I stayed in the hospital for an extra day because of blood clots, but was still out in less than 48 hours, and feeling better than after my first birth. The midwives are so much friendlier, and I think they really know what they are doing. If there was a college around where I lived to become a midwife, I would probably do it. My husband and I beleive that our next child will be born at home. He thinks he can do it himself, but I do beleive that I'll find a midwife to be there, just in case anything goes wrong. We aren't planning on having any more babies anytime soon, but you'll never know what's going to happen! Today, Jack, who's almost 3, and Zack, who has just started walking, are the best of friends. I am glad that they are only 20 months apart, and though I am upset about how the first birth went, I got a beautiful son out of it!
I'm loving natural - Terina
Hodgdon (Mocksville, NC)