Length of labor (not pushing)
9 hrs 20 minutes
Length of pushing
Who was with me
My husband, Doula, Sister, Mother, friend, OB & nurses
What I would do differently next time
Nothing! Except hire a photographer.
What I did to prepare for birth
I did several things to mentally and physically prepare myself. I had the benefit of witnessing a friends natural childbirth and it really helped me understand how much I was going to have to prepare for my 3rd birth (1st natural). I hired a Doula, read Birthing from Within & Hypnobirthing, listened to Hypnobabies CD's and learned to do self-hypnosis/relaxation, sat on a balance ball at work instead of an office chair and most importantly cleared all fears!
How my birth happened
At about 4 AM I woke up feeling regular contractions. Although they didn't hurt, I could tell that they were intense and likely not going to stop. I got out of bed, went to to kitchen and did the dishes to make sure my contractions wouldn't stop. Afterwards I went back to bed and listened to a Hynobabies CD for about an hour so that I could gain focus.
The contractions continued and I decided to get into the bath to get as comfortable as possible and minimize any back labor pain. I stayed in the bath and labored for a while. Although not painful, the contractions were about 2 minutes apart. I could tell that I still had plenty of time but my husband was anxious to go to the hospital. We left to go to the hospital at 8:30.
We arrived at the hospital and I explained to the nurses that I was going to deliver naturally and asked for a nurse that would be supportive. They checked me before admitting me and I was disappointed to learn that I was only 5 cm dilated... but was 100% effaced and the amniotic sac was bulging through my cervix.
I labored for the next few hours with the help of my husband & my Doula. I instinctively went into a squatting position at each contraction and did everything I could to avoid laying or sitting down. I also practiced self hypnosis throughout the labor. Although the pressure from the contractions was intense, it was not yet "painful". I was trying to avoid the pain as long as possible by refusing to let my water be broken. By noon I was 8cm and knew that I wasn't progressing since my water had not broken on its own. I finally decided to allow my water to be broken after it was explained to me that it should have broken by itself at that point. My OB promptly broke my water and warned me that soon I would start to feel like I was going crazy. She was right. The contractions became more intense while I was being forced to stay in bed for 20 minutes. I was becoming overwhelmed by the intensity but my Doula and husband kept me focused and after an hour it was time to push.
Once it was time to push the previous pain was gone. Although the pushing was intense and exhausting, the only pain was the ring of fire as the baby's head started to crown. After a short time of pushing I got back into a squatting position on the bed and pushed our third son out. Baby Bennett was born naturally at 1:20 PM without drugs or other significant intervention.
- You need an experienced coach (like a Doula) to keep you focused when you get overwhelmed.
- Witnessing a natural childbirth in person was invaluable. I mentally referenced it throughout labor.
- Avoid laying down in bed. Get up and move around or squat.
- Make sure you don't have any fears and that you don't panic as a result of the intensity.
- You WILL feel like you are loosing your mind during transition. Know that it's normal.
- Don't push until YOU feel like you have to. Nurses & doctors will tell you to push before it's optimal.
- Listen to your body and do what comes natural.
- It's so worth it!