Every mom imagines what they want their baby’s birth story to be. The last few weeks leading up to your due date can be some of the longest weeks of your life.
Lucky for me… my daughter decided to come almost a week after my due date so it felt even longer!
During this time, I imagined a hundred different scenarios of how my daughters birth was going to go. Some scenarios best case and others were the worst cases. I think it is pretty natural to worry about this amazing process us Mama’s get to go through as it is really out of our control and up to our amazing bodies and the baby inside us. Realizing how little control I have over a situation gives me major anxiety!
I knew that I wanted to try natural labor this time around but was terrified of actually going through with it. I didn’t prepare myself for having a natural birth like most mothers do reading all of the books, listening to podcasts and educating myself of how it would go so I really didn’t think it was a possible option.
I still planned on laboring in a hospital but this time I wanted the freedom to move around and labor comfortably if safe for me and baby. I was not dead set on not having an epidural, in fact, I expected that I was most likely going to get it.
I figured I would not have my mindset one way or another but just be open to see what I felt was best at the time of delivery.
Delilah’s Birth Story:
Our due date was June 30, 2019, and that date had come and gone. I showed up to my next doctor’s appointment on July 1 where they decided it was best to get an induction date scheduled just in case she decided not to come out on her own.
We were scheduled for July 6 and I was dreading it. I never had this problem with my firstborn, Melina. In fact, everyone told me that I would most likely deliver early and much faster since this was the second child. Obviously, that doesn’t always happen!
I didn’t understand why she wasn’t coming out already! My cervix was still high and no dilation. Why wasn’t my body preparing for her birth? I desperately tried all of the “natural” ways to induce labor like eating a ton of pineapple, spicy foods, and bouncing on the exercise ball. Yes, I even increased my intimate time with my husband,
I had so many questions and just felt hopeless like she was never going to get out of my belly! I know that sounds silly but it just felt like I was never going to meet her.
And then finally…I woke up throughout the night on the fourth of July with some moderate cramping. I didn’t think much of it until about 5 in the morning. I could tell that these cramps were in fact contractions that seemed to be pretty darn close together.
Trying not to get too excited that I was in labor I decided to get up and shower. During my shower, my contractions seemed to grow in intensity but still bearable. I also realized that I had most likely lost my mucus plug after using the bathroom.
I really did not want to go to the hospital until I knew the real deal had started and the pain was getting too much to handle. My last labor lasted around 17 hours in the hospital and I felt bedridden once I was admitted. So I figured I would stall as long as I could this time around before heading in.
I started to time my contractions to see how close they were together. To my surprise, they were about 3-5 minutes apart. Yes! I knew then that I am most likely in early labor and would be seeing my baby soon!
So while I was observing my contractions I decided to look up labor breathing techniques. Leave it to me to wait until the last minute to think of this! During my last labor, I had a hard time breathing, I was so focused on pushing that I literally forgot to breathe at times causing me to be exhausted and not pushing as strong as I could have been.
I started practicing the breathing techniques during my contractions to help ease the discomfort. As soon as I felt the contraction start, I would inhale a deep breath and just relax exhaling out of my mouth a long, drawn out-breath. After a few times of getting the hang of it, I realized how effective this was. It was easing the intensity of my contractions and relaxing my entire body.
After getting around and learning my new breathing skills, I woke up my husband to call into work and get our stuff around to head to my in-laws to drop our daughter off.
Read more about what I included in my hospital bag: Hospital Bag Essentials – Second Time Mom
I started realizing that I was having a bloody discharge which concerned me a bit so we picked up our pace and headed over to triage to get assessed.
I was trying not to get my hopes up as we had some false alarms prior in the week. But I could tell that this time was a bit different. At least I was praying it was. I was 24 hours away from my scheduled induction and I wanted more than anything for my body to go into labor on its own.
After getting assessed at triage, to my amazement, they determined I was dilated to a 5 and my water had broke!
Yessss! It was finally happening! I was being admitted and on my way to the labor and delivery room! My husband and I could not have been more happy and excited to hear that news.
I cannot tell you how relieved I felt and proud of my body I was for finally being ready to bring this baby into the world.
Of course, I was terrified of the next few hours that were in store for me because you never really know how your labor is going to go.
We have all heard of the horror stories of women having the most painful labors or all of the scary things that could possibly go wrong for you or baby.
I was lucky enough to have a ton of family support while I was laboring to ease my mind of these anxious thoughts. My inlaws had come up with my daughter and my mother, grandfather, and brother came up to sit with us while we labored. For some women, this may have seemed a bit much but I enjoyed the company to help pass time.
After I was introduced to the team of doctors that would be delivering my baby, the question that always followed was: “What are you thinking for pain management?”. I cannot tell you how many times I heard that question the first few hours of being admitted.
Every time they asked the question, I honestly didn’t know how to respond. I had received an epidural with my last labor and was assuming I would do the same this time.
But I was not in enough pain to need it yet. I made it clear I did not want to be bedridden this time so we held off on the epidural.
I also learned that you are not restricted to receiving an epidural at a certain point of labor. At least this is what my nurse shared with me. She made it clear that if I labored without an epidural and then needed it when I was almost pushing they would be able to administer it to me.
Everyone I share this with is amazed. Honestly, I don’t know if that is always the case or if my nurse was just trying to ease my mind. I was terrified that I would get to a point that the intensity was too much for me to bear but I was stuck without an option of help. Knowing that I could have it helped me relax and take one moment at a time.
For about four hours I labored on the birthing ball, using the breathing techniques that I had just learned earlier that morning to soothe myself through the contractions. I used the birthing ball to do pelvis rocks during my contractions and to help move the baby down the birth canal.
I felt empowered with every contraction that passed and I breathed and rocked through it. The nurses were amazed that I was up and talking still and not in much discomfort with being so far along in the labor process.
I decided to get re-evaluated to see where I was dilated to now since it had been several hours. I was dilated up to a 7 but I still had a sac of fluid remaining that needed to be broken so the doctors went ahead to break the sac to move the labor along.
After not much progression it was suggested to try hands and knees on the bed instead of the birthing ball. By this time my contractions were getting stronger and closer together. After about 20 minutes in this position, the intensity really increased. The hands and knees position is good for lowering the baby into the pelvis and thinning out the cervix for the transition phase of labor.
I had read about how the transitional phase of labor is often the most difficult for mothers to handle. I really couldn’t recall this intensity with my first labor but again I was on the epidural.
This time around I could tell my body was heading into the transition phase of labor as my contractions grew closer together and seemed to never fully relax. I became hot and cold continuously. I even started to feel very nauseous. All I kept thinking is “please don’t start throwing up!” I couldn’t imagine handling the contractions while puking.
I became pretty silent during this part of my labor because I had to be so focused on my breathing or else the discomfort would take over and become unbearable. I would look at my husband occasionally to let him know I was okay and that I just needed to be in my own head for me to handle this. I found that keeping my eyes closed helped me stay focused and calm.
For anyone that is thinking of having a natural birth, it is crucial that you do not get discouraged and let negative thoughts inside your head. Whenever I started to doubt my ability or focus on the pain I was experiencing, everything became much worse.
I constantly was telling myself encouraging thoughts such as:
Every contraction I feel brings me closer to my baby.
I am not afraid of the discomfort I am experiencing.
You can do this without any medication just like women do all over the world.
I will get through this.
There is nothing wrong, this is the natural process of the body bringing a baby into the world.
I am so proud of far I have come in this labor.
I am ready to meet my beautiful baby.
My Breaking Point
I was stuck at a 9 for what felt like forever but it was most likely about 2 hours. It was determined that her head was not angeled the right way and my cervix still needed to be thinned out a bit more. My nurse was able to reposition it to a safe angle for her to be ready to travel down the birth canal.
At this point, I was completely exhausted. Feeling like I might not make it through this labor if it was going to be any longer. I really started to think maybe it was time to get that epidural if it was going to several hours longer. My sweet nurse kept saying a “few more contractions and then you can push” which I soon realized meant possibly another hour but her words kept me hopeful that it would soon be time to push.
I had this insanely tingly feeling all in my face and hands. It was the weirdest feeling I experienced throughout my whole labor. I kept asking the doctors if this was normal and they said it was from breathing. I am pretty sure they said I was getting too much carbon dioxide? But not really sure as I couldn’t focus on what anyone was saying. I think it could also be from my anxiety as I was getting pretty anxious right before it was time to push.
I got the urge to push and I told the doctors that I need to start pushing, hoping that they weren’t going to tell me to wait any longer. But this time they said my cervix was thin enough where it was safe for me to begin.
Pushing without an epidural is so much easier and I would also say probably more effective. I could tell exactly the right time to begin pushing and bear down through the contraction to push the baby down as much as I could. After a few big pushes, the head was visible to the doctor, one more push and they said she would be out!
Fortunately for me, I pushed for about 15 minutes total and my sweet baby girl, Delilah was placed in my arms.
There is nothing like the first few moments after your baby arrives.
It is the most magical and surreal feeling in the world.
The pain, the discomfort, the bleeding, and all the waiting faded away as I adored my little girl for the first time.
My labor experience with Delilah was so different than my experience with Melina. I only lost 100mL of blood during labor compared to 750mL last labor, no tearing when I tore 3 places last time, and I felt like superwoman!
I realized that my strengths are much bigger than my fears and with the right mindset, I can conquer anything. I am forever grateful for the experience of laboring my daughter naturally.
I was over the moon with adrenaline and so grateful that my daughter and I were both safe and healthy through our delivery process.
Our journey as a family of four starts now.