This is the story of my second son’s birth. He was born in the hospital and I had him “naturally”; without an epidural or painkillers! Here’s how it went.
It’s always hard to wait for what you very badly want, but it’s even harder to wait for it when you’re uncomfortable. As my pregnancy wore on with the Alabama summer, I became increasingly ready. More like increasingly impatient. I was dying to meet my baby boy, and dying to get some physical and emotional relief from being constantly on the verge.
Many months earlier, I’d taken a pregnancy test at the earliest viable day. We entered the holiday season with good news to share, and as soon as we found out Baby Roo was a boy, we began calling him by name. (Baby Roo is what we nicknamed him before we knew his sex, and that’s what I’ll call him on this blog. My husband was reading Winnie-the-Pooh to my older son at the time. I was Kanga, new baby was Roo!)
Note: Throughout my pregnancy, I loved getting free week-by-week pregnancy updates from Mama Natural! It was fascinating to see how baby was developing, and there were lots of other great articles to explore, especially when I had burning pregnancy questions I needed answered!
I believe that babies are babies right from conception, and it was both sweet and awe-inspiring to think of growing him inside me for all those months. But pregnancy has its difficulties, and at 9 long days past our due date, I was glad to discuss induction with my doctor. We made plans for me to check into the hospital two days later.
One way or another, I’d be holding my sweet baby in my arms that very week.
Early Wednesday morning, the day I was scheduled to check in, I felt my first real contractions of the pregnancy. They were interesting. They started as a warmth deep within me that gradually intensified, spreading up to my belly button and then dissolving softly. These contractions didn’t hurt, much, but suddenly I knew that I’d be well into labor by the time the Pitocin was ready. I won’t need it.
Heading to the hospital Wednesday night was déjà vu: we’d checked in for a Wednesday night induction with Little Dude, too. We were told to park in the Emergency parking lot since it was after hours. But apparently, we weren’t supposed to enter through the Emergency room floor. At least it seemed that way from the look on the receptionist’s face when she saw us enter the waiting room with suitcases, a pillow, and a cooler! Her jaw literally fell open. She was probably worried we were about to set up camp right there!
We got to the birthing floor via an elevator with a creepy voice (basically, imagine a psychopath saying “third flooor” and you’ll know how she sounded). We filled out paperwork and got settled in for the night, joking about how this was our special hotel getaway.
I didn’t sleep. I couldn’t! Thankfully it wasn’t due to an IV as it had been last time, but to intensifying contractions. With each one I debated waking up Eric, but I wanted him to get as much sleep as possible. I wasn’t just being nice here, I was counting on him to help out after Roo was born so I could rest!
Eric woke up when my mom arrived around 4:30 in the morning. I told them I was ready to start the day and needed to get my contacts back in. Sure enough, the doctor confirmed that I wouldn’t need Piotcin. Either the Cytotec had helped things along or it was just time anyway. I wasn’t planning on getting an epidural, so I was glad there would be no need for Pitocin, as that supposedly makes your contractions more intense. “This will be a less painful labor than last time!” I told myself happily.
Well, it was a shorter labor for sure, but actually more intense! So don’t count on that funfact if you’re having a Pit-free birth after a previous induction(:
Diffusing essential oils, listening to this soothing CD, and looking at my baby’s ultrasound helped labor pass more peacefully!
Throughout the morning, I could tell I was progressing much faster than I had with Little Dude. I was also much more alert and more frustrated by the pain. My pain management was not too creative. Basically, I just switched to different positions on the bed and birthing ball while holding on to Mom or Eric.
Finally I felt like I couldn’t go on with “normal” contractions. It felt different; I was ready to push. It seemed like forever before my doctor arrived, but once she was there she didn’t leave. I began the very hard, very painful, very time-honoured work of pushing out my baby, occasionally saying things like “I don’t think I can do this,” “How many more times?” and “Come on, Baby!!”
I felt like I was Prince Rilian, the hospital bed my silver chair, and I was straining with all my might for something–to be released and my trial passed. Yes, that’s the sort of connection my literary mind makes during life’s memorable moments(:
It was a longer and more difficult stage than it had been with Little Dude, but it was still pretty quick thank goodness. The “ring of fire” sensation is burned into my mind now, that’s for sure! They set up a mirror for me but in the end I had to shut my eyes and turn completely inward to get that baby out. I could feel every part of his body working its way out in those last long seconds, in a way I hadn’t remembered with his brother.
At 9:18 they were passing him up to me and suddenly I felt completely calm and settled, as if a switch had been flipped. I started nursing him and snuggling him while the nurses and techs and my doctor did their various jobs. I told the medical students who’d been observing that I hoped I had not scared them off from natural birth, but they assured me they’d seen all kinds of things before and I had done great!
The rest of our hospital stay was pretty dreamy, actually. We’d joked earlier about this being our hotel getaway, but after the birth our time really did begin to feel like an extended date! Cliches about terrible hospital food and brusque staff simply weren’t true in our case. The food was plentiful and tasty (and brought straight to the beside, naturally!), and the staff were genuinely caring and knowledgeable.
Our last night in the hospital, they gave us a candlelit dinner! See why this felt like an extended date night?!
I will always treasure those first couple of days with my new baby. It was a sweet, relaxing time in spite of all the comings and goings of nurses and visitors. I snuggled my baby, slept and dozed, ate and ate, and even had time to read my book and watch some TV with Eric.
After weeks of stressful waiting, I felt quite sedate and calm. My baby had arrived, and all was well.
Postscript: If you’re expecting your own little one, you might find The Mama Natural Birth Course very helpful. It’s the #1 bestselling online childbirth course.
Also, see my blog post where 20 moms weigh in on how they managed labor pains naturally. For the postpartum days, read this post on how to find simplicity and rest in the newborn season.
If you know someone else who’s giving birth soon, check out these 10 Ways to Help a New Mom (that you might not have thought of!)