Just before midnight the night before Porter was born I woke up with contractions. Actually I had been having contractions off and on all day, this was the point that I finally gave up on sleeping. I hopped in the tub and started timing my contractions. They were 5-7 minutes apart. Around this time Joe woke up from me continuously running water in the tub trying to get the right temperature. He reminded me of some of the breathing techniques we had learned in our birth hypnosis class, which helped tremendously.
Around 2 a.m. contractions had been 4-5 minutes apart for over an hour. Since this was the point we had been told to come to the hospital, I called to see if I should come in. The nurse told me that since this was my first pregnancy I could labor at home for a few more hours or until I couldn’t handle it. I was grateful that I made this call before heading in. Joe tried to get some sleep and I put on a movie.
At 6:00 a.m. we decided to head to the hospital. Joe didn’t believe I was really in labor but decided we should go to the hospital and check and that we should do it before rush hour. Once at the hospital we got lost trying to figure out where to check in, even though we had taken a tour. When we checked in I was irritated that we had to wait in line and there were no chairs. Eventually we got placed in a triage room and I was connected to all sorts of monitors. We waited for about a half hour until a skeptical nurse came to check me. She looked at me and I’m sure she didn’t believe I was actually in labor. She asked me if I had been checked at all. I told her that I had been 2 cm dilated the week before. She seemed surprised, and was even more surprised when she checked and I was dilated to 5 cm.
I got admitted to the hospital at about 7 a.m. After being hooked up to monitors and started on an IV (I was GBS positive) I got in the tub for a while. I tried a few different techniques I had learned in our birth hypnosis class, but the thing that I stuck with was ratio breathing. Over the next few hours I continued to dilate steadily. As contractions got more intense I started to do some rocking motions through contractions. I also started thinking of the contractions as waves, I knew that if I made it to the peak of the contraction I would be just fine. Joe was incredibly supportive. He got me water and ice chips, let the nurses and doctors know of my preferences, gave me verbal encouragement, and helped suggest different techniques from our class.
A little before 2:00 p.m. Joe and I heard a pop and my water broke. A few minutes later it was time to push. Pushing was the most intense part of the experience. I pushed for about 2 hours total. At the very end Porter’s heart rate was dropping and they used the vacuum one time to get him out. Immediately after delivery Porter and I both had some minor complications so we didn’t get to have delayed cord clamping and immediate skin to skin after delivery. Joe was able to escort Porter to the nursery for monitoring and an hour later we were reunited as a family of three.
Unmedicated childbirth is the most difficult thing I have ever done, but wouldn’t have done it any other way.