In honor of Baby I's first birthday (👶🏾😭❤️) coming up this Wednesday, I'm posting my experience and story of having an unmedicated natural birth in the middle of a pandemic last year. Read both posts to learn more.
I had my last prenatal appointment on Monday, September 21 at 3 p.m. The baby was due in three days. I expressed to the midwife that I had contractions that began on Sunday, but it didn’t lead to anything. She took one look at me and said she suspected I wouldn't be pregnant for much longer.
She assured me that all was well, I was doing great (the fluid levels were perfect, baby's heartbeat was fast and strong, and he was in a perfect position for delivery).
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She suggested some natural induction techniques if needed. She gave me some evening primrose oil that I could insert “down there,” told me to grab some red raspberry leaf tea and do some gentle nipple stimulation. Hubby and I picked up the tea and a treat for ourselves then went home. I did all three suggestions, watched a documentary, then went to sleep. I still wasn't feeling a thing.
At around 2 am, my contractions woke me up. They didn’t feel at all like the other contractions I had where I could use breathing and some hypnosis to sleep through them. I tried to stay calm by listening to some hypnosis but I wasn't able to stay calm or silent due to the pain. Each contraction felt like a wave that was building up, only to get more forceful and severe. I kept trying to keep my mouth and jaw relaxed, so the rest of me could follow.
About an hour into the contractions it started to…get real. Not only did I feel the contractions in the front of my pelvic region (it felt like severe period cramps) but the pain was radiating down my lower back. Oh, dear. I did not feel this type of pain with my first.
I eventually woke up hubby who rang the midwife on call. She asked a series of questions while hubby had her on speakerphone. I tried to stay calm because I didn't feel I was super dilated and knew that if we drove all the way to the birthing center and I was not fully dilated, we would have to turn right back around. I couldn't bear doing that. After we decided to continue laboring at home, hubby tried to get me into a comfortable position. Here is the thing: there is absolutely no comfortable position when you are in that much pain!
I was shivering and cold so I went into the shower thinking it would relax me but it did nothing of the sort. I started to feel feverish and like I was going to throw up. I moaned for hubby and returned to the bed where he wrapped me in a cocoon of blankets. As the pain intensified, I started to feel scared, and the only time I felt safe was when hubby was near me and pressed his hands down on my lower back to manage the contractions.
The contractions were getting to be so intense I wasn’t even keeping track and as they came into my body it was not specific to any area but the entire lower part of me. I started moaning and groaning my way through them and try as I might, I wasn’t able to relax. I distinctly felt my toes tighten up and constrict. I started to fall down on my knees in the tabletop position, with hubby behind massaging my back. Every time the contractions happened, the pain caused me to tighten up. Hubby had to continually put pressure to ease the pain while I writhed in agony.
I wasn't able to bear the pain while staying calm, so I made the intentional decision to allow my primal instincts to take over. We called the midwife again, probably a half-hour later. I remember having a contraction while on the phone with her and I moaned and groaned my way through it. The pain was getting to be of a type I’ve never felt before. I thought I could endure another hour or so, but the contractions were coming quicker and quicker.
I knew one thing for sure: I wanted to labor as much as I could at home because I did not want to drive all the way to the birthing center, only to be told I wasn't dilated enough and sent home. No sirree!
We had already packed a few things in our birthing bag and hubby was rushing around: getting the car ready, ensuring our other little guy was taken care of, and waking up my parents (thankfully they had driven down the week before after my false contractions occurred).
My mom was praying in the living room and asked me to turn on the light. I told her I was in labor! My father stepped in and calmed me down. I felt a contraction coming. I was panicked because hubby was outside, putting things in the car. I got down on all fours.
“I need you,” I wailed. My mom rushed over to help but seeing me in pain scared her. Thankfully hubby came back to take over. He pressed his hands into my back and I relaxed.
Now it was time to head to the birthing center.
“I'M TURNING INTO AN APE”
By the time 5:30 hit, we were packed and ready to go to the birthing center. I went to say goodbye to our other little guy who was awake, eyes big and wide. We were in his room when hubby was holding him and I felt another contraction coming. I held onto hubby as he hugged me through the pain. Then I felt as though I peed my pants.
Our little guy was sad when we left him with my parents and I waddled to the car terrified of the drive to the birthing center. As soon as I sat down I declared to hubby “I'm turning into an ape.” And then, I did. It was the only way I could get through the pain – by completely running into it and becoming something else.