Having baby Rae was such an awesome experience! For my first three pregnancies and deliveries, I went the traditional route: Obstetrician, hospital, and pain medication (as soon as I arrived at the hospital). That is all I knew. I didn’t know there were tons of other options to help things go smoothly. After a not so fun labor and delivery with Arianna (3rd baby), I was determined to try something else. I felt that a midwife was the way to go, so the search was on. After an extensive interviewing process, I found a midwife that would best suit our family’s needs. I was elated with my decision. Besides the 3rd trimester aches and pains, my pregnancy was a smooth one.
At thirty-nine weeks, my discomfort level was at an all time high and I was ready to have my baby girl. I had an appointment with my midwife that week so I decided to ask her to strip my membranes. Stripping membranes is a procedure in which the doctor or midwife separates the amniotic sac from the wall of the uterus. This can be really uncomfortable, to some, or just feel like a regular cervical exam. Afterward, if your body and baby are ready, you will go into labor between 12-24 hours. After my appointment, I was in labor throughout the rest of the day. I simply continued with my daily activities, as planned, and timed my contractions once they became consistent. Around 9:30 pm I was in full labor. I told Shaun to take a nap while I continued to labor (I needed him fully rested for later). He woke up around 2 am and that’s when I started to feel my body transitioning. My contractions were about three to four minutes apart and I couldn’t speak through any of them. I realized then that it was time to make the necessary phone calls (to our moms and our midwife).
We arrived at the hospital at about 4 am, hoping that the majority of the labor was done at home. When the nurse checked me I was 8 cm! I thought to myself, “FINALLY”! It only took me three pregnancies to get laboring at home down packed [side note: make sure you find a hospital that is conducive to your birth plan]. Since I only had 2 more centimeters to go, I was able to labor on the birthing ball and in the birthing tub. All of which were a part of my birthing plan. I also planned to have a natural birth, with no epidural. As the contractions were back to back, Rae’s heart rate started to drop a bit. She wasn’t enjoying labor at all! After all, labor is hard work for both the mother and baby. My midwife Tina then informed me that she needed me in a position that would benefit the baby (which wasn’t one that was helping me through contractions). After laboring for three more hours, she checked me and I was still only 8 cm. With all that was going on, I finally remembered that it takes my body a long time to get from 7 to 10 cm. With that being said, I gave in and got an epidural. Being confined to a bed, in one position, I just couldn’t handle the pain anymore.
In a way, I felt defeated. I spent so much time researching and planning, only to give up when things got really tough. But then I began to think of how long I lasted without the epidural and that feeling of defeat slowly went away. I felt proud of myself because I had never gone that long without pain meds before. I promised myself that for baby #5 I’m going to carry my plan out to the letter.
I felt much better after getting the epidural and baby Rae’s heart rate normalized as well. It was all downhill after that. One hour later, I pushed three times and she was here! A big 9-pound, beautiful, healthy, and quiet (she didn’t cry) baby was now ours to see. Tina allowed me to bond with Rae before all the extra hospital stuff they do. We had skin-to-skin time and I breastfed her. When they performed the Apgar test she was laying on my chest. No need to whisk her away from her warm and loving momma and put her in a cold place with a bunch of bright lights.
Rae didn’t leave my side for our whole hospital stay. When I was ready to wash her, I did it right in our room and enjoyed every bit of it. I can’t wait to have that experience once more with our last baby. Everything didn’t turn out quite as planned, but it was, in fact, my best labor and birthing experience ever. I have God, my family and my birthing team to thank for that! Until next time…. Lady Ki