“You want to do what?” was Kevin’s first reaction when I first mentioned having an unmedicated birth.
Scarlett’s birthing was what is known as precipitous labor, which is defined as giving birth after less than 3 hours of regular contraction. That, along with my epidural not working at first with her, and not feeling in control of the experience, led me to this decision. Fast forward to hiring an amazing doula, attending virtual Hypnobabies classes, and practicing self hypnosis daily in preparation for our birthing time, I felt ready.
My due date came and went. Our OB was pressuring me to schedule an induction. That’s the last thing I wanted. I tried all the tricks, spicy foods, walks, squats, acupuncture, meditation, cocktails. You name it, I tried it. Finally at 40 weeks and 6 days, my birthing waves started coming regularly but were still very mild, about 8 minutes apart. Our doula came over around 6pm and asked to feel my stomach. She noticed he was posterior (facing out instead of in), and suggested I do a few positional exercises to get him in the right position and hopefully get labor going by doing so.
The “exercises” would take about 90 minutes to complete, so our doula mentioned she would be at a nearby friends house while I completed these exercises.
It was about 7:30 when I started in the first position. Kevin went upstairs to bathe Scarlett and get her ready for bed. By the time he came down at 8:30 he saw me and asked if our doula should come back. I told him to stop talking and not to ask me questions. That’s when he knew it was go time.
I bounced on our birthing ball in the living room while waiting for our doula to come back. [Doula note: the” nearby friend’s house” where I was waiting was actually a homebirth midwife’s house. When I received Kevin’s text, I was tempted to bring the midwife with me! Hindsight, it wouldn’t have been a terrible plan.]
Pressure waves were happening about 3 minutes apart. She met us at our front driveway, took one look at me, and said it’s time to head to the hospital.
Kevin was rushing to the hospital and I remember telling him to take his time, there was no need to rush (boy,was I wrong looking back).
It was about 9pm as we pulled up into the emergency entrance at Greer Memorial Hospital. After the very thorough check in process due to the pandemic, I received my ID bracelet and walked over to the elevator (having to pause a few times for waves). At the elevator Kevin mentioned it was 9:11PM.
Arriving at triage, they made our doula wait in the waiting room while my dilation was checked by the nurse (weird Covid protocols). “Oh, look at that. You’re six centimeters, honey. You’re not going home.” This was at 9:26PM. Kevin sent a text to our doula letting her know my dilation. “She’s having the baby within the hour,” she replied. She was right.
Walking over to our room I remember just really wanting to get there and get settled. When I sat in the bed, I had a nurse getting ready to insert my hep-lock. Every time she was about to insert the needle, a birthing wave would come and we’d have to start over. The waves seemed to be back to back at this point.
Another nurse walked into the room to go over hospital procedures and have me sign paperwork. To be honest, I just wanted that part over with so I can enter my own self hypnosis. I remember saying I felt nauseous during one wave, and our doula came with a peppermint infused towel by my face which felt heavenly.
By the time I finished signing the papers, I had an immediate urge to poop. “ I gotta take a sh*t.” The nurses looked at me with big eyes, “You feel the urge to push?!” “No, I really need to use the bathroom. Babe, come with me.” I dragged Kevin into the bathroom with me, and held onto him as I went to the bathroom. Suddenly I heard myself make an instinctual moan. Our doula came in and I heard the nurses rushing around. I told our doula and Kevin, “I can’t do this. I can’t. It’s too much.” Our doula chuckled a bit and said, “Well you’re already doing it. We’re almost done.”
Another nurse came in and said, “We need to take you to the bed.” “Nope, I can’t.” Kevin and the nurse escorted me to the bed and I barely crawled on by the time I had let out another primal groan while on hands and knees and felt myself bearing down.
The nurse said, “Tell the doctor to hurry, I’m holding the baby’s head! Honey, I know you really want to, but try not to push.”
Easier said than done. A few seconds later, I heard the doctor rush in behind me. Kevin was pressing on my shoulders and forehead to remind me to relax. And with a couple more pushes, and getting onto my forearms, our baby’s head was out.
“One more big push and that’s it!”
I waited for another wave, and with one more push our baby was born at 10:00PM. The feeling was euphoric, and like nothing else I’ve felt before. I couldn’t believe I did that, and that our baby was finally here.
It. Was. Awesome.
[Doula Note: Annilie was in her hospital room for 25 minutes before her baby was born. I’m taking this opportunity to remind everyone, “Your cervix is not a crystal ball.” Just because a person is “only” 6cm does not mean birth is not imminent. We watch the birthing person over anything else. Birth is indeed awesome!]