Even though everything about my labor and delivery was totally different than what I was expecting, I couldn’t have asked for a better birth experience…
For the full story, I have to backtrack to when I was about 30 weeks pregnant because that is when I first started complaining about the swelling in my legs and ankles. As the weeks went on, my swelling got progressively worse, but my doctor was not concerned about it because my blood pressure and urine samples were excellent. Well…that lasted until my 37 week appointment when my blood pressure spiked and I had traces of protein in my urine. Those two symptoms combined with my severe edema were cause for concern because I was on my way to developing pre-eclampsia. I was told that if it was determined that I did have it, induction was the only option. I was immediately scared when I heard the word “induce” because I thought that if my labor was induced, I would not be able to have the natural birth I had been planning.
Also at my 37 week appointment, I was already 2cm dilated and 90% effaced, so I prayed that I would keep progressing and go into labor naturally. During the next 2 weeks, I had to go through a couple different tests as well as have an ultrasound to check on the baby. The ultrasound looked great and that made me a little more at ease because if I was induced, I knew the baby would be ready. I did keep progressing and was 4cm at my 39 week appointment, but I was definitely not in active labor. I was thankful that I got that far with essentially no pain, though! My mom took me to my 39 week appointment and suggested I bring my hospital bag with us because she was certain my doctor would send me straight to the hospital to be induced after the appointment. I honestly thought she was crazy, but I packed my bag anyway and we were on our way.
Donny met us at the appointment and we discussed options with my doctor. Although he did not pressure me, my doctor said that he thought the best option was to go ahead and induce me. My mom (who used to be a nurse and midwife) agreed and although I was still super nervous, I felt ok with this decision because I really trust my doctor and my mom. I did express that I did not want to be induced with pitocin or any other medications, and since I was 4cm dilated, my doctor thought that if he just broke my water that would probably be enough to launch me into active labor. So, sure enough, I was sent straight to the hospital just like my mom suspected. Donny went home to pack his bag and get the car seat and made it back to the hospital before my doctor arrived.
The drive from the doctor’s office to the hospital was so surreal. I could not believe that I was going to have my baby that day or the day after! I was not mentally or emotionally prepared because throughout my pregnancy, I expected that Donny and I would be home when my labor started. I thought that we would be creating a relaxing atmosphere with music and candles and maybe even a bath until it was time to go to the hospital. I thought that I would bake cookies until my contractions got too intense that I couldn’t concentrate anymore. I thought it would be just like all the natural birth videos we watched…but God obviously had other plans.
My mom and I arrived to the hospital around 3:30pm. I got checked in and we played cards while we waited for my doctor to get there. I made phone calls to our family to tell them the news, but I told them not to rush up to the hospital because at that point my water wasn’t even broken yet and we thought it would still be awhile even after that happened. Well, the family was too excited to wait and Donny’s parents along with Jenny and Dan made it to the hospital before my doctor did! My doctor finally arrived and broke my water at 6:15pm and I started having contractions within 15 minutes, but they were not very strong. I continued to play cards, but by about 7:15pm, my contractions grew too strong for me to concentrate on the game. Donny and I walked the halls for a few minutes, but walking wasn’t very comfortable, so we went back to the room and I sat on the birthing ball for the next couple of hours. Donny stayed by my side the entire time and massaged my back. He was so encouraging and calm and I couldn’t even imagine going through this experience without him.
The time between when my contractions first started until I started pushing is somewhat of a blur. My contractions progressed so fast and I got really overwhelmed and a little scared. I was expecting my labor to take at least 12 hours and I thought my contractions would start at 10 minutes apart and gradually grow closer together. Well, my contractions started at about 5 minutes apart and within an hour or two, they were less than 1 minute apart. I was not getting a break to re-group between my contractions and I got scared that I was not going to have any energy left to push when that time came. About 1/2 hour before I started pushing, I reached my breaking point and thought I needed an epidural. My mom suggested that the nurse check me and I was 8cm at that point, so I was told it was too late for an epidural. I was actually glad to hear that because 1) I never planned on getting an epidural and really didn’t want one, and 2) I knew it wouldn’t be long before I would meet my son.
I honestly don’t even know when my doctor got there, but it wasn’t very long after I got checked that I transitioned and felt the urge to push. Once I started pushing, I felt so relieved! Pushing was SO much better than the contractions for me because with each push, I was getting closer to bringing our son into the world and I wasn’t as concentrated on the pain as I was during my contractions. Don’t get me wrong, pushing was hard work – but I had Donny, my mom, my mother-in-law, Jenny, and my friend Weina there encouraging me to get one more push in with each contraction. My mom also played the role of my doula and it was so special to go through this experience with her by my side. She had both my brother and I naturally (my brother was even born at home), so she was a huge advocate for natural birth and such a great encouragement for me. My doctor was absolutely great and pretty much sat back and relaxed until it was time to catch Corbin as he came out. Donny was actually able to stand next to my doctor and video tape the whole birth and I am so thankful that we have a record of the birth. I did have a mirror, but it was still hard to see what was actually going on, so it was really cool to watch the video the next day.
After only 5 hours of labor and 1 hour of pushing, little Corbin Jacob was born at 12:04am on April 15 and the minute he was placed in my arms was the most amazing feeling in the world! I couldn’t believe that the wait was over and he was really truly in my arms. I was instantly in love and didn’t want to do anything other than hold him and stare at him. I was able to breastfeed right away and I cherished those precious moments of bonding that we had before he was taken to be weighed and cleaned up. Our little man weighed in at 7 lbs, 14 oz and was 20.5″ long.
I [surprisingly] felt so great and was on such an emotional high immediately after he was born. It was so great to have our families there to celebrate with us and so fun to see everyone’s reactions to the newest family member.
I am truly thankful that I had a great pregnancy, that I was able to have the natural birth we desired, and that we now have a healthy baby boy as a result 🙂 We are so incredibly blessed! ~ written April 2010