Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Benjamin's Birth Story-- Part 3 of 4

Carol reviewed my birth plan, said it seemed reasonable, and went to get a LDRP (Labor/Delivery/Recovery/Postpartum) room ready. I gathered my things, took my chart from the nurse, and ambled after her. She laughed, “Here she comes! You seem like you’re out for a hike instead of in active labor!” My new nurse, Heather said, “And she’s even carrying her own chart!”

After getting me settled in my room, Carol talked to me about my options. Knowing I desired a natural labor, she suggested walking around the unit or relaxing in my room’s Jacuzzi tub. She pointed out that my contractions were still not coming as often as expected at this stage, “but obviously it is working.” She also said that since my water bag was bulging, she could break it and kick labor into higher gear. She left it up to me, though, saying she was prepared to stick around as long as it took to have a baby. Brian and I talked about it and decided that we would let my body continue to labor at its own pace since that fit with our plan to have things as natural as possible.

Midwife means “with woman” and Carol was good at her job! She would come in the room and chat quietly with me or even sit silently when I needed to be quiet. Instead of relying on monitors, she would feel my belly during a contraction to measure its strength. She asked me why I thought many women feel the need to carry on and make people feel sorry for them while they are in labor. I wasn’t sure how to answer because I couldn’t imagine being loud or laboring in any other way. She said, “I had four children and labored just like you are laboring. I try to empathize with those women, but sometimes…”

Around 4:30, Heather suggested I try the Jacuzzi tub. She said she had used it during her labor and enjoyed it. I’ve heard that immersing in water can reduce labor pain, but I didn’t realize the extent of that truth until I tried it. I’m not sure if it was caused by the weightlessness that came from floating or an improved ability to relax in the warmth, but immediately the contractions were less uncomfortable. With my belly entirely covered by the water, I could still feel all the pressure, but the pain decreased. Time went by quickly while I was in the tub. The contractions started coming closer together and I sensed that I was in transition though I was still able to talk and relax in-between. Carol came in again and suggested she check my cervix. I was at an 8. Carol put a cool rag on my neck. That helped me relax so Brian continued cooling it and reapplying it.

I was beginning to feel a lot of pressure and the need to leave the tub. The contractions were coming so close together at this point, though, that it took awhile to time my departure! I took my time getting out and walking to the bed. The room was dim. Carol and Heather were talking in hushed tones so as not to disturb the peaceful atmosphere in the room.

I labored for a short time sitting upright on the bed. Concentrating on my labor was taking up all my brain space at this point so I don’t recall as much detail from here on out. (Brian filled in for me what I don’t remember!) Though I still felt fine between contractions, they came so close to together, I stayed quiet to keep on top of it. If I lost concentration, I started to tense up which made it hurt more. I remember reading while I was pregnant that if you start to feel as though you can’t do it anymore, you are getting close to delivering. Once or twice, I felt this, but I reminded myself that it was almost over. Really the only part I had trouble with was the intensity at the peak of each contraction.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 4


  1. I love the tubs at the birthing center, even though I didn't have time to get into one until after Jonathan was born. Our tub at home helped to relax me, too. I can't wait to read the rest.

  2. Your birth experience sounds like a good one so far! As someone who did yell and scream during labor ;) I think I yelled and screamed partly because I was mad and also because it just plain hurt. I had the nurse from the underworld, and I've never been so ticked off in my life! I was in a much better mood once BB popped out.

  3. I love birth stories. Can't wait for part 4!!

  4. Hooray for a tub to labor in! I don't know what I would have done without them. I can't wait for your grand finale!

  5. Ugh. I am one of those women who tries so hard to not scream out or make noise or act like I can't handle it or that its too painfull for me. I usually fail miserably! I remember after my first labor experience and then C-Sect I was in SO much pain and thought I was going to pass out, but kept telling everyone, "I'm fine." No worries. Ha! Now, going into my third C-Sect I do nto miss having to not deal with contractions and labor. And you are awesome! Keeping calm and cool is NOT an easy task!!!


    Many blessings-

  6. Good thing she wasn't attending me in labor... as for those women who feel the need to "carry on" in labor, not everyone's bodies work the same way. For me, vocalizing in labor (long, low moans, not screaming) kept me riding the labor waves. Trying to stay quiet made everything so much more intense and frightening. Many, many women feel the need to vocalize in labor. Bummer to see a midwife criticizing it.


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