Monday, August 17, 2009

...and Rejoicing!

Part 2 of Owen's Birth Story, continued from Celebrating...

When I arrived at the hospital at 5:30 am, I went through the standard urine sample/fetal monitor rigmarole to see if I was "truly in labor". I didn’t hit it off with my nurse.

“So is this your first?”

“No, this will be my third.”

“Hmmm…you’re a glutton for punishment.”

The nurse checked me and declared I was only “a stretchy 3 centimeters” and, with contractions spaced apart, decided I was not in active labor. Knowing the distance I had traveled, though, she gave me the option of going back home or staying “for observation.” Though I was slightly embarrassed that my hopes of an immediate birth had been dampened, I didn’t feel it was wise to return home with obvious labor signs. The nurse then informed me that my midwife was not on call that weekend since she was—at the beach. (Maybe I should have gone into labor on the sand like my grandmother feared!) The doctor in the practice would be attending instead. Having only met him once, I was nervous about this, but knew he shared my midwife’s non-medical, hands-off approach to labor.

The contractions continued to come 4-11 minutes apart and despite being tied to the monitors, I was able to breathe through the pain and stay relatively comfortable. At one point, I asked to go to the bathroom and when I returned to the bed and sat down, it collapsed under me at the point where it breaks down. The nurse nearly had a heart attack, but aside from being shaken (and a little annoyed that the nurse had not secured the bed), I was fine.

The nurse continued to imply that I may be sent home, but when Dr. J arrived around 7 am, he wanted to do a check himself. Despite the spacey contractions, I was now 6-7 centimeters. The doctor had me admitted and, free from the monitors, I was moved to a LDRP (Labor-Delivery-Recovery-Postpartum) Room. I was still very comfortable. The contractions were painful and I had to relax and concentrate to get through them, but in between I felt fine. I walked around the room, skimmed a few baby magazines, talked and joked with Brian, while sipping on some juice my new nurse (hooray for shift change!) brought in. Dr. J returned, saying he had talked to P (my midwife) who had returned from the beach the night before. He had asked if she was willing to come in for my delivery, knowing it was what I wanted, and she agreed! In the meantime, he said P wanted him to break my water and hopefully, put things on a steadier pace. (Looking back, I wish I hadn’t agreed to this since my labor, however slow, was progressing.) Brian called my parents and his mom to let them know that Dr. J had broken my water and, as I was still upbeat and in control, we were expecting labor to continue for awhile.

I was at a 7-8 at this point and since I needed to be monitored for a short while after the procedure, he suggested I eat something. A nurse in the hall overheard and called in, “You are going to let her eat?” to which he responded, “If she feels like a steak, it’s okay with me.” Transition pressed in before I had a chance to consider food. It was no more painful than before, but very intense. I would get hot flashes at the end of each one, but be cold by the time another began. P arrived while the contractions were coming 2 minutes apart. We tried discussing our trips to the beach, but there wasn’t much break. I knew it wasn’t long before we would be meeting our baby.

Only an hour after my water was broken, I felt a strong urge to push. The nurse and P had both stepped out so Brian ran into the hall to summons help. I’ve heard other women who have had natural labors say that the pushing stage was a relief because they could feel the progress, but for me, it was the first time in my labor that I felt l was losing control. It was so much more intense than I’d imagined, but less than 10 minutes later and with only a few pushes, Owen Baxter entered our world. Brian was standing at my side as the tiny body emerged, but at P's gesture, Brian helped deliver and I reached down and brought our new baby up to the toasty blankets on my tummy. What an awesome experience! Owen weighed only 7 pounds, 12 ounces, much lighter than my first two babies. P commented that had he waited the extra 2 ½ weeks until term, he would have been quite a whopper!

I was on such a high after the birth. The nurses were all impressed by how easily the labor had progressed. Once it was all over, the pain was gone. I wasn’t even sore, simply fatigued. Hooray for natural labor!


  1. Reading "ideal" labor stories gives me hope for the next time! ;)

  2. What a great birth story! :)

  3. I loved reading that! I too felt that things were really intense and out of control during the pushing stage with MY Owen. Yet - so close to meeting the little one!

  4. Great story! I just love reading birth stories. Was Owen your first natural labor?

  5. Yes, I had intended to have a natural labor with my first and second, but lack of knowledge and a so-so hospital (with strict policies) kept me from achieving my goals.

    With Owen, I switched to a midwife who practiced at a different hospital. I also did lots of reading. My husband was extremely nervous as the labor approached because of our previous experiences, but this time I was able to manage the pain easily by allowing my body to work (versus lying flat in bed with IVs, monitors, etc.).

  6. Great story! I'm still hoping for natural birth with this baby (#3), but I feel the hospital and some of the docs in my practice are working against me. We'll see. :-)


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