Although not everything about motherhood and life with W has gone exactly as I planned. I feel blessed to have been able to have the natural, med-free, complication-free birth that I planned on having. It is one of the greatest blessings of my pregnancy/parenthood to date.
I always knew that a hospital birth probably wasn't the way for me. It's great for some people but I knew that I wasn't one of those people. First, I have a complete fear of needles and the thought of having an IV without necessarily having a medical need terrified me. The thought of an epidural was something I just tried not to think about, to be honest. Horrifying to me.
When I first started teaching, another teacher on my team spoke highly of her natural birth experience. Although I knew about going med-free from my mother who just waited so long with my sister that when she got to the hospital there was no time for any meds, it was the first time I had heard about waterbirth from someone I knew. I never forgot that. When so many people are chomping at the bit to tell you their labor and delivery horror stories, her positive story and the fact that she shared it stuck with me for the next few years.
Fast forward to about a year ago when we found out we were pregnant and I went on a hunt for a midwife and a birthing center. I didn't want a homebirth so I went in search of a birthing center. Luckily there was on not too far from where I live and even luckier... it is the one midwife/birthing center that was covered by my insurance! After touring the center, I knew it was the place for me. I just felt at home. When I found out that my insurance would cover it just as if I had a hospital birth, I knew it was meant to be.
My prenatal care was amazing and every visit felt like I was going to see friends. We also attended a birthing class (based mostly on Birthing from Within) at the center. It was taught by an amazing doula that many families at the center use. The class was one of the most beneficial things I've ever done. It really helped me finish the mental preparation I needed to do to be completely prepared for my labor and delivery.
My due date with W was 12/11/10 (fun!) but all along I had told him I wanted to work through Friday of the week before so that my leave wouldn't start until Monday at the earliest. Yes, it was my wishful thinking that he might arrive a bit early. I woke up Friday feeling "funny" and the nurse at my school told me that it was a good sign! Two people that day also told me that the shape of my bump had changed. After work I went to the gym and walked on the treadmill for half an hour before heading home to enjoy Friday evening. I was hoping it would help get things going!
Sleeping that night wasn't great. I was uncomfortable and ended up getting up to take a shower and then spending some time leaning on the bed. I believe this was definitely the beginning of my labor. Saturday morning I woke up around 6am with contractions that started about 10 minutes apart. Around 8am, they started coming fairly consistently every 5 minutes and after a few hours, I called my midwife to let her know. She said everything sounded like it was progressing smoothly and to call her again when they were 2 - 4 minutes apart. Around 4pm, they were coming every 1 - 3 minutes and getting more intense. My midwife said we were getting close to heading to the birth center and that she would call me back unless there was an emergency and then I should call her. She called around 5:20ish and was ready to head to the birthing center to meet us. We arrived at the birthing center around 6:00 and my midwife checked me. I hadn't had an internal since 36 weeks when I was 1cm dilated but when she checked me I was 5cm and 90% effaced so we were headed in the right direction.
I labored with my midwife, a student midwife, my mom, J, and my in-laws around for the next few hours and was 8cm after about 3 hours. A little while after that, I decided I was ready to get in the tub so everyone but my mom, J, and the midwives left the birthing room while the midwives filled up the tub. I labored in the tub with J for about a little over an hour then my water broke. My midwife checked me and I was 9.5cm. That was when j got out of the tub and after 20 minutes of pushing on my hands and knees, W made his debut! J got to cut the cord though I don't know how he was able to see through the tears of joy! He couldn't stop crying! W was born in the water at 10:52pm on Saturday, 12/4 and he weighed in at 7lbs, 13oz and was 19.5 inches long!
I feel blessed to have been able to have the natural, med-free, complication-free birth that I planned on having. 17 hours of labor sounds like a lot and yet the only extremely challenging time was the pushing part and being in the tub was amazing. We left the birth center about 3 hours after W was born and got home around 3am on Sunday morning, less than 24 hours after everything began!