“Oh you will know when you are having a contraction,” they all said to me, “you will definitely know.” Welp, guess what humans of America, I didn’t “definitely know” anything.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
4:45 am: I woke up with a strange uncomfortable feeling in my back. My stomach was really tight, and I just thought that the baby was push out on my belly, causing it to stretch the skin on my back and that’s why it was hurting. I thought to myself maybe I’m just finally experiencing that whole ‘sleeping discomfort’ thing everyone talks about. And then I changed positions a few times and tried to go back to sleep.
5:30am: The pain was not going away, and on top of that it felt like I was having terrible menstrual cramps. So, I laid in bed and Googled “what do contractions feel like.” I searched around on the internet for a while, and while I still wasn’t convinced I was having contractions I decided to give myself the benefit of the doubt and pretend like they could be contractions. I downloaded a contraction timer and started timing when I would feel the tightening pressure and then when it would end. I decided I would do this for an hour before I called my doula. I was so not about to wake her up before 6am for nothing. The pressure was lasting 30-45 seconds at a time and coming every 2-3 minutes.
6:30am: Pacing around my house, I finally called my doula.
me: “Oh good morning Jamie how are you?”
her: “Hi good what’s going on?”
me: All nonchalant, “oh not much I was just wondering if you could tell me what contractions feel like.”
her: Chuckles. “Why don’t you tell me what you’re feeling.”
me: Still not convinced I’m in labor, proceeds to tell her all the feels.
her: “Yeah those are definitely contractions and you are definitely in labor. I’m going to head over.”
me: Finally convinced I might be in labor.
7:00am: I go take a shower and let the warm water ease my hurting back. Then I go pack my hospital bag, because, no of course I didn’t have that packed already, this baby wasn’t “due” for another 10 days at least, if not more. Every body knows that your first baby is supposed to come late right?! That’s what they all told me! Lies.
7:30am: I decide it’s probably time I finally wake my husband up.
me: “Good morning babe.”
him: Groggy morning sounds that don’t make since.
me: “Ok well you may want to go pack your hospital bag because I think we’re going to have a baby today.”
him: Jumps up. Suddenly very awake. “Wait what?? Are you serious?!”
me: “Apparently I’ve been having contractions for a couple hours so yes. Now go on, get ready.”
8:00am: Within 15 minutes of him getting up my contractions pick up really quickly and intensely. At this point I am now doubled over the birthing ball hanging on for dear life and have thrown up a few times from the pain.
8:30am: Me: “Babe my water just broke.”
Cue him freaking out an running around the house as if it suddenly caught on fire.
Me: Still holding on to the ball, moaning, praying for the damn pain in my back to stop.
9:00am: My doula arrives. Praise the Lord! She lives far away and of course there were a million wrecks on her way to us. We all get in the car and drive to the hospital. She sits in the back with me and does this glorious thing where she presses on my hips while I have a contraction and it helps me not want to die as badly.
9:30am: We arrive at the hospital. They tell me I am already 7cm dilated +1 station.
Me: Feeling like a champ for laboring that far at home.
10:00am: We got check into my room and I spent the next couple hours laboring there. Because I was planing to go natural I was able to move about the room if I wanted. I didn’t really want to though. I basically alternated between sitting on my hands and knees on the bed and laying on my side most of the time. All the while my doula continued to press on my hips to help relieve some of the horrible pain from my back labor, I squeezed the daylights out of my husbands hand, and tried really very hard to relax my body and “give in” to the contraction.
My thoughts went like this: Ok. Everything is ok. I can do this. I can totally do this.
*Contraction & Back Labor* Holy freaking sh!t. Nope not doing this.
*Pain stops* Ok this isn’t so bad. I’ve so got this. Soon I’ll get to hold my baby.
*Contraction & Back Labor* Oh hell no I’m not going to keep doing this. What if I just got an epidural? That wouldn’t be so bad would it?
*Pain stops* That was a dumb thought. This isn’t so bad. I can do this.
And so the conversation in my head continued until…
12:05am: Time to push this baby the hell out! Pushing is the best! I loved pushing (note the smile in my pictures). I felt like I could finally do something and didn’t have to just “give in” to the pain anymore. I got to dig deep and use my strength and it though it was exhausting, it wasn’t painful like the labor was.
I finally came alive again at this point and was able to talk to everyone and joke around a little more. I was feeling encouraged and strong.
12:23pm: I pushed out his head and then started laughing I was so happy.
12:24pm: Filled with joy, I laughed and pushed out the rest of his body as I got to reach down and pull him out and up to my chest myself. Basically, the dr. just supervised the whole thing. This may be TMI, or seem a bit strange or “hippie” to you. It’s ok, I once thought the same and it wan’t something I had thought I would want to do, but let me tell you, it was the coolest freaking thing I’ve ever done. And I like to think I’ve done some pretty cool things.
For the next two hours straight, he laid on my chest and we had uninterrupted skin-to-skin time. No body touched him or tried to move him from me. I was so impressed with the hospital for this. Skin to skin body, especially immediately after birth is proven to have so many incredible benefits for both mom and baby. We bonded and he latched on and started breastfeeding less than 15 minutes after being born.
He was born in a posterior position. Meaning that, although he was head down, he was face up towards my abdomen, which is not ideal and actually makes the birth harder. This was the cause for all that dang back labor as it causes pressure from the baby’s head to be applied to the my tailbone, resulting in intense back pain with each contraction. I honestly don’t think I even know what a regular ole contraction feels like because all I could focus on was my back spasming out of control.
All in all though, it really was an incredible experience and despite the pain we did have fun. The labor and delivery nurses in the room even told me this was hands down their “favorite unmedicated birth” that they had been to and thanked me for not yelling at them (ha!). That was very encouraging to hear.
I really could not have done this though without the help of my doula (thank you Jamie! You seriously were my saving grace) and the love and support of my husband. Thank you Sandon for being so sweet and encouraging throughout the whole thing.
Our perfect baby boy: Griffin Ray Smith, 6lbs 5oz and 18 inches long