Home Natural Births Alice's Birth Story By Christy B.
Alice's Birth Story By Christy B. PDF Print E-mail
Birth Stories - Natural Birth Stories
Tuesday, 10 February 2009 10:49
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I read every birth story I could get my hands on. It helped me tremendously. So, though it has taken me awhile, here is the story of my birth experience for other mothers.

Alice Sophia was born on October 22, 1998 at the University Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is the story of how that happened. We planned on having the baby at the only free-standing (not attached to a hospital) birth center in Utah. There were four giant birthing rooms, each with their own private bath. They were decorated like something out of a catalog. If no one else was birthing, you could actually pick which room you wanted - they were named not numbered. Like "country room", etc. We were thrilled with two of the midwives that we had seriously bonded with throughout our prenatal care. I mean bonded like "well, maybe we could name the baby after her." There had been no problems with the baby at all. The only trouble we'd had was when the technology that was supposed to be helping us diagnosed a few potential problems that turned out to be machine errors. All along our little angel was perfect. So, we were looking forward to an equally perfect birth. I was absolutely sure that I'd have her completely natural - no drugs, no intervention. We were so confident that there were moments when we pondered having her at home and calling the midwife after to come over and make sure we'd done okay! We hadn't taken any birth preparation classes and we felt a little guilty about that. We'd done a lot of reading and felt that we were well informed. Also, reading lots of birth stories on the Internet helped me know what to expect.

Well she got to be "overdue", as they say. But I don't believe in "overdue". I figure babies come when they are ready and no one has ever been pregnant forever. The longer she stayed, the healthier she'd be. So, I would pat my stomach and say to her, "you just stay as long as you want, honey." The only annoying part was people continually asking me: when are you going to have that baby?

It got to be 11 days past when they thought she should have come. Frankly, I had noticed that my panties had been somewhat damp lately. I didn't really think about it though. I'm sure I was trying to deny the fact that my water had broken. So, I casually mentioned that night to my husband, Lee, that maybe, just maybe, my water had broke. He started, "what?!" I told him about it and he said I should wear a pad to bed and see if it was wet in the morning. It was. "Oh, well", I thought, "I guess we'll call the midwife when we get home from work tonight." However, Lee, who obviously paid better attention to the midwives than I did, insisted we call the office right then and there. "Oh, dammit," I thought, "here we go."

"Your water broke exactly when?" the woman asked. She was not our regular midwife and she was as irritated as she dared be with a woman whose baby she might be delivering in a couple of hours.

"Um.a few days ago, I guess."

This was not a good answer.

She insisted we come to the office to be checked immediately. This was not going the way we planned at all. We hadn't packed a bag yet or anything. I wasn't going to now because the baby wasn't ready to be born. I wasn't in labor and I wasn't going to pack a bag. Period. So, off we went with only my purse.

When we got to the office, both of our favorite midwives were out for the day. I knew this was the case because we had a schedule posted on our fridge. It was one of the reasons why I didn't want to have the baby that day. Couldn't we wait until early next week? Not a chance.

After the checkup, it was determined that my water had broken, there was potentially infectious bacteria in my vagina and that we were going to the hospital NOW to get started on pitocin. I cried. I felt powerless already. The worst was walking out of the exam room and having the staff see my crying face and dealing with their looks of pity. Or did their expressions say, "why didn't you call when your water broke? This is all your fault."

We were given leave by the midwife to stop for lunch on the way to the hospital. We got my favorite Mexican food and parked at Liberty Park (also my favorite) to eat and talk things over. Should we disobey?

Should we go home and wait for her to come on her own? We'd never done this before. They said she might have an infection. We decided to go to the hospital. We made one more stop at the gas station to pick up some snacks and then we headed up. We got there about noon. I'd never been to the maternity ward at this hospital. What were we supposed to do? Just walk up to the nurse's desk and say, "hi, we're here to have a baby"? Apparently so. The midwife had called ahead so they were expecting us. They were not friendly though. They looked at us like we were as stupid as we felt. And, either they were very busy that day or were punishing us for not planning on a "proper" hospital birth, because we were sent to room 7 - also used as a supply closet - no kidding! Lee said it looked like an alien autopsy room. Our worst fears about hospital births were coming true.

We called my sisters and my mom and told them what was happening. Someone stopped at our house to bring my robe, a CD, the CD player and a change of clothes.

As we were getting settled in, I realized that I was starting to get a migraine. This is something that happens when I don't eat early enough in the morning and when I'm under stress. Exactly what had happened that day. I told the midwife that I wanted to take one of my own Tylenol with codeine to prevent the migraine from getting out of control. She agreed. That made me feel a lot more in control. I also ate a yummy dark chocolate bar which helped my headache.

They started an IV of pitocin around 1:30pm. And, of course, if you've got pitocin, you've got to have a fetal monitor strapped on too! Exactly the intervention crap I didn't want. I saw what seemed to be a never ending cycle of different OB nurses. Also, stopping by were assorted medical personnel who needed supplies but didn't feel like they needed to knock on a laboring woman's door. Eventually, my mom complained and they put a sign up keeping people out. The midwife was respectful and didn't hang around staring at me and checking me every few minutes. She kept the lights dimmed and just let us do our thing until I needed help managing the contractions. For the first few hours, I was just chatting with my family and waiting for something to happen. It was about 4:30pm before I felt any contractions. When things started to get serious, I asked Lee to lay in the tiny hospital bed with me. This was no easy feat because he's a big guy and I was hooked up to a lot of wires. But, he did curl up behind me and hold me and that made me feel much better. The midwife came in and commented that maybe he should leave me alone. I snapped at her that I wanted him there. That was the last thing she said derogatorily to Lee.

Then, I had to go to the bathroom. About every thirty minutes. This involved putting the pitocin on a traveling rack, unhooking the fetal monitor and manuevering wires to get me into the toilet 6 feet away. Every time, Lee would go with me. It gave us a moment alone to make eye contact, talk about what was going on and just reconnect. I'd have to wait on the toilet until the current contraction would pass. When I was struggling to pee and wipe myself, he showed such sensitivity and caring, I felt more grateful to him than I have ever felt to anyone in my life. He wasn't squeamish about the blood at all. I was feeling pretty untouchable but he didn't hesitate to do what was necessary.

The most singular act of loving husband heroism came when my feet got cold. They tell you to pack socks but since I was being a stubborn non- packer, I didn't have any. Before I could even analyze alternative sock options, he'd taken off his shoes and put his own (giant) socks on my feet. =sigh= What a guy.

Towards 6:30pm, as I said, I was beginning to need some help with the contractions. Every time one would hit, I would just get quiet and close my eyes until it was over. Then, I would resume the conversation. Eventually, Trish, the midwife, suggested something. I was in a sitting up position with my knees bent. She had this amazing trick that I'd never read about or heard of since. She pushed on my knee, toward my pelvis, while Lee did the same with the other leg. It cut the pain in half. Every time I would start to feel a contraction coming on, I'd insist that they both take up their positions. Trish said it worked by opening up my pelvis like a fulcrum.

After awhile, they told me that the baby needed more monitoring for one reason or another. Either I had to agree to an internal scalp monitor in the baby's head or I would not be allowed to get up and change positions. Okay, okay, we agreed. But, now that I think about it, how barbaric! And, it turns out, I didn't want to get up anyway. She had a tiny scab on her noggin for a few weeks after she was born.

I wasn't interested in an upright birth anymore. The whole squatting business sounded logical before I got here but it wasn't going to work for me. I laid down on my left side and when business needed to be conducted internally, I would prop my leg on the bar that was over the bed. I didn't plan on having her that way but once I got into that position, I was not going to move.

I fixated on the handle bar of the bed. I held onto it with both fists and entered what I believe is called transition. I begin to delve into a deep meditative state. I became oblivious to what and who was in the room. Lee was watching for the baby to emerge so he was out of my vision range. In fact, the only thing that existed for me was the baby moving through my pelvis like a deer pushing her way through a thick forest and the cold steel of the handle bar keeping me grounded.

I started an internal chant. I knew that the only way out of this was through it and I wasn't going to pitch a fit because I knew it wouldn't do any good and it would just make things harder. So, I told myself over and over: yield to the pain. I allowed the rhythmic pain to wash over me while I tried to stay out of its way as much as possible. I knew relaxing would decrease the pain and let the baby come faster.

Suddenly, I was even further entranced. It was time to start pushing. This was about 1130pm. Pushing felt so good that I didn't want to stop after each contraction. But, the midwife told me to stop and breathe so the baby would get oxygen. I was anxious to get finished because I wanted to eat and sleep.

I could really feel the baby's life force coming toward me. I knew that, after this was over, I would never be the same woman that I was before. The new chant in my head became: give the baby to the goddess, let her go. I could even hear the goddess inside me saying: give me the baby, give me the baby. Somewhere deep in my mind I knew that the goddess was really myself as the Mother Goddess. Once I gave the baby to "Her" I would become "Her", the mother I was always meant to be.

I chanted, chanted to myself, pushing her further and further down and nearly out of me. I could feel my bones give way and allow her to come through. I felt secure that everything was going okay and progressing the way it should.

Then, out of the blue, the nurse, who all along had been two feet from my face, caught a signal from the midwife. She told me that I had to push the baby out right now! With the urgency in her voice, I felt I was being told that the baby was in distress and had to be birthed immediately. I wasn't ready to wrap this all up. I knew I needed more time for this to happen properly. But, I was scared for the baby. So, I gave it everything I had. I pushed with all my might.

Up until that point, I'd been relatively "in control". I'd been grunting with each push which helped tremendously but nothing ear-splitting. However, the next thing I felt sent my voice to the ceiling screaming screaming. It had been my greatest fear that I would tear upward toward my clitoris and that is exactly what began to happen.

The baby came out quickly at 12:35am. After the head, the rest of her body just seemed to fall out. After I had a quick glance at her, she was whisked away to be analyzed and I was left panting. Lee followed the baby's every move around the room and my mom couldn't stay away from her, either. Luckily, my sister was there to attend to me by holding my hand and talking to me. The first thing Lee said was, "it's a girl". We'd known this all along but I still said, "are you sure?" I really wanted a girl.

By the time, she was cleaned up and Lee had sung "Happy Birthday" to her, the midwife had begun to sew me up. It took countless shots of lidocaine and an hour and a half of intense concentration. They put the baby to breast but frankly, having your labia laced can make you kinda tense. It was hard to get through. Much worse than the birth. I worried about lost crucial bonding time. But, finally that part was over and I was so ready to be with that baby!

After the sewing and fussing and the exit of the extraneous personnel, I felt HIGH! I had lots of adrenaline and energy. I wanted to talk and talk. I felt the greatest love for everyone I saw. I was so happy! The nurse wheeled me to a room. Lee and I slept in the tiny hospital bed that nite with Alice on his chest. And, we have slept with her every nite of her life since.

Our baby is now a super happy and healthy toddler. We are looking forward to having our next baby at home! I'm looking forward to sharing that story one day.