John Alexander's Birth Story By Andrea Print
Birth Stories - VBAC Stories
Monday, 15 December 2008 09:06
It was July, it was hot, and I was a week late and miserable, I was convinced I would never have the baby. That night after weeks of going to bed early to be well rested for labor I decided since I was so restless I'd just stay up, after all, it wasn't going to be tonight (oops). At 11:30 or so I fell asleep, and at 11:48 I woke up with a big contraction. My labors typically take off right away, so I woke up my husband, Matt and called my mom (who was coming to watch my girls) and my doula who was to meet us at the hospital.

I got in the tub hoping I could clean up and that the water would help (it did, a bit) and the second contraction didn't come for 15 minutes. After that they were 2 -3 mins apart, but still short, about 50 seconds, and fairly manageable...I was suprised how calm I was staying. I was getting a little worried because my mom hadn't arrived yet to stay with the girls...we had an hour drive to the hospital. She made it and I woke up my girls to say good-bye (sniff) and we headed to the hospital. It was a long drive (almost an hour) but I was pretty comfortable and handling the contractions well by concentrating on staying v e r y relaxed and trying to keep my bottom and stomach loose.

We got to the hospital at a little after 2am and Matt offered to get me a wheelchair. Of course I said no--I'm fine, handling things well, don't need a chair...I'm not a "patient" That lasted till I started walking, then the contractions hit HARD and nearly constant. Go get the chair!

So I rode upstairs--the whole floor was packed--there was almost no room at the inn!! I got the very last (and very smallest) room. We had a rented birth tub, it's 2 ft deep and 5ft across, so it took some rearranging to get it set up, which Matt did while I labored on the edge of the bed, leaning my head on my doula's shoulder and sort of rocking back and forth.

My CNM did an internal then, and bless her heart she kneeled on the floor so I wouldn't have to lay back, which was unbearable. I was dilated to 4. I had to have an initial 20 min EFM strip then the monitoring was to be done by Doppler as per my birth plan. The staff was WONDERFUL, followed my birth plan and everything I'd asked for w/no hassles or me having to "remind" them etc. I had no IV, only that bit of EFM, the rest was done w/Doppler, and only one internal (my request) At this point things were getting intense, I was having two peaks to each contraction and I decided that I was either going to stop this and go home or get an epidural, spinal, hammer over my head, whatever they had, and I told them all that, LOUDLY. My CNM asked if I wanted her to find a dr (since I hadn't signed consent forms earlier it would take a doctor to get me an epi) but after cursing a bit, I told her no, thinking to myself I'd just do it "a little later" if the tub didn't help.

They had the tub set up and filled by 3:30 am, and I got in...what relief! It was an immense help. I was able to relax my entire bottom during contractions, which was a great help, and I honestly didn't think about meds after that. Things really picked up after about an hour in the tub, I was having contractions w/only about 30 seconds in between and it really took everything I had to stay on top of them.

My doula was wonderful, talking me thru each contraction, which really helped me focus. Visualizing opening , etc really helped as well as visualizing my two girls when I'd left them...peacefully sleeping. At one point I kept thinking I just had to live, and that was my only goal...surviving. That didn't last long, I was able to remind myself that there was indeed going to be a baby and it would end SOMETIME!!

It seemed it hadn't been long at all, but at the same time I felt like I'd been in labor forever. I was getting tired, these were contractions much more intense than I'd had with either of my girls. Matt was outside the tub, behind me, and I was holding onto his hands squeezing them (hard!) For some reason that really helped...I put my tension there rather than holding it in. I became very withdrawn, very into myself, which suprised me...I'd read birth stories where women described that, but didn't understand it really. I never thought that would be my "style" I had my eyes closed and felt almost like I was underwater...like there was something "around" me...I could hear what was going on in the room, etc but it seemed distant.

Anyway, the contractions picked up yet again-I could feel 3 distinct peaks, very strange. The first peak was always horrendous, and that's when I started the sounding...very low moaning and boy did that help. (they told me later that the contractions at this point were 4-5 mins long-thank goodness no one told me then!) and I only had about a min in between. I had no sense of time during all of this, but I sensed that it was getting a little lighter in the room, dawn, and about that time I started to feel like I might be able to push, so I tried a few times, and OUCH!!

I'd always read that pushing would feel "better" and that was my experience w/my second daughter (my only other vaginal birth...this was my 2nd VBAC) not this time, it hurt--and badly! I could feel the baby moving down though, so my body was doing a pretty good job on its own. They asked if I'd like to get out of the tub at this point, but I could NOT move, and looking back can't imagine having done this on dry land...it was so intense and the water was such a help. Took about 25-30 mins total pushing time, but I didn't really actively push until the very end, and I also made one hell of a lot of noise :)

John Alexander McGee was born at 6:51 am in the water on July 15, 1998. We (CNM and I) pulled him up on my belly immediately and he breathed right away, but didn't cry. He was wide eyed and alert - it was amazing. They suctioned his nose a bit and he sputter/cried for a second, then returned to quietly checking everything out. Daddy took him after a few mins and I got out to deliver the placenta on the bed-- got 4 stitches for some "skid marks" It was incredible. I spent 30 mins responding to any question... "how are you"... "how do you feel"...etc with "THAT HURT!".

Took me awhile to process what had happened! It was the most incredible experience, and a day (or two....) later I was ready to do it all again! John was 9lbs even, 21 3/4 inches long!