My birth story with my daughter Reagan is one of my favorite stories, I was so incredibility lucky to have an uncomplicated, natural birth. In preparing for my daughter’s birth I was convinced she was going to come after her due date, to my surprise she decided to make her appearance five days early. The contractions started in my back on a Monday night, but I didn’t think too of them, it was just uncomfortable. The next day, they were increasing, but still spaced apart; although, since it was my first I really had no idea what to expect or what labor felt like. I was able to time the back contractions and had my husband drive me to the hospital that evening – however, we were sent back home as I was only 1 cm dilated and was not progressing at all. The nurse was convinced we would be back before the morning….
I ended up sleeping, as much as you can sleep during the start of labor, and did not end up going back in until after 3pm the next afternoon; this time they admitted me. My husband and I did not plan on telling anyone until our daughter was born, but we quickly realized that the dog would need to let out – so we called both sets of parents and let them know, set up someone to take care of the dog and instructed everyone to stay home (which they surprisingly all listened). I knew I wanted to have a natural birth and did not want the stress of family in the waiting room or wanting to come in.
My entire labor was in my back and there were for sure parts of it that were intense. I had my husband, a doula, and an amazing labor and delivery nurse that helped me get through it. I spent a lot of time on my hands and knees rocking my hips back and forth and I walked around as much as possible. Once I hit 7 cm or so, it was around 10:30pm and I decided to let the doctor break my water, so that I would not run out of energy to push and deliver.
Having my water broken turned out to be the best idea, as it quickly sped up the end of my laboring process and I was pushing by 11pm. My daughter arrived only 22 minutes later. Overall it was an intense experience, but I would not change any of it. The feeling of letting your body take over and deliver a baby is the most amazing experience. I always tell everyone that labor hurt far worse than the actual delivery – which is probably a result of all the pressure and everything else happening during the time.
The rest of the evening was surprisingly calm – we welcomed our daughter into the world and my husband was able to feed her her first bottle. Once we had spent a few hours with her, we let the nurses take her to the nursery and got settled into my room. I was convinced that I would just take a quick nap and then get her back, to my surprise I fell asleep only to wake up to the nurse coming in around 5am for bloodwork. Overall, wouldn’t change anything about her birth or that first night, my body clearly needed to rest after labor and delivery and I was able to spend the entire next day introducing her to the many family members who came to meet her.
I know not everyone has the birth story that they expect or want, but I encourage everyone to try and advocate for what they want. I truly believe that being able to deliver without medication or an epidural is a mind over matter – if you believe you can (and have no complications) then you can do it.