Read part one here.
Nothing we tried persuaded that baby to make her appearance. We tried every “natural” labor-inducing technique in the books! The doctors even “stripped the membranes” three times. I was feeling a lot of stress and pressure because I would only be allowed to use the natural birth center if I was less than 42 weeks. After that, you get booted into the regular maternity ward where you have to be hooked up to an IV, can’t eat, have no labor/birth tub and it’s loud in there! Where are you, baby girl?!
It was Friday night and I was 1 1/2 weeks past the due date. We went to bed at 10:30 with no sign of labor. At 11PM, I woke up with a killer lower back ache. I rubbed my back and repositioned my body pillow. Much better! My back felt fine and I drifted back to sleep. At 11:30 my backache woke me up again. Oooooohhhh. Back labor! I woke my hubby, told him that I was in labor but to go back to sleep, since it was just early labor.We both went back to sleep. For the rest of the night, I woke to rub my back for 15 seconds, until the contraction was done. It surprised me that my back could hurt that badly in such an early stage of labor. It also surprised me that my contractions were so regular. I could have set a clock by them! They started thirty minutes apart a very gradually got closer together. By the time my hubby went to work Saturday morning, they were down to about 18 minutes apart and had gradually gotten stronger and longer.
I spent the day alone (which helped me stay relaxed and calm) and worked on putting the last few things in the hospital bag and putting finishing touches on the baby’s room. By mid-afternoon my contractions were 10 minutes apart and I decided to rest on the sofa and watch the BBC/A&E Pride and Prejudice. By early evening I called my hubby and let him know that we’d need to head to the hospital when he got home. I called to let the birth center nurse know that I was having contractions less than 10 minutes apart, but she said I didn’t “sound” like I was in labor, so don’t come in until they were 5 minutes. Fine by me! I already knew I wanted to labor at home for as long as possible. When my hubby got home I was about 6 1/2 minutes apart (I’m telling you- we really could have set our watches by these contractions!!), so he got the hospital bag in the car and I called the doula (have a doula, if you possibly can!). At 8PM I was finally down to 5 minutes apart, so we called the hospital, my parents and the doula and made the 20 minute drive. Back labor in the front seat of a Corolla is not my idea of comfort!
Once we got to the hospital, we signed in and headed to the birth center. The nurse gave me a quick once over and said I was too calm to be in labor. I told her about my contractions and she witnessed a few while I just relaxed and breathed through them. I told her that I was pretty certain that my water had broken, but she was skeptical. She used the paper to test and was shocked to see that my water had broken. She told me I was only at 4 centimeters, which was surprising after 20 hours of back labor, but I stayed calm and positive. She said, “You’re the most calm woman in labor I’ve ever seen, but just wait…” I ignored her and my hubby, parents, doula and I continued to chat and joke.
The nurse decided I should “walk that baby out“, so my hubby and I walked the long hallway, stopping during contractions so I could lean on him. You can see in the corner of the photo that it’s 10:30PM.
Walking exhausted me, and now that I know better I would have said no. I used up precious energy that I needed for birth. Labor got more intense and I needed my hubby to put all his weight on my lower back for counter-pressure. It was the only thing that eased the intense pain of back labor. I got in the labor/birth tub, which made things much more bearable, but still very intense. The doctor on call was the younger one, which was very discouraging.
And then it really got bad. The birth center nurse had been joined by a “nurse-in-training” from the regular maternity ward. She was loud, inconsiderate and completely unhelpful. Only later did I learn that I didn’t have to consent to have her there. I would have been much more relaxed without her, especially towards the end. The doctor had arrived, but he sat quietly and waited patiently. I decided I liked him a lot better than I liked that nurse-in-training.
After hours of pushing, I was exhausted. The nurses had told me I had to pull on a rope while they held my legs. That was supposed to “engage the correct muscles”. It did nothing but leave me even more exhausted. During this entire time, the doctor was calm, encouraging and patient. I was surprised to realize that I was glad he was there. Although I hadn’t decided for certain on wanting a water-birth (I just knew I wanted the option), nothing on earth was going to get me out of that tub!
I came to the point where I realized that I had precious little energy left, thanks to the nurses, and I had to get my baby out before I was too tired. My hubby says I gave a huge blood-curdling scream (after a pretty quiet labor) and our baby was born! The doctor pushed her through the water towards me and I scooped her up.
She was absolutely perfect! It’s amazing how a person can go from desperately exhausted to ecstatic in an instant. In spite of my long, intense labor, she was perfectly healthy. The doctor and nurses said that they weren’t surprised it took so long after they weighed her: 9 pounds, 9 ounces!
We were so thankful that we were able to be in a natural birth center, where I wasn’t pressured to have interventions. Our doctor ended up being absolutely wonderful and I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten through over 30 hours of back labor without that tub! Although there are certainly things I would have changed, if I could do it over again, it was a beautiful birth and we were blessed with an absolutely precious little girl!
Read more here!
- Part one of this birth story.
- Our second baby’s homebirth story!
- Why we chose homebirth part one, part two and part three.
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