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Through the storm: The birth of Rylnn Summer Unmedicated

Through the storm: The birth of Rylnn Summer

"I honestly thought it was going to be worse."

My daughter was born on December 11, 2014 at 4:34 p.m. She weighed 6 pounds, 7 ounces and was 18 inches long.

Labor started that Thursday morning, and I was just not feeling right. I called into work and told them I wasn’t coming in. (I worked up to the day before I delivered.) I was writing thank you cards and having my breakfast and coffee when I started feeling more consistent Braxton Hicks. I decided to take a shower and hang out at home.

My father-in-law called me to see how I was, and I told him that I was feeling different than the other false labor I’d been having for the past week. I set up my ball and pillows on the floor and called my husband and mom to tell them I was having contractions—and I thought they were real this time!

 

I labored (watching the storm tracker in the Bay Area in California). I called my husband again to tell him I’ve been tracking my contractions on my app, and they are 20 to 40 seconds long, coming every 4 to 5 minutes. He said he was coming home. I continued to labor at home, on my knees, belly hanging and my arms and face on the couch … breathing through each contraction. I continued this for a couple hours, and then my husband suggested we get closer to the hospital. (We live about 40 minutes from the hospital—and that’s without the storm rolling in.) So we drove to my sister’s house, which is 15 minutes from the hospital (not fun in the storm) and I continued to labor in the same way.

The contractions seemed like the same intensity, but some were doubling up. My husband checked the app, and it said I was getting close to transition. He called my OB, and she suggested we take our time but head to the hospital. I didn’t think I was very far along, but with the storm and safety to consider, we decided to go ahead and make the drive to the hospital.

We got there around 2:30 p.m. and checked in. My doctor was waiting for me. I told her I didn’t think I was very far along. She said, “Congratulations—you’re at 6 centimeters!” (I had been at 2 cm since Monday.) I continued to labor at the hospital in the same hands and knees position but on the bed, and everything was going well. I was asked if I wanted pain meds, and I politely declined. They didn’t ask me again. They put a saline lock in my arm just in case, but I never used it.

El Camino Hospital in Los Gatos, California is where I gave birth … I was beyond pleased with all the staff and how amazing they were with all my wishes. I politely mentioned to the nurse and my doctor what I wanted and never had to again.

Rylnn Summer1

I labored for a little while longer, and the doctor checked me. I was 8 centimeters! She broke my water and let me labor some more. In no time at all, I got to 9.5 cm. I rolled over into a sitting squat position on the bed, and I labored that way a little more. Then I started pushing. After about three or four pushes, out she came. Perfect and healthy with no interventions. We had skin-to-skin for an hour before they did anything. We let the cord pulse for a few minutes or so, and then my husband cut it. I was able to nurse soon after as well.

I remember laughing and telling my team of women (mom, sister and girlfriends), “You all lied to me—it wasn’t that bad!” I honestly thought it was going to be worse. Oh, I had one tiny tear, and I pooped—but that was nothing and not even embarrassing. In the days after I was feeling fantastic and had no pain at all. I honestly couldn’t wait to do it all again!

Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to birthstory@pnmag.com. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!