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True love: The birth of Adelaide Unmedicated

True love: The birth of Adelaide

"There’s no way I could have had the birth I wanted without the preparation we put into it."

I have been debating whether or not I wanted to share Adelaide’s birth story.  It’s private and intimate.  It’s a love story.  It’s a story between a husband, a wife and their perfect daughter.  It’s ours.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUltimately I decided to share because I hope it serves as encouragement.  I get so sad when other women tell me that their doctors forced interventions on them for this reason or for that.  I hope my story proves that our bodies know exactly what they’re doing, that they made these incredible and perfect lives and that they should be given the chance to birth them.

I should also add that going into labor it was my intention to have a natural and drug free birth.  Jon and I had taken eight weeks of classes to prepare, and they were worth every single cent.

Friday, March 8th:

It was my last day of work before maternity leave.  I had finished training my replacement and completed some last minute projects before heading home at 6 p.m.  I had been having light contractions all week, and they were getting more intense as Friday went on.  I started getting my hopes up that maybe labor would be starting soon.

Jon and I went out to dinner and then came home to get ready for bed.  My water broke at 11:30 p.m.  Contractions picked up to about 10 minutes apart.  I slept on the couch so that I could easily get up and walk through each contraction.

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Saturday, March 9th:

I called our doula to let her know my water had broken.  She told me I needed to call my doctor and let her know.  Honestly, I had been avoiding calling my doctor because I knew the earlier she had me come in the less chance I would have of a natural delivery.

My doctor said I needed to be at the hospital within 12 hours of my water breaking, so I should get there no later than noon.

Jon and I decided to take a walk to pick up some bagels, with the hopes that walking would help my contractions pick up.  After we ate we finished packing our bags and called a car to take us to the hospital.

Once we got to the hospital they hooked me up to monitors and my labor had all but stopped.  In the 40 minutes that I was hooked up I had only two very light contractions.  My doctor came in to explain that she wanted to start me on pitocin to get labor to pick up.

I immediately broke down in sobs.  Pitocin was the intervention I wanted to avoid the most.  I knew my body could have this baby if we just gave it a shot.  And the very first thing the doctor wants to do was start pitocin?  I felt like I wasn’t even being given a chance.

I should mention that up until this point no one had done any checks to see if my water had in fact broken.  They sent in an intern to confirm, and once she began the exam she had the biggest look of confusion on her face.  Not exactly the expression you want to see from your medical provider …

She confirmed that my water had in fact broken and I was already dilated to 5 cm.  Needless to say, we were all in shock.  My doctor came back in and agreed to give me six hours before talking to me again about starting pitocin.

At this point I felt like I had a shot at a natural birth.  I could do this.

We were encouraged to walk the halls to get my contractions to pick up.  They started coming about every 10 minutes, so Jon and I just kept walking up and back, up and back.  We looked out the windows, we chatted through my light contractions.

By 5 p.m. my contractions were about five to six minutes apart and getting intense.  The nurse came in to remind me that at 7 p.m. the doctor would be back in to talk to me about starting pitocin.

Jon and I continued practicing relaxation techniques that we had learned in class.  An incredibly strong and painful contraction started and I yelled to Jon that I couldn’t keep it up.  I needed the epidural.

He boldly stated that he thought I was in transition.

(For anyone unfamiliar, transition is the phase just before pushing where contractions are the strongest.  Contractions are generally only one minute apart during this phase.  Mind you, mine were still five to six minutes apart.)

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I told him he was wrong, my contractions were too far apart.  I said I could also think clearly.  I remembered from class that every story we’d heard the women couldn’t form conscious thoughts during transition, and I could still concentrate on what was happening around me.  I asked him to call our doula, who up until this point I had told to hold off.  I didn’t want her to come while my contractions were still so far apart.

Next thing I know the most intense contraction yet started.  I started yelling, “I’m pushing!  I can’t stop!  I don’t know why I’m pushing!”

I knew that my contractions were way too far apart for me to be ready to push, but luckily Jon rang the nurse who came running in.

I told her, “I was pushing.  I don’t know why.  I know it’s too soon.”  I was almost embarrassed that I had pushed, clearly my contractions were far too far apart.

She ran out of the room and came back with the doctor.

Let’s just say I got another look of total shock during my exam, when the doctor announced that I was in fact dilated to 10cm and we were having this baby.

The nurse started shuffling around me, breaking down the bed, grabbing instruments.

My contractions were still four to five minutes apart, so I ended up pushing with every contraction.  I would literally lay back and pass out between each push since the contractions were so spaced out.  When a contraction would start I would wake up, push push, push and then pass back out.

Our doula arrived with about 10 minutes left to go.  I pushed for about half an hour before Adelaide was born.

It really is everything they say it is.  It’s the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced.  It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever done.  It helped me to appreciate my husband and his incredible support.

It made me a mother.

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There’s no way I could have had the birth I wanted without the preparation we put into it.  And furthermore, there’s no way I could have had the birth I wanted without the support from Jon.  He was my strength when I didn’t think I could do it.  He had faith in me and he relied on his instincts when I couldn’t rely on my own.

We are the two most blessed people.

We’re Adelaide’s parents.

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!

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