Warning: this blog article contains a few f-bombs! I would apologize; however, natural childbirth is bound to turn even the nicest woman into a sailor!
As a trauma and abuse survivor, when it comes to medical procedures, I try to control everything to keep myself safe. This is probably the number one reason I wanted a natural birth – with less medical intervention there would be less violation to my body.
After my last OB appointment and a last minute ultrasound, much to my utmost dismay, my midwife informed me that I would be induced the following morning, May 19th. My amniotic fluid was too low to safely continue being pregnant until my body decided to kick this baby out. She was 10 days over the original anticipation date, after all.
I was already upset that my body was overdue and we had tried everything under the sun to go into labor naturally with no results, but now I have to be induced!!! Ugh! Can you say terrified? I let fear, panic and loss of control take over me. My inner three year old (the place where I have to protect myself most) took over. This part of me became screaming mad. We had to have a little “screaming therapy” session, throw some pillows and kick a plastic ball at the wall. I let the inner three year old rage. My adult self felt so out of control and helpless and had all but given up at the possibility of having a natural birth.
I only slept 2 hours the night before we arrived at the hospital. I was exhausted, tearful and scared to death, not knowing what to expect and already feeling defeated.
Our sweetheart of a nurse got me ready and by 8:45am the pit was dripping. Contractions took a bit to get going and I was able to rock my hips and breathe through them on my own. As the intensity grew I needed the support of my hubby, who massaged my shoulders and my friend Rebecca, who pushed on my low back and hips. Before too long I was screaming for the nurse to turn down the pitocin drip because I couldn’t take anymore. The nurse called Danielle, my amazing midwife, to come check on me. While waiting for Danielle I began to scream for an epidural. My husband asked me “is that what you really want?” YES! The nurse called the anesthesiologist but the two on duty were in other procedures and wouldn’t be able to get to me anytime soon. My screaming intensified – “I can’t fucking do this! Fuuuuuuuuuuck!”
Danielle finally arrived and I had gone from a 3 to a 7 in about an hour and a half. She started to fill the tub with hot water and I kept telling her I needed an epidural and that I couldn’t keep doing this. She told me I would be getting into the tub first. She kept telling me “The relief that you want will be in the birth of your baby. Get out of your head. Get out of your fear. Erika, you’ve been trying not to feel for a long time. You can do anything for 60 seconds.”
“No I can’t!” I argued. I just wanted to scream “fuck you, give me the damn epidural!” I guess I still had some semblance of respect. I did as I was told and got into the tub. The hot water felt so good on my cramping belly. Danielle poured water over my back and I almost felt numb. I felt relaxed, for a minute anyway. Danielle coached me to say “ohhhhhhhh” through each contraction instead of swearing. Myke and Rebecca resumed their roles with massaging my shoulders and applying pressure to my pelvis and low back. The only position that felt good while in the tub was some sort of awkward runners lunge. They were teasing me and wondering how I could possibly be comfortable, but Danielle reminded me to simply trust that my body knows what is best.
As I was contracting in the tub and screaming “ohhhhhhh,” I started to hear this voice inside of me saying “you are powerful, look how strong you are!” Over and over it repeated itself. It gave me the strength to keep going. I felt my friend Sally doing energetic work on me. I began to visualize the energy spiral that the baby was to use to make her way downward. Seeing this reminded me to talk to the baby. I told her “you keep moving down and I’ll push you out.” Baby and I were working as a team. I also felt my grandpa’s spirit. He always shows up when I need strength and courage. I was then reminded by my inner voice that the entire room was filled with angels and guides, giving me and my baby the strength that we needed. My angels reminded me that I was safe, my body knew what to do but I needed to surrender emotionally. I asked my team to remind me to surrender, as this would allow my body to release my baby.
At some point Danielle broke my water and told me I was complete. She encouraged me to get out of the tub but I didn’t want to leave the comfort of the hot water. Unfortunately, the tub wasn’t big enough to safely birth a baby in. I reluctantly got out and they covered me with warm blankets and helped me make my way to the birthing stool as I stopped every minute or so for more contractions.
I sat on the birthing stool and Myke sat on the bed behind me. I leaned against him and squeezed his hands, hoping I wouldn’t break them. I was screaming that it hurt, I felt like I was on fire and being ripped in two as my body was stretching for baby’s head. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that we were getting closer to being done. Danielle asked me to reach down between my legs. I yelled “no, it hurts too much!” She told me that I needed to put my hands between my legs so I could catch my baby!
At 12:18 pm I reached down and with another push my wiggling, slimy baby was in my hands. Oh my God, it was over! I couldn’t believe that I did it. I did it! I finally had my natural birth!
Danielle hugged me and I cried as I thanked her for making me do what I was trying to avoid and reminding me of who I am. I cried as I thanked Rebecca and my husband because I couldn’t have done it without them either. I’m so glad Myke was able to shift out of his typical role as an emergency responder and into the role of being my loving husband and baby daddy and allowing this spiritual process take place. Having them there reminded me that the most difficult things in life are much easier to achieve when you have a loving team of supporters.
The most exciting part of all, other than holding my sweet baby girl in my arms, was that I was able to reclaim my power – as a woman, as a survivor, as a once wounded little girl. I found that place inside of me that I have been longing for and looking for all of my life. And no one can ever take it away from me.
I finally got the natural birth I’ve always wanted. And I’m glad to say that I don’t ever have to do it again! On the other hand, if I were to have another baby I would do it just the same! Minus the pit.