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I'm a Mom!

I had always known that when the time came I would want a natural birth without an epidural. So last October when I found out that I was pregnant I knew I had to do my research to find the right place to give birth. With the business of birth being so huge, it is really our duty to be our own advocates and research to understand the implications of the socially accepted birth practices in this country (USA). For me, a natural and unmedicated birth was of utmost importance but birthing centers are not covered by my insurance so I chose to deliver at a hospital in Houston that has a midwifery division and I am so happy with my choice!

Life is a bit different these days.  I was just thinking about how my brain has been on sabbatical for what seems like an eternity - throughout the entirety of my first pregnancy and now the past couple of months. I am 4 months post-partum and am just now beginning to re-access the majority of my vocabulary. What better time than now to write out my birth story and share it with others that may be curious about what a natural unmedicated hospital birth might look like.

On June 24, 2018, my entire world changed for the better.  I was 39 weeks pregnant and it was 2am.  I woke up with contractions that would not stop even when I drew and submerged myself in a wonderfully warm bath. The excitement began to increase as the realization dawned that I was actually in labor and I was going to get to meet my daughter soon.  I began to time my contractions and woke my sleeping husband, "are you okay?" he asked.

Yes, I am in labor.

During the previous couple of weeks when I had the Braxton-Hicks contractions we coined the term "flabor" for fake labor.  He said he thought this was flabor too until I showed him the contraction times - they were coming every 5.5 minutes and getting closer together.  We got excited and nervous then finally packed our hospital bags, yes, I know... cutting it close!

At 6am we called the midwife, doula and my mom to let them know that it was the big day. We made our way to the hospital a couple of hours later at the midwife's request.  I was in early active labor so she allowed me to return home to continue laboring in a more comfortable environment. I had read many birthing books that strongly encouraged laboring at home as long as possible in order for the greatest chance of achieving a natural birth without interventions in a hospital.

With the help of my birth team, I labored at home until about 11:30am when I began the active labor phase. It was time to make our way back to the hospital and I had to get a pep talk to get back in the car. The last two rides were extremely intense and I was anxious about having to get back in there to do it again! I don't remember much of the ride, I went to a place inside myself and focused deeply on my breath and breathing through the contractions. Honestly, I spent a lot of time in this place for the next 4 hours until it was time to push!

When we got back to the hospital, I had to go back through triage but the stay was thankfully short. I stopped at a handrail to breathe through a contraction and a giant gush of liquid hit my legs and the floor.  Surprisingly, my water broke in the hallway as I was walking toward Labor and Delivery! Things were speeding up and it was time to get to my room. 

I had tested positive for Group B Strep at 36 weeks so I was required to have two antibiotic IV treatments to protect baby. I was hooked up right away and was thankfully able to move around with the IV and it was removed shortly. There was nothing worse for me than sitting in the bed during labor. I moved around a lot and I would have been really unhappy if I had been attached to a machine the entire time. During my pregnancy I was sure that it was going to be very important for me to take a bath or shower during labor to ease pain, but in reality I never wanted to. I did however, want to sit on the toilet. A lot. Like I did not want to leave the toilet for periods of time at all. It was the only place that I could sit semi-comfortably and my arms were really tired from leaning against things and supporting myself for so many hours. 

It was time to push and baby was coming at an angle so she spent a lot of time in the birth canal. I kept pushing and pushing but she wasn't budging. The midwife began to get nervous because the baby's heart rate was getting slow. She told me that she needed me to push her out or she would have to intervene. She even brought the mirror over despite my protestations in hopes that seeing her head would help give me the extra oomph to push her out.

There was nothing more scary to me than an intervention and I just wanted a few minutes to catch my breath before pushing again. The midwife said she was going to have to perform a second degree medio-lateral episiotomy and I was totally deflated and really angry. I had been scared of this exact situation when choosing to birth at a hospital over a birthing center and I wanted to have the baby completely naturally - this was not in my birth plan! After looking to my husband, mom and doula for advice I stopped protesting because it was best for the baby to get her out and nothing was more scary than the idea of an emergency cesarean. I felt the sting of the local anesthesia needle and the cut - it was more uncomfortable than any of the labor pains! 

After just a couple more pushes my daughter's head and body emerged with a flush of complete ecstasy and relief. The feeling of her being born was the most remarkable thing I have ever experienced - it was a complete release and there are no adequate words to describe the feeling. I literally said "that was the most amazing feeling ever!" when she was born - my husband asked if I instantaneously forgot everything from the past 6 hours ha! Then there she was laying on my stomach and crying. All covered in vernix and already lifting her head to peer around the room and drink in her surroundings.

I truly believe that my choice to give birth without an epidural was one of the best choices I have ever made and I would do it again in a heartbeat if we ever choose to have another child. I emerged from this spiritually enlightening experience a more strong and confident woman knowing that my body was able to achieve the true miracle of birth with strength, beauty, love and a whole lot of "F-bombs".

Eveleigh Rose was born at Texas Children's Pavilion for Women at 4:01pm. She was 21.25 inches and 6 pounds 11 ounces of sweet little baby. 

Did you have an unmedicated birth? Are you interested in birthing without the epidural? Please share your birth story :)


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