Baby Rex’s birth story: Part 1

by Rebecca on August 9, 2014

This is a long birth story. I thought about cutting out major parts (and believe it or not, I actually did cut out quite a bit), but ultimately decided to keep it all for my posterity’s sake. I won’t be mad atcha if you don’t read the whole thing.

Part 2 here

Part 3 here

When the anesthesiologist was at work inserting my epidural during my second birth, I had a clear and distinct thought: “Don’t do this next time.”

I was taken completely off guard. Uh… this was an intense moment of this birth, not the birth of some unimagined yet-to-be conceived baby. But the feeling and thought was so clear, I couldn’t push it from my mind. So I’ve spent the last three years mentally preparing for a natural birth.

I found hypnobirthing, and fell in love – despite the looks I got when I revealed the name of my chosen natural birth method. Hypnobirthing is probably the wackiest-sounding title, and the claims of a possible pain-free birth sound wackier still. But that’s what drew me in. A possible pain-free birth? Sign me up. (Wait. Isn’t that what an epidural is? Oh yeah.)

I wasn’t so lucky to have a completely pain-free birth – no, the delivery portion made me turn into every clichéd birth scene from TV. But the labor portion was glorious and… wait for it… pain free!

I was a week and a day overdue, and I was really angry about it. I think there’s a certain kind of depression associated with overdue mothers. I haven’t googled it, but I’m sure there’s a psychological name associated with this depression. If there isn’t, I’ll coin the term: hell.

Each day, I woke up just knowing – knowing – that day was the day. Each night I went to bed sobbing. I was going to be pregnant forever; I just knew it. Never mind that every woman eventually gives birth. I was going to be the one who died of old age at 90, still pregnant. I tried to be pessimistic to protect my feelings (“It definitely won’t happen today.”) But that didn’t work because there was always a little bit of hope — Hope that was repeatedly dashed against a rock at the end of each day by the devil himself. Rinse and repeat the next day.

The morning after the 4th of July, I woke up with new contractions that were more intense than any I had felt in this pregnancy. I quietly timed them, trying not to hope too much. We spent the morning timing inconsistent contractions, wondering if I could possibly be in labor. Eventually, we went for a walk which kicked my contractions into gear. At eight minutes apart, we decided to go to the hospital. “This might really happen,” I allowed myself to think.

But by the time my husband and I walked through the labor and delivery doors, laughing and chatting as if nothing in the world was going on, I hadn’t had a single contraction in 25 minutes. I felt like an idiot when I told the charge nurse I thought I was in labor. Surely they would send me home. When they found out I was eight days overdue and that I have a history of short labors (four hours on my first one), they admitted me to triage. I was monitored, and then we were left in the room for an hour. Nothing happened, aside from some sporadic contractions. When the triage nurse came back, no progress had been made. She tried to convince me to have my water broken to “speed things up,” but I wasn’t interested in pushing my body beyond what it was naturally going to do.

“Alright,” she said. “You can go labor at home and come back once things have progressed, or we can admit you. But the doctor will probably want to break your water.”

I was terrified to leave. I knew that once this thing started, it was going to go quick. So we opted to stay. In the short walk to my new room, I had two intense contractions, and then I knew I had made the right decision.

Part 2 here




Baby Rex’s birth story: Part 2

by Rebecca on August 9, 2014

Part 1 here

I paced the delivery room. Each time I had a contraction, I signaled to my husband and he would come near to rub my shoulders and neck while reminding me how to relax. That’s what I loved about hypnobirthing: it taught me how to trust my body and work with it, and it taught my husband how to help me stay on track. It was incredibly empowering for both of us to know and understand what to do — and to be physically capable of doing it.

The contractions quickly began to arrive about every three to four minutes. “Oh my gosh! This is going to happen today!” we kept saying to each other, still in disbelief. I know it sounds crazy, but each contraction was filled with so much joy between the two of us. As they sped up and became more intense, we were thrilled that we would be meeting our baby boy or girl soon. It was such an exciting time.

Even though the contractions were getting more and more intense, they were completely manageable and really not painful because of my hypnobirthing training. We decided to invite my sisters-in-law, Vanessa and Cindy, to be a part of the birth sometime during this stage, and they hopped in the car to drive the 25 minutes to the hospital.

Ryan and I stayed close to each other, and quietly worked through each contraction. As the intensity increased even more, my body began telling me exactly what to do. All I wanted was to hug Ryan and put my head on his shoulder while I breathed. It was almost romantic, slow-dancing in the hospital with my husband. I loved this intimate time as I slowly breathed though each contraction with my husband, him knowing exactly what to say and how to touch me to soothe me.

Cindy and Vanessa arrived while I happily sat on the birth ball, Ryan rubbing my shoulders behind me. I was so happy to see them! And then I felt silly. How long was this show going to take, and how boring for them to watch me quietly breathe through contractions.

But it didn’t take long for things to speed up. A short time after they arrived, I had a huge contraction, felt a pop inside me, and suddenly amniotic fluid was the new floor covering in that hospital room. I knew it was normal for my water to break, but I was so embarrassed at the mess it made. Cindy and Vanessa laughed as I apologized for the puddles quickly accumulating on the floor. I was worried someone (me) was going to slip, and this wasn’t helping my concentration at all. The nurse cleaned everything up and gave me a pad to wear so I didn’t have to keep playing hopscotch over the puddles while doing my slow breathing.

I only had a few more contractions when suddenly everything – I mean everything – changed. My body demanded certain things – and demanded them now. All I could do was obey. I have never in my life been so certain of what my body needed.

The nurse asked if she could put a monitor on my belly to check on the baby. “NO!” I emphatically told her as that sounded horrifyingly confining in that moment. I couldn’t take my eyes off the floor, and longed for it. I didn’t want to give birth on the floor, but my body wanted me there, and wanted me there 10 seconds ago.

I quickly fell to my knees. The nurse arranged the bed so that I could lean against it. I labored through a few more contractions that were coming hard and fast right on top of each other. Even though this was now harder than I had expected, I was still certain I could do it.

Up until this point, I had been completely in control. I knew what I wanted, and I was capable of remembering all my training. Then I felt a new sensation. It was a twisting and a tightening inside of me. Everyone says that when the urge to push comes, it takes over your body completely and you know without a doubt that you have to push. This is not what I experienced, and I began to lose confidence.

“I think I have to push?” I questioned to the nurse. She checked me and said that yes, she could definitely feel the baby’s head. But she didn’t rush to get the doctor, and she didn’t seem in a big hurry at all. And that made me question myself even more. My confidence fell flat to the floor, only it didn’t make a big puddle people were going to slip in. The only thing I knew was that I was keenly aware now of how unsure I was.

And so began the next few minutes (but what seemed like years) of excruciating agony. I pushed through the twisting and tightening. I screamed. The nurses told me to make my voice lower. “I CAN’T!” I yelled at their advice. That felt good.

Part 3 (The end) here


Baby Rex’s birth story: Part 3

August 9, 2014

Part 1 here Part 2 here The doctor, who finally came in, tried to get me to relax, to move my legs, to get me in the bed. I couldn’t do any of it. Ryan had to move my legs for me. I was as tense as a corpse – and wished I was one. […]

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Q&A with Teresa Hirst, author of Twelve Stones to Remember Him

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Happy anniversary

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  I hear lots of unsolicited downer ”facts” about the future. Don’t you? “You’ll never sleep again,” said to every expectant parent. “You may be the homeowner, but the house will own you,” said to every first-time homebuyer. And “The butterflies go away after a few years,” said to every giddy engaged couple. Why do people […]

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