January 4, 2012

As promised

Here is a brief accounting of how our little Ev came into the world. I will try very hard to keep it short, but seeing as it was one of the best experiences of my life, that may be a little difficult:)

During my last couple of appts, I was really feeling done. My back was killing me, I was swollen swollen swollen and I really missed being able to move without grunting. At my first appt after my due date, my midwife was very understanding and told me that we could consider breaking my water to get things moving if I wanted to. I was very happy to hear this news, but decided to wait a few more days since my awesome sister/doula was on her way. After big sis's arrival, I decided to take my midwife up on her offer. I went in and she checked my cervix for any progress, but I had pretty much been plateaued at 3cm for the past 3 weeks and had made no progress. She said that we should wait another day and told me to continue with evening primrose oil and  to RELAX. This was kind of hard for me at that point because a good friend of mine had just lost her 3 day old that morning (read: we had been going to all of our prenatal appointments together for the past several months and my heart was broken for her). I went home and tried to relax.

The next morning I had had it and called my midwife and told her so. She said to come on in and we'd get the show on the road. I seriously could have kissed her (not really, but you catch my drift). We took our time getting ready, eating some good food, and taking a nap. Then we headed out to the hospital! It was so exciting. Once there, however, all of the sadness I had been trying to keep at bay exploded and I had a big breakdown. The nurse was awesome though and really helped me through it. And my sister was incredible as well. And my husband, of course, was great too but emotional breakdowns aren't exactly his forte. Anyway, after the meltdown was over we sat around and watched HGTV for about four hours while I received IV treatments since I was GBS positive.

Finally, at 10 pm I was checked again and the midwife broke my water (I had progressed to 4 cm, so I'm convinced I was already in early labor by the time they broke my water). Almost immediately the tiny contractions I had been feeling went up about 20 notches. Here’s what contractions feel like to me: really intense sit ups. Basically they feel like all the muscles in your abdomen and some muscles that you didn't even have before you went into labor all decide to contract at the same time. Its not comfortable, but certainly not the worst thing in the world. The contractions got longer and closer together steadily over the next three hours, but between them I was totally able to enjoy spending time with Scott and my sis. And house hunters. That show never gets old.

About 1 am, however, things got a little more intense and I was ready to try the virtue of the big hot tub they had in my room. Unfortunately some brainiac at the hospital had decided to turn off the hot water. I was just so happy to hear that news. From 1 am to about 2:30 am I was mainly focused on keeping my body relaxed and I'm not sure what everyone else was doing. Scott and Michelle (my sis) took turns massaging my back which really helped me relax. At about 2:30 the nurse thought the tub might be warm enough for me, so I asked to be checked before I got in. I was at an 8 and then got in the water. It was definitely not as warm as I would have preferred, but it did feel pretty good. I could only endure two contractions in there though because for some reason the only position that didn't kill me was sitting on the yoga ball. So got back out, had a contraction while the nurse and midwife helped me change back into a dry gown and then told them that I couldn't not push anymore. I seriously HAD to push. They said that they would check me again and got all ready and then said there was no need because they could see the baby crowning. I got on the bed with the yoga ball in front of me and started pushing in the hands and knees position with Scott on the other side of the ball so I could hold onto him.

There's no two ways about it, pushing a baby out of your body hurts. This is the first time during the whole process that I started to lose faith that I could do it. I couldn't stop shaking and I was exhausted. But Scott and Michelle kept telling me that I could and I tried to believe them. I had been very relaxed and quiet through the whole process but at this point I was screaming and growling. Its kind of funny to think about now, but it was like I was a totally different person. I remember Scott telling me not to bite him, which I think is hilarious. I don't really think I was going to, but who knows. Anyway, I pushed for about 15 minutes and then she was out and I laid down and the nurse put her on my chest and I was just so so happy. I think it really made the transition easier to get to hold her immediately rather than when Ellie was born and they first took her to get a bath and everything. Oh, another awesome thing that the midwife did was use counter pressure while I was pushing so the baby didn't come out too fast and it was more controlled which allowed my perineum to stretch rather than tear. And she used warm compresses which almost erased the pain of pushing... almost.

So there it is. I am completely converted to natural childbirth. I think that it is such an empowering and awesome experience. I wish more women had the confidence in their abilities to give it a try. I know that its not an option for everyone, but if you have any desire to give it a try, I highly recommend it.


  1. Loved it. Thanks Steph. You are a hero

  2. this is amazing! I'm at work right now and I honestly laughed out loud when you mentioned scott telling you not to bite him. haha!!! so funny!! MarLyn, my little sis is due any moment now! and she's going for natural. I'm too scared to even say I would attempt that. You are so brave!! congrats again!

  3. Beautiful. I can't wait to try out natural childbirth on my own in a few months. And my sis squatted when she gave birth-I love seeing what works for each person and knowing that there's no cookie-cutter position. I think that childbirth, though not painless can be beautiful and I can't wait to have a story of my own!

  4. You're awesome and I LOVE those pictures! So real and beautiful!

  5. way to go Steph! I'm so glad you had a good experience, and that Ev made it safely! Love and miss you.