My First Son's Birth
By the time we were driving to the hospital in the early afternoon, my contractions were beginning to feel very intense and getting closer and closer together. The car ride was nearly unbearable. When I arrived, I felt defeated and angry that I would have to give birth there, especially when they made me put the gown on, keep a continuous fetal monitor strapped around my belly, and IV tube uncomfortably plugged into my arm. I was not expecting any of this and it really threw me off balance. It was suddenly so much harder for me to cope with the labor pain. Had I been informed enough to hire a doula, I know that I would have felt more supported and empowered through this emotionally and physically trying time. Eventually I did find a nice rhythm rocking and moaning in the chair. Being pretty immobile with all of the cords attached to me was extremely difficult for me – I recognized how much movement helped me but I felt so limited.
It soon became clear that my baby was in a posterior position, which was making my labor feel endlessly painful and intolerable. So much of the sensation was focused in my lower back and when my midwife, Jan Verhaeghe, suggested that I rest between contractions, I yelled out, “there is no in between!”. We eventually tried the sterile water shots in my low back – ouch those hurt SO bad! I didn’t notice a drastic difference in my back labor after that so opted not to try again. I got some relief by being in the tub, even though it was small and I had to keep my IV-infused arm out of the water. All I remember is that in order to get through that intensity, I dove deep into my own psyche and entered a distant trance-like state. My husband later recalled that he was in total awe of my strength and ability to persevere.
Labor progressed steadily and by the time I was in transition, I was so far gone, I could not utter any words. I remember thinking that I couldn’t go on but, never having anticipated being in the hospital, the thought of utilizing pain relief did not even cross my mind. The pushing phase seemed to go on and on. I was so ready for it to be over and I was pushing with every bit of strength that I had in my body but the baby was still not coming and I was growing more and more exhausted. I was on my hands and knees, pushing with all of my might, and I vaguely remember Dr. Grant (the doctor that backed New Dawn up at the time) coming in and speaking with Jan. I heard mention of a C-section and I remember digging so deep at that moment, fiercely determined not to go that route. I was able to use my last ounce of strength to push out my baby. His father cried out, “It’s a boy! It’s a boy! It’s a boy!”. He was born at 1:23am - my labor was about 23 hours.
It turned out to be a blessing to be in the hospital after the birth. We ended up staying for three days so that our son could be attended to after having copious amounts of meconium. I felt so taken care of while there – it was quite a luxury to be nurtured by all of the sweet nurses and have food brought to me while all I had to do was fall in love with my baby and learn how to be a mother. I distinctly remember that my entire body felt so sore from top to bottom. Even my scalp was sore (I never knew until that moment that there are muscles on the scalp!). I had never worked so hard in my life. It was difficult to understand it even immediately after the fact. A few months later when I started getting out into the community I remember exercising at the YMCA (while my husband watched the baby) and wishing I had a label that said, “Do you have any idea what I just accomplished? I am a mother!”. It felt like I had joined an elite club and I wanted the whole world to know!