In Portland there were midwives everywhere. I could just look on my network and pick between hundreds, it seemed. Once we moved I figured I'd just look on the network and find one. Turns out my insurance only covered ONE provider that was within driving distance, and there were no midwives *sad face*. She was a family practice doctor, though, and luckily I liked her. For the most part, anyway.
I knew I wanted a "natural birth", though at the time I honestly didn't even know what that meant to me other than that I didn't want an epidural.
Fast forward six-seven months.
I was 7 days "over due". My doctor said she needed to induce me the next day. There was no reason given other than I was 7 days over, and "we don't want to wait too long". I didn't want to, but it didn't occur to me to tell her I wouldn't be there. I mean, I was SUPER excited to meet this precious bundle that I had dreamed about for SO long! I could totally deal with induction, right?
Ok. So after literally no sleep the night before my husband and I headed to the hospital at 7:30 a.m. to begin the pitocin induction. My mom met us there.
I knew enough that just sitting in bed wasn't the best option, so I bartered with the nurse and luckily she was awesome enough to "break the rules" and let me walk the halls almost as much as I wanted to - as long as I would hook back up to the monitors when she said I needed to. Sweet!
So, hubby and I spent a lot of time walking trying to get things moving.
Nothing. No contractions (that I could feel anyway), no dilation, nada.
Then sometime after lunch we were walking again. My nurse was busy with another birthing mama, so we got an extended walk...like an hour or more. It was then that I felt a huge pop and a LOT of wetness running down my leg. I think my water broke! Woot! It just got real.
Like, really real.
About 5 minutes after my water broke I began having the most intense and painful contractions I could ever even imagine. I was SO unprepared. I got into bed, held hubby's hand, and tried to ride the birthing waves. Mom was giving me counter pressure on my back, my Mother in law was rubbing my feet, and I didn't think there was any way I could do it. It SUCKED.
After about 2 1/2 hours they checked me. I was only 4 cm and 80% dilated. I was crushed. I thought for as intense as everything was there was no way I could only be that far along. I just HAD to be further. Well, I got up to go to the bathroom, had some unimaginable contractions while doing that, and then when I came back, nurse told me that it would be ok for me to get an epidural if I wanted it. I broke down crying and couldn't make up my mind. She reassured me that I wouldn't be a failure for getting one, so I hesitantly gave in. Yes! PLEASE get me some relief!
Once I made the decision, I didn't want to wait any longer, that was for sure! It took seemingly forever for the dude to get there to place it. I had some monster contractions in the mean time. The one I had while he was placing it was so horrendous, I have NO idea how I held still for him.
So, he placed it, and I thought I'd have relief immediately. Not so much. My legs got completely numb, but I felt everything else. Not only that, but I felt IMMENSE pressure. My body was telling me I had to push, and NOW.
The nurses there were so surprised. They checked me and sure enough, I was almost complete! They told me not to push (yeah, right!), because the doctor needed to get there. My mom helped me pant through, and I did my best not to push, but when they said I could let go and just let my body do what it needed to do I had never felt more relief in my life.
I was *finally* able to push! Oh, it felt SO good! During contractions I did the "count to 10 and push as HARD as I can, take a breath and do it again" pushing. I did what the nurses told me to - PUSH AS HARD AS YOU CAN. I felt everything (it was glorious - I had *wanted* to feel my baby entering the world!). My doctor gave me an episiotomy, even though I had told her I didn't want one unless *absolutely* necessary. I'm not sure what made it necessary - I pushed my sweet baby out in about 20 minutes - I'm guessing about 4 or so contractions. Oh well.
When they told me that we had a baby girl, I had never felt more ecstatic in my life! They put her on my
chest for about 10 seconds, let me get a little look at her and give her a sweet kiss, then took her across the room to the warmer so they could do all their assessments. Oh, how I wish I would have known the importance of skin to skin and those first hours of bonding time! My husband was over there with her and falling in love. Even though I wish she would have been with me, that is a beautiful sight that I will never forget, and I'm so glad he was there with her.
Even though we had been separated for about 1/2 hour to an 1 hour, she latched on and nursed like a champ right away when I got her back. I was SO glad!
Knowing what I know now about birth, I would have done things completely differently, but I know the feeling would be the same. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever, ever seen, and frankly she still is. I will never forget the way I felt when I birthed her, first held her, the first time she nursed, the first time she opened her eyes and looked at me, or any of it.
Right now as I'm typing this I'm getting tears just thinking about it. It was one of the most joyful days of my life, bar none.
I was a mommy. The only thing I'd always wanted to be.