Benjamin’s Birth Story: Part Two

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This is Part Two. If you missed Part One you can read it here.

By the time we got to the hospital I was 7 cm and labor was intense. Daniel and I wanted to use the Bradley Method of husband-coached natural childbirth (no drugs). Christy, our midwife, suggested that Daniel and I walk around the halls to keep things progressing. During the next few hours my contractions intensified until they lasted for almost 2 minutes and were less than a minute apart. I would count down slowly from 20 as the contraction started, telling myself that by the time I got to 1 the contraction would be close to the peak and then start easing up. After a few hours of this, I started blacking out around the peak of the contractions, like I had fallen asleep. Daniel, who was right next to me timing each one would wake me before the next one started so I wouldn’t be surprised. I guess this was my body’s way of controlling the pain for me. It would allow me to feel as much as I could handle and then give me a rest. I sat in the bath tub, on a birthing ball, on the toilet, Indian style on the foot of the bed, and stood holding onto Daniel during my labor. I know some women labor on their backs in the hospital bed, but I can’t imagine how painful that must be. Because it was a low-risk pregnancy, I didn’t have to be continuously hooked to the fetal monitor and could move as much as I wanted for which I am very grateful.

In about an hour (2pm, I think) I had progressed to 9 cm and began to have excruciating pains in my upper thighs and lower back because Benjamin’s head was transverse (he wasn’t breech, his head was just turned to the side instead of up or down and couldn’t fit in the birth canal). So, his head was hitting some pretty serious nerves. Daniel would knead his fists into my lower back after each contraction was over to relieve the lower back pain. We called it “fisticuffs.” Just a little labor pain joke we had. When the contraction ended I would pant, “cold cloth! Fisticuffs!” Then 15 seconds later I would beg, “Socks! Blanket! Hot cocoa!” Not really. I was only interested in ice chips, but I was FREEZING in between contractions. Eventually I said, “Christy, I can’t handle much more than this. How much worse will it get once I move into transition?” “You’ve BEEN in transition, Haley. It won’t get much worse than this.” Was that a relief! I felt like I could handle the current intensity of the labor but anything more was daunting. But it’s not you can quit having a baby in the middle of labor so I don’t know what my plan would have been if things had gotten much harder.

At this point I thought, ”Hey, labor won’t last forever! At some point in the not too distant future, this will be over!” Then I remembered an important point that I’d forgotten during my labor trance, “Oh yeah! And a baby!”

I think it was also at this point that I made a mental note to myself, “Haley, this is your body giving you a message. Do NOT do this again. Next time you get baby fever, adopt. You will forget how you feel in a few hours when you look at your snuggly baby. So just remember: don’t ever do this again.”

It was 6pm and my water still hadn’t broken and Benjamin’s head was still transverse (turned to the side so that it couldn’t fit through the birth canal.) To be continued…

Read Part III.

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