Charlie's Birth Story: Part 2

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After the midwife suggested I lie down for some rest, I was all too eager to try and nap since I had only gotten 2 hours of sleep that night. I laid down for a short while, then promptly gave up when I realized my contractions were getting much too strong to sleep through. I got on the yoga ball and started bouncing to hopefully get things moving. I figured, if I couldn't sleep, I wanted to get this over with as quickly as possible (ha!).

As the contractions grew increasingly strong, my nurse watched me labor through them and encouraged me to make "Ooh" and "Ahh" noises as I exhaled after each deep breath. After tiring of the yoga ball, I got back on the bed to lie down and would hop up on my hands and knees through each contraction while Chuck sat beside me and used the tennis balls I had packed to massage my lower back. Because my cervix was still relatively closed, my midwife asked me if I wanted to try and move things along with a foley bulb. The foley bulb was a catheter that they inserted into my cervix and then filled with water. The hope was that the bulb would gently continue opening my cervix and would naturally fall out when it had done it's job. It did it's job but just kind of hung out in my vagina for awhile which was super fun whenever I had to go pee and I had this little tube hanging out of me. The foley bulb probably stayed in for about an hour and when my midwife checked me and saw it had done it's job, she removed it and I went on my merry way laboring along.

After some more laboring, my midwife came back to check my progress around 4:00 pm. Although labor had been getting harder I honestly didn't feel like I was making any type of progress so I was relieved when she told me that I was now measuring around 5 cms. The nurse then administered my second dose of antibiotics while I continued to labor on the bed in various positions. At this point, contractions had gotten painful and so my memory of things is a little hazy.

While I labored on, the woman in the room neighboring our own had transitioned and was making the most godawful noises. Her yells were not moans of pain, but actual bloody murder screaming. This was not exactly an encouraging soundtrack to listen to while I started getting closer to real, active labor and I really began to question whether I could continue to do this if I was already in so much pain at only 5 cms. I told Chuck I was really considering asking for an epidural. He asked me if I thought I would regret it and I told him I didn't think I would. I just didn't feel like I had the physical stamina to continue if my labor was going to get worse to the point of mirroring my neighbor's.

When the nurse came in to administer my 3rd dose of antibiotics I asked her what would need to happen if I wanted to get an epidural. She explained that I would need to be moved from the birthing center to the labor and delivery wing and warned me about the psychological repercussions if I decided not to follow through with my plans for a natural birth. I decided that I would not feel guilty and I was willing to do what it took to successfully get this baby out. She said that if that was the case she was going to go get me started on some fluids for the epidural and talk to my midwife about my change of heart.

She was gone for about a half an hour and when she returned with my midwife I was starting to feel just a hair better after receiving about half the bag of fluid. My midwife, Cat encouraged me to give the birthing tub a try, calling it "our version of an epidural." She also offered to check me again hoping that a progress report would encourage me to keep going. She said I was measuring at "a good 7 cms" and was well on my way to 8. At this point I had started to get a second wind from the fluids they had given me so I decided to give the tub a try, but asked Cat when was the last chance I had to decide on the epidural. She said as long as the baby's head wasn't coming out, I could change my mind at any time. So with my nurse and midwife, it was decided that I would move to the tub and finish getting the remainder of the fluids. Chuck helped me out of the nightgown I had been wearing to labor in and into the nursing sports bra I had brought for the tub. Modesty, was apparently still a concern at this point, but not for long.

Chuck quickly changed into his jersey shorts and entered the tub with me. As I lowered my body into the hot water I began feeling more confident in my decision as the weight of my laboring body was relieved. That was, until my next contraction hit. While the warm water did help to relax me in between contractions, it honestly provided zero relief to the killer back labor pains I was experiencing what felt like every minute. Not soon after I entered the water, I started to feel a bit nauseous. I took a swig of water and it went down the wrong pipe. I just managed to get out "I might puke," before I began throwing up into the container my nurse grabbed for me at lightning speed. After getting sick, I felt a little bit better and my nurse brought over some peppermint essential oil to help with the nausea.

I started out in the tub leaning back against Chuck's chest for awhile, but I quickly found that I HATED being on my back for a contraction. As I began to transition, the pain in my back was excruciating. I got into a squatting position and leaned my head against the rim of the tub. Each time I felt a contraction starting again I would scream at Chuck to "PUSH!" This was my way of asking him to apply counter pressure to my lower back as it was honestly the only way I could cope with the pain of my back labor. After 1-2 hours of being in tub, I was ready to get out and started laboring on the toilet. For some reason, the toilet was my sweet spot. I would sit, rocking back and forth until a contraction would begin where I would then bend forward with my hands on the floor in front of me doing my "Oohs" and "Ahhs" while Chuck continued to rub my back.

As I drew closer and closer to the end I was getting physically depleted so I decided that I would lay down on the cool bathroom floor and then when I sensed a contraction coming on again, I quickly leapt back up on the toilet to get into my weird squatting position again. At one point, a contraction came on without notice and I rushed to the toilet to labor through it. My dear hubby, who was afraid I would stumble on the step in front of the porcelain throne, put his arms out to assist me. It was at this moment, I mistook his sweet gesture for an obstruction on my route to pain relief and actually snapped at him. Like a wild animal, I legitimately tried to bite off a chunk of his arm. 

As midnight approached, it was time for my 4th dose of antibiotics. As they reconnected my IV, I continued to moan and groan through each contraction as they came one on top of another. I could sense that I was getting closer so I decided to get back into the tub in hopes of getting my desired water birth on a roll. I assumed the same squatting position as before and screamed at Chuck to "PUSH!" with each contraction. His forearms were nearly numb at this point and the instant I felt him weaken the force he was applying, I would scream at him to push harder. I wasn't yet feeling the urge to push, but I knew it was coming soon as I could feel the baby descending downward. Because I was so close, my midwife asked me if I wanted her to check me again. The last thing I wanted to do was lay on my back again as it made my contractions feel absolutely excruciating, so I breathed through one or two more contractions until I felt mentally prepared to lean back and have her investigate.

I was officially at 10 cms and it was time to start pushing.

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Go here to read Charlie's Birth Story: Part 3!


  1. SO exciting! Saying "push" was much simpler than the chants of "counter pressure, counter pressure" I was giving my hubby lol. That tennis ball to the lower back for back labor was oh so great.

  2. Is it weird for me to say this is beautiful? I'm a ways away from thinking about babies, but I've started reading birth stories in the last few years to try and get an idea of what I'd like to do one day. I'm not good with pain, but I also know women's bodies are designed to give birth. Luckily I have lots of time to figure out the details! Your honesty definitely helps. :)

  3. As I am reading this it is securing my thought that when/if I ever have kids I am totally adopting them. And then I get to this line, "Like a wild animal, I legitimately tried to bite off a chunk of his arm." and I bust out laughing. I hope you guys are laughing about that part now too.

  4. I understand the value of the toilet for making it through contractions! I spent equal time there and on my hands and knees with my most recent baby. On the back is rediculously painful! I made them check me while on my hands and knees right before pushing. But they made me flip over on my back to push. I refused to flip myself, so the nurses did it. Lol. Anyway, thanks for sharing your story. I'm living hearing it!!

  5. Kaity - I actually got goosebumps and tears when reading this. I hear ya girl. Wild animal part -we do what we have to do to birth. I can relate to what you are saying.

    Birthing is such a painful, awesome, miraculous process. Can't wait to read part 3!

  6. The toilet, who knew, right? It's seriously the perfect place to labor!

    You WERE a wild animal. I'm really convinced that we go in this primal brain place during labor. But then, I'm the girl who straight up SLAPPED her midwife during transition, so...yeah!