Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gwen's Birth Story (Part II)

Hello! If you're just joining me, check out this post and this post firstly.

Less than a week after Gwen's birth.
(This is a labor/birth post, there will be talk of fluids, gross things and even more gross things. You have been warned.)

I was very upset that my perfect birth story would now be something I had not thought of. It was the morning of January 23, 2009. I had gone to the birthing center 12 hours previously and had been experiencing contractions for about 24 hours. Upon being checked in, I was checked and still at 6 cm. The doctor assigned to me (my midwife had no authority at the hospital and could only function as a doula) came in to say 'hello' and I was so relieved to learn it was a woman. Nothing against male doctors, but since all of my prenatal care was with women, it was a comfort to know one would be delivering Gwen. 

Ben and I were both emotionally and physically exhausted, once everything settled down, we slept. 

A few hours later my mother-in-law brought Ben something to eat. One of our preconceived ideas regarding the birth was that Ben and I would be alone during this time. Meaning: no family or friends of any kind would be around for the labor/birth. I think that is more usual during a natural labor, since the mom is not feeling up to chatting and it takes a lot of focus to relax during contractions. As oppose to a mom having an epidural, where she can easily talk and socialize (if that's what she wants). Anyways, once word got out that we were now at the hospital: people gathered. No one hung out in our room, for which I am grateful, but it definitely felt weird to know there were people just hanging around waiting for me to push a baby out.

Sometime in the afternoon, I was checked and had progressed not even 1 centimeter. Not even ONE!!! People, I was beginning to think that I would be the only lady to be pregnant forever. Pitocin came up and I immediately closed up. "No way!!!" I thought. I was already giving up my dream of a natural birth and now they wanted to give me Pitocin? Uh-uh. Not happening. Instead of saying that though, I asked to have time to contemplate it and call my midwife. Which I did, she told me that she supported the idea, as I had not progressed on my own and my water had now been broken for over 12 hours. She even said she thought it was awesome they were giving me so much time to get to 10 cm. Apparently some other doctors at the hospital were more quick to call for a c-section. My mind slightly eased, but my spirit more defeated, I agreed to the Pitocin. 

Again, hours passed and we were now into evening. My mom and sister were now in town and I had a group in the waiting room. My progress was being checked periodically and I had plateaued at barely a 7 1/2. So much for Pitocin. We were starting to hear more about a c-section. My new doctor had fantastic bedside manor and acted completely respectful towards Ben and I. She knew that I did not want to be there and she proceeded to gently let me know that at a certain point, they could not let me continuing laboring. There were a couple factors in this: my water had been broken for quite a while and my hear rate was dipping. I was given a time. If I wasn't ready to push by that time, we would be meeting our baby through a c-section.

I was bloated, sore, exhausted and emotionally distraught. I had totally resigned myself to the fact I would have a c-section. I did not believe I would reach 10cm by the time they gave me. It was mere hours away. We were into late evening and I knew Ben was feeling similarly. 
Few days old.
Throughout the day I had needed to ask various nurses to push the button to give me more pain medication when I would start to feel a little too much pressure. Once again I felt the sensation of needing to bear down (which I had been feeling since 4am). I called my nurse and let her know. She said she'd go get my doctor since I could be ready to push. I did not believe that at all. It had been less than 2 hours ago that I was only at 7 1/2 cm, and it had taken me over 24 hours of labor to get there. In comes my doctor and she looks up to me and says, "You are at 9 and 3/4 cm. I say you can start pushing." Jigga what!?!?! I can push!?! Dudes. This was HUGE! I had been wanting to do this since my water was broken and now I actually get to! My midwife and the student midwife were there. My midwife told me she would be there even if I was to have a c-section (how cool is that?). So I pushed and pushed and pushed. I think I pushed for at least an hour, but maybe close to two (I've obviously blocked that out). 

At 10:37pm on January 23, 2009 Gwenevere Marie was born. After 24 hours of active labor and 35+ hours of contractions. Finally! I remember being so relieved and exhausted when they handed her to me. People took some pictures, but they're on a packed away computer somewhere. Just picture me as a bloated beach whale, Ben as a beaming new Dad and a squinty eyed baby. Gwen weighed 7 lbs 9 oz. I only tore a little (yay!). In the pictures it's clear I look almost dazed. And I will admit it took a little bit for me to "get" what I had just done and what a gift we were just given. 

And now this little baby will be 4 tomorrow! <3
In the end, I think I had the birth experience I was meant to have. I learned that every birth is special, whether it's all natural, induced, a c-section, whatever. It was pretty humbling to have to explain to all those people I had hit over the head with natural birth stats, that I ended up having an epidural. I am thankful I was able to get the rest I needed to have Gwen without complications. I am thankful for the amazing hospital staff that treated us with respect and kindness. And I am so thankful I got to push that baby out! Natural birth is something I still believe in and I was determined to try again. But that story's for another day! 

Thanks for joining me as I re-lived those long hours and once again remembered what a gift all births are. 


  1. this is an amazing and crazy story, i loved reading every bit of it. thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you! It was fun to re-live. Sort of.

  2. Hopped over to your blog from Jen @ Conversion Diary. Love me a good birth story!! We used the Bradley Method with our daughter's birth. I have my birth stories written up over on my blog @ http://tryingtoletgoandletgod.blogspot.com/search/label/birth

  3. Thank God for C-Sections!!! And drugs!!!! In spite of slight jealousy I have for women who can close their eyes and have dozens of babies, I am so grateful that my C-section delivered baby is healthy and wonderful!


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