I realize that this story truly has nothing to do with overcoming fitness related barriers. But, I have taken a huge absence from my blog and wanted to document my second son’s birth story. Feel free to scroll right on by if birth stories are not your thing! All pictures shown in this post were taken by my amazing friend Faith, who was the doula attending our birth.
Birth stories are something that I read religiously with this pregnancy. I felt like as I read the words of women, I felt the most “ready” that I could be to bring this little boy into the world. As my due date approached, I read more and more birth stories. It really felt me feel a bit more peace about the process.
On the morning of Halloween, I was feeling very discouraged that I was five days past my due date with no really convincing signs of labor. So, I made a castor oil milkshake and Josh and I set off on our day – we had errands to run and were planning on going out to breakfast. If you happen to know anything about using castor oil as a way to kickstart labor, it is NOT a pleasant process. I spent the majority of the day rushing from one bathroom to the next. It was not fun! But, like clockwork, contractions began and became more and more consistent over the course of the day. By two o’clock the contractions were coming with more frequency and appeared to be about 10 minutes apart. Josh and I walked the neighborhood and I took a bath when we returned. During each activity, the contractions did not lessen, which I took as a sign that this was not in fact false labor.
Around six, I was having difficulty talking through my contractions and Josh and I decided it was time to head to the hospital. As soon as we got there though, I immediately regretted coming. I felt like we came too early, and that we would just be turned away. One of the reasons that I did not want to come to the hospital too early, was that I have people coming from out of town to attend and assist with H’s birth. My sister was driving from Portland, my sister-in-law was attending, my mom, and my doula Faith was driving down from Seattle. When I was checked, I was still only dilated to a three and 70% effaced. I was so discouraged! They checked us in to a room though as my contractions were coming around two minutes apart at this point.
Once I was checked in, I had to be monitored for ten minutes, and both of the nurses commented on how intense my contractions were, but how strong and good Baby H’s heartbeat remained during each contraction.
After the monitors were removed, I set off for a walk. I walked and walked and only returned when they asked to monitor me again. During that next monitoring session (about 30 minutes later), I had an especially hard contraction and Baby H broke my water. It was the craziest feeling having a huge pressure, hearing a noise on the monitor and knowing just what it was!
From that point on, each contraction felt different. It was so apparent to me that the fluid cushion that was between H’s head and my cervix was now gone. I could feel each with so much more discomfort!
Once they removed the monitors again, I set off on a walk. Like the contractions, this walk felt different as well. With each contraction I had to stop and could no longer talk and laugh in between. The nurse came and saw me and felt I should head back to the room. I was absolutely positive that I would have more progress when checked. I was so incredibly disappointed when the nurse checked me and I was still only dilated to a 4. My doula explained that dilation truly is only a piece of the puzzle and it is not the only indication of progress. I remember listening to her and trying to believe her words, but, also feeling like I most likely still had a long road to go until Baby H would be making his way into the world. Our nurse said that she felt like my baby would be delivered by 9:30 that evening. I thought she was absolutely crazy and kept thinking that they were both wrong and I needed to mentally prepare to feel this way for a long time.
From that point on, I tried sitting on the birthing ball and pretty quickly it was apparent to all in the room that things were progressing quite quickly. In 20 minutes, I progressed from being dilated to a 4 to a 10. As a note, it really was only during this 20 minute period that I truly felt like I was out of control. Up until this point, the pain really had been manageable. I explained to all in the room, that I had now decided that I would in fact like an epidural and the nurse laughed and explained that at this point I just needed to push the baby out. She ran out of the room and tried to get my doctor.
My doctor had been called when I was dilated to a four and she was making her way to the hospital, but certainly did not expect that things would progress as fast as they were. When my nurse called again in the hallway for a doctor, mine still was not there yet, so the on call doctor ran in. It truly was just in time, because with three pushes, Harrison was here. He came out with such conviction that the on call doctor struggled to catch him. He was perfect.
This birth, in every way, was so opposite from my first-born’s birth. With his birth, primarily because of how long everything took and how terrifying the end was, I just felt out of control. For so much of Harrison’s birth, I truly felt peaceful and confident in what my body was capable of. Only at the end did I question my self and the process. I truly am so proud that I was able to give birth for a second time without pain medication. I love that I got to experience birth the way that so many women before me have. But, I should also say, that with every choice that being a parent requires, no one way is appropriate for all. While this method worked for us with the births that we have had, it certainly may not be the best course of action for someone else and I certainly mean no judgment at all on anyone who has had a different experience.
Harrison Tate has already brought more joy to our lives than I could have imagined and I truly am so thankful to be him mom. If he knows nothing else at this point, I hope he knows that he is loved and has an army of people that love him.
Harrison Tate Hulbert
10/31/2014 9:22 PM
7 Pounds 12 Ounces 20 ¼” Long