our first birth…

We decided to go grocery shopping late Saturday night, as we knew the baby was going to come soon. While there, we ran into some friends and spoke to them for a while. It was during this time that contractions began. I was smiling inside, because finally this was it! I had started having contractions off and on a couple of weeks prior. They would always stop eventually. When my husband would ask me if this was it, I never had that feeling and always answered that I couldn’t say that for certain. This was different, and I knew
we would be holding our baby soon.

I kept the contractions a secret until my husband and I had driven home. He was a little upset that I hadn’t told him yet, but he quickly got over it. It was after midnight and we sat talking for quite a while. He fixed us a snack. I then told him he should go get some rest. I couldn’t sleep; I was so excited. Throughout the night I made my way between reading in bed and sitting in the bathtub. I woke him up around 7:30 AM and asked him to run a fresh bath for me.

Throughout the rest of the morning, the contractions became stronger. I really enjoyed sitting in a tub full of warm water. My husband attempted to fill the birthing pool, but for some reason our hose would not connect to the kitchen sink. He was torn whether he should leave me and go find a fitting or stay. I told him not to bother; the baby might be here soon. I really just didn’t feel the need to have the pool filled. The pool was going to be in the living room, and I think I would have felt vulnerable close to the front door. 

My husband helped me make a nest on the bed with a chux pad and towels, blankets to pull up and be warm, and a big stack of pillows to arrange behind me to be comfortable. Throughout labor, I went back and forth between the warm water in our bathtub and this little nest on our bed, not bothering with clothes, just feeling secure and into the contractions.

At first my husband would come in and try to talk to me if I was having a contraction. It really bothered me, but we finally realized that we were not communicating; he was trying to distract me during contractions, while I really just needed to be there during those times. We rectified this and he only spoke in between contractions. At some point that morning, I was sitting in the tub and he was sitting on a stool in front of me. We were really sharing in between contractions, and during contractions I was letting out some good little noises, which I was told were really sexy.

I vomited some bile at 11. I just didn’t feel like eating, but I was very thirsty. My husband kept me in supply of water with crushed ice in it. It felt so nice to drink icy cold water while sitting in a warm bath.

The rest of the day continued like this. I went back and forth between the bed and the bathtub. I really needed to be by myself for most of this time. My husband or one of our two little dogs would come in and check on me. Our dogs were amazing. They instinctively knew what was happening and were reverent of the experience. My husband was there to get anything I might need or want.

The contractions were close all day Sunday and this continued on into Monday. I was losing my mucous plug that afternoon. By Monday evening the contractions felt like they were almost on top of each other. At one point, my husband asked me if the contractions were painful. I replied that they were intense. The word choice seemed very important to me. I continued going back and forth between the bed and bathtub, but now I was also squatting on the toilet some.

At some point I wondered why I had never felt like pushing. I checked and felt some cervical lip left. I thought, “Oh, that’s why,” as if this was an every day occurrence. Around 9:30 PM on Monday, I was squatting on the toilet when my water broke in a big gush.

After that the contractions became extremely intense. I was spending most of my time in the bathtub. I wanted my husband in the bathroom with me, although I really didn’t want him to speak much. I just wanted him there. Part of me was in the moment completely while another part was observing. I remember thinking that I sounded like a goat. 

The baby started coming down after my water broke. The experience was so intense that I needed to talk to the baby through contractions. “Okay baby, let’s go slow. We will do a little bit and then take a little break. Mommy needs to take a break, and then we will go a little more. It won’t be long and then I can hold you. Just a little bit and then Mommy needs a break.” I spoke to him with each contraction. My huabsnd was concerned because he thought I was giving up right when the baby needed to come down. I told him that the baby and I were working things out together and that he just needed to be there. I was still sitting in the bathtub. I would raise myself up with my arms during the contractions, but I knew there wasn’t enough room to have this baby in the tub. I also knew I couldn’t give birth in that position. I got out of the tub and tried some different positions. I was reminded of cats and dogs who will sometimes pace around trying to find the best position to birth in. I was still getting back in the tub at that point. I reached in and felt the little head. I kept going back to one position - standing, facing the bed, with my hands on the bed supporting me. Because of his head, I had to bend my knees some. All other positions felt wrong, but this felt like it would be okay and I realized this was where I needed to be for the birth.

My husband was standing behind me and had placed towels on the floor between my legs. I had been the first to touch our baby, and he was the first to see our baby. He cried, “I see a head. She’s looking at me.” Then he told me not to push. I know there was only a split second at this point. However, I still had time to think about how well he had done throughout the entire labor and how this comment was so wrong. I thought about how he wasn’t birthing this baby and should just be quiet. And almost as soon as he said this, I felt this huge urge to push hard and get the baby out. Our first son was born at 11:45 PM on 11 November 2002, after almost 48 hours of labor. (Later my husband told me that he thought the shoulder was caught and was reaching to unhook it. I’m not sure why he thought he should do this. I’m also not sure if I realized this on a subconscious level or if the baby told me to push him out.)

Together we lifted him up. I lifted one leg up and over the cord and brought this precious little person close to me. I hadn’t wanted either of us to say the sex of the baby, as I wanted us to be able to discover this for ourselves. Luckily I saw before my husband’s excitement overwhelmed him. He exclaimed, “She has a penis!” The panicked pause was followed with a relieved, “It’s a boy.” 

My husband put two more chux pads on the bed and I sat there briefly holding our new son. It was a little cool, so I wanted to go back into the tub. My husband ran a clean, warm bath for us. I climbed in with our new little son who never cried. He just looked around, curious about everything. We waited to cut his cord until it had stopped pulsating. My husband had managed to make a few calls while we were in the tub. In his excitement, I had to gently remind him to get off the phone. I remember later, after our son had fallen asleep, we just stared at him, completely amazed by this tiny little person. I hadn’t slept in over 2 ½ days, but I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I still can’t. He is such an amazing little person.

Check back on April 9th for our second birth story and on April 16th for our third birth story. We should have a fourth birth story soon.

Read more about Lamaze’s Healthy Birth Practice #5: Avoid Giving Birth on the Back and Follow the Body’s Urge to Push.

10 thoughts on “our first birth…

  1. Aw, this was wonderful to read. Thank you.

    I relate to the description of labor pains as “intense”. It’s sort of a reserved word, but a good one.

    I had to laugh at the parts where you were annoyed with your husband. Pretty funny. What a wonderful experience for all of you.

    I look forward to reading your birth stories!

  2. I love hearing birth stories. I have never been pregnant, but I hope some day to experience birth. I’ll have to do some digging in the archives – but from the post’s tag and the post itself, it sounds like you gave birth without a midwife – just you and your husband. It sounds like a very intimate experience.

    Stopping by from SITS!

  3. Pingback: Science & Sensibility » The Fifth Healthy Birth Blog Carnival: Push it real good!

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing – I especially loved your mention of a few things: feeling vulnerable close to the front door, your pups knowing what was going on, word choices being important (ie: painful vs. intense), I LOVE that you talked your baby down, and though your birthing position seemed odd – it was right for you. An amazing birthing experience for sure!

  7. Beautiful birth story! I love reading unassisted births. They seem so peaceful and intimate. Thank you for sharing in my Preparing for Birth Series.