A Bradley method labor, finally

I finally got the labor I wanted. This time around, I was more prepared. I found a midwife instead of a regular obgyn, so that I’d have someone to guide me through every step of the labor. When I had back pains and groin pains and round ligament pains, I went to see a chiropractor. When I was overdue, I saw an acupuncturist. I drank the labor tincture even tho it wasn’t very good, but was supposed to help induce labor.

And this is what happened when the contractions finally started.

Fri April 3rd

3am

Contractions start, but they’re not very strong and last less than a minute. They’re a good 15-30 minutes apart, which means the real thing isn’t coming any time soon. It doesn’t pick up in intensity until 7pm. I am in active labor and use breathing and relaxation methods to ride through the waves. I try to labor as much as I can at home before heading to the hospital bc being at the hospital oftentimes means a slowing of labor for some reason. At 11pm, the contractions increase dramatically in intensity and frequency (1-2 min each, 3-5 mins apart for the past hour). This is progressing fast. The midwife said to come to the hospital when it’s 5-1-1 (five mins apart, one min long, for one hour).

11pm

I’m admitted to the hospital at 6 cm, 100% effaced, with my water intact. Thankfully the mw agrees that there’s no need to break my water. That wasn’t fun last time and quite messy. It’s a full moon and the hospital is packed. Full moons and going into labor is a thing apparently bc that’s what every single nurse mentioned to me that night. I wait a couple hours for a room and go thru my labor in a bed in the OR prep room. Contractions are long and intense. I am confined to the bed bc I am hooked up to all the monitors. It was very hard for me to labor laying down. When I had to go pee, they had to unhook me from the machine and I had to walk to the lobby restroom, all the while going through another contraction. I wonder if we got to the hospital too early.

Sat April 4th

1am

I finally get my own delivery room. They give me the wireless monitoring probes so I can labor out of bed. I find the contractions more manageable when I’m up and bent over something vs laying in bed.

1:30am

I feel the need to push so I ask the mw for help, hoping she’d give me a tip on a new laboring position to make it more manageable. She checks and I’m 9 cm. If I’m ready, the baby is ready, she says. I’m frankly shocked. While she gets the nurses ready and prepares for the delivery, the room is buzzing with a new sense of energy.

I, meanwhile, am wondering if she’s right. I don’t feel ready. I lean against a ball to get through the contractions. But it moves around and it doesn’t feel quite stable, which is distracting. The mw asks if I want to try a new position. She sets the bed to an almost 90 degree angle and I drape my body over the top and drop my body against my heels as the contraction peaks. This position feels strange but it works so well bc it’s so much more effective at riding through the contractions.

I hear the bustling of nurses coming in and preparing for the delivery. I panic. I really don’t feel ready. I don’t feel like I’ve gone through enough contractions to proceed to pushing already. The baby descends fast. I definitely feel the urge to push.

2:30

We spend only 15 minutes pushing. Let me just say that the hours of labor is nothing compared to the minutes of pushing. I got so hot, that I strip off all my clothes, including the gown, in between contractions. Somewhere along the way, one sock managed to stay on. So I was completely naked, save the one sock on my foot. Strange.

The very last push, I was getting exhausted. And the pain, my god. Right before I was supposed to push, I screamed, No! I can’t do it! The mw said, Ok we can wait for the next contraction. But what I meant was, I didn’t want to do this anymore. I didn’t have it in me. I was out of juice. But I remembered that this was one of the sign posts, self doubt, right before it ends. So I breathe in, held my breath, and pushed for the last time.

It hurts so much that I never knew each time whether I was making progress. They tell me, you’re so close. The next push, he’ll be out. And I have to ask, are you sure? each time. It wasn’t until I heard them say he’s here that I finally opened my eyes that were clenched shut the whole time, to see him wriggling in her hands.

Ascher is born!

It was so EUPHORIC when he finally came out and they handed him to me. I remember hearing CS say “Wow! You did it!” I spent two hours with the baby before they took him to get weighed and cleaned. I felt so energized and awake. I felt an instant bond with him that I didn’t feel with Ollie (probably bc I was so dead tired the first time). There was a lot of blood clotting so the mw shoved the shit out of my uterus (“fundal massage”) and literally stuck her hand in and pulled the remaining clots out. It felt like she was pulling my organs out, it was so painful. But it did the trick. I stopped gushing blood.

Overall

1. Pain — the thought of doing this again all naturally without any epidurals, doesn’t feel as scary anymore. The contractions from the Pitocin with Ollie were WAY stronger than the contractions I had naturally. It’s the pushing part that still scares me.

2. Midwife — I am SO glad I went with a mw. I am 100% certain that we’d have been a mess if we were doing this on our own again. If she hadn’t told me, I would have had no idea I was ready to push. I was planning for hours more of labor. The alternate positions for laboring were also SUPER helpful. I would’ve never thought to use the bed like that.

3. At two weeks post partum, I feel great. I am SMITTEN with the little guy. And even the late nights don’t feel so bad this time around. I didn’t tear as much, which means I’m not bleeding as heavily as I did the first time around (I bled for almost a month straight vs this time where the bleeding has almost finished within the two weeks alone).

I would definitely do all natural again, and I DEFINITELY recommend the Bradley method!

Like a boss

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