Monday, January 9, 2012

Delilah's Birth

I'm not going to lie, or sugar coat it...natural childbirth HURTS!!! But, it was also one of the most amazing and empowering experiences of my life.

A bit of background first. Oliver arrived a bit early, and his delivery had a bunch of interventions; pictocin, epidural, long bout of pushing, etc. We got the best end gift-Oliver-but it really wasn't the experience I "wanted" to have. I felt out of control the whole time and I was worried the entire time that he wasn't OK. Turns out my worries were justified; his heart rate didn't respond quite the way they wanted it to for the last 30 minutes before his birth and his trip into this world wasn't the smoothest.

Flash forward to preparing for Delilah...I knew this time I wanted to be more aware of what was happening, more in control of my body. The epidural with Oliver, while a GODSEND that day, was also the reason I couldn't push well and ended up with way too many stitches afterwards! I had the goal of NO medications this time, both the pictocin and the epidural. To help out with that, we hired our AMAZING doula, Tiffany (

By hiring her, we had a wonderful person to help us through our delivery; someone who would help us cope with the pain of labor. While we actually made it to a birth class this time, Tiffany was our "guarantee" that we would remember and use the coping techniques we learned. She is such a calm confident person, just right for our birth. I loved that during our pre-birth meetings she said she could just be Shawn's "wing doula", helping him to help me, which was just right for us!

10:00 pm Thursday the 8th, I was laying in bed reading. I felt a "pop", and as it had happened the same way with Oliver, I totally knew my water broke! Unlike Oliver's birth where I didn't go into labor after my water broke, Delilah had other plans...

10:10-called Tiffany, she said I should lay down and rest as we all thought it would be awhile before things got rolling. Shawn bundled up a sleeping Oliver and took him over to Kori's house (our WONDERFUL daycare provider, the Rileys are Oliver's second family!). He took his time getting back, getting gas and some food for himself. Meanwhile at home, things were getting serious...FAST

10:20-Couldn't rest, my heart was beating a mile a minute I was so jazzed/hyped about finally meeting my girl. Took a shower instead, and the contractions were already every 4-5 minutes.

10:45-Shawn got back, and I took one whiff of his food and demanded that he eat it quickly and go brush his teeth; there was NO WAY my stomach was going to handle taco breath, LOL! By the time he finished his meal, the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart.

11:00-decided that we weren't going to wait any longer, called Tiffany to meet us at the hospital. Extra bonus-she has an apprentice and Kattie was also going to help us out.

Two contractions in the car REALLY sucked-the only position by this time that I was able to cope well in was standing, leaning over a counter, and rocking my hips so the car was TORTURE.

Arrived at Evergreen, I went in to check in and poor Shawn got locked out and couldn't find his way in, HA!

Unlike our l&d nurse with Oliver, ours this time was so sweet and helpful! Emily was cracking jokes the whole time, and really knew when and how to get her tasks done without making it too hard on me. Tiffany arrived, and away we went. I labored quite a bit leaning on the sink counter, Tiffany got cold wet cloths for my neck and kept reminding me to drink. I was somewhat coherent between contractions, but totally out of it during them. My main coping technique was a lot of moaning and rocking.

Shawn, as you can see in these photos, was my ROCK STAR. I couldn't have coped without him. He used his hands and fingers to put pressure on the points of my back where the pain was the worst. Tiffany told me after the birth that she's never seen a mom be able to say "up, left, down, right there, etc" during transition as well as I could. It was all in the name of pain relief, LOL!

Shawn was working so hard that the next day his hands and fingers were totally sore and cramping up on him!

This picture below shows you how hard he was working-seriously having to put some major muscle into squeezing my hips. We figured out later that Delilah was probably coming down into my pelvis face up instead of face down, so it was causing some major back pain.
I remember one moment of lucidity (the contractions from 11:30 on just never left off-sometimes I'd get a minute between, a few crashed down on me in a never ending wave, a few blessed ones let me have 2-3 minutes in between) when I looked up from the bed where I was leaning over pillows and rocking, and there was the nurse, her charge nurse, the two doulas, the doctor and Shawn all staring at me waiting for the next contraction. "Oh, HI! What are you all doing here?" HA!

Since Shawn and I were getting ready for bed when my water broke, we had both taking our sleep aids-the Tylenol PM was making me so woozy and sleepy in between contractions that I felt pretty out of it. Hindsight now though, it let me actually get good rest between them even though that might only be a minute or two. I remember looking up at the clock around 1:30 and thinking "Wow, this is going really fast!"

Tiffany, Kattie, Emily and Shawn were all such amazing cheerleaders. No one was loud or frenzied, just a lot of calm, quiet affirmations. Their "You're doing great" and "You are so strong" comments might sound cheesy to anyone else, but were just what I needed to hear, and I could tell they were so sincere and concerned about me that I felt very safe and cared for. I needed it!

I kept feeling a lot of pressure, like I had to go to the bathroom (sorry, TMI, but that's the way it is!), and said so- I just KNEW it wasn't the baby that I was feeling. Tiffany laughed and said that the baby was coming down and I'd start feeling the need to push soon. Yah right I thought...

Let me tell you. Unmedicated labor is NO joke-when you finally get the urge to push, there is NO stopping it. You absolutely cannot help yourself. It's like my friend Carrie L said-it's like when you are sick to your stomach and your stomach muscles take control. My body totally took control and let us all know it was time to get up on the bed.

I started pushing leaning over the back of the bed on my knees, but the back pain was still pretty brutal. Shawn's arms had had it by this point in time, so Tiffany and Kattie were on either side of the bed pushing on my hips. I got pretty loud by this point ("my back!!!!"), and Emily told me later that my next door neighbor was pretty worried about me, she wanted someone to help me!!!

Tiffany suggested that I lay on my side to push as it was becoming apparent that Delilah was turned wonky and wasn't really progressing much. I totally recall being on my hands and knees, my rational brain was saying "Oh, that makes sense" and my pain brain moaning and saying "no! don't make me!!!". Tiffany won out in the end, thank goodness!

I flipped onto my side, Shawn held up my leg while I pushed. At this point, I was breathing so fast that I was dehydrating myself, so they gave me an IV to get some fluids in me and also put the oxygen mask on me. That actually helped quite a bit, and after 45 minutes of total push time, Delilah arrived at 2:35 am!!!
It was CRAZY how instantly the pain was gone. Like it never happened. Post-birth endorphins are AMAZING!!! I had always read about the "birth high" and man oh man was it great!
Seriously, I love my husband soooo much. I can't even image this experience or really, this life, without him.
7 lbs 12 ounces, 20.25 inches of cute! She cried like a champ, and started nursing within 30 minutes of birth or so. As a testament to how fast she came down into my pelvis after switching to my side, her head wasn't coned at all!
Thank you to everyone who made Delilah's birth such a special and amazing experience for Shawn and I!

1 comment:

Maryjo said...

I am a total sucker for birth stories....beautiful. Thanks for sharing! And I'm glad you got the natural birth you wanted...I've heard there are no medals for having given birth w/out pain medication and they're right - the end result is truly what our babies come into this world (c-section, epidural, adoption...) doesn't really matter. But I sure am proud of myself for doing it (3X!)and I'm proud of you, too! We women are strong creatures! Delilah's a beauty...congratulations!