Mary-Therese's Birth Story Part 2: Natural and Unmedicated Birth

I tried to relax, listen to my labor tapes, pray, but now it was almost to no eval. My contractions were picking up and I couldn't relax. My husband prayed silently as we drove and I sat in the front seat trying to get through the 30 minute drive to the hospital. We pulled up to the hospital at about 4:45am and checked in at the front desk. The lady at the front desk said, "You're scheduled for an induction tomorrow." I thought this was funny as I was in and out of contractions and could barely talk. My husband said, "Yes, but she is in labor now." It seemed like it took forever for us to get into a room, but finally someone came down to get us. We got into a small room, I changed into my hospital gown and prayed that I was almost ready to have this baby. The nurse came in to check me and told me I was only about 3 or 4cm dilated. They decided to admit me because my contractions were coming regularly.

My doctor wasn't on call so they told me they were going to page another doctor to see what our next steps were. I told them I wanted to try to have the baby naturally. They were understanding and agreed that that was what we were going to do. We moved to a bigger room where I was hooked up to an IV for fluids. I tried to sit on the birthing ball, but it did not feel good. Since the baby felt low, anytime I sat on anything it made the pain worse. The nurses came in and told me that the doctor on call wanted me to start Pitocin to get my labor going. My immediate thought was, "Oh no, I will not be able to survive this naturally if I am given Pitocin." One of the older nurses who was calm and gentle, really advocated for me. She could tell I was unhappy about this. She said to me, "Why don't we just wait and see how things go. If you continue to progress, maybe we won't need to run the Pitocin." I was so grateful for this and still am to the this day. 

My labor continued to progress and the contractions were longer and closer together. I walked around when I could and my husband helped me breath. Truthfully, that is all that helped me stay grounded. That and the fine tooth comb I squeezed in my hand at every contraction. My husband would breath in and breath out with me, since it was hard for me to stay focused anymore. He coached me through these times and told me when I needed to try breathing deeper or longer. The nurse came in to check me again and I was already 6 cm dilated. I thanked God. This meant things were picking up and maybe they will continue to do so. My doctor came in as she was on call that morning. I think it was about 7:45am. She checked me again and asked me if I wanted her to break my water to get things going even more. I wasn't sure but I looked at my husband and he gave me a reassuring nod, so I agreed. After a couple of tries, she said she was unable to do it because the bag was too low. She left and said she would be back in a little while to check on me. As soon as she left, I went to use the restroom and sure enough, my water completely broke as I sat down.

Now things were picking up again. I was encouraged to try different positions with a peanut birthing ball. I laid on my side with the ball between my legs and tried to relax into the contractions. At this point, I remember being so tired I just wanted it to be over. My husband was exhausted too. I thought about if only I could get a little bit of sleep, I could handle this a little better. I started to think that maybe if I had an epidural this could all be over soon. I knew I didn't want that, but was feeling desperate. I told my husband to talk me out of getting one because I knew we were so close. He kept encouraging me and telling me everything was okay and it was almost over. I also remember learning that when a woman feels like she can't handle labor anymore, she is most likely in transition and so close to having the baby. The contractions were on top of each other and it was hard to breath through them even with my husband's help at this point. They gave me oxygen to hopefully help with my breathing. The doctor came back in again and saw that I was almost 10 cm dilated. Praise God, I thought. She asked me if I wanted to start pushing and I said okay. I had heard that pushing through the contractions feels much better than just experiencing contractions on their own.

The doctor and nurses broke down the bed and got ready for the baby to be here. They explained to me how to push and when to start and stop. This work was incredibly hard. I was pushed to limits I didn't know I had in me. I knew I had to keep going, whatever it took. My husband explained to me, afterwards, that it was like watching me play an intense physical sport. I guess in some ways, it was. I truly did not realize how physical pushing a baby out was until that moment. 

It had been 20 or 30 minutes later when the doctor told me she could see the head. Soon, there was about 5 or so different nurses in the room all watching and coaching me through this. Everyone was cheering me on and telling me to keep going. My doctor said that I just needed to push a few more times and the baby would be here. This kept me motivated. Finally with the last push, the baby's head came out, quickly followed by her little body. She was crying as they laid her on my chest before cleaning her off. I was so relieved. The time was 9:05am. I really thought it was already the middle of the day because of how much we had been through in those 11 hours of labor. I had been up for 24 hours at this point but was filled with so much adrenaline. I looked at my husband. "It was finished," I thought. 

Mary-Therese (MT) was a perfectly healthy baby. They wrapped her up and gave her to me to nurse. We soaked in those first few moments of her life with such amazement in this tiny life we created. She is our greatest blessing. There was so much joy in those first moments and it was so surreal to be holding our first child. After an hour of skin-to-skin, we invited our family in to meet their newest addition. They had been patiently waiting for a while in the waiting room to meet her. They soaked in all the hugs and kisses with little MT. I look back and smile at these moments, because they were filled with such love. These are the moments God created us for. These are the moments worth living for.