Hello everyone!  I have finally found some time to sit down and write my birth story.  It was an incredible day!  But first let me tell you a little about my pregnancy.

At 33 weeks, I started having some strong contractions.  I went into the doctors office and I was dilated to 2 cm and 50% effaced.  They also did a fetal fibronectin test that came back positive.  Because of that test, they had me go up to labor and delivery to get medication to stop contractions and they wanted me to get the steroid shots for his lungs.  I did both of these things.  Contractions continued but mostly when I was active so the nurse told me to stay off my feet.  I was on a modified bed rest for 3 weeks and that helped a lot.  After I was taken off bedrest, I thought for sure he would come any day.  It caused a lot of emotional ups and downs, as I’m sure those with false alarms can attest.  It continued like this for 4 weeks!  The week before he was due, I started having very regular contractions.  I went in to labor and delivery and after a couple of hours of monitoring, they said that because these contractions were dilating me (slowly) that I could choose to stay.  The nurse explained that with “regular” or “normal” patients, they would start an iv and pitocin along with an epidural.  But because I was going natural, I had the choice to stay or go because it could mean a long labor.  I decided to wait one more hour to see how much I progressed and when she said there was no more change after that hour, we decided to go home and hope it progressed there.  I thought for sure we’d be heading back in the middle of the night and I’d be waking up to labor pains.  Well, I woke up the next morning with nothing and was disappointed.  I decided to just continue on and wait until he was ready.  So when he decided it was time, I was very ready.

On Oct. 11th (my due date) my husband and I were getting ready to go to church.  I was standing in the bathroom when I felt a little trickle.  I thought for a second that my water broke but because of all the emotional ups and downs and being in and out of the hospital, I didn’t fully believe it.  The last thing I wanted was to go to the hospital only to be sent home again.  My worry wart DH kept telling me he wanted to go to the hospital.  I said even if it was my water, we could wait a while.  He didn’t feel comfortable with that, since the doctors said if my water breaks to go right to the hospital.  So he convinced me and we got ready to go to the hospital.

We got checked in and set up in a room.  I was about 4.5 cm when I arrived.  The nurse checked the fluid coming out and it was indeed amniotic fluid.  So this was it!  I was very excited.  But nothing was happening!  No hard contractions or anything!  We waited and waited and walked and walked.  Because labor stalled with my first baby, they decided to start a pitocin drip.  I asked if we could start it very low and turn it off if things started to progress because I still wanted a natural birth if I could.  The continuously upped my pitocin level little by little, hoping it would start something.  I walked the halls and tried everything but I was moving so slowly.  After hours and hours, I had only dilated to a 5.  (half a cm!).  After about 10 hours, the doctor said he would like to change my plan.  He wanted to start an epidural to calm me down and insert an internal monitor to make sure the pitocin level was enough to change my cervix.  He also said they needed to start antibiotics because it had almost been 12 hours since my water broke.  I read this on the monitor before my nurse came in.  I looked at my husband and said “I don’t need an epidural.  I’m calm.”  My nurse overheard me and understood my concern.  She sat down and calmly talked to me about my options.  She also said that if I didn’t start to change by 24 hours, they would do a C-Section.  I asked if we could start with the internal monitor and then up my pitocin and if that didn’t work, I would have the epidural, if it was what was best for my baby.  She okayed that with the charge nurse and so we started on that path.  The charge nurse placed the internal monitor and immediately I started to feel the pressure waves.  I concentrated through them but they were incredibly intense.  I looked at my husband and said if the contractions are going to continue to get stronger and closer together, I didn’t think I could do this without an epidural.  My nurse came in to check me 30 min to an hour later and I had dilated to a 6+.  The plan was working!  I told her my concerns.  I was not prepared to deal with these contractions just lying in a bed.  I had wanted to use the jacuzzi and birth ball and if they were going to get any stronger, I wanted an epidural.  She looked at me with a concerned look and said, “I know how much you want to have this baby unmedicated.”  She then looked at my pitocin levels and said they were actually stronger than they needed to be.  She lowered my pitocin and got permission from the charge nurse to allow me to sit on the birthing ball.  That helped TREMENDOUSLY!  I was able to sit on the ball and relaxed through each wave for about another hour or 2.  My husband would apply counter pressure on my lower back and that helped a lot too.  I would just listen to the scripts and try to relax.  It felt so intense inside my head during the waves.  I thought I was moaning through them very loudly but when my husband captured a couple on camera, I looked completely calm and relaxed, my face even looked serene.  My nurse came in to check me and said I was a 7+.  She also said that one side of my cervix was dilating faster than the other.  She said if I lay down on my right side, that would help to dilate the other side of my cervix.  I layed down and immediately had an INTENSE wave.  I almost lost control at this point.  The nurse said to try and get through 3 more and then she’d check me.  She left the room and during the very next contraction, I shouted “I need to push!!”  My body couldn’t stop.  This might sound weird but it felt like when you dry heave, you can’t really control your body.  I couldn’t control the urge to push.  My body just took over.  The nurses must have heard me from down the hall because they all came running in and started getting things set up.  My nurse checked me and said, “its time to push”.  I looked at my husband and was so relieved.  Betsy, my nurse, took my hand and helped me breath through a wave or two until the Nurse Midwife arrived to deliver the baby.  I had never met this nurse midwife before, she was the one on call.  But she was great.  She allowed me to direct my pushing and didn’t do the counting thing (thank goodness).  She told me when to stop (to avoid tearing) and just basically sat back and watched.  My sister arrived in the nick of time.  She held my hand (my DH had the other) and maybe 5 minutes later, she looked at me and said “The head is out.” I was so happy because I understand what people mean when they say “Ring of Fire”.  It was intense!  After another good push or two, his body came out and he was finally here!  They layed him on my tummy and he was so warm.  I just kept saying “I did it.” and “I love you baby, thanks for coming out.”  I felt an immediate bond with him.

Afterward, my husband asked if I would do it again.  At that time, when the **pressure/pain** was so apparent in my mind, I said I didn’t know, probably not.  But 2 days later, I was sure I would.  The only part that was almost too much was 3-4 contractions before I could push.  But I did it and I am sure I can do it again.  I know what to expect now and I think if I prepare even better next time, it will be an even better experience, which is hard to say because this one was incredibly amazing!!

Asher Alexander was born 12:32 AM weighing in at 8 lbs 1 oz and 20 in long.  He scored a 9/9 on the apgar and is doing so well!  To be honest, I am excited to do it all over again!