Before I write my birth story I feel that like any unassisted birth you need to have this disclaimer for those who don’t understand the reasons why we want to have an unassisted birth.
So why are we turning to unassisted birth? To be honest it may be because we know this is they way we should be giving birth. Our bodies are more than capable. It may also be because of the things that I mention in our birth story today.
You may not understand or know the reason for everyone but I feel this is a story that should be told. My experience may help you or someone you know find the strength to listen to your inner voice and have the birth of your dreams.
Tigger warning: I will mention assistance and hospital policy overreach.
I want to start by telling you a little about my pregnancy to help you understand the story you are about to read.
Before even knowing I was pregnant I knew the next time I gave birth I wanted to have an unassisted birth. After having Brooklyn and her birth being so fast and amazing I was ready to do it again. The feeling of power and joy knowing 'I did it' it just so amazing.
About halfway through my pregnancy, I got really sick. I was on day three with fevers and shakes, feeling hot one second and cold the next. I couldn't keep anything down. You get the point it was bad. I ended up in the hospital for an overnight stay having test after test ordered. The great thing is they said everything came back clear but what made me so sick was still unclear.
I then followed up with the ob from the hospital. I really liked her she wasn't pushy and understood that I would continue our unassisted pregnancy and birth. She truly was great. I also inquired if she would see me as a patient 'if' I should need care at another point, which she agreed.
The rest of the pregnancy went without issue.
Like most of us waiting on a baby, we can't wait to meet our little one. Every little contraction made me wonder "Is this it"? For about a week before I gave birth that was my every thought. Contractions would stay long enough to give me a pattern and hope but then disappear just as fast as they started.
The funny thing is anytime I called my husband he worried I was in labor and he would miss it.
It's baby time!
On 7/25 at about 9 pm contractions started. I was trying to hold hope but because I wasn't convinced I got in bed to cuddle with Aria.
Then at 11:40 pm my water broke. I was getting up to pee and rolled over to get out of bed when I heard and felt the pop. Putting my hand by my vagina like that was going to stop it from going all over my carpet. I made it to the bathroom before the large gush came rushing out. It was so warm, I knew exactly what it was. I called my husband and asked how much longer he would be at work. I then went on to tell him my water broke and it was time to come home.
He would still be an hour drive before he would make it to me. I decided to fill the pool a bit so I wouldn't have to do all the work once the contractions really started. Aria heard me moving around and woke up. I explained the baby would be coming soon and that everything was ok. Julio made it home and started talking to me, seeing where I was and what I needed.
Listening to my body
I kept having the urge to pee so I got out of the pool and since I was tired I went to bed. It was about 4:30 am on 7/26 when I woke up to more contractions and pink-tinted discharge. I was sitting on the toilet and I could feel so much pressure. I thought for sure this was it, the baby would be coming soon.
A few hours later the contractions stopped again. Feeling upset but resting as they stopped so I would have energy when the baby was ready to start again. I spent time alone and eventually came out to be with the kids. I kept an eye on how I was feeling ensuring no fever. Nothing in the vagina, resting, staying hydrated and listening to my body.
I figured come the night labor would start again. I was right, the darker it got the contractions picked up again. Julio emptied the pool a bit and then refilled with warm water. As the waves started Julio asked if I was ready to get back in but I didn' want the waves to end so I stayed out as long as possible.
24 hours of broken waters
I have now made it to the 24-hour mark of having my waters broken and other than just being ready to meet our little one I felt great. I used the tools I had to help labor and baby move along. The yoga ball, shower, and going for walks. They all helped a bit but I knew that until my body and baby were ready nothing would happen.
While I was in the tub I was having the feeling, the urge to push. I knew this was FER, when your body does the pushing for you. I tried to just follow the feelings and not overthink anything. After a bit of this pushing feeling but nothing happening, I started to think I needed to get out of the water again and so I did.
Somethings off, trusting my gut
It was now 7/27 and about 4 am I was laying with my butt in the air and head on my pillow. I had told my husband a few hours before to get some rest because I still didn't feel that it was time. I was listening to myself and taking a moment to see what my body was telling me. It told me something was off and it was time to transfer.
I woke up my husband and told him I was sorry. I was tired and my body was telling me something was wrong. As much as I wanted to freebirth again my baby came first. He woke up right away as he heard me. I didn't feel like a failure, I felt that I didn't get the birth I wanted but would get to bring home my little one.
Arriving at the hospital
Our local hospital is about 15 minutes from us and the car ride over was hard and seemed to take forever. We went right to the ER entrance and they took me right up to the labor and delivery floor. It was the first shift nurses who met me to get me all set up and at first, it wasn't the best greeting. I knew I was going to stand my ground and get a birth I would not regret. I wasn't going to allow anyone to cloud my judgment or force me into decisions I wasn't ready to make without thinking about my options.
The problem was that shift change was about to happen and I was worried what it might do to my labor. Contractions were coming steady and I allowed them to check me which is when they discovered I was 7 cm but my cervix was prolapsing and blocking the baby from coming down further. Additionally, this little one was posterior. I think this was the reason my labor was so long and would start and stop so often.
I asked the nurse for an epidural, I couldn't do it anymore. The pain of being in labor for two days now was too much for me. This being my fifth labor I didn't think I would need it. I never thought I would take it. I knew the risk, I knew the reseasons to say no but at this time this was the right decision for me.
Once given the epidural I was able to focus more and start to tell the staff what I needed and wanted for my birth. I still said no to Pitocin and made it to 10 cm and felt the need to push fairly soon.
Change in hospital shift
The new shift came in and took over. I was so freaking lucky to get the head nurse (I'm not sure if they thought I was going to need her or that the other staff wouldn't be able to handle me) Kathy. When I tell you this nurse desires the award for best ever! She sat by me and went with anything I said. I asked for a mirror so I could watch myself and baby born, she went and got it. I told her about delayed cord clamping and taking my placenta home and she got the container ready. Julio was cold so I asked for an extra blanket and there she was again making it happen.
Anyway, I was ready to push but wanted to be able to feel everything so I asked that the epidural be turned off. Kathy asked if I was sure because they wouldn't really be able to turn it back on if I changed my mind. I told her that if the baby was coming I wouldn't need it anymore. My legs were completely numb at this point.
To the best nurse Kathy
Kathy went ahead and turned it off and as the feeling started to return I was ready to push. A gave a few good pushes but just like that all my contractions stopped. They went from 3 minutes apart to 6-7 minutes and because of that, it wasn't allowing me to push past the cervix prolapse. Kathy asked if she could try to hold the prolapse while I pushed, what she was hoping was it would work similarly to a cervical lip.
Unfortunately, it continued to cause excess bleeding so Kathy stopped. Just then the on-call ob came in to check on the progress and was told about my prolapse. My heart sank and I thought for sure this would be the moment I'm done I would need a cesarean.
This is my one fear, I didn't ever want to have one. The ob checked my cervix and said I needed to try not to push for an hour I needed to relax the problem was I had already turned off the epidural so I could feel everything including the urge to push once the contractions would start again. He also recommended that I use Pitocin to get my body to contract and allow the cervix time to move out of the way while using a peanut.
I agreed. I also asked for the epidural to be turned back on. Remember I said I asked for it to be turned off when I started to push the first time. I knew it wouldn't be the same but to be honest it was better this time because it just took the edge off vs not allowing me to feel anything. I could still feel the contractions and the urge to push which I was able to breathe through at first. Once I couldn't breathe through them the nurse Kathy who had given my husband and I a bit of a break and time alone together came back in like she knew it was time.
It was now go time! FER kicked back in and all the breathing in the world would not stop the baby from coming now. Within a few minutes, I could see the head in the mirror. At this point, you could see all the movement in the room as the nurses got things ready.
I kept pushing as needed laying on my side. Within a few minutes, the head was out and within a few pushes, the baby was out. I was beyond happy and thanked the ob. I knew that I was at risk of having what would have been an unnecessary surgery. He gave time and suggestions to help without even talking about having to have a cesarean. He didn't make any comments about my freebirth.
At 12:33 pm on 7/27 we welcomed Julio lll into the world weighing 7 lbs 12 oz. He never left my side, was kept whole with no vaccines, hep b or vit k.
The same night I gave birth to Julio the on-call pediatrician came to visit us. Let me say this is where all my annoyance and hate comes in. I can say as I sit here writing this I am still waiting for CPS to show up at our house. That is how bad of an experience I had with him.
It started because I wouldn't allow the vit k and hep b to be given to him. Then he added because I didn't have the gbs test done. This man went on a whole speech about how my son needed these because I was putting him at risk. He then used those "scary" stats. What he hated was that I too had facts for him. For everything he had to say I had an answer. He didn't like that although I remain calm and respectful.
I asked to both be discharged after the 24-hour mark but he said that would not be happening unless I signed out AMA. I told him that if I did that he would be calling CPS and the insurance could decline paying for the stay. He looked at the nurse in the room with us confused but said he wouldn't be calling but didn't want to be responsible. He tried to use the "this is the hospital policy" line with me.
Don't try that line on me
At the end of all this back and forth he said he would look into everything and do some research. Let me start by saying the next day when he came it was to no surprise that he didn't do any research. He started by telling me that he wanted to run some additional test on Julio but when I asked if they came back clear if we could leave he said no. I told him there is nothing he has said that has told me about Julio that says there is a reason for concern. No fever, sleeping, eating and diaper changes are all on track.
The exam they also completed didn't show any reasons for concern. We got back to the conversation of vaccines and such but it pissed me off when he told me he has been a doctor for 30 years followed by showing me he had no hair. He was trying to tell me his hair loss meant he knew more or better than I did.
Signing out AMA
I was beyond upset and disappointment. This pediatrician is another one bought out by pharma. I asked him if the bonus he would get from my insurance company meant more to him than the health of his patients. Would he rather that bonus than to educate his patients with evidence-based information. He was mad at this point I could tell. Looking at the nurse and I told them to get the AMA paperwork and that I would be calling my insurance company to speak to them about his care or lack thereof.
My on-call ob had already released me, the baby I signed out AMA and was told he should see our pediatrician in 24 hours. I called and scheduled the appointment to have documentation that Julio was fine just in case I did have CPS show up.
It didn't end there
At our appointment, the provider informed me she was called by the hospital pediatrician to let her know I signed the baby out AMA. He went on to make sure they were aware I declined all vit k, hep b and antibiotics for possible gbs. If this isn't a sign of overreach I'm not sure what is. I never asked this doctor to call my sons pediatrician, to release personal information about either one of us but he still did.
Julio is now 6 days old and just perfect. We are nursing like a champ, sleeping so amazing and boy can he poop. Looking back I ask this of you, regardless of how you will give birth trust your gut. I have taken a little longer to write my story because I needed time to think about everything. I needed time process my birth and really accept that I didn't fail. Trusting my gut is not something I regret.
While I didn't have the unassisted birth I wanted and dreamed of having I have a healthy baby boy. I have learned to trust my gut and that I am stronger than I could have ever imagined.