Natural Child Birth; A Real-Life Confession

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Azriela’s Birth Story

 

 

Today I want to share my first experience with natural child birth! This is the story of how my first born child Azriela was born and yeah –it’s a fairly wild story!

I was married for 2 months when I found out that I was pregnant with my first baby. I was barely 21 years old and really I had no idea what I was getting into. My husband, Josh, and I decided before we got married that we didn’t want to use any form of birth control. We just wanted to let everything happen naturally, we just didn’t realize how quickly “natural” could happen!

It was October 21, 2010, when I took the test, you know… the test of all tests! And guess what? I saw two little lines forming what proved to be a positive result! I thought it might take a year or so to get pregnant but nope, one very short month into our marriage and… it happened!

Natural Child Birth: Yes, It Is A Little Crazy!

I remember falling back on our bed in complete awe. I was so excited, but also so unsure of what was about to happen. Throughout my pregnancy I thought and prayed about how I wanted to handle the birthing process and I came to the conclusion that I was going to do everything naturally –yes, you heard me right, I said “naturally”– as in no pain meds!

And if you don’t know me, I am not a person who makes a decision lightly. When I decide something I have a very difficult time going back on that decision. Some people may call me stubborn, I like to say I’m focused. So when I made this decision to have a natural childbirth I knew I wasn’t going back on that decision.

Fast forward 9 grueling months later and the time had finally come.

I was living in Eugene, Oregon at this time and my entire family from California (I have 5 siblings) decided that they needed to be there when baby Azriela was born. And I loved it. About three days before I went in to labor my mom and 2 sisters drove up to Eugene, convinced I was going to be in labor soon…and they were right.

Two hours before my water broke,my dad and 3 brothers arrived. Once everyone had arrived it’s like my body knew it was time. My water broke at 1:30 in the morning on June 25, 2010. My mom and husband rushed me to the hospital. I on the other hand, did not feel the need to rush

(I’m not one to really like hospitals, they kinda freak me out –anyone else feel like this?). As we arrived, the nurses checked me in and declared that I was in fact in labor.

I Had No Idea What Was About To Happen…

They got me settled in to what looked like a hotel room (seriously the nicest hospital I have ever been to). I informed them that I would be having a natural child birth. They told me that they would not ask me about an epidural, unless I mention it. I was happy to hear that they were in support of my decision.

Next they checked me and confirmed that I was 1 cm dilated. My naive, 21 year old self was excited to hear of the progress. I really didn’t do much research about the birthing process so I didn’t realize that 1 cm didn’t mean too much. My mom (who gave birth naturally 6 times) told me it could be beneficial to walk around to get things moving (dilated). I started taking laps around the maternity ward, stopping to breath when I felt a contraction coming on.

 

 

I was excited, these contractions really don’t feel too bad, I could definitely handle this for a few more hours. I began to think this natural child birth thing wasn’t so bad. Sure I was tired. I was laboring on 2 hours of sleep, but hey, I’m about to meet my baby for the first time, and the adrenaline was helping me get through the sleepiness.

I Made A New Friend And Her Name Is “Pitocin”!

About 2 hours later I met the on-call doctor, she checked me, told me I was still 1 cm dilated and that I should begin to consider Pitocin. Pitocin? I never even heard this word before.

What is this pitocin?

I immediately said no, I didn’t want any foreign substance in my body. For those of you who don’t know what Pitocin is, it is a man-made version of a naturally occurring chemical in your body called Oxytocin. Oxytocin has the lovely job of increasing the intensity and frequency of contractions. So essentially, Pitocin is given to patients who need to quickly intensify their birthing process –which of course increases the pain level tremendously for anyone doing a natural child birth… yay…

 

 

Keep in mind that at this point in my story I still have no idea what Pitocin actually is.

Confusion Sets In

Next, the doctor told me that I needed to stop walking around; she said I was going to exhaust myself. My mom and the nurses told me the opposite –confusing right? I was certainly in a fog about what to do. Usually, I’m a very decided person, for some reason all of my ability to make a decision just left me. I looked to my husband and told him to decide for me. He suggested I rest for a while and then take a few more laps later. I did exactly what he told me to do. I felt the Holy Spirit leading us when he spoke. Josh was so calm and decided.

6:30am came along and I had been in labor for 5 hours, feeling consistent contractions. Exhaustion had set in.

The on-call doctor came back in, checked me and told me that I had made no progress: I was still 1 cm dilated! I began to feel discouraged, like my body was failing me. I thought “How can I be this bad at labor? What’s wrong with me?”

Since my water had broken hours before with signs of meconium, my doctor told me that I was running the risk of a serious infection. If I didn’t get my labor moving, my doctor threatened me with talk of a c-section.

C-section?

I hadn’t ever considered that as an option. Again, she told me that I needed to start taking Pitocin. I refused again and the doctor looked at me with disappointment in her eyes and then left the room. I asked the nurse for a little more information about Pitocin. After listening to her, my basic understanding was that it was going to make my contractions more consistent, which would help my labor speed up. Then I asked her the real question that was on my mind: “Is it going to make things more painful for me?”

“Yes” She replied. “Definitely, yes.”

A Tough Decision

When I had decided to go the “natural childbirth” route I felt that it was what God was leading me personally to do. So when I was faced with making a decision about letting a foreign substance enter my body I felt like I would be going against my conviction and my word.

I looked to my husband again for help. In that moment, I seriously could not make a decision to save my life. He looked me in the eyes and said “You are not disobeying God by taking Pitocin. He is okay with whatever decision you make. And yes, I think you should take it.”

 

 

That’s all I needed to hear. The nurses quickly got me hooked up to the Pitocin and it took less than 30 minutes for me to begin to truly feel what they meant when they said “yes, it’s more painful.”

I remember the first ‘real‘ contraction, two tears slowly rolled down my cheek.

I knew everything was about to get much harder. I looked straight into my moms eyes and she looked straight into mine. The look on her face said “I know exactly how you are feeling, and I know it’s hard but I ALSO KNOW you can do this because you are my daughter.”

 

 

From this moment on, each contraction was so painful and so consistent (#pitocin) that I could no longer speak. The pitocin actually made it too painful to even speak between contractions! For the next several hours I found that the most comfortable position was sitting on the exercise ball, leaning over the edge of the bed on some pillows. Baby girl was unfortunately positioned poorly which caused intense back labor.

Fortunately for me, I have an amazing husband who rubbed my back for about 6 hours straight.

 

Struggling Through The Exhaustion Of Natural Child Birth

My mom suggested I get into the bath to help ease the pain. I tried it, it was miserable and I quickly got out. A couple hours later I tried the shower and it was even more miserable. When I transitioned into the shower, Josh left the room for about 2.4 seconds to scarf down a sandwich. When he came back he smelled so strong of “sandwich” that I had to muster up the strength to speak and told him the first thing that came to my mind: “change your smell” (when you’re in that kind of pain all tact has gone out the window). Those 3 words were truly all I could get out. He quickly brushed his teeth and came back to my side to rub my back for the 100th time.

I decided the best place for me to stay was at the end of the bed on the exercise ball. I stopped looking for relief elsewhere, it was honestly too exhausting to stand up and explore any other options. By this time I had been in labor for about 13 hours, 8 of those, hooked up to Pitocin. A nurse came in to the room and asked if I’d like to consider getting an epidural. I looked her straight in the eyes and with a swelling sense of conviction said to her “don’t ask me that again”. How dare she even suggest such a thing. I was going to see this natural child birth thing through.

Staying Focused Is The Key!

It was about 4 o’clock when the exhaustion of labor (with Pitocin on only 2 hours of sleep) started to really get to me. I had about 45 second breaks between contractions. I would put my head down on the bed and literally fall asleep between contractions for about 30 seconds. Each time being awoken by the overwhelming pain of the next contraction. I kept focusing on breathing through the contraction, and then each time would lay my head back down on the pillow and immediately fall back to sleep.

 

 

I remember feeling the need to hold the hands of my mom and Josh through each contraction. It allowed me to focus on something. My focus was keeping my body relaxed. I would lightly hold their hands, without gripping tight, and imagine myself rowing through a river. I breathed through my nose and out my mouth. I would stare into the eyes of one of them as if they were feeling the same contraction as me. As weird as all that sounds, it gave me some slight relief.

 

When Would It End?

I remember asking my mom “how much longer”? Her response every time I asked was 15 more minutes. I knew that all I had to do was make it 15 more minutes and then I would ask her again and she would say again “15 more minutes”. I know this might sound crazy, but it helped me. I accomplished a goal every time I made it 15 more minutes. This went on for a few more hours until I finally got to 9 cm!

Hallelujah! I only had 1 cm to go, little did I know that this last cm would take another hour and a half to get to. I decided that I would do squats with each contraction to help my body dilate. I had the nurses attach a birthing bar  to the end of my bed. I would hold on to the bar during each contraction and squat. This took every ounce of strength in me. I mean every last drop.

Between every contraction I would lay back on the bed for about 15 seconds and rest. Then I would stand back up, squat, breath, and then lay back down. I continued this process for the next hour until finally the new on-call doctor came in and told me it was time to push. I couldn’t believe it, in fact I didn’t believe it. I asked him to clarify, “wait, I can really push now?” I had been feeling the urge to push for about an hour and a half, but they kept telling me to hold it in because I wasn’t dilated fully. It was finally time, after 16 hours of labor, I could finally do something!

It’s My Turn!

I used the birthing bar to get in a squatting position. I pushed with all of my might and felt things moving. It was amazing, I finally got to have some sort of control in the process. I laid back down on the bed and waited for my next contraction. I remember the monitors around my waist were falling out of position. One nurse started to fix it until another nurse began removing the monitors completely and said, “she can feel everything, she doesn’t need these any more!” (one major benefit of natural child birth).

 

 

It took me about 15 minutes of pushing and my baby girl was finally in my arms. I felt instant relief. I was finally done. Things were strangely peaceful. It was surreal and wonderful and altogether very calm.

Until all of a sudden, a nurse came over and started to push down on my uterus with all of her might. What in the world! I thought the pain was supposed to end.

And then out of nowhere the doctor informs me that he is about to give my ‘you know what’ a numbing shot and start to stitch me up. Say what, say what! Apparently I had a very minor tear when delivering my precious one. This was shocking!

As I laid there with nurses zooming by around me doing their nurse-things, all I could think about was how much my life had just changed.

I had a sudden realization that my life was no longer my own.

I had heard about the love you have for your child, but I never imagined in my wildest dreams how truly deep that love could go. This baby girl just became my whole world in an instant. All the pain and suffering was worth it, I would do it a million times over again just for her.

 

In The End, Natural Child Birth Was Worth It!

I remember telling my family that they could all come in and see the baby just a few minutes after she was born. I was so proud, I wanted the world to experience her. I was so excited that I failed to realize that I was actually laying on the delivery bed completely naked. I had no idea. My sisters walked in and immediately turned around, informing me that I might want to cover up before the rest of the family comes in (especially the brothers). Even after they told me, I somehow still wasn’t all that concerned about being half-naked. Why? Well because…

I could not stop staring at my daughter. She was my joy (and of course, still is).

The rest of my family came in to see my baby Azriela. This was truly the proudest moment of my life. I had just birthed a human being –and amazingly I was able to have a natural child birth.

I felt like wonder woman and that feeling has really never gone away. Becoming a mom has changed me so completely. I love everything that my life is about.

Yeah it’s incredibly hard and painful at times, but I would not change it for anything.

What About You?

Tell me about your crazy birth story. Did you have to take Pitocin? Did you have a natural child birth? Did you forget you were naked? For those of you who haven’t had your first baby, what’s your birth plan? Are you planning on having an epidural or have you considered a natural child birth?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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