I had my cute little baby boy last Sunday, January 25. He was born early in the morning after a “short,” all-natural, medication-free labor.
I had a plan of how I was going to give birth. I’m sure everyone does. I had in my head that I was going to start having contractions at home, and that I was going to hang out there for a few hours, then go into the birthing center. I expected all of this to happen in the middle of the night. I never pictured driving to the birthing center in the daylight.
My plan was to get into the birthing tub and to stay there until the baby was born. I knew it would be painful, but I don’t think there’s really any way to anticipate how painful pushing a watermelon out of a hole the size of a grapefruit will actually be.
A lot of my labor went the way I expected. I started having contractions at home on Saturday evening at 7, hung out on my bed at home listening to my birth playlist on my phone for seven hours, calling the midwife at least three times as the pain got worse. We finally went into the birthing center at 2 in the morning, in the middle of the night like I’d always pictured.
Here’s where things stopped being how I’d pictured. Having contractions in the car was HORRIBLE. I’d been lying down the whole time, for seven hours, and then I was sitting straight up strapped in by a seatbelt having pains that were really only manageable before because I was NOT sitting straight up strapped in by a seatbelt.
Luckily, the drive to the birthing center was only about 20 minutes, but it was an awful 20 minutes. When we got there, my husband pulled into the loading zone so that we would be closer to the door. I freaked out, saying we were going to be towed and that he needed to park in a legal parking spot or else we’d come down to the car in the morning with a baby and there wouldn’t BE a car and we’d have no way to get home and no one could pick us up because our car seat was in our car.
I might have been panicking a little because I felt another contraction coming on and I did not want to have it in the car. My husband parked (like five feet away from the loading zone. This was not a huge parking lot), and I got out of the car, threw my pregnancy pillow down on the dirty asphalt, fell on it, and had a contraction. I’m pretty sure I was making quite a bit of noise during my contractions by that point. Lovely.
I waddled up the stairs into the birth suite and kept having contractions on the bed while they filled the birthing tub. I had planned to keep listening to my birth playlist, but once we got there I didn’t care enough to ask my husband to plug it in. I was in pain, and I just wanted to get in the tub.
Once I was in the tub, I was pretty happy. Until I had my first contraction in there. All I had been told about water birth was that it made it all more bearable, that things didn’t hurt as much in there, that it was comforting. I suppose it was comforting being in the water, but NOTHING made those contractions more bearable. I stayed in the tub for about an hour and a half until I just needed to stretch my body out. Then I got out and got on the bed. I’d planned the whole time for my husband to be in the tub with me, but I was thrashing around in there so much that I figured I’d run into him, so he never even got in.
Once I got out of the tub I started having the worst chills of my life. I was shouting at my husband to get me warm, and they were piling blankets on me, but I hadn’t dried off properly so it took me a really long time to get warm. So I guess I’d say I was pretty logical during the whole thing. Climbing naked and soaking wet into a bed and expecting to not be cold…
The worst part of that was having contractions while having chills while soaking wet. But once I was warm, it wasn’t any better. Before I had experienced childbirth, I don’t think I could have understood how the pain just doesn’t stop, doesn’t let up, how nothing helps make it better, and how discouraging it is because you know you have a ways to go before it stops and you just have to DO it. The birthing center doesn’t even offer pain killers, so that was never an option. I didn’t want to transfer to the hospital.
I’ll spare you all the gory details of the pushing phase. Let me just say that it involved even worse pain, which I hadn’t thought was possible, and me giving birth on the bed on my side with my husband holding my leg in the air. Not the dignified water birth I’d pictured.
Still, at the end of it there was this bloody, hairy, screaming little guy who made it all worth it. But even knowing he’d be worth it, my first two thoughts when I saw his body were “Dang, he’s bloody,” and “Thank God he’s out.”
He’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen and I love him more than I thought possible. Even though I’m tired and I can’t drive because I got tears and stitches in a sensitive area, and even though I can’t go for walks for the same reason, and even though it’s hard to even just take a shower or make food while I’ve got this squirming little guy with me, everything is so much better now that he’s here and I’m not pregnant anymore.
My hands aren’t fat. They fit in my mason jars again. My ankles haven’t swollen once since the delivery. I can bend over, see my feet, roll over in bed, and twist at the waist. Oh, and I HAVE a waist again. That’s nice. I’ve lost 20 pounds in just over a week. And I have my little guy fussing in my lap as I write this, pretending he’s hungry even though he just ate and I have no clue what he wants.
I have no idea what I’m doing. But it’s fun.
I put a picture of the Grand Tetons because I’m not putting a picture of my baby on the internet.