Meeting Eden: Baby Girl's Natural Birth Story (Part One)



My water broke on Friday, October 17th at 4:05 p.m. I had my bloody show the night before and woke up with somewhat strong contractions, and by about three they were a steady six minutes apart.  I had done my morning workout, cleaned the house and taken a shower, then decided I should try to rest and read a little to see if anything changed and it was just the false labor I had been experiencing for weeks. By four they were stronger and four minutes apart.  I told myself I'd get up, go downstairs for some water and call Daniel if they were still going after that--I was kind of in denial. I rolled over and stuck my right leg out to climb out of bed, and there it was--the big gush we were hoping wouldn't happen until well into labor. I was Group B Strep positive, which meant I couldn't stay home to labor if my water broke.  I had to get to the birth center ASAP for antibiotics because Edie was now exposed to the bacteria.  (GBS isn't dangerous to adults--it's a common bacteria we carry that sometimes colonizes in the birth canal--one in four pregnant women tests positive for it shortly before their due date and has to receive IV antibiotics every four hours during labor to prevent baby from inhaling the infection.)


So at 4:08, after changing my shorts, I called Daniel and told him to come home.  He called the birth center on his way, and we were there within an hour. He said, "I'm so excited, babe!" about 10 times during the 20 minute drive--I love him.  I received my first dose of antibiotics and then the midwife on call, Kameron, sent us out to get dinner and walk around Target. She said we should enjoy our evening together and get my mind off of labor--anxiety and feeling pressure to move things along can stall the process.

So we slowly made our way through Target as my water leaked through my pad and down my sweatpants.  I had that I'm-dreaming feeling the whole time--nothing felt real--I didn't care my pants were soaked in public. I thought we were going to meet our girl that evening, and I couldn't really care about anything else.

My contractions picked up in intensity while we were out. I ended up walking circles around our car in the Chipotle parking lot while Daniel ordered our food.  We half-watched Moonrise Kingdom in the lobby of the birth center while we ate and I bounced on a yoga ball. After my second dose of antibiotics, Kameron checked me for the first time.  I was at four centimeters.  She suggested we try to get some rest for a few hours because she thought we might have "a long day ahead of us." That was the first time a long labor had even crossed my mind and I hoped she was wrong, but we took her advice.  We took a hot shower (the BC is set up like a spa--each room has a big bed, giant soaking tub, and big walk-in shower) and Daniel rubbed my back so I could try to relax. When we got out I realized how uncomfortable lying down was at this point, so I sat up criss-cross-applesauce on the bed and sort of hummed through contractions.  I did this for the next few hours as Daniel stroked my arms and hands.


Kameron came back for more antibiotics and told us she didn't want to wait until 20 hours into labor to get proactive.  (Since my water broke, I had 24 hours to get the babe out before I was sent to the hospital for a c section due to the risk of infection becoming too great.)  She asked if I was up for taking castor oil--a natural laxative that has been used to intensify labor/contractions for a long, long time.  She brought it to me mixed with juice and I chugged it before I could think about it. I was on the toilet within the hour (this is probably a good time to warn you--this isn't really the beautiful, easy natural birth story I dreamed I'd have, but it got Edie here so I wouldn't change a thing).

After several more hours of bed-sitting and emptying my bowels, Kameron came back and suggested I get in the bath.  She was about to be off the clock and told us Teresa would probably check me shortly after she arrived.  I tried out various positions in the tub and was surprised by how uncomfortable hands-and-knees was--I figured it'd be one of my go-to labor positions after we learned a bunch of them in our Bradley class.

Teresa came in as I was getting out of the tub and we filled her in on how things were going. She observed me through a few contractions and suggested we take a short walk by the lake out back before she checked me.  I got dressed and we went outside, where we made it maybe all of 20 feet down the trail before we turned around, and that took a ridiculous amount of time because I was having to stop and lean against Daniel through each contraction. We got back to our room around seven and Teresa checked me.  I was at seven centimeters and relieved to hear I was definitely in active labor. I asked her how long she thought it'd be before I hit transition and was ready to push, and she said something about thinking we could have a baby by 9:30 because the process of getting from seven to 10 was generally pretty quick.

She was right about the last part--I was at a 10 by 10 a.m. after crawling around the birth center on all fours and taking another hot shower.  Transition came on strong and I found myself kneeling over the bed crying and shaking uncontrollably. I had told myself I'd be a lovely, silent laborer, but suddenly my quiet humming through contractions turned to low, loud moaning. I didn't plan it, but I remember reading it in Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, and it definitely provided a little relief.  Teresa came in with Alice Ann, the midwifery student we'd had the privilege of getting to know a little at our last few prenatal appointments, and they assured me this was transition and that meant we were getting close to meeting baby girl.

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Part two coming soon--it gets more exciting! (Hint: I have a baby!) :)

-J