Two years ago today I was a week overdue with my second child. I had 48 hours left before they would have to induce me, my midwife told me. The high risk doctor had already blasted me the day prior saying he would have induced me at 37 weeks.
Two years ago today I woke up and prayed what I was about to do — acupuncture — would work. It worked with my first daughter, who was also a week late, so I had every body part crossed and double crossed. My appointment was at 10 a.m. I got to the office and made myself comfortable on the exam table. The acupuncturist slowly put the needles in. They hurt. A lot. Lots of energy blocked, she said. Then she burned some herbs (mugwart) just to give the treatment a little more oomph.
Two years ago today I left the acupuncture office and went to my midwife’s practice for a noon checkup. She was at the hospital doing a delivery so I saw one of the OBs. She examined me, told me I had a slow leak and was already “six or seven centimeters dilated,” and sent me right to the hospital. I wasn’t feeling even a single contraction, but I did what I was told. Sort of. I knew it would still be a while before delivery time so I went home (sad that I would be missing Big Girl’s (then Only Girl) dance recital) and did some last-minute chores. I changed the sheets. I cleaned the house a bit. I got into the car with hubby and we drove to the hospital stopping for a hero sandwich because I was starving! I ate an entire hero before laboring with my first daughter, too.
Two years ago today I got to the hospital around 2:30 and proceeded to get into a huge fight to give birth my way. I wanted intermittent monitoring. I got it, although the witch labor and delivery nurse was only supposed to leave me on the monitor for 15 or 20 minutes and would often “forget” to come take everything off. I wanted to wear my bra. I won that skirmish. I wanted to walk the halls. I won that, too. And I didn’t want anyone to offer me any pain medication. Already a HypnoBirthing veteran, I knew I could manage my labor using the self-hypnosis technique. I also wanted a birthing room, a battle that my midwife, Diane Lucks, fought for me — and won. (Triage was right next to the nursing station; the birthing rooms were WAY down the hall. Being in a birthing room meant the nurse actually had to get up off her ass to take care of me.)
Two years ago today my labor progressed every time I was up and walking. It stalled when they made me sit in that stupid bed with the monitors on. (Monitors that more and more doctors are pointing to as the reason for a skyrocketing Cesarean birth rate.) I can honestly say I didn’t feel the contractions until the end. But since I was not given any Pitocin or other drugs they were manageable. Only 55 seconds, actually. Most of the time I was able to convince my body that I wasn’t feeling any pain. Only pressure. Yes, when they checked me again at 7:15 and my water broke I started feeling the contractions a bit more, but even then I could look at the clock and realize I would get through it. And eventually, I did. When I got to the end and was ready to get that baby out of me and I did and in record time. All it took was three pushes sitting up in my birthing-bed-that-turned-into-a-birthing-chair. And Little Girl was born at 8:57 p.m.
Two years ago today I hugged and thanked my most awesome midwife, who let me be as natural as I wanted while providing me with the best care possible. Without her I know I wouldn’t be writing this particular story. She was there for me every step of the way fighting to keep my birth one that had very few medical interventions. I know in my heart I had a big part in that, too. By staying home as long as I could, demanding intermittent monitoring, asking to walk the halls, giving birth sitting up — not lying on my back without the help of gravity, and not being afraid of feeling the contractions I had an easy, uneventful delivery. And my husband, too, of course. He was supportive, thoughtful and kind. He fought for me, too. We were a great team. (I actually felt really bad for him because his legs hurt the next day after walking the halls with me for hours.)
And so two years later I say happy birthday, little girl. I remember it all like it was yesterday. Thanks for being you. Mwwwah!
Hope you had a good weekend. What’s your birth story? Everyone has one. Would love to hear it.