So let me start this birth story off on a very honest note. “I’m calling bull scheisse on natural births.” Given that, you can tell Im still feeling a bit hostile about the whole thing. Not that women don’t have perfect beautiful life changing natural births (90% of women who try do, but there are the rest of us that don’t.
Lets go back a bit. I had a dream about having the most wonderful natural birth at the oldest birth center in Colorado. I was so excited. I looked forward to every appointment. I studied every single book on natural birth, watched every hypnobirthing video online, did natural birth meditations, and even signed up for a hypnobirthing class. I had a doula and even prepared my husband to be my doula and made him study the doula ways.
My weird balance of Type A and Type B personality made me extremely knowledgable about absolutely everything when it came to pregnancy but also calm in the sense that I wasn’t a stress ball, anxious and a nervous wreck. I happened to be the client who had a list of questions, and ended up trying to teach my Nurse midwives new things. Like an annoying know-it-all. Hey, I’m just a naturally curious person. No shame. #selflove. <3
Let me also say that my baby is thankfully so healthy and safe and I am incredibly grateful. But I wanted to write this article for other women out there who also didn’t get their dream birth, and that it does suck. It SUCKS SO MUCH! “Why? Why God why?” Well there’s a reason for everything. This entire pregnancy, delivery, and journey into motherhood has really taught me to let go and that I really cannot control everything. Maybe I have a theory that women who have C sections are the ones who are the most type A and plan too much. It’s our lesson. Surrender. Surrender to pregnancy, to contractions, to delivery, to your baby, and to you.
My pregnancy was relatively pretty easy and enjoyable if you don’t include the 2 months of severe morning sickness (I was no joke throwing up every 5 minutes into a puke bowl that stayed in my lap for the duration of my sickness), and the incredible loose joints thanks to my hyper-mobility and the hormone relaxin)…it was fantastic! I had a really small belly because of my long torso and no one could believe I was about to deliver.
About a week before I gave birth I started having extremely intense Braxton Hicks. They made my stomach incredibly hard and came in waves like contractions. I had no idea if I was in labor or not. My midwife told me to drink as much water and soak in Epsom salt. It did help. Unfortunately this same day our AC stopped working and they were putting a new roof on our house. With 80 degree weather in the house and constant banging, I would be lying if I said I was able to keep quite calm. I managed and the braxton hicks were less severe, but I was feeling off.
I was more afraid because I was 36 weeks pregnant. I wasn’t allowed to give birth at the birth center until 37 weeks. It turned out to be okay (for a little while). But ever since those contractions, I felt that Mila didn’t want to be inside me anymore.
A mothers intuition is something to take really seriously. This feeling I had that she didn’t want to be there was so strong. I just felt she was going to come out soon. I didn’t want her to. I really wanted her to be born in September (as a Virgo), not a Leo like me. Once again, you don’t get to control the journey of being a mother.
A week later, on August 13th, 2018 my water broke at 2:00am. It was trickling. It almost felt like I was peeing. I woke up Ilan (my husband) and said in a calm, but stern voice, “Honey, go get a towel, I think my water is breaking.” It took maybe 15 times of me saying it over and over again until he had the towel in his hand standing over me and said “Where do you want the towel?” His eyes still closed.
Im just laying there in a puddle around me (and the only night for my entire pregnancy we didn’t have the mattress protector, ironic huh?)…and I said with clenched teeth, “Under my butt.” Finally he woke up mumbling “maternal instinct.” Haha. I should really record conversations we have, when he is in this state. ^_^
Ilan is honestly the best husband, man, father in the entire world. When he’s slightly unconscious, it’s a little bit of a different story, but still. I won’t take away too much credit as he is UNCONSCIOUS after all.
We called the midwife center and they said to come in at 12:30 that afternoon. As it was my first birth it would take a while. We had nothing packed. Absolutely nothing ready, and the house was a complete mess.
She was coming at 37 weeks and 6 days. Ilan had to pack the car with everything. Sheepskins, yoga balls, clothes, oxygen machine, puddle pads, car seat, a ton of random stuff that actually was quite helpful.
While he was packing the car for 6 hours I was going through the contractions alone while timing them on a very annoying app and distracting myself with music. I didn’t have the first early stage of labor like other people did. I had contractions every 2 minutes right off the bat. No 30 minutes or 15 minutes between contractions. RIGHT OFF THE BAT. Including having my water broken, it was tough. I had my TENS machine that honestly just made it more painful. It was like dealing with 2 pains rather than just one. I still used it for almost 10 hours though, but wouldn’t recommend it.
A couple hours before we got to the birth center whenever I went pee the water was turning slightly green. GREAT. Meconium. If meconium is present, I couldn’t give birth at the birth center.
When we got to the birth center at 12:30 that afternoon my entire underwear was covered in dark green meconium.
I got transferred to UC Denver because they had a midwife center and I was thinking “Awesome! At least I can have my dream birth there because they still have a midwife center.” Turns out not all Midwives are wonderful.
I didn’t like the midwives there at all. Everyone was constantly in my face, wires all around me, asking me questions in a very patronizing way, not allowing me to go through a contraction in peace.
They did an ultrasound to check Mila’s positioning and lo and behold she was breech. Frank breech. One of the rarest forms. Meaning that her feet were touching her forehead in the womb, head upright.
I was going in for a C section.
4 midwives, a chiropractor I saw specifically to prevent breech births, and acupuncturist all missed it. They each did a physical check. NEVER AGAIN. This is what ultrasounds are for. I was anti-ultrasounds for the radiation and the longer term studies I read from China, but for the next birth I’ll do them more routinely but only for a couple minutes.
When Mila was finally born they said based on the way her legs were positioned, she was breech for a long time. Hmph. So much for that.
When they said I was going in for a C section, I actually felt like I knew for a while. When I first became pregnant, maybe a month into my pregnancy I started doing some visualization of giving birth to prepare myself, and for some odd reason, I kept feeling an incision rather than pushing her out. In a way I thought it was my fear manifesting itself, but it was just this incredible feeling I had. It was most likely God talking to me, just giving me a warning. If I listened, maybe things would have been a bit different. I could have prepared differently.
Ilan cried for the 2nd time since I met him. He was so upset. Funnily enough seeing him cry made me love him more.
Maybe 10 minutes before they told me I was going in for a C section, our friend and Doula, Rachel pressed every acupressure point on my body to help speed up labor. LET. ME. TELL. YOU. It is crazy powerful, and I would not recommend it, that set me for the craziest contractions in the entire world.
This was around 3:00pm. They said I couldn’t go into surgery until 9:30pm because I ate a piece of bacon at 11:30 that morning. One freaking piece…unless of course my labor progresses too quickly. It’s like my body was like “I’ll take that.” Things got really intense from there. Contractions were already 2 minutes apart and they sped up with only seconds in between. The worst part was THAT I WAS HAVING CONTRACTIONS FOR NO REASON AT ALL.
I really think I could have been able to get through a natural birth, BUT IT IS JUST TORTURE TO GO THROUGH THEM WHEN YOU ARE GOING INTO SURGERY.
I jumped into the bath to slow them down, and they felt like they were getting worse. I said give me anything to help stop the pain. So, they gave me phentonol and of course I had the adverse reaction. I was sleepy, stuck to a bed, and contractions got even more intense. I had to moan through each one, breathe deeply and keep my body relaxed, but nothing was helping. I wanted an epidural but the anesthesiologist was busy.
It got to a point where I was just riding one extremely long contraction, with absolutely no break in between.
They say when you go through labor you kind of experience this out of body feeling. It’s true. For me it felt like I was going through an underground tunnel. You know the ones through mountains as well that have some yellowish orange lights, and as the car moves fast through the tunnel it kind of has this whoosh whoosh feeling. Thats how I felt. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I just saw this tunnel that I was going through with my eyes closed.
For those who have never experienced a contraction before. I’m not trying to scare you. You can get through anything. We are meant to do this. This is what our bodies are designed to do. We technically have a higher pain threshold…yes, I know, I’m rolling my eyes too.
But if I had to explain what a contraction feels like I would say it feels like period pains, just a thousand times worse. Like hands that are on fire made of a bunch of needles are ripping your vagina open. That’s how I would explain it. I actually learned the intensity of a contraction is about 700-800 pounds of force being put on your pelvis. Thats why it hurts so much.
At this point, I’m riding out this extremely long contraction and just repeating over and over “Make it stop, make it stop.” Then I started feeling this intense pressure. She felt like she was coming out. Now I’m yelling “I can feel her coming out!” The doctors and nurses refused to check my dilation because of the meconium but finally they came to check me and were like “Holy Crap! She’s 7 cm.” I swear I was about to push in like 5 minutes if they didn’t bring me to surgery.
They wheel me to the operating room and I have to sit on this cold metal table and lean over while they give me the spinal anesthesia. Sitting still while going through a contraction on a cold hard surface was probably the hardest thing I ever had to do IN MY LIFE.
Once the anesthesia was in me, they lay me down on this tiny rectangular table with my arms and butt hanging off the sides. They add two small metal tables under my shoulder and arms to keep me from rolling off the table. I tell them I can feel all the contractions, and they were pretty much ignoring me. Then they started pricking me with something sharp and asking “Do you feel this?” I kept saying yes, and then literally out of nowhere they say “You’re going to feel some intense tugging now.”
I’m like “What? When did you cut me open?” I thought they were still prepping me. It’s absolutely insane how fast they can cut you open and take the baby out.
Then, more intense tugging and then I heard her cry.
One of the most insane experiences is giving birth the first time, whether vaginally or by c-section. You are still giving birth to a living being that was in your womb for so long. I was just in a state of complete shock. Even as they laid her down on my chest and I’m looking at her face, her big eyes, touching her skin. I couldn’t believe it.
One thing that was annoying that kind of took me out of the moment was the intense shaking that happens after giving birth. No one ever told me about the shaking. Have you? It’s your hormones and body freaking out because there’s no longer a baby in there. I was shaking for maybe 2 hours.
After 25 minutes of putting me back together again, they wheeled me out to the recovery room and we are just spending time with Mila on our chest and attempted to breastfeed. It was difficult for the next couple days until we introduced the nipple shield, but that’s another story. (If you got flat nipples, stay tuned.)
Recovery was difficult and hard and I went through a lot of grieving for the next couple of days. Especially day 4 was the absolute hardest. HORMONES. I was just a mess.
UC Denver was absolutely amazing. Everyone was so young there. The doctors and staff were so young and beautiful and being in Colorado, the medical staff was just so considerate and kind. When I was on the surgery table and Ilan and Rachel were watching me be cut open, a very good looking doctor was just petting my head as I laid there. That was one of the best moments. (Not the fact he was good looking, but the consideration and empathy.) So kind. They couldn’t do cord clamping like we wanted because of the meconium, but they did skin to skin right away and were really respectful of my wishes that they could do.
If I had to have a C section again I wish I could pick the same team.
To those who haven’t given birth yet, I would highly recommend to educate yourself deeply on both sides. I educated myself only a little bit about c-sections, because I was afraid if I read too much I would have brought it into my reality and would have ended up with a c-section. Well doing the exact opposite made it come true. It’s all so silly. What is meant to happen will happen.
You truly can’t control it. You have to learn as much as you can, both sides.
I would highly recommend getting some ultrasounds in there to really check positioning, not just the one I did at 20 weeks. Technology does win sometimes. This I learned too. We do live in the 21st century after all. Medicine and technology really saves lives, and could have saved my birth from being a surgery and the natural birth I always wanted.
If I can teach anyone anything from my birth story is to plan, but not overly so. Educate yourself on both sides. Do get more ultrasounds, and know that your baby will come out the way it wants. Accept and release. If you are doing a home birth or a birth center birth, do plan a hospital visit beforehand JUST IN CASE.
God is control of it. You are not in control. You cannot control pregnancy and the birth of your child. Know your options, know your backups.
If you end up with a C-section grieve, yell, talk badly as much as you can to get to out of your system. It’ll take a while to come to terms with it. I don’t think I was okay with it until maybe 6 weeks later. Until the pain of recovery was gone.
I was constantly angry when people would say, “As long as your baby is healthy that is all that matters.” I would think to myself “But what about me? Why can’t I have both, and not have to be cut open with major surgery.”
I’ll talk more about this in my C-section recovery story to help share some light on it, and how post-partum was like for me.
Sorry If I got a little carried away, but I really wanted to share with you my story. As annoying as it was. It was important that I go through it. For all those who wished for a natural birth but never got it, I am so sorry. I truly am. You wouldn’t think it would hurt as much as it does to not have your dream birth. Not getting your dream birth feels violating, silencing, and disempowering.
To go through birth and have your body take over and you can’t do absolutely anything about it. It’s scary. It’s terrifying. Especially your first time. You have no idea what’s happening and what could happen and just have to take one moment, one contraction, one decision at a time. As one of my midwives said whenever I asked her about giving birth and what it was like, she would say,“It’s painful, and difficult but you’ll get through it. You have to.” It’s true. It’s the difference between a girl and a woman. No matter if you give birth vaginally or through c section.
It’s the contractions that help transform us.
Everything in life is contrast. The bad times help the good times become even better. The pain and difficulty of the contractions make anything after seem like a cakewalk. That’s why mothers seem so tough and invincible. It’s because they are. Its like getting shot with a bullet and then walking away from it. Like a badass.
If you are worried. You have every right too. Remember, you are made for this. We are made for this. It’ll transform you into something so strong and powerful. It will make you into a true woman. Not saying (if you don’t want kids, haven’t had kids, or can’t have kids, it doesn’t make you a woman, it’s just this special experience can be so transformative, if you are blessed enough to go through it.)
A lot of cultures say you become a woman when you get your period. I think you become a woman when you go through labor. That is transformative. You go through labor then go through sleepless night taking care of a newborn non-stop for months, even years for some. Now that’s hardcore. That’s amazing. I’m still so impressed by every mother in the world.
That is what happened for me. I love being a mother. Im grateful for my story. It’s a more powerful story than, “I wanted a natural birth and it wasn’t painful because of hypnobirthing, and she just popped out into the water and swam right up to me. Yay!
No…More like, “I wanted a natural birth, God was like, nope. Here’s hardcore contractions for 15 hours straight, and abdominal surgery, and 3 weeks of incredibly intense recovery. You’re welcome.”
But everything happens for a reason.
This is my birth story.