They say that you forget the pain of childbirth as time goes on and whatever it is that causes this, I have been blessed with.
When I look back on my delivery, it was idyllic. So much so, that in going back through pictures of Sophia’s birth, I am reminded that I wore an oxygen mask much of the day. It’s hard to believe I would forget that. I built the perfect birth team! I had Randy “The Rock N’ Roll Doula”, my amazing husband John and my mother all with me (even had a brief visit from my sister) – not to mention the stellar staff at Hudson Valley Hospital Center and a visit with both my 2 doctors and the midwife.
When John and I first spoke to Randy and Debbie, we were optimistic about having a natural birth but also very open to doing whatever it took to have a healthy baby and mama. I had several friends who wanted to “go natural” but none had been able to for any number of reasons. I consider them all remarkable and strong women. So, we knew that if we were going to give it a fighting chance that we needed help. John was concerned that at the first sign of discomfort he would want to do whatever he could to help me “feel better”. My health and safety was his number one concern.
A well-meaning relative suggested that doulas are for people who are insecure about labor and delivery. Our response to that was, “Well, if you are going to put it that way, then of course we are insecure.” We had never done this before.
When we walked into the office of Northeast Doulas and were greeted with a hug from Debbie, we fell in love and hired Randy and Debbie to support us in this birth.
My contractions started around 5am as mild cramps. John went to work. I called Randy around 7. She said “This is great. Sounds like you are going to have a baby today. Take it easy, maybe visit with a girlfriend, relax, do something you enjoy!.” I called her again around 8:30 with an increase in the regularity of the contractions. Randy’s reaction to this makes me giggle. She heard something in my voice and wisely and calmly recommended that I call John and have him come home to keep me company.
Shortly after John got home, my water broke – and I mean really broke. I had been concerned that I wouldn’t know if it had broken for sure. It was an undeniable gush. John called Randy again and we went to see my doctor at her office. I was 4cm and Dr. Mieszerski said that I could go home and labor there. The 30 min drive to the office had been agonizing and I just wanted to get in the hot tub at the hospital.
So, we met Randy and went to Hudson Valley Hospital. Once we got to the room, we discovered that I was dehydrated and would need IV fluids and that the baby’s heart rate was slightly elevated. It meant I would have to be monitored and tethered to the bed. This is exactly what I had hoped would not happen. I was sure it would mean drugs or an epidural at some point. I kept looking over my shoulder at the monitors to watch the baby’s heart rate and catching a sad glimpse of the hot tub that I was now unable to use.
Another moment in the day makes me giggle… I was so dehydrated that none of the nurses were able to find a vein to set the needle in for the IV. So, they had to call in a “specialist”. Randy later told me that the “specialist” was really the ANESTHESIOLOGIST. She confided in me that she was praying that no one would mention who he was. She wanted me to succeed in my goal and didn’t want me to know that the man, who could control my pain, was standing right next to me!
The day went on and I took many strong and supported breaths. I repeatedly asked John and Randy to remind me why I was trying to do this and we would talk through it and I would find renewed strength in my purpose in that moment. I wanted to be present and in control.
I remember feeling that if I were strong enough to have a successful natural birth that this strength would carry over into motherhood.
All I could do was breath. No walking. No hot tub. Just breathing. I remember everything happening around me, but I was in my own body like I have never been before. It was hypnobirthing at it’s finest and it was working! I was doing it!
My memory of it all was quiet and calm. I was supported and loved and stayed connected to my breath and my baby.
Around 7:30 Dr. Charles examined me. I was 10cm and a short time later Susan Schmidt (my midwife) arrived and I felt I was ready to push. I pushed for just shy of 15 minutes. I had allowed my body to do what it needed to do and my little girl and I experienced a smooth passive descent. We were both ready. Sophia Eileen was born at 8:00pm on the nose. I remember the more difficult parts of the labor, but I almost never recall it.
I was supported by an amazing team who I am ever grateful and thankful for. It could not have been more perfect. I can’t wait to do it again. I know that while I was able to find a store of strength that I didn’t know I had, I was also fortunate.
We now have been through a labor and delivery and neither John nor I would consider ourselves “insecure” about birth, but, we know we will also always have a Labor Doula with us when we give birth. I always say that the next time I find out I am pregnant; Northeast Doulas will be call #2 (right after John).
Oh and ps… in response to an earlier pooping blog post. I was nervous about it. I did know it was happening and I have to remind myself to not be embarrassed by it. A friend bet me that I wouldn’t even know it was happening. She owes me money!
Come on… I was eating a lot of spicy food leading up to that day…
Authored by: Nicole Frasco