I Think I Can: A Birth Story

In celebration of the birth of our lovely contributor Stephanie’s darling baby girl, the women of Genesee County Moms Blog are remembering their babies’ birth stories! Here, I remember my very first terrifying birth journey, back in 2011. {You know, the Dark Ages.}

Staring down the barrel of your first labor and delivery is terrifying. You don’t know what to expect in your own birth adventure. You’re not sure if all the stories of pain and suffering and gnashing of teeth are exaggerated or not. {Why would other moms scare you on purpose?} No matter how beautiful and picturesque or awful your pregnancy is, the specter of childbirth looms at the end of those nine months like a horrifying monster you can’t escape.

Of course, at the end of that childbirth is a beautiful, plump baby that’s a mix of you and your significant other, and that helps put a little perspective on it.

Back in 2010 when I found myself pregnant for the first time, after the customary sixteen or seventeen pregnancy tests just to be sure, I found the pregnancy “bible”: What to Expect When You’re Expecting. It does have a sequel, What to Expect the First Year. Unfortunately, they are not accompanied by What to Expect When There is a Human Emerging From Your Body. And this was a subject that I was a tad bit nervous about. I kind of figured I would handle the first year once I was actually on the clock.

Do the research!

In the meantime, I found a marvelous book that I have raved about before – Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, by preeminent American midwife Ina May Gaskin. The first half is birth stories. {I kind of have a thing for birth stories.} The second half is full-on midwife wisdom. It demystified the process a lot for me.

I’m not normally a research-crazy type of person. The difference was that in this situation, no one else was going to be able to do this for me. No matter how supportive and fabulous my husband was, I was the one who was going to be feeling the contractions. I was the one who had to have her head in the game. No one was going to save me.

I also used to be a huge fan of medication. I was a med-passer in an assisted living home for five years, wrapping up only at the end of my first pregnancy. I’ve always been the first one to take some medicine for a headache, and I figured that would translate to, “GIVE ME ALL THE DRUGS!” when I was in labor. And initially, this was my plan.

However, as the date approached, and as I made my way through Ina May’s book, I realized that my body was made for this. Women have gone through this for thousands of years. And I was kind of curious to see if I could do it.

Reading isn’t doing!

I know you’ve seen the crazy crunchy-mama-wannabe in the movies who swears she’s going to do it all natural and then when the first contraction hits she starts screaming for an epidural. I feared this would be me.

Somehow, everything worked in my favor. First and foremost, Baby came a lot faster than most first babies. I couldn’t have taken that kind of agony for much longer. And as I addressed in another post, I held on with both hands to the knowledge that once the pain became unbearable, it was almost over.

My mom and my sister were visiting from out-of-state, and they helped me keep my cool {and time contractions} until it was time to go to the hospital. Thank heavens we weren’t sent home.

Faster than expected was apparently the order of the day, because no one thought my little Wild Thing was going to come before midnight. When the labor and delivery nurse said something about that, I just about lost hope. Thankfully, my fabulous and stalwart husband was by my side, letting me mangle his poor hand. Listening to me rave like a Bedlamite. Not even deciding that I wasn’t the woman he had fallen in love with. He was by my side the whole evening, encouraging me and telling me between contractions that I was going to make it through this.

Isn’t anyone listening?!

The common thread through all three of my births is that nobody ever took me seriously when I said I needed to push. Obviously, it was too soon, right? This lady is crazy. It’s wishful thinking. Someone get her a cup of ice chips and tell her to calm down.

Wellllll, this lady might be insane, but she was right about this.

I was nearing transition, and I knew it was getting to where I couldn’t stand it anymore. At my last check, I was only eight centimeters dilated. Those last two centimeters seemed insurmountable, and that was just until the pushing started. Apparently, most women push for possibly hours {*faint*}. Thankfully I am not one of them.

Once the nurses and residents realized that I wasn’t just blowing smoke, they called my doctor and said he needed to get to the hospital now. He was in the middle of sports practice with his son, whom he had to bring him to the hospital. He arrived just in time to catch my squalling baby girl.

One of my least favorite birthing memories: having the staff tell me repeatedly that the doctor was almost here! Don’t push! Don’t push!

{If you have ever given birth, you know that this instruction is a no-go.}

Ten minutes of pushing, then “It’s a girl!” My poor husband might have every bone in his hand broken, but I had gotten my natural birth.

My sweet Samantha!

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