It's a month and twenty days since I gave birth to my sweet and very expressive little boy. I had such a different vision of what my birth and life would be like after having my baby. I imagined a lot of blissful time cooking and working on my cookbook as my baby slept or relaxed on my body. I envisioned walks to town and friends snuggling up my little guy. I thought it would be so easy. I also thought Liam, my baby, would just fall right out of my body with ease and grace. The saying; "God/Spirit laughs at us when we make plans" feels so right.
I didn't take childbirth classes because I decided to fly out to Washington during the time my childbirth classes started in Colorado. I wasn't going to stay in Washington for the birth of my baby but that's what ended up happening because I needed the support of my friends and family back home. I arrived in Olympia June 12th and had my baby a little less then two months later on August 4th.
My friend Kristen Rubis who was previously a doula gave me great materials to read and videos and I talked to friends about what I should do for the birth. I read a book and made a birth plan. I think taking the classes would have helped in building more community and having a little better perspective and tools for the labor. We are always learning and growing.
I decided to give birth at Saint Elizabeth's Hospital in Enumclaw, WA, 1 1/2 hours away because it's the most natural hospital in the state; they don't give Hepatitis Vaccine when the baby is born (you can only contract hepatitis via blood, so why would a baby need this), they put the baby on you right after he comes out and they have him breastfeed right away, they don't do any testing on the baby until an hour after snuggling and bonding with the mom and dad, they wait for the umbilical cord to stop pulsing before cutting so that the baby can be fully nourished from the umbilical cord, they encourage natural childbirth and do everything possible before doing a c-section (they do less c-sections then any other hospital in the state), they have a birthing tub, and there are only three birthing rooms and five recovery rooms.
When I stared to have contractions my partner and I decided to drive over to Enumclaw and watch a movie just in-case I started to go into full blown labor. By the time I arrived in Enumclaw my contractions were 4-5 mins apart and growing in intensity. I called my sister from Starbucks and asked her what to do and she encouraged me to go to the hospital. So, off we went.
When we arrived they asked me a million questions and my body started to turn off and my mind turned on and my contractions almost stopped. Ina May who is an incredible MidWife say's giving birth is like pooping, haha, you have to feel very relaxed and safe to poop just like you have to feel safe and relaxed to give birth. So, we went up to the birthing rooms and I was only 2 cm, usually you don't go to the hospital until you are 4 cm or more. But they gave me a few hours to see what would happen and voila, nothing. I didn't progress so they sent me out to walk, go to dinner and see if I could get my labor going again.
We went and watched Aladdin and feeling safe in the dark theater my contractions started again. And then we walked to get frozen yogurt across a brightly lit strip mall and my contractions stopped.
We were so frustrated that we came up with a million dollar idea and maybe one of you wants to create this; there could be a beautiful labor house where women who weren't far enough along to stay in the hospital but didn't want to go home could stay. There would be massage, acupuncture, a chef, calm music, soaking tubs, yoga balls, and everything to help a woman continue to labor without pressure! It feels so terrible to be sent home because your labor isn't progressing fast enough (I don't do well with these expectations). Other women in my family have given birth in a car and an ambulance because they were sent away and couldn't return in time.
It happened to be the Highland Festival in Enumclaw and all the hotels were full and we didn't want to go back to Olympia because it was an hour and a half a way, so my sister rented us a deluxe room in Federal Way (30 mins away). I had intense contractions all night, and I felt I could have had my baby that night but I willed it away because I didn't want to drive to the hospital and possibly be sent away.
So, I cried and moaned through the night while trying to watch A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody. Eventually morning came and I was exhausted from only being able to sleep off and on for 15-30 mins at a time. We were able to rent another hotel room in Enumclaw and went there. I continued to have intense contractions but they were every ten minutes instead of four minutes. It sucked being buckled down for the experience.
Eventually we made it to our hotel room in Enumclaw and again my contractions slowed down. My sister arrived and made me walk which brought them back on, but a big part of me was saying; "why the F*** would I want these contractions that hurt so bad when It seems like I can stop them, I'll just keep my baby inside." My sister knew this and was trying to encourage me to be okay with the pain and look forward to having my baby.
The challenge was I wasn't fully ready for my baby. I had a place in Olympia that was set up but temporarily and my partner and I were figuring things out, it wasn't how I planned to have the baby and that was making my body not let go. I felt like I was on a dock about to jump in the water but continuing to chicken out over and over.
I called one of my best friends and that helped and then my sister went home and it got dark and everyone was asleep and then my body went into full blown contractions that were the most intense yet. I called the hospital and they let us come in. We came in through the emergency entrance and only had five minutes of answering questions and they let me walk up. I got halfway down the hall and started screaming because the contraction was so intense, a nurse asked if I wanted help but I knew it would pass and I could get to the room before another one would start.
I got up to the birthing area and my room with the birthing tub was already in-use so I had to use the room next door. The nurse strapped me down to do readings on the baby and I had a terrible contraction and ended up ripping the wires off me, throwing up, and peeing myself because It was too much to be tied down.
She decided to do a wireless monitor, smart lady, and once all was good she took it off.
The room had a tub but it wasn't a birthing tub. I jumped in and used it on my low back because of the excruciating pain I was having because my baby sunny side (his face was toward my belly and it should have been toward my back) up and pinching a nerve in my low back on each contraction.
They checked me to see if I was dilating every couple of hours and I was only opening 1/2 cm every 4 hours or more and the pain kept increasing. By the next afternoon (day 3) I was shaking from pain and only dilated to 5 or 6 cm and i needed t get to 10 cm. So, I asked what the harm was in doing some pain killer and she made it seem like there wasn't much (the challenge is you get some reprieve and you don't want to go back to the full pain.) I got an analgesic, fentanol, which didn't get rid of the pain but reduced my awareness of the pain and had a calming effect for an hour. I felt a little silly and loopy which was kind of fun after so much pain, but it also made the pain worse when It came back. So, I asked for it again and the pain was tolerable and I was able to take a brief nap.
I decided I wanted to try to flip the baby while I was on the fentanol and my friend Kari was willing to help. So, we chatted on the phone and she told me different yoga poses I could do with the help of my partner