After photographing my 1st natural birth 3 years ago, I was determined to have a baby without an epidural. My first 3 births were induced and medicated so I read the books, I went to classes, I talked with other moms that had done it, I was so doing this!
When I went to the Dr for my 39th week check up. I was done. I couldn't be pregnant another day. I asked if he would induce me. He called the hospital. They had an opening.
I went home. packed my bag. called my family.
this was happening.
It was noon when I arrived. I checked in. They hooked me up to the monitor.
After about an hour I asked the nurse when she was going to induce me.
lets get this show on the road I thought.
She said my contractions were consistent and we should just let my body do its thing.
WHAT? Contractions? I was in labor? HA!
I didn't even know it.
Looks like I'd be having my baby natural after all!
After 2 hours the nurse asked my Dr to come break my water. He said he would only do it if I was on pitocin. hmmm. ok, a little pit never hurt anyone.
So she hooked me up, he broke my water, and the contractions started getting stronger.
My doula arrived, and my photographer, then my mom, and sisters, and my bestie.
My kids were in and out of the room. giving hugs and helping push on my back during contractions.
we all sat and joked and talked. stopped for a contraction. then back to talking.
Around 4pm things started getting pretty intense. They had upped my pit several times. The contractions were coming so fast. I tried different positions but ended up kneeling on the bed and holding on to Dans shoulders during each contraction. After the contraction I would fall against him in complete exhaustion. I felt like I was in the ocean being slammed against a cliff with every wave. I couldn't catch a brake. I was sweating! Seriously, like full on marathon sweating. Cool rags on my head and everything.
Finally I couldn't take it any longer.
I asked for an epidural, or some drugs, anything!
She said it was to late, they wouldn't work in time.
I begged. Then I cried and pleaded.
Please give me something. Anything.
Physically I had reached my limit.
Fear had replaced faith.
I've seen this happen in other natural births I have attended.
It's called transition.
It's the moment right before delivery.
I had so much encouragement from everyone. So much support.
All of these amazing women that love me were there cheering me on.
I just wanted to give up. It was to hard. Harder than I thought it would be.
But they kept cheering.
And when I cried, they cried with me.
I could do this.
I can do it.
About 10 minutes after I asked... begged for pain meds.
I pushed out sweet baby #4 into the world.
It felt like forever, before the Dr turned her over and Dan announced the gender.
It's a GIRL!
Ok, now we were all crying again.
My baby was here.
She was here.
She was beautiful.
I did it.
cue the ugly cry.
(wont be showing those pictures lol)
Everyone cheered and congratulated me. They said I was a hero. I was amazing. I was a rockstar.
But I didnt feel that way.
I felt like a complete failure.
I felt like a baby. Crying and begging for help.
Inadequacy and doubt filled my heart.
I felt like I did a bad job.
I know it sounds silly, how can you do a bad job giving birth.
Why did I feel this way?
That night I couldn't sleep, I felt like I had post traumatic stress disorder.
I kept replaying the birth in my mind.
I was horrified that I had experienced something so painful.
I was saddened that I felt the feelings that I did when I knew I should be on cloud 9!
I should be on a runners high
(not that I know what that feels like, since I clearly don't run).
These feelings of inadequacy and failure continued until I received this letter from my friend/photographer a few days after the birth.
"... Being at your birth was the most beautiful things I have witnessed. Beautiful, not pain free or easy. I loved seeing you do something that you honestly didn't think you could do... you dug down deep and accomplished an amazing feat... I hope that as you go throughout the rest of your life you can remember what you accomplished in that delivery room. I hope that in times where you feel like you cannot go on, you will again dig down deep and push forward.
I saw in action the amazing power of women as you were surrounded by your mother, daughter, sisters... best friend... they knew how to be there for you and succor you through it without any direction. I am sure you were also surrounded by ministering angels, women ancestors who were called to help you through that very difficult time. I could feel the spirt so strong as your daughter came into the world, another beautiful woman in this amazing line of wonderful women...."
I obviously bawled my eyes out.
I felt the truth in her words. I was worthy of feeling joy and triumph, not failure.
I had a baby! Without pain meds, and with crazy pitocin running through my veins.
Also, afterwards, my sister reminded me that gingers feel more pain than the rest of the world.