My Son's Drug Free Birth (10.4 lb baby) (Long)
posted 7th Jan '09
Name: Corbin Micheal Anderson
Birth Date: November 25, 2008
Weight: 10 lbs, 6.5 oz
Length: 21 in
How it Began
When I woke up the morning of the 25th, I did not feel different. No contractions and no sign of Corbin coming any time soon. I was 5 days “overdue” and I wasn’t uncomfortable in the least! I had an appointment at the radiology building to have an ultrasound to measure amniotic fluid. While we were there they estimated Corbin to be 9 lbs 4 oz. “Wow”, I thought, “that’s a good sized baby!” I had no idea! After that we went to the birth center to do a NST to make sure Corbin was ok. He looked good so we went ahead for our appointment.
One of my midwives checked me and told me I was about 5 cm! I was in awe! How could I be that open and not in labor? My midwife offered to break my water since it seemed all my body needed was a kick-start. I was hesitant but anxious to meet my baby. My mom was pressuring me to do it since she could only stay for 2 weeks and she wanted to see the baby as long as possible. So I agreed.
We went home to get everything together. We had a bag with a change of clothes for Brandon and me, the diaper bag and a bag of snack food (which was not touched). We got back to the birth center at about 1:30 pm to break my water. Around 2:00 pm another one of the midwives broke my water and sent me out to walk. It only took until about 2:30 pm for me to be in full blown labor!
I labored alone in the shower for the first part of my labor. I don’t remember what those contractions felt like. I kept having the urge to pee and when I tried to it would bring on a contraction. I was hanging on the top of the shower and swaying back in forth with the water as hot as I could get it on my back. I was coping well, but I was restless with the back labor.
I started to get a bit anxious for my husband, but I didn’t want to appear weak so I waited until a contraction ended before I opened the door and said, “Brandon? Can you come here?” It was about 3:15 pm at that point. I got out of the shower and started walking around, leaning over the bed, stomping my feet, swaying, and rocking. I was just trying to get through each contraction. I started to get very anxious and scared because I felt like I couldn’t get on top of them. Brandon tried counter pressure with a hot rice sock, but it was too much for me.
My labor was flying by and I stopped getting any breaks between the contractions. It really felt like one 1.5 hour contraction. It was very intense and I was vocalizing a lot. I asked to get in the tub at this point but it hadn’t been sanitized from the last birth yet! That was so incredibly stressful! I finally got in the tub on my hands and knees at about 3:45 pm.
Brandon was great the whole time! He was pouring water over my back and encouraging me. I remember yelling at him because he was taking too long to refill the bucket between pouring them over me. He then started warning me when the water was about to run out and he refilled it fast. I was writhing and moaning/screaming with every contraction. I was looking for something to bite down on. I started biting his arm but went to a bath pillow when I realized that I could really hurt him.
Around 4:15 pm I was to my breaking point. I was crying between contractions because I just did not want to do this anymore. I was begging for drugs at this point, I started begging for something to take the edge off.
I was moaning “poison, poison, poison” between contractions. That was our codeword for when I was giving up and wanted drugs. Of course it didn’t really matter since they don’t offer drugs at the birth center but it made me feel better. Once I started saying that he asked the nurse if there was anything they could do for me. “No, there’s nothing that would help in time anyway. Why don’t we do a vaginal exam to see how far along you are?” I agreed.
The midwife checked me around 4:30 pm and told me I was 9.5 cm! I was still on my hands and knees. As the midwife was walking out of the room I yelled “I’m pushing!”
I HATED pushing. I did not like the sensation of my body pushing without my consent! I was still not getting breaks between contractions and now I was having pressure, burning, back labor and contractions with no break!
I pushed on my hands and knees until around 5:30 pm. The nurse had been suggesting that I move to the toilet to push, but I politely ignored her. Since it had been an hour though, I agreed to turn over into a reclined/semi sitting position. I did not want to move, but I did anyway. Brandon started rubbing my shoulders and my chest at this point and the nurse was pouring water on my belly. I never thought of myself as that woman who screams in labor. But let me tell you, during pushing I was very loud. I couldn’t control it! I tried so hard not to push because it hurt so much. But I remember the nurse saying that I had some good “separation” happening so I felt a little more motivated to push.
At some point the nurse said that I could try to feel his head if I wanted to. So I put my hand down there and there he was. About an inch or two inside was this squishy little person, which gave me hope that the end was near. A little while later the nurse said that he had black hair! I was excited now that she could even see hair! I started pushing even harder at that point. I tried to get 3 pushes in each contraction. The first one I never felt him move much, the second I felt him moving a little and the third was when I always felt the most progress. It hurt so bad though that I often stopped before the contraction was over and just screamed through the rest.
The nurse asked if I wanted someone to take pictures of the birth. I kept saying “no” over and over. I regret that so much. I really wish I had pictures. During one contraction the midwife started telling me to push through the pain and push through the ring of fire. But, I was in so much pain that I didn’t even know what she was talking about! When his head finally came out, I didn’t even notice! The nurse told me to push for the shoulders and I was confused! I had to ask if his head was really out. Everyone laughed and said yes.
The midwife was freaking out a little bit though and told me to push harder so I did. I heard her tell the nurse that there was a Nuchal situation (when the baby is born with its hand up by its face). That explained the back labor! Sometimes with Nuchal arms, the shoulders get stuck (explaining why the midwife was in such a hurry to get his shoulders out), but I was able to push the shoulders out with no problem. As he moved down though, I could feel him moving my pelvic bones and my hips apart. That was awful!
When he was halfway out I instinctively reached down, grabbed him and pulled/pushed him the rest of the way out. Brandon said I pushed the midwife’s hands away to grab him but I don’t remember doing that. I could hear Brandon laughing with joy and saying “Baby!” over and over again. I pulled Corbin onto my chest and started rubbing him and talking to him. He didn’t cry right away, it was a few minutes before he did. I remember being a little worried about it, but he was ok. His little face was so bruised and swollen. He had two black eyes, his whole head was a bruise and his nose was crooked. Since he came out with his hand by his head, the left side of his face was more swollen than the other side so it was hard for him to latch for a while. He was just pitiful looking.
Those First Few Hours
Later we put a few pieces of gauze soaked in arnica on his head under a hat. Arnica is like homeopathic aspirin. You can buy it in a pill, a gel or a powder. This was powder dissolved in some water that we used. The bruising on his head went away in a few hours!
To be honest, I was more relieved that labor was over than I was excited to have a baby. I felt guilty about that at first because the pain of having him affected my initial bonding with him. I learned that that was a normal response though and we bonded quickly in the next few hours. He had a very short cord so we only left him attached for a little while. Brandon cut the cord and took him so I could concentrate on delivering the placenta. I stayed in the tub to deliver it, and I’m glad I did!
When my midwife told me to give a little push to get it out, there was an explosion of blood! It sprayed all over the tub like an 80’s slasher movie (without the bad music)! My midwife said, “Damn that was…interesting.” After that though, the placenta came out with no problem. The midwife took it into the other room and came back to rinse the blood off of me and help me out.
When I went to get up I almost passed out because I literally couldn't breathe. They put smelling salts under my nose and that perked me up enough to get to the bed. Later they figured out that I had anemia due to blood loss, which was causing tachycardia when I stood. I remember the nurse saying, "Good, your heart rate is getting below 180." The tachycardia issues lasted a few days.
When they checked me they said I had 2 very superficial tears on either side of my labia. She wanted to go ahead and stitch me to avoid the possibility of them healing together so I got 2 stitches! She also decided that I was passing way too many blood clots so she manually got the rest of them out. Can we say “ow”? I was yelling and squeezing the nurse’s hand so hard!
I tried to take a nap for a few hours, but ultimately I just laid in the dark. I was thinking about what had just happened, my life as a mother, etc. When it became clear that I couldn’t sleep, I tried to take a shower. It didn’t work though due to the tachycardia. It made it to where I couldn’t breathe, so I just shampooed my hair once before the nurse had to help me back to bed.
Breastfeeding and Beyond
For a while we had some issues with his latch. This was due both to his severe bruising and because my nipples were flat. The nurse got us a nipple shield, which helped immensely. We only needed it for about 12 hours though! He has been addicted to the boob ever since.
About 9 hours after he was born, we were on our way home. By that time I had already decided that I still want 4 or 5 more kids and I had bonded with Corbin. I love him so much! I had a little PTSD because of the pain, but I realize now that there were many factors that led to the extreme pain: AROM, big baby, precipitous birth, nuchal hand, back labor, etc. So now, about8 months later, I’ve come to terms with it. My drug-free water birth was so empowering, I feel like I can do anything now! I will definitely do it again and again. I can’t believe that I birthed a 10 lb 6.5 oz baby with a nuchal arm and only got 2 stitches that I could have done without!
posted 11th Jun '09
"To be honest, I was more relieved that labor was over than I was excited to have a baby."
Same here! My last pregnancy I labored at home for 7 hours, got the epi after a couple of hours at the hospital, but it wore off before my 9th cm thanks to a lazy doctor. The pain of the contractions and the pain of the pushing, and his feet in my ribs... oh man... the pain makes it so much more exhausting. My first pregnancy I went drug free for 20 hours, but couldn't handle it anymore and got the epi. Giving birth numb was so much easier. Personally, I prefer it... but my doctor took too long to arrive. I commend you on doing it all drug free, and I don't know HOW you got that huge baby out of there with only 2 tiny cuts. I'm guessing that's why the pushing phase was so long. Poor mama! Congrats on your beautiful little boy and "you go girl!"