My One and Only Unmedicated Birth
Updated: Aug 23, 2020
This is copied from my Journal that I wrote six days after he was born.
James Thomas Lewis was born on September 23, 2016 at 8:20pm Weighing 5 lbs 7 oz and measuring 18 in long.
I had gone to the hospital the night before at 5pm. My contractions had gotten a lot more painful throughout the day. I had been having contractions for eight weeks straight, stronger than Braxton Hicks contractions, but they had not been causing any dilation so there was nothing to do but take some medication to relax my Uterus, rest and try to toughen them out. At this point it was the 4th time I had been to the hospital with Contractions. When we got there I was dilated 1.5 cm, typically that is way to early to be at the hospital, but due to the high risk nature of my delivery (I was attempting the first VBa2C that the hospital and Practice had done) I was to be in the hospital early. They couldn't tell if this was the real deal or not, my cervix was soft but change needed to happen to prove labor was happening, so I was told to walk the halls for an hour and see if I progressed.
So Jason and I walked, he played Pokemon go on his phone and worked on making me laugh and staying distracted. It worked, I dilated another .5 cm and the doctor was not comfortable sending me home, so I was admitted. I sent Jason out to eat while I continued to walk the halls. I had all of the nurses laughing because I had music playing while I walked and danced down the hallways. (By the end of all of this I had walked the halls for six hours of labor).
My Mom arrived at 8pm, she was going to stay the night with me, Jason went home to sleep, take care of the other kids and get work done. The doctor checked me at 11pm and I had not changed. Again they did not think I was truly in labor, but the contractions were still every 4 minutes and I could not talk through them. We all decided that I should get some medicated rest (when you take a strong pain medication that is safe for labor typically Tordal or Stadal) in hopes that it would stop the contractions or at least allow me to sleep a bit.
I was able to rest, but my sleep was not deep. The medicine made me feel dizzy and a little bit like I was out of my body, but I was unable to actually sleep. The pain was eased a bit, but never really went away completely. Dr. DeHoff came on shift in the morning, he was the one that helped to deliver Dean during an Emergency CSection, I trusted him completely. When he came in and checked me at 10am I had not changed at all and he said, "We really don't know what to do with you?" I was in too much pain to be sent home, but they could not say that I was in labor. Because I was still 36 weeks, ethically they could not do anything to encourage the labor. He decided to give me double the pain medication from the night before, if in six hours I had not started bleeding or dilating I would be sent home.
I was completely out of it for the next four hours. I sent my Mom home to clean up since I would just be sleeping. When I woke up at 2:30pm, I went to the bathroom and I had started spotting. Doctor Dehoff came in and said: "Well I can't send you home now, your going to have a baby."
I called Jason, he was going to pick up the kids from school, bring them to the hospital to say hello to me and the sitter would pick them up from there. Next I called my dear friend Katie Griffin who would be acting as my doula (birth coach) and filming the Labor for her Birth Method and classes, Kopa Birth. After her I told my Mom to get back to the hospital.
Dr. DeHoff was not willing to do any interventions to speed up my labor and I was grateful for that, so with my water still intact I began to walk/dance the halls again. The pain during the contractions was starting to get stronger, but was very manageable with slow breathing technique. I was even laughing and joking around with Katie in between them.
After an hour I had to go back to my room to be monitored. I decided to be on the birth ball, active labor was beginning in earnest. I retreated into myself a bit. Jason arrived with the kids to say hi, the boys just wanted to eat, but Caylee began to be my coach, she was only six years old. I am so proud of the courage and strength she showed. She told me to stay calm and reminded me of all those who love me in my life. I was worried she might begin to panic, but she had complete control. (To this day she still says that she wants to be a Nurse Mid-Wife or a Doula)
The kids left after dinner. As soon as they said goodbye and closed the door, my water broke all over Jason's legs. He had been kneeling in front of the birth ball squeezing my hips. After that things got intense. I was using advanced breathing techniques, using focal points and Katie and Jason were doing double hip squeezes. I begged the nurse to check me, but she would not because my water broke and she wanted to avoid infection. Being the control and anxiety prone person that I am, I wanted to make sure that I had progress happening because I knew I could not keep up that level of pain for more than a few hours. Jason was amazing, in our previous births he had a very hands off role, but he was coached by Katie and he really stepped up.
Once my water had broke it was hard to keep James on the monitor and I had to be moved to the bed. Laying on my back was not comfortable at all and I ended up in a side laying position with one leg up and Jason was behind me supporting my back. right before I had gotten in the bed I looked at my mom and I was crying/begging that I was in transition, she calmly replied that I was too quite to be going through transition. Well that changed once I got in bed. It was very primal and I was very loud. My sounds were high pitched and Katie redirected me to say "Baby" in a low deep voice. This really worked well and I could feel James coming down the birth canal. I may have sounded like Sloth from the Goonies, but those moans got me through transition.
Dr. DeHoff came in and asked that a birth table be brought in. Then he checked me and I was only at a 6, I started weeping. Begging for an epidural, wanting to quit. I even asked for a CSection fearing my Uterus was tearing because I had a very specific sharp low pain. I was losing control. I will be forever grateful for Dr. DeHoff, he looked at me calmly, " I know how much you want this natural birth, you are having a baby in the next 20 minutes, no epidural and no CSection" I was speechless and a complete peace came over me. I was comforted and confident, I knew that I could do this and I would hold my Baby soon.
I was beginning to have urges to push, but I knew you shouldn't push too soon or you could make your cervix swell. I did small mini pushes just to satisfy that urge. I was very vocal at this point, almost comical according to my husband. Dr. DeHoff while smiling said, "Well you can keep yelling or you can push out a baby, what do you want to do?" I looked at him elated and said: "You mean I can push?" He nodded yes. With one solid push, James flew out. The bed was still a bed and hadn't been transformed into the delivery table yet. Dr. DeHoff's face was priceless. It was a good thing his hands had been on the bed otherwise I swear James would have fallen off.
This had been the birth I had always dreamed about. I was blessed with the most amazing medical team in Charlotte, Providence OBGYN. Only 10% of women have unmedicated births, and even fewer with no interventions, but I was lucky enough to have it even though I was so high risk. I am proud of myself and honored to be a woman. I recognize that not all births look like mine did and I will be forever grateful for everyone who helped me along the way.