In the natural living world, a hospital birth is practically a no-no. Hospitals are seen as a bad thing and anti-natural. Yes, to some extent this is true. Obviously, if you wanted to get back to your roots and the way things were done way back when, then yes, a hospital is not the place to birth. However natural births require moms to feel comfortable in their environment and thus they should choose their birth locations accordingly. For some that is at home, for others (like me) that’s actually at a hospital.
I choose to have my babies in the hospital because I would not be comfortable at home. Maybe if it was my first baby but I can’t imagine giving birth with all my kids around or back home shortly after I’ve had the baby. I like to have my full 24 hours in the hospital so I can relax and have a bit of one on one time with the newborn. That said, I’ve also learned that I like to use midwives that deliver in hospitals instead of ob/gyns. Midwives offer a more relaxed environment and they are definitely pro-natural birth! (big shout out to the wonderful midwives of Group Health!) So between the hospital and the midwives, I get the best of both worlds for me.
But enough about the whys… on to the actual birth story. Warning, it’s long. I get wordy during birth stories apparently.
My Natural Hospital Childbirth
At 41 weeks, I had a midwife appointment where I was just 2.5 cm dilated and I had her do a membrane sweep (my second one). This gave my a few contractions that day but they fizzled out. The next day, Saturday, I had nothing; a contraction here or there but that was it. Finally starting around 9:30pm on Saturday, I started having contractions that I could time. Went to bed and was able to sleep through them until around 3:30 when I woke up and decided to get out of bed to do a few last minute things since this was likely the real deal.
Around 4am, I wake my husband and tell him we should probably go to the hospital. My contractions were coming every 3-5 minutes and were getting harder to deal with. I was actually listening to my Hypnobabies tracks like a good girl this time! Normally I refuse to listen to them in labor. They seem to help best when I actually listen to them… go figure.
Checked in at the hospital around 5am. I’m only 5 cm which is good but I had assumed I’d be closer to a 6. Get out of triage and into my room and all the fun stuff begins. I go over my birth plan with the nurse. Yes, she can do a hep-lock… I didn’t want it but apparently once you are on baby #5 they start freaking out about postpartum hemorrhage. A hep-lock isn’t a huge deal breaker for me, so I allow it. Then there’s the fetal monitoring. I said I only wanted intermittent monitoring but of course it’s their policy to continuously monitor vbac patients… again I let them do continuous. I could have fought it as I know my rights
but it’s not a big deal for me. The monitors don’t bother me and they have wireless monitors so I can freely move or take a bath. Plus like I overheard my midwife tell the nurse… it probably would have bothered me more to have them bug me for intermittent readings anyway.
Around 7 am, I can finally get into the bath tub and try laboring in the water. I get checked right before I go in just in case I was somehow ready to push (they don’t allow water births at the hospital) but I was only 7cm. A 7 with a cervical lip. Ugh. This is a much slower and more painful active labor than my last baby. Knowing what I do now… I blame that cervical lip. Not too much I could have done outside of a few position changes but at least it would have given me a reason to understanding why things were progressing so slowly for me. I get in the tub. Much better.
In the tub, things felt nice… but hard. I had a bit of back labor for unknown reasons (Baby was not posterior so I blame that cervical lip… baby’s head was probably at an odd angle because of it or something). I realized that I had two different types of contractions going on. One type was the more painful type, the one that I really noticed the back pain. The other I kept associating with baby moving down and thus it just didn’t seem as painful. During all of this, I’m listening to my hypnobabies but as I’ve always said, I’m not their poster child for a pain-free birth… just a less painful birth. It definitely helps me and I don’t know if I could have made it through without my tracks but I definitely had to work for this natural birth.
Transition to Delivery
At one point the midwife checks in on me and I ask her to check me. She finds that odd and almost tries to talk me out of it but I want to know (I like numbers what can I say). I feel like I’ve been in transition for ages (pretty much from the time I got into the tub) and yet things don’t seem to be going anywhere (again, hindsight tells me this is thanks to that cervical lip! Apparently cervical lips like to prolong the whole process). She checks me and I’m only an 8. You have got to be kidding me! I’m left to labor in the tub and told to give them warning before baby comes (my last baby I didn’t give very much warning).
Finally at around 9:30am, I’m starting to feel the urge to push. About time! I let me husband know, who then tells the nurse and everyone starts moving. First it’s time to get me out of the tub. I was dreading this because last time it was a very long walk with contractions from the tub to the bed. This time however, the contractions gave me a break and I was able to get to the bed and stand by it. Midwife asks how I want to push and I let her know that I stood last time so I guess that’s what we’ll try. (This was what I assumed would work best for me and it’s somewhat like squatting so it allows more room but again that cervical lip actually prefers more reclined positions apparently so perhaps I would have been better in a different position) I still had the back pain so I have my husband pressing on my back. Quite honestly, I’m surprised I don’t have bruises from how hard I made him press but it’s what I needed.
Pushing was not the cake walk that it was for my last baby. My water broke with my first real push (I had been doing small slight pushes since laboring in the tub… don’t tell my midwife!) and that increased the pain a bit. Pushing is the most interesting time frame… I felt like it was forever and a day but of course everyone tells me it couldn’t have been longer than 3-5 minutes (thanks to my herbal pregnancy tea). I was able to finally get her head out and then her shoulders decided to be difficult. Not so difficult that we were worried about shoulder dysocia but difficult enough that the midwife “helped” get her out… which at that point I didn’t care because I was telling at her “get her out!” (Again, very different from my last birth where I really didn’t say anything at all) I’m kind of sad that I lost control at the very end but what happens in labor, happens in labor! Of course my husband tells me I wasn’t yelling like I feel like I was but I’m not sure if I believe him.
Laine was born at 10am on the dot on May 3rd measuring in at 8lbs 11oz & 19 ½ inches.
Third Stage of Labor
The midwife had me get on the bed (after I told her to give me a minute… I was kind of a mess emotionally after that pushing). I finally get on the bed; Laine gets put on the bed with me. We delayed the cord clamping until after it is done pulsating, which didn’t take very long. Then we moved into dealing with the placenta stage of labor. I wanted a non-pitocin placenta birth this time and thankfully my midwife worked with that despite everyone worrying about my slight increase for postpartum hemorrhage. Everything turned out fine. Delivered the placenta probably 15-20 minutes after having the baby, minimal bleeding and apparently my placenta was huge according to the midwife. I had a slight tear, which the midwife stitched but that was it. All that fuss about me having more risk for postpartum hemorrhage was for nothing. I had very minimal bleeding postpartum; the least I’ve ever had with any of my births. Take that pitocin!
All in all it was a good birth… just not as easy as my last birth. 12 hours total for the whole birth with only 6 hours being active labor. I loved having my baby in the hospital. I know it’s not for everyone but I still feel comfortable in hospitals for birth so it’s the place for me. You can definitely have a natural childbirth in the hospital; especially if you have a birth team that is pro-natural.