Thursday, February 2, 2017

Bennett's Birth

The day before Bennett was born
Before I ever got pregnant, I was pretty sure I wanted to have a natural childbirth.  I had a few friends who I really admired who had natural births.  I also saw the documentary "The Business of Being Born", which while I realize is biased, I still found very informative and inspiring.

While it is not a choice I think everyone would/could/should make, I am grateful for the birth experience I had.

 I had a very long early labor (Wed - Friday), where I more than once thought it was about time. I kept calling the midwifes and checking in, and they kept saying... "nope, doesn't sound like you are ready yet". We even went in on Wednesday night to discover I was only dilated to a 2.... not even close!

We spent the days going on walks, playing board games, trying to get some sleep. My contractions slowed down during the day.

At night they picked up, and that was why we checked in so many times. I would contract with such regular frequency and growing intensity. I spent all of Friday night pacing the floor, alternating between sitting in my big blue arm chair and leaning over our kitchen island to work through the contractions.

Finally Saturday morning I had had enough! Things started to slow down again as they did the previous days, but we drove on in to the Birth Center because I was so worn out and we were tired of waiting. To our delight I was dilated to a 6. I was so excited when the midwife told us we were having our baby today... it gave me a new burst of energy and courage. We had been so discouraged every time they had said not yet.  They sent us on a long walk to get things moving and then admitted us afterwards. The walk was actually really empowering. We were walking through Cambridge and I kept having to stop for contractions, and people would see me and shout "You can do it! I've been there!" or "You Go Girl!"

My blood pressure was too high to stay at the birth center (a center on the hospital campus that is more home-like/comfortable), so I waddled slowly and stopped often as I was transferred to the hospital to have Bennett.  Although I am sure the birth center would have been fine, I really had a good experience in the hospital.  They knew I wanted a natural birth, and I clicked a lot better with the midwife there.

Within an hour of being there I was already to an 8, so they broke my water. I then took a hot shower. They asked me afterwards if the contractions felt more intense... I could hardly feel them in the shower. Within 15-20 minutes of hopping out of the shower, my doula said..."Are you pushing??? It looks like you are bearing down?" I said I had no idea, my body was just doing what it was doing. They brought in the midwife and I had my first real push. There is nothing that could have prepared me for that! I literally felt him move like 2 inches down the birth canal and my eyes almost popped out of my head. I got pretty scared... but the midwife was so supportive and told me to listen to my body. I pushed every few minutes for about 45 minutes, and then Bennett was born. The pushing was definitely the most intense experience of my life... I felt so strong yet so weak at the same time. My body knew what it was doing though, and as long as I listened to my body it was okay.

I can also really attest the natural pain relieving powers of our bodies. I felt like I was on another planet. I had hormones rushing through me that I have never ever felt before, I was almost in a trance of some sort.

 The rush I felt from natural birth was incredible. After Bennett was born and they were cleaning everything up, I just sat in the bed in awe. I felt like I was in another dimension. If I were to imagine what it was like to be extremely high, I was higher than a kite. I had so many natural hormones rushing through my body... it was amazing. And while pushing is one of the most painful experiences I have ever had... it brought me the greatest joy I have ever had. My sweet Bennett.

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