This is the birth story of my oldest, who was born in 2009. He was born at Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base.
I've not shared his birth story here, and in honor of his first birthday I wanted to. So, here it is. :)
***On June 7th on the way home from church services, I told Philip that I felt "different". I noticed that my abdomen was a lot lower and it felt extremely heavy. I wasn't having contractions but I was feeling a lot of pressure and it was hard to walk. We decided to go to bed early (around 10pm) in case this was the "big moment". At 11:17pm I woke up in the middle of a contraction. It was very, very strong. It lasted about a minute and when it was over, I tried to wait for another one. It never came and I fell back asleep. At 11:41pm I woke up screaming. It scared poor Philip to death. I looked at him and told him we might need to go in if I had another contraction that strong. We waited and I had another really hard one ten minutes later. I sat on my birthing ball to help take the pressure off of my hips and lower back and in another ten minutes I had a contraction that was even stronger than the first two. I told Philip to call the hospital but before he could even get on the phone, I had another one.
The contractions started coming every two minutes. I managed the best I could on my own using the birthing ball and walking. Philip quickly loaded the car and we drove to the hospital. We got there around 12:30am on June 8th. The nurse took me back to triage and had me lay down. I couldn't even get to the bed. I told the nurse that I didn't think I would last long before my water broke and she immediately checked me. I was at 8cm and completely effaced. Then things started moving really fast. Philip got on the phone with my mom while they wheeled me into a delivery room.
At this point I was beginning to lose my ability to concentrate. My contractions were every minute and I had enough time in between contractions to catch my breath but that was about it. The doctor asked me if I wanted anything and I told her no but she called the anesthesiologist in there anyway. I told Philip that I didn't know what I wanted to do. I was unable to concentrate because the doctor wouldn't let me get out of bed and stand. I was laying flat on my back and it was making the contractions a lot worse. Philip dealt with my indecisiveness well and reminded me what I wanted. He was really firm and I was REALLY mad at him but eventually the anesthesiologist stopped asking me if I wanted an epidural or a spinal and left the room. The nurses and doctors left and I had Philip help me get out of bed. Once I was able to stand and sway my hips the contractions became a lot more bearable. The doctor was mad at me for getting out of bed but I wouldn't get back in. Philip helped me stay standing and I leaned against him.
My parents got there around 1:30am and as soon as my mom was there I got a second wind of energy and more resolve to birth Andrew the way Philip and I had planned. Unfortunately, the doctor kept hassling me about breaking my water and speeding things along and I was having a very hard time getting into a place where I was relaxed. At around 1:50am I told the nurse that I felt like I needed to push. My body was naturally pushing at the end of each contraction and I felt like it was something I needed to do. The doctor told me to get back in bed and they would break my water. I knew I was running out of time before they just forced me back into bed so when my next contraction came, I pushed on my own and my water broke. It was around 2:05 am.
Once my water broke the pain completely went away. I felt a lot of pressure but it wasn't painful at all. I laid down in bed and the doctor check me and she told me I could start pushing. They would only let me use two birthing positions --- laying on my back or squatting. Since I wasn't in pain anymore I opted to lay on my back so that I could relax my body in between pushing.
At first I had no clue how to push. Then it just started happening naturally. From the way the lights were positioned on the ceiling I could see everything going on in the reflection of my doctor's lenses and the mask of the attendee who was helping her. (I think this may have been his first birth because he looked terrified.) Pushing felt so amazing but it was exhausting. My oxygen level dropped, as well as my blood pressure and they had to put me on oxygen. The mask was really irritating but it did give me more energy. Then I saw his head crown in the reflection of my doctor's glasses and I could've climbed Mt. Everest with that energy burst. Two pushes later and he came out! I nearly passed out when I saw him. He looked enormous to me. Philip said that my eyes were huge and looked like they were going to fall out of my head.
It was 2:28am. Andrew Marshall Graves weighed 8lbs, 5.9 oz and was 21 inches long. There was meconium in my water when I delivered him so I didn't get to hold him right after he was born. I also had a second degree tear that they had to stitch up.
I was also very thankful for a quick labor. We were only at the hospital for about two hours before he arrived and I'm thankful I didn't have to be there longer because even though my doctor was nice and knew what she was doing, she really irritated me by not listening to mine or Philip's requests about the labor and the delivery. I also hated being hooked up to monitors and having an IV (which I pulled out on accident within thirty minutes of getting it.) We just really didn't have enough time to explain our requests about the way certain things were handled so, it may have been different if we had that time. They did several things that I asked them not to do, including clamping the cord immediately and cutting it, giving him the eye salve and Vit. K right away (the eye salve is required in Texas but Vit. K isn't, I asked them to wait for both of those). They also wouldn't let me leave the delivery room till I peed twice. There were also 14 PEOPLE in the delivery room, not including Philip or my parents. I asked Philip if they thought I was having multiples because there were SO MANY doctors and nurses. I didn't care that there were people there, but I don't know why there were so many.
Then, upon leaving today they tried to give me a Depo shot AND the MMR vaccine (since I showed up as non-immune for it in my prenatal screen) and the OB gave me a great lecture for declining them. She said, "I know it's popular to not get vaccines right now but, that's not safe nor is it an okay trend." I just smiled and said, "Okay." (The popularity comment made me laugh once she left. Even my dad was laughing about that one.)
Like I said, the birth and delivery went well but, the hospital staff wasn't cooperative. They were very nice and sweet but, acted like I was some wack job for requesting certain things be done certain ways. My mom was great though, and told me how proud she was of me and said that most doctors don't expect people to research the traditional procedures because it's what the doctor does and who are we to question medicine and, I think she's right. So...I'm really thankful for people who have helped me research lots of things and form my own opinions about pregnancy and childbirth.