I think it’s important to say that any woman who brings a child into the world is incredible! Whether the delivery be vaginal or cesarean, medicated or not, that woman has sacrificed herself — emotionally and physically — because of the love she has for her child. The main reason why I want to share my birth experience is to help other woman feel confident in their bodies through pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
Here is the story of my first born, Lennon Lewis McKee:
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to give birth as naturally as possible. I wanted my body to go into labor on its own, then I wanted to deliver my baby without any medication. I like a challenge, and I knew this would definitely be one. I had my birth plan down to a T and went over it with my doctor. No epidural, no IV running, no pitocin. Logan and I had attended Lamaze birthing classes to prepare ourselves for the big day. We learned different techniques to relieve pain without medication, such as massage, acupressure, hot/cold therapy, and meditation. Through these classes, Logan learned how to be an effective support person through labor and delivery (which was critical in maintaining the birth plan).
As the due date came closer, my doctor recommended that we be induced since our baby was measuring ahead of schedule. I declined, since I wanted my body to go into labor on it’s own. Our due date passed, and I still hadn’t gone into labor. I was already dilated to 4.5 cm, and had been that way for about a week. At 40 weeks and 3 days, my doctor again suggested that we be induced. I didn’t want to use pitocin to induce labor because I didn’t want to use any medication, nor did I want to risk having negative side effects. Instead, I agreed to have my water broken since they would probably need to break it manually during labor anyway. Also, in my mind I knew that it was time my son was born.
Logan and I already had the car packed and ready to go. We went out to breakfast together then headed to the hospital. We got checked in, and at 1:00 PM the doctor broke my water. Luckily, things progressed pretty quickly from there. Within 30 minutes my contractions were becoming regular and more painful. Initially, the pain was in the lower front and I would massage my lower abdomen to relieve the pain. These contractions were felt for about 2 hours until the pain shifted into my back. Back labor was much harder to manage. Logan was massaging when I needed and would provide counter pressure on my hips. Unfortunately, all the positions we had learned in our classes were not comfortable for me, but we figured out what worked for us pretty quickly. In the beginning, walking around while massaging worked best, but once back labor kicked in, I couldn’t stand anymore because of how pushy I was feeling. After a few hours of labor, I was exhausted. I kept telling Logan that I think I want an epidural just so I can sleep. I would doze off between contractions then brace myself for the pain and breathe through each one. It was so hard. I kept saying, “Logan, why do I want to do it naturally? What’s the point?”. I had prepared Logan for me to say these things and he was the best coach EVER! He just talked me through them and encouraged me to eat/drink things to keep my energy levels up. He encouraged me to breathe through the pain and just go a little longer. Well these, “just a little longer” added up, so it ended up being true.
I learned that women who decide not to use an epidural feel a lot pushier, a lot earlier. Let me tell you, the urge to push came pretty early on! At about 7:30 PM I thought I needed to use the restroom, but when I tried I just started shaking and I thought it might be the baby’s head. We called in a nurse who verified that the baby’s head is pushing down and it is not a bowel movement! At that point I was 8.5 centimeters and feeling REALLY pushy. I had to stay sitting down and continue to breath through the contractions to the best of my ability. The doctor arrived shortly after. I had a few more contractions, but once I knew it was the baby and not poop, I was able to focus a lot better and manage the contractions and make them much more productive rather than holding them in. Within 45 minutes I was completely dilated. Once the doctor said I was at 10 cm, I got on my hands and knees to start pushing. He let me know that first time moms tend to have a hard time pushing without restraint. I was given a few tips, and you bet I took those and went with it!!!
The pushing was my favorite part of labor! I could push through contractions instead of hold them in, and I knew I would have my baby boy so soon! Each contraction, I was to take a deep breath, hold it in, and push for a whole ten seconds. We did this three times in each contraction, which helped the baby move further and further down. It felt like his head was crowning forever! I would eagerly await the next contraction so I could push more. After about 20 minutes, his head came out! Since he was so big, his shoulders got stuck… The doctor instructed me to get onto my back so he could get the rest of the baby out. I quickly did what he said, and we were able to get him out in the next contraction. Granted there was quite a bit of tearing, but at that point I didn’t care – we had our son!
When the nurses were weighing him they were all in shock and recalculating to double check. When they said that he weight 11 lbs 8 oz, I didn’t believe them! My face when they told me was priceless. We were expecting to have a big baby, but not an 11.5 pound baby!!! He was also 22.5 inches long, which put him into the 100th percentile for both height and weight. Talk about the biggest baby I’ve ever seen!
What I learned:
- You may doubt yourself. I sure did. I didn’t think I could continue any longer through the pain. I was so tired, and I just wanted to sleep. Having doubts is natural, but hopefully we don’t listen to those negative thoughts.
- Having a strong support person who believes in you and your goals is extremely important. Without Logan, I may have completely given up on maintaining the birth plan. He really helped me focus and breathe through the pain and exhaustion. He knew I was strong enough and helped me see that, too.
- The female body is AMAZING! It is so reassuring that even though I mentally had no idea what to do, my body knew exactly what needed to happen! Media really doesn’t do women justice. In movies, delivering a child is depicted as a fearful and tense situation. This is not how it should be! I know that we can be calm and in-control of the situation. Women are strong and resilient!!!
- Prepare yourself for anything. While I was able to stick to my birth plan, there are plenty of situations where it gets thrown out the window to protect the mom or baby. The most important thing during labor and delivery is a healthy momma and baby. So, whatever it takes for that to happen is necessary.
- All the pain and exhaustion is worth it in the end. There is nothing like holding your child that you’ve been loving dearly and eagerly awaiting for the past 9-10 months. Everytime I look at my son, I’m without words. Creating life is truly a miracle.
Thank you for reading my birth story and what I learned through the experience. I am grateful that I was able to naturally deliver my 11.5 lb son without any complications. I know that not all women are able to delivery naturally, so I am beyond blessed that I could. Feel free to leave any comments or questions below.