"I feel compelled to tell my story because I experienced firsthand how our society has turned childbirth into a timed, planned, rushed event. As women, our bodies are designed to birth. We need to get back to letting our bodies and our babies decide when they're ready to labor."
This birth story was written by Lacey, mom to Tully James.
I spent Thanksgiving day at home with my husband and firstborn...
I made a meal that consisted of the usual foods, modified to be gallbladder safe. I baked cookies. I felt good and was happy to be home with my little family. As the day progressed, everything from my waist to my toes felt increasingly heavy. I felt different than I had. Just before going to bed at about 11pm, I said to Kenn, "I want to run the vacuum and tidy everything up one last time because I feel really weird and we might be having this baby tonight". Kenn chuckled because I had said it about a dozen times before.
Just as I was falling into a deep sleep around 1am, I rolled over and felt a little pop in my upper abdomen followed by a tiny trickle of fluid. I rolled to the other side to see if anything else came out, thinking it might be pee, and a little more came. I woke up Kenn and asked him to grab a towel because I thought my water had broken and I was going to stand up and go to the bathroom and I didn't want to get fluids everywhere. I peed, could stop my stream, and a tiny bit more other fluid trickled when I stood. I was sure it had to have been my water breaking. I got in the shower, timed my contractions down to 6 minutes, and called the hospital to tell them that I was in labor and I was pretty sure my water broke.
Of course, the nurse I reported to questioned me and attempted to almost talk me out of it. I arranged for Jack to go to a nearby friend's house and we were headed to the hospital, we got there a little after 4am. They checked a quick dip on the fluid and it was negative, I insisted that it had to have been my amniotic fluid leaking because it certainly wasn't urine. I was 4cm dilated at that point and they were planning on sending me home. Luckily, the midwife on duty ordered a swab for an amniotic fluid check instead.
IT WAS INDEED AMNIOTIC FLUID, I WAS IN LABOR.
Contractions slowed down as I was kept in a bed in triage until about 7am. I made sure to tell both my night shift and daylight nurse that I had no intention of laboring in a bed, I NEEDED to get up and moving because the more I sat/laid, the further apart contractions were. A change of shift happened and still no monitor would allow me to move around freely. At about 9am, my nurse comes in with a big fat bag of Pitocin, without a warning, and sets it up on my IV pole to run. She told me I wasn't progressing and my contractions weren't regular enough. I was feeling good at this point, in a good mood, contractions were definitely getting stronger, and pain was minimal. I said I'm sorry, but NO. I do not want that Pitocin, I AM having contractions, despite what your monitor says. She looked at me, slightly appalled and irritated, because I was "that" patient. The nurse left the room and reported to the midwife my non-compliance. The midwife came in, I told her that I felt that I was progressing and she checked me. I was 7cm dilated, and fully effaced. I said out loud, "I told you I was having good contractions...my body doesn't like to be still, I need to move...can I please get that portable monitor now so I can move and I'll have this baby out soon". Finally, just before 10am, I had my wireless monitor and I was moving and grooving. I had painful contractions but they honestly weren't even close to unbearable. I was laughing, listening to music, and feeling good, ready to have this baby.
Emma arrived just before shit got real, perfect timing. At about 12:30ish (i stopped looking at the clock), I had a massive contraction that took the strength right out of my legs. I put on my call light and told my nurse "shit is getting real"...she said over the speaker "Well it's supposed to, you're in labor". I said NO, like real real and I think it's time to push. She came in, checked me, and said there was "still a good bit of cervix". I had another massive contraction and she got the midwife. Enter the midwife who looks/feels for 2 seconds and says "get the bed set, we are having this baby". From the time the bed was set to the time Tully was out was 3.5 minutes. I only pushed 3 times and I did it without anybody screaming at me to push. I did not scream with pain and agony, I didn't need to. Tully came out with membrane still partially intact; might be why my contractions kept trying to stop at first, nobody really knows.
I felt compelled to tell my story because I experienced firsthand how our society has turned childbirth into a timed, planned, rushed event. As women, our bodies are designed to birth. We need to get back to letting our bodies and our babies decide when they're ready to labor.
I was asked by 3 different providers when I wanted to schedule an induction since I was approaching and then past my due date.
I was second-guessed when I said my water had leaked.
I was questioned when I said I was experiencing legitimate contractions.
I was almost administered unnecessary drugs BEFORE EVER BEING CHECKED FOR PROGRESSION AND BEFORE ALLOWING ME TO BE WALK, SQUAT, SIT ON A BALL, ETC. TO TRY TO NATURALLY PROGRESS LABOR.
I was judged for saying NO and calling my own shots with my body and my baby leading the way.
If I was not a nurse myself if this had been my first baby if I didn't have the confidence to stand up for myself and say no, I promise you that labor would NOT have been nearly this easy.
I had ZERO medications, no major medical interventions, and contractions that were painful but not torturous; I did it without fear, and I did it as if it were something I was born to do.
MY POINT IS THIS: HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS NEED TO DO BETTER AND ADVOCATE FOR THEIR PATIENTS. INSURANCE COMPANIES NEED TO STOP FORCING SHORTENED HOSPITAL TIMES. MORE WOMEN NEED TO SAY NO, TRUST THEIR BODIES AND NOT BUY INTO THE CULTURE OF CHILDBIRTH BEING A TERRIFYING, PAINFUL, TRAUMATIC, AND PLANNED EVENT. SOME BIRTHS DO END UP BEING TRAUMATIC BECAUSE OF COMPLICATIONS, BUT MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, OUR BODIES KNOW WHAT TO DO AND CAN ADAPT TO GET THAT BABY OUT. EDUCATE YOURSELVES AND STAND YOUR GROUND. IF EVER YOU NEED AN ADVOCATE, I WILL ALWAYS BE THAT PERSON.
I want to add that my nurse, midwife, and I all did get along. We laughed about how my nurse initially rolled her eyes and probably said to herself "not one of 'these' people, refusing everything". My midwife was cool, calm, and collected and gave some tips to help me progress. I ended labor with the providers being impressed at how well I tolerated labor and how I remained in good spirits all day. We have mutual respect. Tully was healthy, she latched right away and we went home 26 hours after her birth.
I don't know how Emma Craven Photography managed to get so many beautiful pictures in such a short amount of time, but she did it again. I am so lucky to have her as a friend and as my #1 supporter of the most natural labor that I could do, health concerns considered.
Labor is painful but it is SO short-lived that it doesn't even seem like it was real pain after it's all said and done. It is unpredictable, natural, wild and so incredibly beautiful. I'm very thankful to have these photos. I have dark circles, my chins are showing, and I'm not looking super pretty but I'll tell ya what, I've never felt so powerful and proud.