With my first child, I knew I wanted to give birth naturally from the moment I found out I was pregnant (ok, maybe it was a little after I got over the shock of being pregnant in the first place). But, in the whole 9 months of midwife appointments, Bradley Method childbirth classes, and soaking up every video/book/website I could about un-medicated birth–I thought I just might have a pretty decent grasp on what would occur on my first child’s birth day.
Oh…..we first-time birthers are so cocky that way. I was wrong, wrong, wrong.
My first experience with labor in a birth center was not at all what I expected to be. I’ll explain after the jump.
It was around midnight, 5 days after my due date when the early labor pains started happening. My first surprise during labor (aside from the shock that it was actually going to happen….you tend to lose a little faith after missing the EDD) was:
Oh $#@%! What was I THINKING?!?!
The initial pains hurt like hell for me and I was certain that I’d naively walked into this whole natural birth thing. I was planning to give birth in a facility that had absolutely ZERO chance of an anesthesiologist to bail me out. Zero. And it was just the beginning of labor.
I must have worn myself out worrying about this decision because after a few hours, I fell asleep and later went to the appointment that was already scheduled (where I would be told “You’re 4cm dilated. It’s baby day!”).
“Pretend I’m not in labor.”
This was more of a demand to all the folks present that day (my midwife, birth assistant, mom, dad, sister, and husband). I normally enjoy being taken care of but this day was different, I was different. I felt like I would feel helpless if everyone around me was treating me “special” or hanging around and waiting for me to do tricks or something.
They were obedient, it was all good.
I would enjoy walking and wanted NOTHING to do with laying down.
Walking (and my iPod-ural) kept me focused and distracted from the contractions. It was only when I had to lay down on the bed that I felt it got unbearable. I am SO not a girl that’s built with the endurance that I assumed would be necessary for walking around while in labor but lo and behold, I walked until it was time to push. Pretty sure that is when I entered “the zone”.
They’re lying to me.
Through every vaginal exam when the midwife told me “You’re 7cm, you’re 9cm, etc” I thought she was lying to me. I KNEW she was lying to me to keep my spirits up (wrong). I was in a strange sense of denial when you’d think I’d have been relieved.
I wanted my DAD in the room.
I always planned for my husband, sister and mom to witness the birth but not my dad. That’s oogie. In the fuss of everything, I asked that he come in and surprisingly he wanted to and it made the experience that much more meaningful to all involved.
I had no desire to SEE or FEEL my emerging baby.
“Do you want a mirror? Reach down and touch your baby.” the midwife said. And my response was “no, I’m afraid I’ll suck him back in.” That kinda freaked me out and I was in the zone and didn’t want to interrupt it. Let’s just get this over with.
I don’t remember feeling much while pushing but suddenly there was this baby on my stomach and I. was. shocked. I seriously think that I went to outer space for a moment and when he was out I was snapped back into my body and became overwhelmed with all those awesome oxytocin-induced emotions. It was awesome (6-7 hours of awesome from active labor to baby).
So there you have it. Natural birth wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I expected and prepared myself for. That was my honest experience, it was empowering as heck, and it was totally unexpected to me.
Was there anything about your childbirth that was an unexpected surprise?