On October 1, 2010 I was 12 weeks pregnant and went to the doctor for my first appointment where, instead of plans for ultrasounds and follow up appointments, I found out that I had had a missed miscarriage. Needless to say I was devastated. Around Christmas time, a friend who had experienced a miscarriage and was again pregnant told me that life can change so much in just one year, but with the pain of the miscarriage still with me, I wasn’t sure that I believed her. Low and behold, in January I found out I was pregnant again, but because of my previous loss, instead of feeling only excitement, I felt both excited and completely terrified. I realized that I had no control over whether or not I would have another miscarriage. I decided that I wanted to do everything right that I could control. I spent hours researching birth classes, birth plans, cloth diapers, vaccines, and anything else I thought might come up during the course of my pregnancy. My husband, John, was very supportive of all the decisions I made and listened to me discuss all the findings of my research.
During all my research, I kept wondering why pregnant women are told to avoid so many medications during pregnancy, but then are given tons during labor. It made no sense. Based on the research, my husband and I decided that we wanted a natural childbirth. I began to prepare using hypnobabies, a self-hypnosis program. The program gave me the confidence to enter labor without fear. It was a relief to go from being so afraid of experiencing another loss to being completely confident in the knowledge that my body was created to give birth without intervention.
I did not take any medication my entire pregnancy (not even a single tylenol) and I was determined to end my pregnancy the same way. People would ask if I was going natural and then look at me like I was crazy or naive or both. Others would tell me to make sure to get an epidural before it was too late. A few days before I delivered, a coworker asked if I was nervous. I answered honestly that I wasn’t. He gave me a look like I wasn’t being serious. I told him that I may be ignorant, but ignorance is bliss. Entering labor with no fear is, I believe, what helped me to reach my goal of a natural birth.
On September 30, 2011 I woke up in the middle of the night having contractions. By 5 am my contractions were 2-4 minutes apart. The contractions stayed consistent and intensified as the morning went on. By 9 am we decided to go to the hospital. We went too soon but oh well—it was our first child so we weren’t sure when to go.
When we arrived at the hospital I was only 2 cm. I spent the morning and early afternoon walking the halls and waiting for things to progress. My contractions continued to be 2-4 mintues apart. In the evening things really began to intensify and progress. I’m not sure of the times at all. It seemed much quicker than it actually was. I listened to my hypnosis cds and just focused one contraction at a time. At 7 1/2 cm I got into the birthing tub. After 10 minutes my water broke. This was sometime very late in the night. After two more contractions I was ready to push. We began to wonder if we would have a September or October baby. After pushing for what I think was over an hour, we realized my baby was turned slightly to the side. I got out of the tub to try and pushing in a different position. My midwife was so encouraging. She was the only midwife in the group that I had not met with for my prenatal visits, but she was wonderful! She kept the mood light with humor. One of the nurses encouraged me to keep listening to my hypnosis cd’s. It was now October and I had been in labor for over 22 hours. I was physically exhausted, but emotionally I felt strong and completely at peace. I continued to push. After an hour, my son finally turned to the perfect position and came shooting out all in one push. John hates when I describe it that way (makes him queasy). But that is how it happened. In that last push he came out all at once. My son Henry was born at 1:04am on October 1, 2011 – exactly one year from the day I found out my first pregnancy had ended. October 1, 2010 was the saddest and most heartwrenching day of my life. Just one year later, October 1st became a day of joy and thanksgiving. I am still amazed at how right my friend was and how much my life has changed in just one year.