Written by Jacqueline Ramirez with Comments and Editing by Liza Janda, AAHC, E-RYT 200
I went into labor with my second baby on a Saturday night. After dropping our son off at my parents’ house around 10 pm, we drove to the hospital. L&D was packed full, and after being in Triage for 15 minutes with a monitor on, the midwife came in and said I had 2 options. Since they weren’t tracking consistent contractions, I could stay and walk around and see how things progressed or go home. I went home.
Going home is the best option. Staying in the hospital with inconsistent contractions will lead to a cascade of interventions: Pitocin, epidural, more Pitocin… Laboring at home is almost always the best option. You will be more comfortable and labor will progress faster.
My husband and I decided to move the process along by getting “busy” (semen has prostaglandins in it that help to soften and ripen the cervix and having an orgasm can stimulate contractions), and by 4:30 am I was in steady, active labor, and he was asleep. I woke him up. He took a shower. Then we stopped for coffee and gas. It’s great to delay your arrival even more. You will progress more and have less interventions. We arrived at 6:30 am and went straight up to L&D. I wasn’t waiting for a wheelchair. Most moms don’t need a wheel chair. It’s always better to be upright and move in labor: better blood flow to baby, gravity advantage, and more comfort for mother.
The same nurses from a few hours before were there and one asked if I was really in labor this time. If I hadn’t been in dire pain I would have taken offense! She was kind of snotty. I said, “Yes and get me an epidural.” Asking for drugs is a classic sign of transition and usually indicates you’re almost done. I was immediately assessed and put into a delivery room with 2 nurses.
I needed fluids for an epidural and antibiotics because of Group B strep. About 2 minutes after the IV was started, I told the nurse I had to push! Oh boy! Here we go! She said, “If you have to push, you have to push.” She told another nurse to get the midwife for a possible delivery. Two additional nurses came in, and my husband had been pushed into the bathroom off to the left. Danielle, the nurse on my right, was helping me breathe through my contractions. “You are doing great,” she kept saying. All I could vocalize were the words, “Help me! Someone help me!” I also started feeling the ring of fire and told Danielle. If you do feel a burning or stinging sensation, it only lasts for a short time. Tips to get through it: relax your pelvic floor as much as possible, use upright positions, stop pushing and breath as though you are blowing out birthday candles. This allows the skin to stretch without tearing. I felt like I was splitting in two down my tailbone!
At 7:02 in walked my doctor, Dr Salzetti, our hero. He walked in all smiles. He had just gotten on shift and was in the lounge when he was asked if he wanted to come deliver one of his own patients. What were the odds? We never expected to see him with the large number of OB’s on rotation at Scripps Memorial. My husband ran up and hugged him. My husband then came up to me and said, “It’s going to be ok. Salzetti is here.”
I asked a nurse to reposition my husband behind my shoulders. My body had taken over. I had no control. I tried to breathe through my contractions. That did help a bit. The baby was shooting out of me. My body had taken over. At one point I did go to the bathroom and I announced it to the whole room, “I pooped!” Yeah, that was a moment my husband still kids me about. Read How Not To Poop While Pushing
Salzetti checked me and told me to stop pushing. I told him, “I can’t!” The pain was so intense I didn’t know if I’d make it through. Finally, he told me, “Two more pushes and you’re done.” That was the best thing I had heard! To have an end point was exactly what I needed. If he had told me 5-10 minutes prior that I had 20 pushes left I would have been great with that too. I’d had no intention of having an un-medicated birth and thank goodness I had taken prenatal yoga and had some recollection of how to help myself with my breathing. Danielle was a godsend and kept me focused. Two pushes later, Elizabeth Grace shot out of me in a giant “Sploosh.” It felt like the scene from Men In Black when Will Smith delivered the squid baby in the back of the car!
About an hour after delivery I felt better than I had in nine months and by the afternoon I felt like a million bucks! One of the best things about a natural birth is that you don’t have to recover from medication. You also know that you did it and your body is strong and amazing and was made for this.
Lessons learned From Jackie: Be prepared for anything. Take your prenatal yoga classes and work on your breathing. You don’t know how it’s going to turn out, and it’s not in your control. Make sure your car has gas. Making love helps progress labor. When the conditions are good your body takes over. Let it!