Editor’s note: We believe that all birth stories and all birth experiences matter. This post is part of an ongoing series of birth stories submitted by readers and fellow bloggers, featuring a diverse range of women and their birth experiences. Today’s story is from Madeline who shares how she started out with a natural water birth at a birth centre and ended up transferring to hospital and an emergency c-section. If you would like to share your own birth story, please visit this post to learn how. ~Olivia
Before I ever conceived a child, I had imagined giving birth with all the help of pain-relieving drugs I could get my hands on. But once I found out I was pregnant, I decided I would prefer to let my body take charge and show me how wonderful an all natural birth could be. I had watched kittens being born on my bed when I was young, and I recalled thinking how relaxed the mother cat was with the whole process. Why couldn’t I do that? So I started my journey with a group of midwives and the support of my partner. Our plan was to deliver at the birthing center in a birthing pool or wherever I felt comfortable in the suite.
When the day finally came to meet my son I was 1 day away from being 42 weeks along. I was going insane and beginning to doubt my body’s ability to do this on its own. So I drank a castor oil concoction that the midwives suggested. And boy, did it work! I drank it that morning and by 5:50 pm, right as my love walked through the door from work, my contractions began. He helped me time them, and I labored at home until 8:45 when he drove me to the birthing center to meet the midwives.
I labored in the birthing pool for a few hours with my mom and love fanning me off and holding me up during contractions so I wouldn’t slip under the water. The midwife broke my water as she was checking my progress in the pool. After a couple more hours, I was too hot from the warm water and chose to labor on the bed. My contractions were very powerful and I felt them in my tailbone which frightened me, especially because between contractions my back almost hurt worse than while contracting.
Then came time to push. I pushed for two very long hours before the midwife realized my baby was posterior and that’s why my back was hurting so much. She began to try and turn the baby, but at that point I had no energy left. My mom asked what plan B was. We decided to go to the hospital as I was begging for help.
My mom drove us to the hospital, and the midwife met us there. What a painful car ride. With each contraction I had waters gushing out and my back being torn in half. After all the natural birth videos and stories we witnessed, we knew something wasn’t right.
Once at the hospital, I was given an epidural immediately because I was screaming like a banshee and couldn’t stop pushing with each contraction. I was told my cervix was swollen and no longer fully dilated. The doctors let me labor with pitocin and the epidural for about 10 hours to see if I would progress and had me use a “peanut ball” between my legs to see if the baby would flip. What a relaxing time that was. I needed the rest but was very upset when the doctor checked my cervix and made the decision that I would need a Cesarean to get this little one out.
The operation wasn’t as scary as I had imagined, even though my son’s head was very stuck in my pelvis as he was trying to come out eyebrows first. I was almost tugged off the table as they tried to pull him out. But the moment my love asked if I heard him and I did – the sweetest little cry – I no longer cared how my baby was brought into the world. I only cared that he was here and safe. I would go through a million more operations just to meet my baby Mac again!
Yes my birth didn’t go as planned, but my boy wasn’t harmed and the hospital saved us both. I almost felt silly for avoiding a hospital birth because once I experienced it, I so enjoyed the caring atmosphere of nurses and doctors just trying to bring me from maiden to mother safely.