Friday, July 13, 2012

Lemon's Birth Story

I was told once that every woman should tell their birth story, even if just once, as a way to heal, share and empathize with other women.  I haven't really found the time to tell my story, until now, and maybe that is because mine is one of healing so mentally I haven't been ready either.  It is not that it was a bad experience for me, just a trying one, and even though I have wanted to share it for a week now, maybe my mind just hasn't been in it yet.  Even now as I type this, the words are tough to find.

My story left off with my last post where I shared that contractions started for me at home at around 10am the day before Lemon was born.  In my birth plan, I wanted to stay home as long as possible without having to go to the hospital, mostly because I wanted to be comfortable and because I requested that they send me home if I wasn't 4 cm dilated.  And, as I mentioned, I wasn't sure if what was going on actually were contractions (or surges as hynobirthing suggests) or just false labor so I wanted to be sure before even calling the doctor.  My mucas plug hadn't fallen out, my water hadn't broken but I was having cramping pains like I didn't have before so I knew something was up.  And, as I also said, I just had intuition that Lemon would be coming earlier than her due date so I think in my heart I knew this was it.

Was I excited like I thought I would be?  Not yet because I had no idea what was going on.  Was I scared or nervous?  No, just timing them and seeing what they were all about.  Did they feel like my miscarriage just yet?   No, not even painful just a bit weird feeling.  We spent the day watching the Die Hard trilogy and lounging around and then we went to bed around 11pm, like always, and nothing seemed at all different.

That night, Sunday, I think I only slept about 4 hours.  The surges were definitely more uncomfortable lying down and I got up a few times just to breathe through them.  I remember Ian snoring next to me and me thinking, why does labor always have to start in the middle of the night?  Why can't anyone ever be well rested?  Then I remembered my book, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, where the midwives told the women to get as much sleep as they could, if they could, because it was going to be a long road ahead in active labor.  So, I laid there and tried but don't think I was very successful.

In the morning I ate my cereal and felt better, standing up and sitting than before.  The surges were still coming but not as bad as when I was laying down and it felt kind of like a regular morning to me.  I still don't remember thinking I was in labor or being excited that Lemon was coming like I thought I would.  Being a first time mom you just don't know how it is going to feel, I don't think, so it never really feel like this is it.  I called the OB, because we had an appointment that morning at 10:50, and told them what was going on.  They transferred me to my OB's nurse and I told her how I was feeling and they told me to go to the hospital.  Still, I think I stayed home another hour or so, not knowing if it was really the right time to go.  Ian even left to go to Big Lots to get bird food and I made sure all of the animals had food and water just in case.  When he got home I told him that we'd better go, since it had been awhile even since the doc told me to, and so he got ready and packed up the car.  It wasn't a mad rush, like in the movies, and I still didn't think this was actually happening, so he calmly carried things out while I sat on the couch watching a TV show.  I got the remainder of our stuff ready (things we couldn't pack ahead of time) and then waited for him.  I was up and moving around and don't remember being uncomfortable at all, just those darn surges every 10 minutes but not really set to a specific pattern.

So, we were off to the hospital, which is only about 5 minutes from our house at around 10:30am on Monday.  I still was in denial about the whole thing and was hoping it wasn't going to be like Father of the Bride II where we packed everything up and then had to just head home because of a false alarm.  Even though I pre-registered we had to check in with the lady at the front desk, an older lady who made us sit there for about 5 minutes while she finished something else up and then acknowledged us.  I couldn't believe how slow she moved, knowing I was a pregnant lady, possibly in labor, and having active contractions whether they were real or not.  She made me so mad.

 (There she is, I have seriously thought about complaining about her to the hospital!)

After sitting in registration, which felt like an hour, they moved us to triage which was really just a space behind a curtain where they hook you up to a fetal monitor and a monitor to track your contractions and then a nurse comes in and asks you a million questions.  It reminded me of when you give blood and you have to answer a thousand ridiculous questions for something super simple, and they make you sit there forever to do it.  We were in triage for a good hour, and she made me take my pants off and lay there to eventually get checked, but not knowing it was going to take so long.  I would have rather been sitting up, pants on, and just have taken them off when it was time, since she first asked us questions then went to help someone else and then finally came back.  I was uncomfortable laying down, I was upset because I was bottom-less and I was just mad we had to sit there so long in such a weird place and weird position.

While we were in triage we could hear through the curtains around us.  Someone came in, being only 20 something weeks pregnant, and I think was told to come because something was wrong with her baby.  They tried and tried to find a heartbeat, we heard them, and then we heard her break down.  It made Ian cry and me tear up, knowing that was us just a short time ago (although not that far along).  I think the thing that helped me through my whole pregnancy and labor was gratitude, just knowing how lucky I was to be able to have this experience when so many aren't able to.  At that moment it really brought us back and we hugged and kissed and were so thankful to be where we were at that moment.  

(There are the printouts in the background, which Ian actually got to keep from my entire labor, and me, looking tired and annoyed.)

(A better attitude.)

After a thousand questions the nurse checked me and I was 4cm dilated (wahoo!).  She called Dr. Moon (my OB), who had just happened to be on vacation for a week and returned just the night before, and then they moved us to our own room.  We met two of the loveliest nurses, one who was an OB nurse long ago and another who was working with her just because she hadn't been in practice recently.  They were both amazing, and after handing them our birth plan, they came back in, actually responded to certain things and said it is all totally "doable."  It was so great to know that I would be supported by them in this endeavor and that things would go as we had planned.  We hung up our opening flower imagery over the clock in the room and put out our LED candles, dimmed the lights, hooked our DVD player up and were ready to go.  We even put our popsicles, pudding, apple juice, applesauce and sprite in the nurses fridge and I got out my pretzels to munch on throughout the night.

The nurses said I could walk around for an hour before my next check/monitor so that is what we did.  The birthing center is separate from the hospital so there wasn't really anywhere to go except just up and down the hallways.  It was boring and a very short walk but we did it, back and forth back and forth, with some squats, some partner yoga poses, some stretches and some smooches at the end.  Then, I was back in the room hooked up again to monitor baby and me.  As you can see from the pics, I also declined an IV.  I made sure that I drank plenty of water and juice so that I could hydrate myself instead of having to trail an IV behind me during labor.  It was nice only being hooked up for 15 minutes every hour, seriously nice. 

The next couple of hours were sort of a blur.  I know that we watched some episodes of House, we talked, we laughed, we walked, we did yoga stuff, the nurses brought in a birthing ball and showed me how to use it and we just kind of hung out.  My mom brought Ian some food, saw me have a contraction at the table in the waiting room, got teary eyed and then left, and then we walked and hung out some more.  I snacked on my pretzels, drank my juice, ate some pudding and just breathed through my contractions which felt much better standing/walking then sitting/laying.  I dreaded being hooked up because I knew I'd have to lay there for 15 minutes instead of standing but also liked listening to baby's heartbeat on the monitor.  I told then nurses that with my contractions I was having a bit of back pain so they told me to sit on the birthing ball and maybe that would help turn baby around.  After sitting on it, bouncing and having a couple of uncomfortable contractions, I got up (told Ian I hated the ball and didn't want to sit on it again) but didn't have back pain anymore.  

(My birth partner behind me on the ball!)

I wish I had some times for you, but like I said our clock was covered and I really wasn't paying attention to the time.  All I know is that every nurse we saw walking around or in the room was totally impressed with us, they kept saying things like, "you don't even look/act like your in labor" or "you're still smiling, that's impressive" or "look at that, they covered the clock, great idea."  I think by this time there was a shift change and our main nurse left so we got the funny back up nurse (who was watching over the main nurse anyway) and she was super sweet, young and encouraging.  They checked me again and I was at 6cm and had to call Dr. Moon to tell her my progress.  Dr. Moon stopped in (maybe it was her that checked me, I can't remember!) and told me that it took me a long time to get from 4-6cm and that she wanted to break my water for me to speed things along.  She told me she thought it would be 2am before I had this baby and that it would be a long, tiring labor without her assistance.  After she left, our nurse stayed in the room and we asked her what she thought.  She told us that if it were her, she would ask for a couple of hours to do it ourselves and then if nothing happened in that time then we could have the doctor do it for us.  It was a good compromise and we settled for it because we ultimately did not want any interventions.  Lemon was coming on her own time, in her own way, and babies are born with the water sac in tact all the time.

I messaged Marne, our hypnobirthing teacher, to tell her what was gong on and she sent me the nicest text back that gave me such encouragement and strength when I needed it.  She said:  "It is said to be a special blessing to be born in the caul.  This means that the amniotic sac doesn't break during the birth and the head is born still covered in the membrane or 'veil.'  It doesn't happen very often even in natural births.  It almost never happens in the hospital because the 'water' is so often broken artificially.  Some say that a child born this way may have special intuitive powers or have extraordinary luck.  So cool!  Keep it up girl.  You can TOTALLY do this!  Trust your body, trust your baby.  She will come when it's right.  So proud of you all."  It was inspiring.

And then, Ian and I knew what to do.  We got up again, started walking again and he made me do more laps than I wanted to or felt like I could do.  He made me hug him, kiss him and do some more yoga poses with him and told me that if we were going to speed this along we had to do it now.  So, I ate some more, drank some more and walked some more, knowing in my mind that I could do this on my own and didn't need any help.  After awhile the nurse came back and said I had about 45 minutes until they would check me again and both Ian and I knew what I had to do.  And, I know this is the question on everyone's mind - she packed a vibrator with her, but did she actually use it?!  The answer is, yes.  I took the vibrator, the iPad and myself into the bathroom and had about 45 minutes of Allison time alone, knowing that if I could remind my body what to do (how my uterus contracts on it's own) then it would open more.  And, lo-and-behold when they checked again guess who was 8cm?!  ME!!!

Now it was bath time!  Even if my water had broken Dr. Moon said she would have let me get in that jacuzzi tub but since it hadn't it didn't even matter.  The nurse turned on the water, turned on the jets, poured in our Mr. Bubble and there I was soaking in the tub and it was GLORIOUS.  Now I know why people have water births, everything is better in the water!  I had my candles going, my iPod speakers playing my favorite music and and my husband sitting right there next to me in the dark, helping me through every contraction.  It was awesome.

(Ian made me take this weird pic before I got in!)

Now I should take a moment to talk about Ian because I have kind of left him out of this story so far.  This man is amazing and I could not have asked for a better birth partner or life partner for that matter.  Every single contraction I had, except for maybe 5 of them, he was right there with me, massaging me, touching me, hugging me, supporting me, breathing with me - it was incredible.  I was not the only one in labor, he was experiencing it all with me, playing his part and not stopping to rest, eat or even sit down when I was up standing.  He had such a huge role in it all and even says now that he liked my natural birth only because he had such a big part in it, and wouldn't have if I would have had medication.  After Lemon was born he was just as tired, hungry and exhausted as I was, doing the whole thing right along with me and not stopping to rest.  It was brutal on his back/chest (see my previous posts) but going through it all he didn't complain, was really encouraging, told me how amazing he thought I was, kissed me, told me he loved me and truly supported me mentally and physically the whole time.  And even though he thinks I am awesome because of what he saw me do, I think he is just as awesome because of what I saw him do.  That's love.

Sometime after the bath (and me being monitored again), Ian's mom, Patty, and my step-dad, Joe, came to our room with dinner for Ian.  I walked with them out in the hallway and made it to the outside after hours door (where we had secretly snuck out a couple of times just for some fresh air) and then heard that my mom was coming and my Aunt Donna and decided that may be too much for me so I headed back to our room.  I was nervous because I had a couple of contractions in the hallway on the way back, by myself, but breathed through them and they seemed to be ok.  My mom poked her head it and I said hello but that it was not a good time and then Ian came back in with food that no one at for awhile.  We were getting down to it and were busy, and in the zone, so visitors and food were really our last priority (although we were grateful they brought it to us).  One of the times we were heading back to our room I saw the table and tarps (not really tarps but that's what they look like) parked outside our room, ready.  It was crazy to think we were almost to that point, it didn't seem like it was supposed to be happening already.  

The nurses made me chug lots of water for about an hour at this point (I think it was then).  The baby's heart rate rose and I had to stay hooked up for a long time, almost an hour, to see if it would go down.  The contractions still weren't insane (yet) but really uncomfortable laying so they actually let me sit up and be on the ball (which I also hated) just to see if her heart rate would lower.  It was strange because every time I stood up, it went down, and every time I laid down or said it rose - it was like I was in pain and she knew it.  This was a tough time because I had to be hooked up and I hated that.  (This may have happened before the bath but Ian and I can't remember.)  It was scary because I thought that this was the point where I would have to let go, when my baby was in jeopardy, and do what they wanted me to do, throwing my birth plan out the window.  I was thinking my water needed to be broken and I needed to speed this up because she was stressed, but then after drinking a ton of water her heart rate normalized and everything was ok again.  (I also think this happened twice, once with our fun nurse and once with our not so fun nurse but I can't remember that either.)

Here's where labor took a turn for me.  Up until 9cm it was manageable, I had a good attitude, kept smiling, stayed positive and was not that uncomfortable.  Every time a contraction would come I would go to my happy place - on the beach on Coronado Island with Ian under an umbrella on a windy day.  It worked and I didn't use my hypnobirthing scripts/music at all until later.  At 9cm, after the bath, we put on the scripts and got to work, really zoning out and breathing through each contraction.  At some point I was hooked up, hated it because it was getting more and more uncomfortable, and then more and more people were coming in.  We had a shift change again and got a nurse that I didn't really like because she asked my pain level (I think it was too late in the game for her to read/know about my birth plan) and she was pretty "all business" (but maybe that was just because the business was about to happen.  I asked her if I got an epidural now if it would make much difference and she said no, that the pressure I was feeling I would feel anyway.  I'm thinking that I probably shouldn't have asked someone who only had natural births about medication, because how does she know the difference?  At that moment, 9cm and feeling like I had to push but no doctor was there yet and nothing was set up, I wanted the medication.  The contractions changed from cramps to cramps/pushing and it was pure craziness.  Was it painful?  Not really but definitely uncomfortable to the point where I thought I may throw up or pass out.  I was standing and Ian was holding me but I was no longer able to just breathe through them, now I was moaning.

The next part of labor was a blur.  All of a sudden there were more nurses, a baby nurse, my OB (dressed in riot gear) and a table with tools and tarps set up.  During one of my contractions I moaned, went to my happy place then then a gush, all over my foot and the bed (which was now soaked and bloody) it was my water breaking, warm and all over me.  It was a good feeling but then the contractions got a bit crazier and that urge to push was overwhelming.  Dr. Moon came in to check me and it was the most horrible, intense, crazy feeling when she put her fingers/hand up there.  Ian said it was like I had an orgasm but was in the worst pain all at the same time and that's kind of how it felt, I moaned my way through that as well, it was all I could do!  They put my feet in stirrups and told me that on my next contraction I had to push, and with their finger they showed me where I needed to push down at the bottom of my vajay-jay and butt area.  I held my own legs, Ian was at my side and I pushed with everything I had.  There was no "breathing my baby out" like hypnobirthing suggested, you had to push - your mind wanted to and your body wanted to.  It felt like this was not going to happen unless you pushed with all of your might.  I thought about those women who pop blood vessels because they are pushing so hard and I didn't care if that was me, that's how hard I felt I needed to do it and it was such a relief to push and do something different through contractions.  

(I wasn't kidding about the riot gear!  She had on a full plastic face mask too, that you probably can't see but there are my feet!)

The worst part about pushing is that you can only do it during a contraction but you want to do it all the time.  I had to really focus on stopping pushing because I just wanted to keep going.  They kept telling me to put my elbows out, because I guess I kept dropping them down, and in between pushes I focused on my hypnobirthing script in the background and actually zoned out, almost asleep, with Ian's hand on my heart.  Then a contraction would come and I would push with all of my might and then zone out again.  It was surreal and I have no idea how long it happened for.  At one point I looked at Ian and he was popping ginger candies I had brought in case I felt nauseous.  I wondered if he was hungry or something but didn't have time to ask/care because I had to push again.  Dr. Moon and all of the nurses (who the heck was in the room) were so encouraging, along with Ian telling me I was doing great and to push when I needed to.  It was like a huge rush of craziness and then a moment of calm, and then a rush again - it was totally nuts.  Did I come to a point where I hit a "wall" like they say?  Not really, I was so in the moment that I didn't have time to question anything.  But, I did come to a point where I thought "oh my gosh - I am going to push everything out of my body along with a baby, all of my organs and all" because that's how it felt.  I also had a moment of "wait a second, this could not possibly be coming out of there" and "there's no way this is going to happen just because I'm pushing like this" but it happened and it was incredible. 

I felt her head come out and it burned, not the "ring of fire" I've heard of or an incredible horrible burn, but a burn and it was definitely uncomfortable.  I wanted to keep pushing but had to rest and you actually have to force your body to stop because it wants to keep going.  I pushed again, at the next contraction and felt her head emerge, and then had to force myself to stop again, it was agonizing.  The stopping was the worst because I had to try to do it, and moaned out loud and had to remind myself to breathe (and at this point was doing that out loud too).  Dr. Moon said something about the baby coming on my next contraction or the one after and I just focused on that, held my legs, kept my elbows out and pushed again, feeling her whole body just slither out.  The feeling is indescribable and unless you've experienced a natural birth I cannot describe it here.  All I can say is that's how it felt, like she slithered out, slid out, and then there she was, on my stomach, all bloody and crying and beautiful (but hard to see because the umbilical cord was holding her there and not on my chest). 

My legs were still up in stirrups and I guess the placenta wasn't coming out fast enough, even though I told her to give it a half hour in my birth plan, so all of a sudden they took Lemon from me.  I didn't get to have that 2 hour bonding moment with shots and everything right on me because Dr. Moon said I needed my own shots to stop the bleeding.  I didn't get to try to have her nurse because all of a sudden she was gone and they were scaring me with their talk about me not stopping bleeding.  They gave me a shot of pitocin in my leg along with multiple numbing shots in my vajay (at the same time - for reals!) and then Dr. Moon proceeded to massage my uterus to get all of the blood/placenta out.  It was horrible and the pain was awful, think about what your body has just been through and then to press on that/those parts - ugh.  The placenta came out, but then she was still in there scooping away with her hand, pressing on my stomach with her other hand - for what seemed like hours.  My feet went numb and my legs were cold from being up in the air still and I heard my baby crying just steps away from me but couldn't see her.  I got more and more shots to numb me, I tore from my vajay to my butt (a 4th degree tear) and also to stitch up the side of my vajay where the Dr. cut because she was trying to avoid a tear there.  (So much for a natural birth to avoid an episiotomy.)  Ian was with the baby but said he kept turning around to see if I was ok and just saw blood gushing out of me.  It felt to me like clots but he said it was gushing and then there was so much pressing and stitching, it was terrible.  I had to have an IV of pitocin put in as well, to stop more bleeding, and it just seemed like all of the medicine I was trying to avoid was now being pumped into me.  But, at least it was just me and Lemon was out and not affected, I was happy about that.

Finally it was over and they gave me my baby.  She was beautiful but I did not feel an immediate connection with her because I think I lost that time with her and she lost that time with me.  I wish I would have been more informed about after birth as well as labor/birth itself so that I could have made my requests for after more known.  There was a whole chapter in our hypnobirthing book about after that we didn't cover and I didn't read and in Ina May's Guide to Childbirth they don't really address the "after" either.  (Last night I went to a breastfeeding class where I learned more about after birth than I had in any of my other books/classes.  I wish I would have taken that before labor.  Oh well.)  I loved my Lemon, my daughter, don't get me wrong but I was said I didn't get to bond with her like I had hoped. 

(A very dark picture of Lemon my chest right after delivery.  I had no idea I still had my glasses on - kept them on the whole time I guess!)

(She weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces and measured 20.5 inches long.) 

(Tired mama.)

After I got to hold her and love her I don't remember much.  I know that I called my mom and it was sometime around midnight, even though Lemon was born at 10:43pm, and my mom was upset I didn't call her sooner, she was worried.  I told her that I was busy getting stitched and "massaged" so this was the only chance I had and she came right over.  She called my Dad, who had left that morning (from Oregon) to come here and told him Lemon had arrived.

(Lemon's Nani, my mom.)

(Proud and tired Daddy.)

The nurses finally helped me get up and go to the bathroom, set me up with the incredible gauze undies and giant pad, changed my soaking sheets (remember my water broke all over them) and then helped me back into bed.  I never really felt nauseous until then, it was tiring standing up and going to the bathroom and everything, that is when I felt like I could pass out.  I took off my thrift store nightgown and threw it in the trash (that's just the attitude I had about it at that moment) and put on my cute black nightgown to go back to the bed.  Speaking of clothes - I wore my own clothes the entire time I was at the hospital.  I even had bottoms on until about 9cm (and thank goodness because my water broke).  I wore shorts and a tank at first, then pants a tank and sweater, then a bathing suit top (in the tub) and then my pants again and then I changed into my thrift store maternity night gown.  So, it can be done all in your own clothes and I would recommend it because then you don't feel as hospital-y or like something is wrong with you (because you're at a hospital).

They moved us upstairs to a teeny tiny room where they would make us stay the night for two nights (because Lemon was born so late).  It was a brutal two days in that tiny room, recovering and feeling like crap, not getting any sleep and trying to feed/raise a newborn when you have no idea how to do it.  I know that most hospitals have a "rooming in" policy now and I know that most people (including me, I thought) enjoy that but I could have killed for some recovery sleep. 


Did I have a great birth experience?  Yes.  Would I have said the same thing last week?  I'm not sure.  It has taken me awhile to leave my experience behind and recover from it, it is traumatic and no one tells you that.  You forget how traumatic it was, even a week later.  Would I have a natural birth again?  Now I'm thinking yes but last week I would have said no.  I am happy that I experienced it, went through it and know what it feels like, and happy I didn't expose Lemon to anything unnecessary or medicated, but I think that with my stitches and "massages" after I would have rather been numb from an epidural (and avoided the extra poking).  I wanted to be able to get up right after birth to go to the bathroom and so on and with an epidural you can't for two hours; but I couldn't do any of that anyway because of my bleeding and tears.  If I were numb I wouldn't have felt any of that and would have gotten to have my baby in my arms the whole time instead of having to give her up in case one of the needle pokes hurt and I jumped (that's what the OB told me).  Am I glad I was at a hospital and not at home in a tub?  Yes.  I was happy I was there because of what happened to me and because I had to have stitches.  Do I think it was all completely necessary now?  No, but I didn't know any better.  Maybe it was more severe than I thought, she made it feel like it was and that it was all immediate/necessary but I don't know for sure.  Was Ian the ideal birth partner for me?  Yes.  He was amazing, more than anything I could ever ask for and it was something we did together that we will always have, just the two of us.  Did I have the birth I wanted and planned for?  Yes.  But afterwards was not how I had planned but I've learned to let that go as well.  Do I think that what happened after birth will affect my future bonding with Lemon?  No.  Do I think it affected my bonding in the week after and my struggles with breastfeeding?  Maybe.  Would I suggest a natural birth to someone else?  Maybe.  If I were to do it again I would do it in water, for sure, and at home.  If not, I might get the epidural and just relax through it all in a hospital, that sounds kind of lovely too.  (Although I won't pretend to know that an epidural is relaxing, I know that it isn't for some and can be just as challenging in other ways.  I have never experienced it so will not comment on it here.)  But, as time goes on, I might suggest it, just so that you know how it feels, know your body can do incredible/magical things all on it's own without help from anyone.  Would I suggest hypnobirthing to someone else?  Yes.  I feel as though the class, along with Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (reading that book), really prepared me for what was going to happen in the hospital and during labor.  I do not feel as though I used the relaxation techniques as much as I thought I would (so much for practicing them at home and having my peeps record them!), I think it could have been any relaxing meditation that I could listen to that would have worked in the end when I decided to put it on.  But the education I gained from the class, as well as from my instructor, Marne, I think I couldn't have lived without.  Will I do this all again in a couple of years?  We shall see.

I told you, my thoughts have changed just after a week.  When I threw my night gown in the trash after labor I came out and told Ian, "I am never doing this again" but as I sit here almost 2 weeks later, my view has changed.  I guess that's why people do it all over again.  We shall see.

If you ask me today what helped me stay positive through pregnancy, labor and birth I will tell you that it was all mind over matter.  I knew, at all times, how lucky I was and didn't take a moment of it for granted or complained about it (maybe on here but not in real life).  People commented to me, throughout my pregnancy, labor and birth how positive we were and how everything just seemed so easy for us and I think it is because I knew it would be.  I didn't listen to horror stories, never had a negative view on the whole thing and just stayed open-minded and happy.  I knew in my heart things would be ok and they were, even though some didn't go as planned.  In Ina May's Guide to Childbirth they say that women's cervixes opened up just by thinking it or saying it, or sometimes they closed if they were scared/nervous/apprehensive.  I truly believe in all of that - if you think it, it will happen.  If you want it badly enough you can make it happen for yourself.  If you stay positive, it will be a positive experience for you.  I was once told that I had "rose colored glasses on" about the whole labor thing and I think I did.  I am happy I did because it was pretty rosy for me up until the end.  And, all of the things I wrote above - it being hard, it hurting, it being painful - those are true.  But that is when the animal in all of us takes over, your adrenalin kicks in and your body knows what to do.  That can never be rosy, that's because we are all animals really (as I always say - no matter how fancy someone tries to be - we all have hairy butts).  But until then, rosy it was for both Ian and I.  And rosy it can be for you too.  I never forgot how blessed I was, even in those final, crazy, painful moments and today that's still all I think about.  That's what we all should think about, always.

Rather than making this post even longer with what happened that night and the next night (still in the hospital), I will stop here and save that for my next post.  Thank you for reading, it was healing for me to share.  I wish I would have written this sooner, I'm sure I could remember more and write more clearly, but like I said - I wasn't really ready until now.  It is altogether a traumatic, animalistic, amazing, incredible, sad, happy, spiritual and awesome experience - one only a mother would know.  

More to come . . .


  1. What a beautiful, detailed post, Allison. I'd expect nothing less! A few thoughts...

    -afterbirth and recovery are no joke, and you are right that not a lot of people talk about it or educate you about it. But you made it through a scary time and I'm so glad you were in the hospital so they could take care of the bleeding. The first time around I was shocked at how horrible recovery was, but I promise that the second time around was SO much better.

    -I got an epi both times and the first time I did get that amazing 'relaxed and chill' feeling but this last time, it was still really intense and painful for me. So I'm glad you didn't get the epi (obviously, this is all about me here! Ha!) because you might have still felt that pressure/pain/urge to push and then the epi would have basically been useless. Mine basically was!

    -a fourth degree tear? Oh my god. i hope you are feeling okay now!

    -Once baby is born, that is when the fun REALLY begins--learning to care for a newborn, breastfeeding, lack of sleep, pain from recovering from labor. But no matter what, you are rocking it! And remember that these early weeks are really tough at times but it definitely gets better.

    -Did I email the right account the other day? I emailed you about pumping but now I wonder if it was not the right address versus you just being incredibly busy and not able to write back.

    Hang in there! Congrats again on going med-free. No matter what birth is so magical and intense and scary. Like you said, only a mother can understand. Big hugs!

  2. Loved reading your birth story Allison. Going through labor is something that bonds us mothers together forever no watter how we do it. I could relate to a lot of what you went through as a first time mom going through labor, because the whole time I was so puzzled, so confused, thinking, "Is this it, or is it going to get worse? Is this bad? Is this supposed to happen?" Maybe if I go through it agian I would feel more comfortable with it all because I've got one under my belt, I don't know.

    I feel your pain with the tear as well, I remember feeling my stitches when taking a bath in the days following labor and wondering if "I" would ever be normal again. Thank goodness I did not look at them with mirror! So much for the perineal massage from Hypnobirthing right?

    Okay, I could go on and on, but I just wanted to say thanks for writing this. It's so good to hear someone else who went through a natural birth and experienced some of the things (both good and bad) that I remember going through as well. I also remember having no desire to write Avery's birth story on my blog either. Once she was born it was like my world completly shifted. It felt weird writing a blog post, I didn't know what to say. I admit that I even felt like I was abadoning her by setting her down for an hour to write a post. But that faded over time and things went back to normal, but just know you're not alone in that.

    Blah blah blah...I'm yaking your ear off, sorry! Congrats again and I can't wait to read more about Lemon and your life as a family of 3! ( :

  3. You are amazing!!! I am so glad you were able to do it natural!! I have have 4 kids and reading other's birth stories I always learn something more, something else I would do a little differently next time. I'm pretty sure I won't be having another next time, but if I did I would read your birth story again!! I have had kids every different way. Two I did all natural and I would say that is my absolute favorite way to do it by far!! My last son was actually born in a bath tub, not in water. I just waited a little too long to go back to the bed and didn't quite make it, just sat down in the tub and delivered him there. Also, my fourth baby was my easiest! I did lots of research on hypnobirthing. LOVED it!! And although I had torn before while delivering, I didn't tear at all with my last. It was by far my best "after" delivery for sure. So there is hope that it does get a little better! Like I said I love reading birthing stories, although it makes me want to have another one so bad, kinda weird I know but I LOVE birthing the most! It's my favorite part of the whole process. I hope your doing well and your baby girl is beautiful!!!

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. I know I've said this before, but I really, really appreciate your positivity. I also appreciate your pure honesty. Your posts are so refreshing to read and I can feel the good vibes you are putting out there. Lemon's birth story is just beautiful.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing your story!! You are a troopper and I give you so much credit for having a natural birth. It has been so nice seeing your journey and "getting to know you" on your blog and instagram. Enjoy your Lemon.

  6. thank you for sharing this! I have never read a birth story, let alone one that is so honest and beautiful. You are amazing Allison, I hope to meet lovely little Lemon soon! xoxo

  7. I laughed, I cried- great story! Thanks for sharing :) Can't wait to see Lemon again soon! And you and Ian!

  8. Beautifully written and honest! Aside from your fourth degree tear and afterbirth trauma, I'm really glad everything went well, the support you had, and that you guys are healthy! I don't know if you remember, but I asked you on instragram how was your hypnobirthing experience went because I, as well, will be practicing hypnobirthing during labor (my second attempt- my first attempt didn't go so well because of lack of practice and support). Your birth story is inspiring, and I would like to share/link it to my 34th week post tomorrow, or 35 week post next week-depending when(if) you get back to me- I know it's late at night with me asking, and you are busy with your new blessing :) Just if you get a chance and if it's okay of course I would love to share your birth story! you can email me at!
    Hope you and Ian are adjusting well to little Lemon! She's beautiful!