You don’t know pain until you’ve had an unmedicated labor contraction. You’ve stubbed your toe? Ha! Broken bones? Psh. Been hit by a car? Not even close. Okay…maybe being hit by a car might be close, but I am still going to say labor trumps it.
Choosing to give birth naturally was an easy decision for me. It didn’t take much thought and early on in pregnancy I knew that’s how I was going to go into it.
I chose natural child birth for 3 reasons:
1: Women have been doing it for thousands of years without doctors, so I should be able to as well.
2: God built our bodies for bringing a baby into this world, and I believed he would see me through.
3: I wanted to be able to feel each little thing that was happening so I could listen to my body to best help my baby.
I didn’t read a single birthing book or take a minute of childbirth classes, I just assumed when the time came my body would know what to do.
That said, I believe mothers who choose to do it with medical help are no less INCREDIBLE than those who don’t. I think if you give birth; be it naturally, via c-section, or with an epidural, you are a heroine of epic proportions and deserve to be doted on like the CHILD BEARING QUEEN you are. So, here’s to you, mom!
I call my son’s birth “unnaturally natural” because while I had him without pain medication, I had to be induced, so there was medical intervention. My due date was January 16th and I had my 40 week ultrasound and appointment on the morning of the 15th to determine his size before I went into labor. It turned out his amniotic fluid was low and I was sent immediately down to labor and delivery to be induced. At 1:00 PM they began Pitocen and my contractions started immediately but weren’t painful. It turned out that my son wasn’t tolerating the Pitocen well though, as each time I had a contraction his heart rate would drop. The doctor stopped the Pitocen after only an hour to give him a break, then resumed it at 3:00 but the problems with his heart rate continued so the last resort was to break my water…if that didn’t help, I would have to have an emergency c-section. They broke my water at 5:30 and his heart rate improved after placing an internal monitor that delivered fluids to him, so we were able to continue without fear of a c-section.
My labor was relatively easy until about 8:00…I say it was easy because I was texting and tweeting up until that point. It’s pretty difficult to describe what a labor contraction is like, but I would describe it like this:
Imagine a boa constrictor who is covered in six billion tiny spikes of death who has crawled up your body and tightly wrapped himself around your midsection and he just keeps squeezing tighter and tighter until you think you might rip in half and then just when you are about to die he relaxes for just a few seconds before doing it all over again, each time tighter and harder with less of a break than the last.
At 8:00 that boa constrictor crawled into my hospital room and tried to kill me. The only thing more painful than contractions laying on my side, was contractions laying on my back, so I turned around and sat on my hands and knees for almost two hours until he was born. That’s right, I delivered him on all fours like some kind of super empowered cow woman.
I would like to say that I did it with no doubt or faltering, but I cannot. I BEGGED for medicine every time a boa contraction would happen, and like the champions they are, my husband distracted me and my mom or Erikah rubbed my back each time. They knew I didn’t REALLY want medicine, I just wanted relief from what I was sure was slow and painful death approaching. I cannot say enough that what truly got me through was that each time I would cry and say “I can’t do this, I’m sorry can’t do this.”, Matt would look deep into my eyes…like I CAN SEE YOUR SOUL deep into my eyes…and he would say “Yes you can, you can do this.”, and each time he said it I believed him more than the last. With each boa contraction my whole body shook like a box of Shake and Bake just waiting to be cooked. To this day I cannot believe my legs never gave out. During my super human labor trance, I remember hearing the nurse say to my mom “I have never seen anyone stay on their legs like this for so long…is she an athlete or a runner or something?” and mentally I high-fived myself and though “HECK NO LADY I LAID ON A COUCH FOR 9 MONTHS–YOU GO SISTA!”.
At some point, I’m not sure when or how dilated I was, my body started to fight back against the boa constrictor of doom and began to push on its own. They told me not to do that, but that was like telling someone not to breath. My body was doing it all on its own with no help from me. Then, with the fire of a thousand warriors my lady parts felt like they were giving birth to lava instead of a baby. I told the nurse and she said that was odd and she would check and see if everything was okay, then she started yelling “WOAH! STOP! STOP! STOP!” because apparently unbeknownst to me that lava I was giving birth to was an actual baby and his head was coming out.
After 9 hours of labor and only 12 minutes of pushing (which feels like trying to poop a boulder) like a slippery, warm, screaming wet noodle, August Rhema Hartman made his entrance into this world on January 15th, 2014 at 10:49 PM. 8 lbs 2 oz 20 inches long…with a perfectly small 13 inch head…boy did I appreciate that tiny baby head.
They told me to turn around, to which I replied “I can’t…I can’t move. My legs won’t work! I can’t move!” But they convinced me my legs did in fact work and I could move them if I tried. Then they placed the most perfectly tiny human I have ever seen on my chest, and in an instant I fell ferociously in love. The second his eyes met mine we shared a thousand moments from the last nine months. It’s hard to explain, but when he looked into my eyes I knew he knew me. With Matt by my side we looked down at the goo covered baby that we thought we would never meet, and our love grew in a way I never thought possible. We made that boy and without the two of us, he could never be. The room was full of people, but in that moment there were only the three of us and I spiraled deeper into my newfound love.
Natural childbirth was the hardest, scariest, most painful thing I’ve ever done, but it was also the most incredible, empowering, and miraculous thing I’ve ever experienced. Don’t ask me why, but I intend to do it again.