As many of my good friends know, Michael and I took a Bradley Method class while I was pregnant with Cale. This is a 12 week program in which you go for about 2.5 hours every week for training. It’s a natural approach to childbirth (and when I say natural, I mean without an epidural, etc. as this is the only true natural childbirth). I’ve been considering sharing Gabe’s birth story for awhile and, with his first birthday coming up this summer, I decided it was time…
I had been praying for a specific date of July 23rd (his due date was the 24th) and I went into labor with 15 minutes left on the 23rd and he was born on his due date! What an answered prayer! My water broke first at 11:45 pm, which I wasn’t happy about at the time, thinking it would be a more painful labor, but there was a pop and then a small trickle so it didn’t all break at once. Contractions started about 30 minutes later at 12:15 am and were 7-8 minutes apart. In between, I was cleaning the house and packing up a few last minute things. My mom was coming to take care of Cale while we were at the hospital so I wanted a clean house and I may or may not have put it off a little too long 😉
They continued moving to 6 minutes apart and then 4-5 minutes apart in the next few hours. I was leaning over the exercise ball with music playing and was sleeping in between contractions. We used labor massage oil and candles and it was a very calming experience compared to my last labor with Cale. During this time, my lovely husband took a nap 😉 … though I don’t blame him one bit as I was in control of the contractions at this point and he was fully expecting the 37 hour labor that it was with Cale.
At about 5, the contractions had been 3 minutes apart for a little while, and I got into the shower and that was an amazing pain reliever. It was amazing how much less painful the contractions felt! My natural epidural people!
Shortly after getting in the shower, the contractions jumped to 2-2.5 minutes apart, lasting a minute to a minute and a half. At 6am, I had less than a minute in between one and decided it was time to call our friend Jenny over to watch Cale until my mom got there. He had been sleeping through all this, which was perfect as I wanted to spend as much time at home as possible.
We headed for the hospital and, when I got there, a nurse that was leaving (it was shift change) came running asking if I wanted a wheelchair. I always have bad back labor so I yelled “No way!”
They sent me straight to a room and didn’t even bother with triage because they said “we can tell you’re not going home”. I was in transition throughout the walk in and was shaking uncontrollably and felt the need to throw up (tmi I know 🙂 I got there around 7 and was 7cm and, after some monitoring, my doctor came in and checked 30 minutes later and I was already 8cm. She let me get in the shower for awhile and then I walked around the room in between monitoring, which was only a couple times total. At about 9:30, I felt the urge to push, and they checked and I was only 9.5 cm because of some swelling. They had me lay on my side and that was the most painful experience of the entire labor! It felt like my contractions were on top of each other. My body started pushing on its own and I couldn’t stop it. After I began pushing, they checked and I was 10. I pushed for 23 minutes and our little Gabriel John Tyson arrived with a head full of dark hair!
The nurses guessed that he was a low 7lb baby and he was 8 lbs 4 oz and 21 inches long! Overall, it was a great experience and my doctor was amazing and very naturally inclined and so were the nurses. My doctor commented at my 6 week checkup that it was a great experience for all! I finally got my completely natural experience and I have several friends, my Bradley class from Cale (my instructor Laura), and Cheryl (who gave me my massages and was a pregnancy coach for me) to thank for it!