I gave birth to my first child with no medication. At the time I felt like it was the best decision–it was “natural” and what my body was “supposed to do” As someone who is terrified of doctors and hospitals, having a natural birth in a birthing tub “felt” right for me. When I had a miscarriage, soaking in the bathtub helped with the contractions and I knew a tub of warm water would be the best medicine when I was in labor with my son.
As many birth plans go, that is not what happened.
I went into labor in the afternoon of September 10th and was admitted to the hospital around 6:30pm. I have little memory of what happened next.
I remember my doula arriving an hour or two later.
I remember crawling on my hands and knees to the bathtub
I remember being in so much pain I couldn’t move, and blacked out on numerous occasions.
I remember wanting to sleep, but being unable to.
I remember being left alone a lot of the time, which was probably the hardest thing of all.
By the time the nurses had filled up my birthing tub, I remember being so excited to have the baby in the water….then my water broke.
There was meconium in the amniotic fluid, which meant the baby was in distress and I was not allowed to give birth in the water like I had wanted.
After 11 hours of hard labor I was exhausted. They told me to push, but I was unable to because of the exhaustion and lack of rest. Also I was feeling like I was about to faint and going in and out of consciousness.
I looked at my doula and begged her to tell them to give me some pain meds, but she just said “You can do this, you’re strong”
I couldn’t do it. I tensed up. The baby’s heart rate dropped and they rushed in to get him out as soon as possible. I ended up on my back on the hospital bed anyways(which was uncomfortable for me at the time) because they wouldn’t let me change positions anymore. I ended up with an episiotomy, but my son was born healthy.
I did not enjoy this birth experience at all. I didn’t feel the “empowered” “mother earth” I had imagined. I felt like a failure, and furthermore I felt like I wasn’t really “there” because for the majority of the time I wasn’t even lucid because I was blacking out from the pain. I had my doula but I really don’t remember her being a great support, or at least the right kind of support I needed, but I didn’t really have anyone else there to help me through the birth.
I fully advocate for anyone having a baby to choose the method that works best for them, and for many, natural birth is the best option. I feel kinda bummed that for me it wasn’t the wonderful and empowering experience it is for so many others. I am glad I got to experience what that was like, but I knew when we got pregnant again that I was not interested in going through that again.
This time I was to be able to rest. I want to feel mentally present. I want to feel more in control. I want to feel confident. I want to feel empowered to give birth pain-free.
Giving birth is badass no matter how you do it. This time I’m doing it in a way that I can enjoy the experience and feel relaxed bringing my next son into the world.