Welcoming Archie | A Speedy, Unmedicated Hospital Birth
When we got pregnant with our third and final baby the only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted an empowered birth experience. For me that meant feeling supported, strong, capable and trusting my body in a way I never had before.
This sweet babe did everything in his own way at his own time. After experiencing prodromal labor for almost two weeks and being very close to 42 weeks of gestation, I could see my hopes of having an empowered birth slipping away. I didn’t want to have an induction or an epidural but it felt that they may be inevitable.
It was the evening of Valentine’s Eve and I, being the procrastinator that I am, was assembling my girls Valentine’s baskets for the next day. I felt the contractions but pushed them out of mind as I had been feeling them for 2 weeks with no progress.When I laid down for bed I told myself that if I awoke in the night with contractions I would know it was the real thing and go to the hospital. I never made it to sleep.The longer I laid there the more consistent my contractions became. I messaged my doula and Katie to let them know what was happening but didn’t wake my husband or go to the hospital. I had heard that heading to the hospital too early could cause labor to stall and I didn’t want that.
The longer labor progressed, the more intense my contractions became. I took a bath to ease the discomfort. I also spent a large portion of time on the toilet because that seemed to be the most comfortable position. At 5:30 my husband’s alarm went off for work and I told him that he probably wouldn’t be going in and instead needed to get ready to take me to the hospital. At this point my contractions were becoming more consistent and harder to breathe through. My doula, Jessie arrived at my house and helped me get my things and me into the car. The hospital was 45 minutes away but most of the drive was a blur. My eyes were closed, I was completely focused on staying centered and calm and breathing through my contractions.
Getting out of the car at the hospital was almost unbearable. My husband, Jessie and Katie (who had met us in the parking garage) helped me into a wheel chair. I remember Katie joking that I needed to get inside before I had a parking garage baby, lol. It was definitely the motivation I needed to make those last few steps.A hospital lobby, an elevator ride, and a triage room away my midwife insisted on checking my cervix. My water hadn’t broke yet and cervical checks were painful to me. At this point my will felt like it was cracking. I was tired and worried that I wasn’t far along and would have a long road ahead. I was crying, I started to feel defeated.
When I say I had the most amazing support team, I mean it. Jessie’s calm voice in my ear helping me relax through contractions. Katie assuring me that I was doing amazing and had made it so far. Brian holding my hand through it all.I was six centimeters dilated and my midwife ordered for a labor and delivery room.I decided that I wanted a tub delivery so the nurses began filling it up. I had to use the restroom so Jessie helped me. The tub wasn’t filled yet so I walked to the bed to get a moment of relief. As I was getting onto the bed I had an intense contraction, I couldn’t move, all I could do was feel. In one contraction, on hands and knees, my water broke and I began to crown.No one was ready. My husband was about to step out for a minute to check on our girls but turned around just in time.
Archie was out in one contraction. I don’t even remember pushing, my body just kind of knew what to do. I still couldn’t move. I think I was in shock and awe. I just kept saying, “oh my god, I did it. I can’t believe I did it.” Some parts of my story feel like a blur. It all happened so fast. It couldn’t have been more perfect. My birth was empowering and it changed the relationship that I have with my body and myself. It was also the first time, maybe in my life, that I felt completely supported. It matters, it really does.
Katie's Notes : I think we were in the room for about 15 minutes before Archie arrived! As Brian had turned to start to walk out the door, I had turned to tell him something, turned back around and Archie was staring at me. I remember, very casually, mentioning to the charge nurse standing next to me that oh! there's a baby! and she managed to catch just in time. It was a great, empowering birth and Jessie's joy was everything I needed that day - such a privilege. And her doula just happens to be one of my faves in the greater Louisville area - go check her out.