Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lakota's Birth by Beth

My second pregnancy was a planned homebirth. A few days before my 42 week check-up, my midwife called and suggested that I take Castor Oil. I had 12 hours of mild contractions, but then they just stopped.

At my 42 week check-up, I was completely astonished when they urged me to go to the hospital. I was heartbroken. I knew the dates were off by at least 5 days and the baby was very active. I did everything possible to get labor going--more castor oil, sex, evening primrose oil, walked for miles, pumped, prayed, begged and pleaded for the labor to begin. I lost my mucous plug but was not in active labor.

Feeling I had no other choice, I drove 90 minutes south to the hospital where my midwife worked as an RN. Upon arrival (7pm) I was 3-4 cm dilated. An OB stripped my membranes and broke my water. Thankfully, being Saturday evening, the hospital was quiet and almost empty. I walked laps, used the breast pump, and waited. By 3AM there still were no regular contractions. The nurse said that if I wasn't in labor, pitocin would be started in the morning. So, I took the Ambien she offered and tried to get some sleep.

Around 8 AM, the OB returned and I knew labor was beginning. He still wanted me to have pitocin, so the IV went in. I barely remember the 2 hours on pitocin--I just kept waiting for them to get the IV out so I could get in the shower. Finally, satisfied that I was in active labor, they stopped the pitocin.

I stayed in the shower for most of the labor. With the heat and pressure of the water, I found the contractions manageable. When I got out, I used a birth ball and would yell to my husband "Front!" or "Back!" for counter-pressure.

Around 12:30pm I felt the urge to push. I know sometimes women are told to blow through the first urges, but for me, it is totally involuntary. My body just pushes. There was a flurry of activity as I climbed up on the bed. Lights dropped from the ceiling. Nurses flooded the room. I could still see my 4 year old daughter in the corner watching me. The sensations were so intense and happening so fast, I screamed. The doctor came in and told me not to scream. And just then, my son emerged. My daughter yelled, "Mama, you did it!" And, there was silence, as the hospital viewed my 42 + 6 days baby...Covered in vernix. No peeling skin. He looked up at me, wearily.

Lakota's birth is bittersweet. I was wounded by the experience leading up to his birth--I felt deeply disappointed that the midwives I chose did not believe in me enough to let him come in his own time. But, he was born with his sister present. Without pain medication. Without an episiotomy. And, as close as possible to our own terms.

Lakota was born at 12:43pm on October 1, 2006 at 7lbs, 12 oz. He is Beth's second child. She continues her Postpartum Doula Practice & Breastfeeding Counseling in NJ.

1 comment:

Taz Tagore said...

I would love to get in touch with you since I want to include your birth story in my upcoming book. I'm reachable at

Taz Tagore
Childbirth Educator & Author