All of our births have been Bradley Births! We took a class when I was pregnant with our first and since we’ve had so many children close together, we just did what worked the first time! I really wanted a natural birth experience because I heard that it’s easier on the baby, a quicker recovery for mother and baby, and frankly, I’m scared of an epidural! I do not want someone sticking a LONG needle into my spine! With all four of our births I was given and did take ibuprofen AFTER the babies were born to help with swelling and pain. After my last child, I was also given Pitocin to help my uterus contract because I was passing huge blot clots and hemorrhage becomes more and more of a concern the more children you have! Some people do not consider this to be natural births because I did take medicine, but I think they were natural births!
With my first child I was in labor for a little over twelve hours (which is really good for a first birth), but in hard labor for a little over three hours! I started having contractions around 5 AM, I waited an hour before waking my husband, he rolled back over and slept for another hour. He got up, mowed the lawn and I finished the last minute packing. We went to the grocery store (the cashier looked a little worried and asked if we were going to have the baby in the store, if we were that close, I don’t think we would have been at the store (Here’s your sign!)). We took a walk when we got home and my husband said it was time. I tried to say that we needed to wait a little longer, but I lost that battle! We get to the birth care center and the nurses thought I was way too calm to be in labor with my first child, but they checked me and I was dilated to a 6. I got admitted around 1 PM. While in labor, I walked around a lot and squatted with each contraction (with my husbands help! I would hold onto his elbows and squat all the way down to the floor, he would lean back a little bit and support my weight, when the contractions got more intense, I would “hum” through them while squatting). I remember as we got closer, sounds seemed to get louder and more annoying, I remember having my husband ask our family (that was in the tiny “waiting room” inside of our birthing room) to please be quiet! I remember getting really scared (which meant transition time and the beginning of the pushing stage, which you learn about in Bradley class) and saying, “I really gotta poop!” (my husband loves to tell everyone about that part). They checked me and sure enough I was fully dilated. I pushed for 45 minutes (he got stuck on my pelvic bone and the doctor had to lift up my pelvic bone- that hurt). When the baby is crowning, many women say it feels like a ring of fire, and I’d have to agree! The shoulders sting a little too! Our miracle was born around 5:45 PM and he was perfect! He had instant skin-to-skin contact and I tried to nurse right away, but he wasn’t quite ready! He was 7 pounds 2 ounces!
Our second birth was a lot faster! I started having contractions around 4 PM, but I was in denial for an hour. We ate dinner and decided to go fly a kite (literally)! We were at the park for about 20 minutes when I told my husband that I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do this naturally again (a sign of transition)!. He panicked and started running home to get the car, he noticed half way there that we forgot the keys and had to run back to the park to get them. He came and picked me and our son up at the park and my mom took the stroller home (why we didn’t have her take my son, I don’t know, we weren’t really thinking straight)! At the birth care center, I was squatting and “humming” with each contraction (& making some pregnant women in the lobby scared, I don’t know why, I’m guessing it was their first). We got to the birth care center around 6:45 PM and I was dilated to a 5 or 6. At one point I went to the bathroom and was comfortable sitting there, so I stayed and my water broke on the toilet! At this point I was at a 9, but I was begging to push because I felt so much pressure! I started pushing at 8:05 PM and after about 7 pushes he was born at 8:15 weighing 7 pounds six ounces! Again, we did skin-to-skin contact right away and I started to nurse! He was an eater, and a loud eater, even the nurses were commenting on how loud he was!
My third birth was also fast, a little under 4 hours. Contractions started at 6 AM, we started making phone calls and getting ready at 7 AM. We got to the birth care center around 8:30 AM. When I finally got admitted (around 9 AM) I was dilated to a five. After 25 minutes of squatting and humming I was at a 9! I went to the bathroom, my water broke over the toilet (again) and she was crowning. I felt like I was going to break her neck if I stood up, so my husband and the nurse carried me to the bed! The doctor walked in, I pushed two times and she was born at 9:51 AM! She was big, 9 pounds, one ounce! Skin-to-skin and nursing right after birth!
The fourth birth was a little over 4 hours. I started having contractions around 9 AM. We went to 10 AM mass (a lady come up to us after church and said, “I just want to say congratulations early!” I guess she could tell I was having contractions), came home and I played on the computer for a little while, getting up to squat and hum when necessary. We made lunch for the other kids and headed to the hospital (different insurance). We got to the hospital at 12:30 PM, I was a seven, I got up, squatted for a contraction, my water broke all over a towel on the floor, I was checked again and at a 10 (yes, I went from a 7 to a 10 in 30 seconds)! I got wheeled into the birthing room and was told to just breathe (yea, right!?!) until the doctor arrived! I pushed about ten times, screaming when his shoulders came through! He was nine pounds, three ounces. Again, skin-to-skin and nursing immediately!!
I am so blessed to have been able to have four, normal, fast, and natural labors! I could not do it without my husband, he supports me (literally and figuratively) through out the entire process. I really like the Bradley method because it teaches you how to eat, relax, do exercises, and the process of labor. When you know what to expect, it is a little less scary!
I had a prenatal appointment, the office is only a mile away from our house, so I packed up the kids and we walked to my appointment. I mentioned that I had felt pretty wet that day and the doctor checked me and did a test. She said I was leaking amniotic fluid and was at a four and eighty percent effaced. She told me that I was not walking home, to call my husband and have him pick us up. After he picked us up, we went home, got the kids ready, waited for my in-laws to come get them and I took a shower. We loaded up the van and headed to the hospital, we got there between 2:30 and 3 in the afternoon. After I was admitted they checked me again and nothing had changed. We waited. My mom and grandma arrived and a little while after, my husband went to pick up dinner. After they ate, we started walking around the halls, hoping to speed things up. Very little progress was made. At 7:00 PM, I was at a five. The doctor encouraged us to start Pitocin, I was very scared and leery to do so, but really thought it was the best. I progressed about a centimeter an hour. Contractions were really hard and painful. They checked me a little after 9:30 and I was at a seven. I asked about an epidural and they said it was too late. I started to panic thinking that I couldn’t endure the pain for another 3 hours. I started to whine and beg. Around 9:45 I started shaking and they prepped the room. It wasn’t too long after that, that I felt the urge to push. I think I started pushing around 10:15 PM. I felt like I pushed about six to eight times, but my mom said I only pushed about 3 times. His head hurt coming out, but when his shoulders came out I yelled “Oh shi!! I then started to apologize and almost everyone started to laugh. He was born at 10:22 PM or 2222 military time! He was a little over eight pounds. We did skin to skin, where he proceeded to pee all over me, twice! He took a little while to start nursing, but once he got started, he nursed for over thirty minutes!
What was your birth experience(s) like?