Friday, November 5, 2010

A Labor Story

I wanted to record the delivery in a little more detail, so here's my Labor Story:

I'll confess I was scared. Sometimes I think opting for a natural delivery is a little ... um ... masocistic. I mean, when I stub my toe, Matt hears about it for at least 10 minutes. I am a wuss and I know it! So why on earth would I want to have a natural delivery? Well, you can read about the benefits of it almost anywhere online but I had other reasons, too.

Not only is it kind of "tradition" among the girls in my family (my mom had 9 natural births, my sisters 5, 4, and 3), but also my mom has told me so many additional benefits you'll never find online. She told me about how her choice to go through birthing her children has given her confidence in her ability to handle other challenges. In fact, it has even given her perspective on the atonement of Christ because He took the pain that she couldn't handle.

Plus, she mentioned to me on many occasions, that another great benefit is that Dad gets to participate more in the sacred part of the process, too. The mood in the room is entirely different. Mom says in all the medicated births she's seen, Dads and Moms carry on regular conversations, joking and laughing, until the very end when baby comes. But in natural births, Dads shed tears before the baby is even crowning and fall in love with their wives all over again.

I really wanted all these as well as the other benefits of going natural. And I knew this might be my last chance to try.

Even still, I was terrified. Simply put, I was afraid I'd lose it emotionally more than I'd lose it physically.

I was afraid I'd get so scared that I'd fight against the pain and therefore make it worse. I was afraid I'd be a wuss and a whiner. I was worried I'd yell at Matt like they do in the movies, "YOU DID THIS TO ME!" or be irritated with people when they told me to relax.

But a miracle happened.

The pain wasn't as bad as I had made it out to be in my head. In fact, although excruciating, it was very manageable. Granted, my labor was short and I was already a 6, so that must have contributed.

(Side note: this was, oddly enough, a really comfortable position. Too bad the OB didn't have room to catch a baby this way. So I turned on my back instead):

I was surprised at how alert and in control I was able to be--but lest I sound like I'm boasting, let me also reiterate that I credit the Lord 100%. I know what a wuss I am and I still don't think I could have maintained any degree of control on my own! This, I believe, was His way of completing His gift of everything I ever wanted through this pregnancy. Again, I can't believe how perfect everything has been.

Anyway, about 15 minutes before it was all over, I said "You can do it, Heidi!" The OB responded, "I'm amazed you're thinking about Heidi! Most moms are self focused at this point!" Then Mom kept whispering that I was handling the pain and controlling the pushing better than even she had been able to do. This boosted my confidence tremendously and I just kept thinking "I can do this! I can do this!" And "Thank you, Heavenly Father. Thank you."

One thing that did surprise me--and everyone else--was the very last pushes. The OB had given me a small episiotomy because I was starting to tear and was unable to get Heidi's head past the same point for 45 minutes. I was determined that the next push would be my last and I SCREAMED to prove it. It wasn't because of the pain. I screamed because it made me feel like I could push 100 times harder--like when the Karate people say, "AIYA!" to put more power behind the punch. Heidi came so fast once her head cleared that she--and all the other, um, fluids gushed out, too. Not only did I not give them time for suctioning (and barely even for catching), but I also soaked the nursing student who was rounding in OB for her first delivery. It was a little embarrassing since I think the whole floor heard me scream, plus I feel bad for that poor nursing student!

But I did it. And Heidi did it. So I didn't care.

Matt did it, too. He was wonderful through the whole process. He got really nervous the second after the OB broke my water, and said, "Wait! Now I'm not ready!" Even still, he set his nerves aside and did such a good job holding my leg in exactly the position I wanted. He was able to see everything and couldn't believe his eyes. I was so happy he was there. I am such a lucky girl.

After he cut the cord, while Heidi was still purplish and messy, I got to hold and snuggle and kiss her without any nurses to whisk her away. What a perfect moment in time!

It was the perfect end to a long pregnancy, marking the perfect beginning of a perfectly healthy child.



Kate said...

I love the first photo of you with your mom. What a precious moment that was caught on camera.

Anna said...

Ok, I think I teared up at least four times while reading this post. You've convinced me that if I ever get the chance, I want a natural delivery. What an amazing experience!

Alyson said...

So glad both Matt and your mom were able to be there!

Marie said...

you're a ninja! way to go, Natalie! :)

Kirsten said...

Way to go Nat! Sounds like you handled it WAY better than I did. So happy for you guys!

The Morton's said...

I went natural with my second baby and it was a joyful experience too!

Matt and Tommi +4 said...

Natalie - There is nothing wussy about you. You are one of the bravest women I know. Congratulations!