Sure enough, it was about 3 hours later when I actually moved into the next stage of labor. I continued to get through each contraction laboring on the birthing ball (just an exercise ball) and hanging over the bed. The pain in my back was INSANE. It felt like the muscles in my back were being torn apart. They applied cold and and heat and Amanda and Brian massaged my back. There were times when I said I couldn’t do it any more but in my head I knew there really was not other choice. Brian and the nurses were so patient with me and encouraged me through each contraction. I feel like that this point my body was taken over by some other force. I moaned and sometimes screamed through each one and tried to rest in between in silence. At one point I knew I had to push!
They got me back into the bed and explained to me how to push. I’m sure if you’ve watched the Baby Story or have had a baby yourself you know that they tell you to bear down like you are having a bowel movement. To me this just sounded so weird because I know that’s not where babies come out! It took me awhile to get the hang on it but once I did I totally understood what they meant. You use each contraction to push the baby down and out and when I did it correctly I could feel it. I pushed in the bed in the “traditional” way you see women push, I pushed while sitting on the toilet, and I pushed using a bar across the bed in a squatting position. I was suppose to push at least three times with each contraction. I would close my eyes an focus inward at where they were telling me to push. It was like no workout I had ever done in my life. After my three (or more) pushes I would collapse on the bed and breath while sweat rolled down my face. I would only speak in a whisper only when necessary and then do it again. Brian was there wiping my forehead and giving me drinks of water. The nurses continued to cheer me on and told me to visualize my son coming out on one push at a time. It was so hard. Again something beyond myself took over my body and the doubts I had that I could actually do this disappeared. I just kept doing what I knew I had to do in order to finally meet my baby. When I saw the midwife come in I knew we were almost there. As we neared the end the worst part was the pressure I would feel at the end of each pushing session it was very painful and the midwife just kept saying, “Let that baby come down.” At one point they took the bar away from me and I knew we were REALLY close. I looked at the midwife after a pushing session and gasped, “How many more?” she held up 3 fingers and I knew I could do this . Well, the next time it was time to push it felt really different and they told me to slow down. I really can’t recall if I felt the “ring of fire” but I knew I had to stop pushing and then before I knew it I had brought a new life into this world! They told me to open my eyes and I saw the grey little cone shaped body that was my son. They put him on my chest, he began to cry and I looked at the most amazing beautiful site I had ever seen. I just kept saying, “I can’t believe you’re here! I can’t believe we did this! You’re mine, you’re all mine. We’ve been waiting so long long for you!” I was honestly in some type of euphoric shock. I had no idea what was going on with the rest of the delivery but I didn’t care. The miracle I had been waiting for for three years and nine months was here! My son was here and my life was changed forever!
It was a really hard, painful, and challenging experience but totally worth it! Even though it was not my intention to have a natural birth I am really proud that I did it. We conceived this baby naturally, which is something we didn’t know if we would be able to do, labor started naturally which I wasn’t sure was going to happen so it felt complete to deliver naturally. I can’t say enough good things about the nurses at Gundersen Lutheran during labor and delivery as well as my postpartum care. I have a whole new respect and admiration for the nursing profession. It really was a beautiful experience, something I hope to remember and cherish forever!