Wed. before Thanksgiving day. I had an appt and was 4 cm and 50%. The
 Dr offered to strip my membranes, but baby was still high so I said
 no. So Thanksgiving day, we were in our hometown for family stuff,
 and we’d decided to pack as though I could go into labor since we’d
 be delivering at a hospital up there anyway (an hr from our home).
 Also the Friday after Thanksgiving had been the day I’d visualized
 all along as the perfect day for the baby to come. So on Turkey day I
 was crampy & had random stronger waves all day & evening. I drank
 some Red Raspberry Leaf tea. We looked through the newspaper & eyed
 some great Black Friday sale items, so decided to stay overnight &
 shop & watch my tummy. I went to sleep & waves continued all night.
 
 Friday a.m. still no real pattern, but nice & strong. We headed to a
 few stores & waves settled 10 min apart. About 11:30 when I went to
 the bathroom I lost the mucus plug & had some bloody show. Now I was
 getting excited! We went to lunch & waves were 5-7 min apart. I was
 too nervous/excited to eat, though I knew I should. So I just had
 toast and RRL tea. I had the Dr on-call paged (sadly, no MW on-
 call.) It was getting to where I couldn’t talk through the waves. I
 put my ipod on, we dropped the kids at my mom’s, went to one last
 store, then on to the hospital. Waves were 3-4 min apart. We got to
 the hospital at 1:30 & a guard wheeled me to a L&D room (no triage!)
 I remarked how quiet it was & the nurse said they had 10 babies the
 day before, but I was the only one that day!
 
 It was then that I met my angel-nurse, Sue. She asked about my birth
 plan & I said I had a copy in my file but that I was trying for the
 1st time to go natural. She said “I’ll support you 100% in that, and
 everything will be fine. I’ll work w/your bottom so you won’t need
 stitches or anything.” She then dimmed the lights & said she’d check
 my cervix, do a 20min monitoring strip, put in a heplock, then put me
 in a hot shower to get my tummy muscles all warmed and relaxed. I
 was 6 cm and 90%, baby at -1 w/ a big bulging bag of waters. Waves 2-
 3 min apart. Sue & the other nurses commented on how calm I was &
 asked what I was listening to. I explained briefly & they said, “well
 it sure is working!” Sue turned on the shower, padded the bench
 w/towels & a waterproof pillow, & sat me down. She handed me the
 spray-head & said to aim it wherever felt good. It felt so nice! Just
 melted the pressure waves away! Sue appeared a few minutes later w/
 ice water for me & a waterproof Doppler to check the baby through a
 wave. She said another nurse asked what that Doppler was for & she
 said, “this mom is having intermittent monitoring.” The other nurse
 was like, “intermittent?” And Sue told her “a healthy mom & baby
 don’t have to have a constant monitor.” Hooray! The Dr popped in &
 asked if she could break my water when I was done in the shower. I
 joked (sort-of), “Why?–do you have somewhere you need to be?” And
 she said “no,” it’s just that the baby & I were obviously ready &
 once the water broke it’d be show-time. I knew she was right, because
 w/ my 3 other babies my water never broke on its own & once it was
 broken the pushing-stage was fast.
 
 After being in the hot shower 20 min or so, Sue toweled me off,
 helped me into a fresh gown & I put my ipod back on. The Dr said I
 was now 8 cm & 100% & she broke my water. It was a strange sensation.
 W/my others I’d had a epidural so didn’t feel this procedure, so it
 was odd. Not p***ful, but odd—tugging, stretching, etc. This was
 about 3:30 pm. Again, the nurses commented on how relaxed I seemed.
 Sue rolled me over on my left side to let the baby finish coming
 down. She propped me all around w/pillows, gave me a blanket, asking
 if I was comfy & if there was anything else I needed. She then left &
 I relaxed, my husband half-dozed-off & we waited.
 
 The waves began gaining in intensity & came closer together. W/each
 one I focused on relaxing my shoulders & hands (no fists!) &
 breathing down w/shallow breaths. I kept repeating “open, open” to
 myself. It felt good to sort-of moan low & deep w/my jaw relaxed &
 just visualize downward movement. I wasn’t picturing the baby moving
 down, exactly, just the power of the contractions pushing down &
 out. After 6 or 8 waves I was no longer comfortable flat on my side
 & got up on all 4s for one wave. I felt like I wanted my top half
 supported, so called my husband over & had him hold me up w/his
 forearms under my armpits for the next wave or 2—coming right after
 another now. I could tell by his shaking that it was hard to keep me
 up. So I hung my arms around his neck/shoulders w/my pelvis wide
 squatting for the next couple waves. I hadn’t ever really prepared
 him to support me like this (my prior medicated births being semi-
 reclined on my back w/him maybe just holding a leg back) so the poor
 guy was sort of taken-aback, just following my directions.
 
 Things were getting really intense (& a bit p***ful) & I asked him to
 hand me my ball. I leaned over it on the bed, so it supported my
 torso & let me keep my pelvis open & relaxed for a couple of waves
 w/no break between, moaning kind of like “hhhaaaaaahhh.” I told him
 to go tell the nurses I was feeling pushy. He said “you’re what?” & I
 said “use that word—they’ll know.” So I heard him in the hall
 saying “she says she’s `pushy’ now?” And I heard them clamoring to
 get in fast, looking for gloves etc. It was all kind of a blur by now
 & I had to toss the ipod which kept falling off. Still on my ball,
 sweating, my husband kept smoothing my hair off my face which felt
 great, & he said “we were getting into some crazy positions there.”
 Which made me chuckle despite myself as I started instinctively
 pushing. I said, “ok, how `bout some kind of medication or
 something?” And Sue said, “how ’bout we just push this baby out
 instead.” And I was like “damn, that’s exactly what she was supposed
 to say!”
 
 Someone asked me to lay down & I said “no I can’t” so I sort-of
 turned sideways, my chest & forearms facedown, pelvis sideways w/my
 butt facing Sue & the Dr in the middle somewhere down there. My
 husband was in front & I kept telling him to hold my top leg up. I
 could feel Sue stretching & rubbing my perineum. Basically constant
 contractions & me half-way pushing along w/each one. When the head
 started crowning I just honed-in on Sue’s voice saying “small push…
 good now hold it…small push…good…” helping ease the head gently & not
 tear. Then a big push & the head was out, another couple for
 shoulders, another for the couple for the belly & relief! 8 lbs 14oz
 & not a stitch. 4:11 p.m.—less than 3 hrs after arriving at the
 hospital. Perfect—enough time to not feel rushed, but no lingering
 all day & risking the Pitocin campaign.
 
 Sue put the baby skin-to-skin on my chest while I delivered the
 placenta & he whined & whined sounding like a baby tiger cub—so cute!
 Wouldn’t stop fussing to nurse. My husband cut the cord & remarked
 later that it was the first time the cord had squirted blood, which
 made me think the Dr’d clamped it too soon. After everything was
 done, my husband watched them check the baby over in the warming bed
 while Sue put me in another shower. She washed my hair then helped
 towel me off & produced a fresh gown & slippers, all the while
 telling me how great I’d done. How nice to be able to just get up &
 walk around—no rubber legs! No IV rack! No catheter!
 
 From water breaking to baby in arms was about 30 min. I had lost all
 sense of time. My husband said from the time he got the nurses to
 when Henry came couldn’t have been more than 5 min.! Later Sue said
 the other nurses on the floor were all gathered outside the door
 amazed at how in-control I was & wanting to come in & watch (which
 also would have been fine!) The Dr later said she’d learned a lot
 from Sue & she was impressed w/me! I was nice to hear, because there
 definitely was p*** involved in that last 15-20 minutes. So even
 though I lost focus of my hypnosis, I’d been so relaxed & in-tune to
 by body up until that point that I could listen to myself & what I
 needed to feel comfortable. Whereas in the past I just laid there &
 let the birth be something done to me instead of something I did. It
 was such an amazing sensation to really feel him coming out, p*** or
 no p***. And I truly feel like Sue was a gift from God. She was
 exactly who I needed! She’s been a nurse for 28 yrs & we later asked
 her if she’d be retiring soon. Her response was that someday “someone
 will have to pry her cold, dead hands out of some woman’s `hoo-
 haa’!” All that & our new little man is perfect! How did I get so
 lucky?!
 
 –Kerry Beth

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Written by Dale Bernucca, Childbirth Educator and Doula, with input from other childbirth educators at www.independentchildbirth.com.Childbirth Educators and Doulas have permission to share this article with their students/clients, as…

        They are not used wisely.   I thought of this when at the last birth I attended as a doula, the OB says, “You have fallen off the ‘curve’…

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