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The Unassisted Hospital Birth of Baby J

Affiliate Disclosure | in Motherhood | by | with 29 Comments

[info_box]Hey mamas! Welcome to the Birth Story Bash! If you have a story you’d like to share, please pop over to the main page and share your link! For those that don’t have a blog you can submit your story here – I’ll be choosing a few to publish the next time around! In the meantime, enjoy this story from Anna Jozefczyk, who was determined to make her good birth experience great the second time around. [Disclaimer: Publication of these stories is not an endorsement of any particular medical procedure or birth perspective. ♥ [/info_box]

All could think of . . .

When I was pregnant with my second baby and nearing my “due date” was that I wanted to give birth better than the first time, two years before. My first birth was *good* – it was a hospital birth that didn’t take nearly as long as everybody there told me it would.  I had an episiotomy (my baby girl was 6lbs 11oz and I’m not tiny by any stretch of imagination – the procedure was done just like that – it is still considered “standard” in some hospitals I suppose).

I declined all offers of drugs (boy are they pushy! “take this, it will take the edge off contractions”, “take that, it is totally safe”, and you don’t even have to agree – you just need to not disagree forcefully enough).  I was lucky to have my husband as my advocate as I wasn’t in a position to argue at that moment.

And then everybody told me I was a star . . .

And no one did it like that anymore (meaning no drugs and all) – I did feel like a star and all was great until I was heavily pregnant with my second baby.

I started remembering all the details and my pregnant brain became convinced that *good* wasn’t good enough.

Moreover, I realized that I had an easy and rather quick birth *despite* being in the hospital and not at all *because* I was there.

Constant nagging to take the drugs was a major annoyance that only took my energy away from actually giving birth, I did not like being coached to push at all, I didn’t like how I was sitting in the triage for almost an hour in a puddle of water and the doctor came and knowing this was my *first time* asked: “So you think your water broke?” like I was a total idiot.

Right as I was remembering all those things . . .

And reevaluating my “starlight” experience, I had an epiphany:

Why couldn’t I just birth this baby on my own?! 

The more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that I could and would give birth by myself.

Preferably at night and in my bathtub (I even tried it on for size, quite literally, a couple of times: squatting in many different positions – my bathtub is rather smallish – it was a tight fit but totally possible).

I sorta wanted my husband to be present, just didn’t know how to ask him for it.  Not the “present” part, but the “at home, in my bathtub”.

Yeah, that part. 

So I started educating myself in order to educate him.  Among many other books, I read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and it was like a revelation.  It proved I was not crazy.  I was actually very normal and I wanted a very ordinary thing:  birth my own baby.

No drama.

No coaching.

No pushing.

*No pushing* was the biggest one for me.

I was immensely impressed when I read that some women didn’t push while giving birth and their babies were born nonetheless.  I didn’t like pushing on command the first time around and it did feel counter intuitive.

My dear husband didn’t want anything to do with an unassisted childbirth.  He thought the idea was absolutely crazy.  I showed him the book, the movie, the youtube.

His answer was: NO.

He wasn’t going to be left by himself should something happen to me during the course of all the shenanigans.  He wasn’t going to be left by himself to rescue the baby and me should an emergency arise.  He just wasn’t going to do that.  Even for me.  Especially for me.  He cared for me and the baby too much…

OK, so when I look at it right now I can almost see his point. That day though, I decided to give birth by myself period.  If he didn’t want in, he was out.

I truly believe that babies choose the way they are born, though.  Or at least they have a say.

Every night now I was expecting to go into labor and give birth.  But the “due date” came and went and two weeks later I was still pregnant and getting anxious.

Adding to my anxiety was my doctor who was convincing me to go to the hospital so I could have my membrane stripped.  I kid you not.

Her reasoning was:

  • I was already dilated 4-5cm on my last check up three weeks prior – I refused checks after that since they only caused more anxiety and didn’t offer any usable knowledge – I really didn’t care if I was 4-5 or 6-7
  • I tested positive for strep B – I was negative with my first so didn’t have much experience with that
  • It was my second baby and the first didn’t take long at all so she was worried that this one would be super- fast; yes, in my doctor’s eyes that would be a bad thing as they wouldn’t have time to treat me with at least two hours of antibiotics
  • It was already past my due date
  • If I went to the hospital, they could strip my membrane, put me on antibiotics and if nothing happened – speed things up their way – you know – Pitocin and stuff; at this point all I wondered was – why wouldn’t she just tell me to go and *get* a c- section? This scenario is going to end with one anyway so why even bother?

My reasoning was:

Ok – it wasn’t much of a *reasoning* really – I just thought: You go and have your membrane stripped!

Nice thing was that my husband, as much as he was against an UC, he was also against such hooey.

So between my desire to have a *perfect* birth . . . .

Nagging from my doctor, my husband going to sleep only after I already woke up (so you know, I wouldn’t attempt UC while he was resting), being ten months pregnant, it was all getting pretty unbearable and I was feeling miserable.  I also wondered if my husband would be hurt and have a grudge against me for the rest of his life because I didn’t include him in the birth of his child…

That evening I begged the baby to show me the way.  To tell me how she wanted to be born.

My new goal was to realize my baby’s ideal birth, not mine.

It was a very quiet and almost serene evening.

Should the baby decide to be born at home, she will.  Should she give me enough heads up to make it to the hospital (we have quite a drive) then I will go.  My husband also swore he would do everything to guarantee that I had the birth I imagined.

Next morning I woke up to a very pleasant rush of tingling energy running through my body.  I could feel the baby was ready.  She wasn’t born at night.  She was going to be born sometime during the day.

I told nothing to my husband.  It was a Saturday and we went about our day.

When we were at the store, I could feel my first contraction.  It was very mild.  Next store and another, the contractions kept showing up. I didn’t bother timing them or anything.  Whatever happens, happens.

Then it was time to stop by the doggy park with our four legged child.  As he was frolicking with his lot, my contractions became much stronger and I had to walk away a couple of times so my husband wouldn’t notice anything.

We got back home late afternoon.  I got busy with the laundry and when my husband asked me if I wanted him to start the dinner, I told him to hold off with the cooking.  He instantly figured what was going on and only asked for the percentage rate of the possibility we would be going to the hospital that night.  I told him it was 50/50.  He knew I meant a 100.

Shower, pack some things for my daughter as she was going to stay at the grandma’s, pray, fold the laundry.

We left the house around 7 PM. My contractions were already very intense and only 2 minutes, or so, apart.  I still wasn’t sure about the hospital birth but sorta didn’t want to birth in our new car either, you know what I mean?

After a short stop at my in-laws, we continued on to the hospital.

And now I have to give my husband all due credit.

He did an excellent job being my advocate and a spokesperson.  I really didn’t want to speak to anybody – my contractions were very strong at that point and I was a little bit upset that I ended up in the hospital, so there.

My husband explained . . .

How I wanted a home birth and only agreed to come to the hospital for him and he was to guarantee all went the way I wanted to – no coaching, no checking, no poking, no antibiotics, no whisking the baby away, no cord clamping and so on.  No drama.

He told that to just about everybody that happened to be in our way – the technicians, the triage personnel, a confused passer-by.

To my biggest surprise and utter delight they all seemed to take notice.  To be fair, my husband is a big guy.  You would rather take notice when he tells you how things will go down.

I was admitted to labor and delivery at 10PM.  All the formalities took sooo much time – I know my birth did stall for a hot second when I had to fill out two hundred forms of sorts.  Then I had to fill out some more paperwork when the doctor discovered I was strep B positive and refused antibiotic treatment.

So there we were.  There were one doctor – a tiny lady with nice disposition, one nurse and one other person.  And my husband, who that night, was my hero.

Complete silence was disturbed by the gush of water, pouring down my legs, just after 10PM.

I got naked as whatever clothes I had on were bothering me.

I squatted.  I moaned.  I massaged my legs and tights vigorously to lessen the sensations.  The pressure inside of me was very intense and getting even more intense by the minute.  I found myself repeating: Oh God, oh God, oh God.

And all I could think about was…cellulitis!

That is precisely what I mean when I say hospital birth is just not the same as homebirth.

Ok, so those complete strangers didn’t give a hoot what I or my behind looked like.  They hardly even noticed my naked butt facing them.  No one really cared.

Well, except for me.  I did care and was upset that with my ridiculous thinking I was effectively robbing myself of the energy that could be well spent elsewhere.  Like, I dunno, birthing my own baby.

This insanity only lasted a short time though.  Very soon the sensation became so strong I didn’t care about cellulitis anymore.  And that was a good thing.

There came a very familiar feeling.  Ahh, the transition.  Yes, this time I knew I was not dying.

The doctor must have noticed as she kept asking if I felt the urge to push.

All this time she was sitting on a chair away from the bed I was on, God bless her soul.

There was only my husband supporting me all the time.  And I mean physically supporting me.  He was sweating.  He also assured everybody that I knew what I was doing and would let them know when I needed help.

As for me, I didn’t intend on sharing what was going on.  I have to admit, even at that point, I was still a little upset and disappointed.

No one coached me.  No one said a word I didn’t want to hear.  And yet, I was a little bit disenchanted.

A quick glance at the clock on the wall.  It was 11:30 PM and I wondered if the baby would be born on the 17th or on the 18th.

I sorta liked the even number better.

And just as I was going to further ponder the advantages of September 18th over 17th . . . .

The strongest urge to bear down whirled through my body leaving me no option but to surrender.  I leaned over my husband’s fiery hot arm, propped myself up a little bit and…

The time stood still.

For some time then, I would keep my hand between my legs and up feeling the baby’s head.  It was soft and wet and warm.

And I loved that baby so much already.  I could imagine her hair was dark and glistening.

With one *push* or was it more of a surrender to the body’s motion, the baby was born.

Weeping for joy I took my precious, warm baby into my arms and would not let go.

Our bodies melted into one again.

I didn’t check but somehow knew we had a boy. Even though I was expecting another girl throughout the pregnancy, I was overjoyed to find out it was a boy.

Sweet, precious angel.  I kissed his head repeatedly.

I was holding my boy tight telling him how much I loved him, and how happy I was to be his mom.  Then I heard the nurse telling me to coax him a little so he cries otherwise they would want to take him from me- I rubbed his back and he gave a little cry.  He calmed down immediately and latched on.

The nurse came with a warm towel to cover my shivering body.  My baby boy nursed for over an hour.  He was born at 11:47 PM – not even two hours after I was admitted to L&D.  It was all very peaceful and sweaty and intense – and hard and easy.  Just about perfect.

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29 Responses to The Unassisted Hospital Birth of Baby J

  1. Mary Crockett via FB

    says:

    Absolutely beautiful!

  2. Megan says:

    There is NOTHING like giving birth!! How amazing to “do it on your own” at the hospital. Congrats!

  3. Brianna

    says:

    Love how supportive the staff was! Go mama!

  4. Janelle

    says:

    I want your hospital! I had a midwife attended birth at a birthing center with my oldest child…it was wonderful and fast. Then we moved to Wyoming and had to choose between the hospital, a midwife who lived 1 1/2 hours away, or doing it alone. We chose the hospital because it was free with medicaid. I hated it. (I liked being taken care of afterwards…but I hated the delivery. I wonder if they’d let me do like you did…guess my husband would have to tell them what not to do!

    • Anna

      says:

      Janelle, I went to the same hospital twice and the two times were so different – I do believe that the fact my husband stood up for me was the biggest part but he could only do it after I told him what I really wanted. With the first birth I was so clueless I didn’t even know what to expect or how the process would/could go.

  5. A. B.

    says:

    Your husband sounds like an angel! I love to hear about men acting like real men and defending their wives’ best interests! What a beautiful story.

  6. Marci Purtell via FB

    says:

    Ahhhhhh love this!!!

  7. meg says:

    oh my goodness, I love this story. xo

  8. Anna

    says:

    Heather,

    thank you so much for publishing my story and making me a part of this wonderful bash :) I love reading all the stories and recommend doing so to all my pregnant friends! Those stories can be so empowering.

  9. so beautiful!! all this talk of birth makes me want to have another one! stop it…i already have four :)

  10. Andrea Sangjun

    says:

    This is by far the best hospital birth story I’ve ever read! Thank you fir sharing!

  11. Jen K.

    says:

    I do not want to take anything from this story at all – it is beautiful! But Group B Strep is deadly…I know, we almost lost my son to GBS in January. I tested negative and wasn’t treated with antibiotics, but was positive. My water broke 30 minutes (thus his only time to get infected) before he was born and it was a drug-free birth. Picture perfect! Eight hours later he was in the NICU because this horrible bacteria was killing him and antibiotics saved his life. My situation is exceedingly rare (his pediatrician and my midwife have only heard about this happening, but never had patients with this scenario) but being positive should be treated. GBS strikes fast, attacks the brain and can cause a myriad of long-term mental issues, should the baby even live. It is the #1 killer of newborns and even with swift treatment the baby can suffer from multiple sclerosis, brain damage and more. I wasn’t going to post a comment because I do not want to take away from this story, but our situation was real, scary and could have had an awful outcome…and I kept coming back to this thinking I should write something. Modern medicine has its place, just as natural labor does (seriously, why can’t they get along?!?!?). I’m forever grateful for antibiotics and I would have gladly taken them prior to delivery had I known I was positive. My son was so, so, so sick from GBS and was in the NICU for 10 days for antibiotic treatment and is a healthy 5 month boy now.

    Again, this is a beautiful story and I mean no disrespect for posting this! Educate yourselves, weigh the risks and make your choices!

    • Anna

      says:

      Jen K. I’m very glad that your little one is healthy now and I’m sure it must have been scary. I didn’t want to put all the details in this story as it was already on the long side but I did read and read and read about GBS and took the risk into consideration. I knew the higher risk was for a premature baby (not the case), fewer/infection in mother (not the case) and water braking long before the birth (not the case either). I was actually afraid that my water would break and I wouldn’t be in labor and then knew I was at higher risk but thankfully that did not happen. I also did Hibiclense rutine for GBS and don’t know if it helped or not but I felt good knowing I’m doing something about that. The odds were in my and my baby’s favor. I also read that mother can test negative and the baby can still get sick just like in your case. You are right – everybody has to make their own decision and the more you know the better.

      • Heather says:

        Jen and Anna – I cannot tell you what it means to me to read such kindness and respect expressed when there are varying points of view.

        Jen – Like Anna, I am very grateful for your son’s recovery and the antibiotics that saved his life. I love that you encourage mamas to weigh the risks and make their choices, so I will share how factored them for myself:

        In my view, though, there are risks associated with administering antibiotics for GBS+ mamas and risks for not administering it.

        As I wrote about here (http://www.mommypotamus.com/bacteria-birth-is-everything-youve-been-told-wrong/), there is a strong case to be made for the importance of proper bacterial colonization, since improper colonization can lead to conditions like eczema, food allergies, and is a suspected factor in conditions like autism.

        On the other hand, there are the rare instances like yours in which there are complications, which most care providers would say could not be foreseen due to the short time your son was in the birth canal following your water breaking and the fact that you tested GBS negative. I am so grateful for your quick thinking midwife and the hospital that treated your son!

        I have had to weigh these two factors personally, as I was GBS+ with both my pregnancies. My midwife the first time advised me to do a chlorahexadine wash. I didn’t know about proper colonization back then so I agreed. For my second pregnancy my new midwife (the old one retired) was fine with me doing garlic and probiotic suppositories to increase my good bacteria count naturally. I took special measures to boost our immune function in the final weeks of pregnancy, so I felt pretty confident that my baby would be fine with the exposure (after all, it’s a pretty normal part of vaginal flora for many women around the world)

        We skipped antibiotics/washes and monitored my son VERY CLOSELY after he was born to make sure there were no complications, and everything worked out okay for us. I hope this reply is not offensive to you. I definitely believe GBS is something to be taken seriously and will continue to get tested if I am blessed with any more pregnancies. Though we take a “wait and see” approach we will not hesitate seek the help of antibiotics if the need ever arises. Thank you again for your thoughtful comments

  12. Jen K.

    says:

    I’m certainly not offended and am so grateful both of your experiences with positive GBS turned out, well, positive. I think my intimate encounter with it this year slapped me in the face and humbled me tremendously. I was helpless as I watched my not even 24-hour-old baby boy get a spinal tap and not whimper a peep. The waiting, the unknown, my lifeless son was completely different than the APGAR 9-9 boy I had delivered a few hours prior. I look back at his birth and it was everything I had dreamed (my daughter was taken via c-section)…then mere hours later our world was turned upside down and we were catapulted into a NICU life. I see the pictures of him those few days after his birth and can now see that he was so sick (I was numb at the time pumping, trying to sleep and eat adequately while living in the NICU.) I can’t think of it without welling up – I am so thankful he’s alive and healthy!

    I remember during our Bradley classes hearing of alternative GBS treatments and would have considered them had I been positive. Now, I wouldn’t go down that route should we have another child and I’d be treated for GBS regardless because of our situation. And I know it is because I lived through it, but I completely respect others’ decisions to deny antibiotic treatment during labor!

    And since then, I’ve learned A LOT about good bacteria and am (feebly) attempting to ferment my own kefir. Lots of curds and whey and not much kefir, so I’ve still some learning to do, but I’m certainly trying to increase our gut bacteria for the good!

    • Heather says:

      Jen, I seriously could hug you right now. We need more mamas in the world like you: Women who are able to speak frankly and passionately with kindness and love. Given what you experienced I would have fully understood if you had responded by calling me negligent (though I wouldn’t have agreed), and yet here you are with this gracious reply. I hope to hear from you on many more subjects on the future, because it is conversations like this that give me hope. Thank you for making my day.

      • Cait

        says:

        I want to second that, though obviously reading this months later, it was SO refreshing to see this conversation, so gracious and gentle when a lot of similar internet exchanges are hostile or defensive. Thank you ladies!

  13. Jen K.

    says:

    We are all mamas trying to look after our babies the best we know how!
    I’ll be coming back to read often :)

    And Anna, this was a beautiful story!

  14. MrsPolivka says:

    Great, encouraging story. Kudos to your husband for being so supportive and that you are happy with the way the birth turned out. I read this story aloud to Frank and then went off to cry! Birth stories always get me! :)

  15. Jaci

    says:

    Fantastic!! One weird question, can you please tell me what bra you are wearing in the top picture? the blue and white striped one? It looks very comfy, and Im about to deliver and need to be comfy, thanks

  16. Andrea

    says:

    What a great story!! And what a great job for sticking up for what you wanted! I had all four of my babies at home with only my husband and I, the first one he did not like the idea :) (I’m kind of stubborn) it was GREAT! Us woman are stronger than we give ourselves credit for! Great job!

  17. Francesca

    says:

    Thanks for the this story! I needed to hear this as I am having a second hospital birth, albeit midwife attended. This gives me hope for me and my husband!

  18. Gudrun B says:

    i just love all the responses as much as the story itself!
    just as an FYI for all the moms to be and B strep:
    my daughter’s midwife has her take vinegar sitz baths no matter if the test is neg or positive!
    it kills b strep!
    if any one wants the details i can find out

  19. Anna

    says:

    Thanks for sharing. I have yet to experience giving birth. My first is due in a few months.

    • Anna

      says:

      Anna, best of luck! Mommypotamus is a wealth of good info (also Mama Birth) and yes – reading birth stories is so helpful. I wish I knew that when I was pregnant with my first! You are smarter than I was :) Hugs!

  20. Chloe

    says:

    This is amazing! Just had to mention the difference between cellulite and cellulitis though– one is a benign butt dimple and one is a potentially deadly bacterial infection :)

  21. Kristyn

    says:

    Beautiful story. Felt like you were telling the story of how my second birth might be…the bitterness toward being at the hospital, the urge to do it better the second time, the experience to know what you can deny and how you really want everyone else to react (or not react). Thanks for sharing!

  22. liian

    says:

    Dear,

    this is a beautiful plan a beautiful story and so honest.

    I never thought about this option.
    to be left alone in “a safe place”.

    Its perfect, they clean it all up for you, and you can be calm with yourself.

    Congrats to your wonderful family:)

    inspiring story!

  23. Adria

    says:

    I am so glad I found this! I am 14 weeks pregnant with my second child. My first was born in a hospital and I was given many drugs I didn’t really want but they gave anyways, claiming doctors orders. I have been desperately trying to convince my husband to do a home birth to avoid unnecessary medical induction/epidurals ect. but we are 45 mins from the nearest hospital, so my husband is completely against a home birth for fear of complications. Hearing your story made me realize I can have the natural child birth I want in a hospital with the help of my husband(who was not able to be there for the first because his job took him to another state a few days before I went into labor) and my (RN) sister in law, who attended my sons birth and told me afterwards would have attacked every member of hospital staff if I had asked her to, simply because I was unhappy. So you have made me realize with their help I can have a more enjoyable experience this time around. Thank you so very much.

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