She decided to give birth at Vanderbilt Birth Center because she wanted a natural labor
I decided to give birth at baby+co. (now the Vanderbilt Birth Center) because I wanted a natural labor. Needles terrify me; the thought of an epidural makes me cringe. A friend had a wonderful experience at baby+co. so I booked a tour when I found out I was pregnant. The facility looked so cozy and I loved all the labor tools available, plus the team’s focus on empowering women throughout their labor.
My due date was Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. I was having slight contractions, most likely Braxton Hicks. I had an appointment the next day and decided to strip my membranes. Afterward, I felt more contractions. I was still working at that point, and stayed home the next day (Tuesday) because I still felt a bit crampy after the membrane sweep. Contractions continued through Wednesday, but they were not consistent. Finally, on Thursday morning, Sept. 12, I called my doula and baby+co. and we decided it was time for me to come in.
I tested positive for Group B Streptococcus (GBS), a bacteria that can be passed to a fetus during birth. So when we got to the birth center about 8 a.m., I was started on antibiotics. Because I needed two rounds spaced four hours apart, we decided to take the morning slowly. I mostly laid in bed and tried to rest as much as I could. After the second round of antibiotics, I wanted to speed things up.
Tools and props for comfort during natural labor
My waters were still intact, so I began walking, lunging, squatting and bouncing on the birthing ball to get things going. During this process I found comfort using the bars to hold on to. I also had my doula apply counter pressure to my low back.
About 4:45 p.m., the midwife’s intention was to break my water. However, when she checked my cervix, the water broke. This is when the process really sped up. The contractions became more intense and I wanted to get in the shower with the water on my low back. I held onto the bar in the shower or onto my husband during these contractions. After approximately 30 minutes in the shower, I felt like it was time to push.
I knew I wanted to labor in the tub. I mostly stayed on my knees in the tub with my hands holding on to the side. I tried lying on my back a couple of times but I’m short and the tub is big, so my feet couldn’t push up against the tub during pushing.
As my son began to crown, the midwife encouraged me to reach down and touch his head, which I did, and that was all the encouragement I needed to push him out. As soon as she laid him on my chest, I felt extreme relief and joy. I cried happy tears at his first cry.
The comfort measures that helped the most were the bars, counter pressure, the shower and the tub. I also used nitrous oxide while receiving stitches (again -- needle phobia).
My advice to expectant parents is to educate yourself and keep your thoughts positive. I am a very mentally driven person. Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you’re right. What you hold in your brain will manifest, so fill your thoughts with positivity. There were several people who criticized me for wanting a natural childbirth and said I’d change my mind once the pain hit. After a natural childbirth, though, I would do it again.