Our First Birthing Story – Amber aka Pandapanda

Thank you Amber for being so brave and being the first to share your story!


My name is Amber, and I gave birth to my first son on 7/25/10.  

3:28am Sunday July 25th, 2010

    I awoke from a solid sleep, at first confused and disoriented. I began to roll over and slide out of bed when I felt the tightness and dull ache in my belly. There was no mistaking it, after weeks of doubt and prodromal labor. I laid back down to take advantage of any rest I could get before my contractions kicked in- this was going to be a life changing day. After what felt like a minute of sleep, I woke at 4:30am feeling the same pain I had felt before with more intensity and pressure. This was it, I knew. I got up to shower, with the help of my husband. At the beginning of my pregnancy, I had seen an obstetrician who had implanted in my mind that since I was petite with narrow hips, that I would not be able to birth this child if I went past 37 weeks. Today I was 40 weeks and 2 days. This idea came into my head and had me in a panic. My husband called my midwife about an hour after we had been awake. My contractions were a few seconds shy of two minutes and were coming every five to twelve minutes. Her voice was so calming so relaxed. She told me not to come until 4pm or when my contractions were two minutes apart. Over the next few hours I moaned, took warm showers, and did my best to keep moving. It took intense physical, emotional, and mental control to not fight my body when a contraction came. 3:30pm came and I couldn’t take the intensity of the contractions. I did some aggressive convincing of my husband and we were out the door. I don’t remember the beginning of the car ride to the hospital, only the part where traffic backed up for 15 miles leaving us with no alternate route for our trip. I hit transition while we were in the car, in 104 degree heat. Our AC went out at this point, so I drifted off into my own world and imagined sun basking on a beach. During this time I didn’t feel the rushes of contractions and I became so silent that my husband began to worry. Poor thing.

    When I next opened my eyes we had arrived and my husband was helping me out of the car. I waddled across the parking lot and into the building, catching many stares from strangers. I didn’t think it was funny at the time, but a full term pregnant woman (whom looks like she is smuggling a bowling ball) speed walking through the hospital must have been at least a little bit interesting to watch. When we turned the corridor into the Labor and Delivery unit, it took one look at me for the nurses to begin scrambling to get my room together. My midwife came to me in my room, while I was resting on the bed while my birthing tub was filled. She asked to check me. I was 8-9cms with a bulging bag of water. My nurses and midwife (we’ll call her Blanche) were amazed at how far along I was with this being my first birth. Blanche held my hand and reassured me that I was doing a good job and that she was proud of my determination to bring this child into the world naturally. She guided me into the next room where my birthing tub awaited me. I was so unable to focus that my husband undressed me while my midwife supported me. The best part of the actual labor process was when I first sat down in the tub and felt the warmth of the water, the water pressure relieving some of my discomfort. My husband put on swim trunks and got in with me. I let my body float and just let my body and the water work together to finish the transition. Hours later I had not progressed much because I was so exhausted. I hadn’t felt like eating all day. In fact, I had completely forgotten to eat or drink anything in the last fifteen hours. A nurse brought me some watered down apple juice and a few crackers. Shortly after eating, my labor kicked into high gear and I am certain this is because I needed nourishment. The biggest part of labor is having the fuel to run off of, and I had neglected this fact.

      I felt a sudden relief of pressure followed shortly by the most intense contraction of my entire labor. This one hurt. I knew than that my water had broken. My midwife came in and put on gloves just in time for me to tell her that the baby was almost crowning. Sure enough, within a minute his head was crowning- I did not appreciate comments about how little hair he had. The “ring of fire” as it is called is very accurately named. I took deep slow breaths while he crowned. I pushed and pushed for five minutes and my son did not budge. I recall saying “He’s stuck! I can’t get him out!”. Blanche thankfully trusted that I know my body and had me get on all fours. My son still didn’t budge, but the position change did turn him a little bit. I started to cry tears of frustration, and she instructed the nurses and my husband to gently lift me from the tub. As they lifted, his head slipped out. They laid me on the floor on my back and he rocketed out of the birth canal. The next few moments went in such slow motion that I will never forget them. Blanche placed him on my chest and I held him close, kissing his head and smelling his skin. Somewhere in the background I heard shocked labor attendants commenting on how big he was. They started to pat him and tried rubbing him, because he was not crying. This wasn’t necessary. He had lifted his head to look at me, eyes open and alert before placing his head down on my chest. My husband began to get teary eyes, as did I- this was such a beautiful moment that every time I think of it, I begin to cry. Elijah was 9lbs 5oz, 21″ at birth. The aforementioned obstetrician was so wrong. I gave birth naturally to a “large” baby with what I feel was ease. Shoulder dystocia aside, it was a perfect birth.

      There are a few things I feel are worth mentioning. Trusting your care provider, in my case a midwife, is a major factor in any birthing experience. On my forty week appointment two days before my birth, Blanche had told me, “Just wait it out, honey. I’m on call Sunday; you’ll be in labor then.” Sure enough, my labor began bright and early Sunday morning and I felt so at ease knowing Blanche would be attending my birth. There is only one thing I would change and that is: the number of people in my room while I was delivering. The nurses felt like they needed to instruct me on pushing and speak over my midwife and this caused unnecessary stress and frustration. In the future, I will make it clear that it is to be silent while I am pushing. I am a water birth fanatic, and all future births will be in a tub. My experience has pushed me to become a doula and water birth advocate in hopes that I can help other women have the birth they desire.

Posted with permission.  If you are interested in posting your birth story to this blog please contact us at princesspipersmama@gmail.com for more details.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. BttB 2011
    Feb 19, 2011 @ 09:19:38

    Great blog 9/10! Bookmarked 🙂


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