A positive birth story to inspire
Stripes Okinawa | .
published: July 06, 2016
Anticipation had been growing as the weeks went by. I was 1 day shy of 42 weeks and after many false alarms, was still pregnant and anxious. Around 2 am June 4th, I awoke with a contraction. Then another one 12 minutes later. This continued for over an hour and I knew this was it. I called my doula to tell her the good news and tried to get some rest. It was a big day, as my son was turning 3 and a party was to be had at 11 am.
It was an interesting morning prepping for the party in between contractions. This continued into the event as well. Serve the hamburgers – contraction. Refill the pretzels- contraction. Cut the cake – contraction. My son had a wonderful time and I was thrilled he could have his special day.
Around 5 pm the contractions were coming around 4-6 minutes apart. We decided it was time to get to the hospital. Upon arriving, the pattern slowed down a bit and continued while lying down in triage. The fetal monitor showed a dip in heart rate after my contractions, so I was admitted to the MICC at only 2-3 cm dilated. I had been receiving regular acupuncture treatments throughout my pregnancy and opted for an acupuncture treatment administered by the anesthesiologist on duty for pain management after being shown my room. On a side note, I am not sure if the treatment helped my pain, but I was still happy to have had it done.
We settled in and labored for another 3 hours, all the while eating light snacks and enjoying the time with my husband. The nurses were completely hands off aside from checking the fetal monitor from time to time. They respected my decisions for a natural birth and were very encouraging. They checked me again and I was only at 5 cm. At this point I was exhausted from laboring all day and decided it was time to bring in my doula. I was losing steam and needed to bring in the big guns. She came with an amazing bag of tricks and knowledge.
At this point my contractions were super intense as I was in active labor. I was upset to still have the fetal monitor on, but knew we needed to keep an eye on the baby. As the labor progressed though, his heart rate became stable. I tried several positions throughout labor and what seemed to keep things moving was standing over my bed with my doula pressing on my head, my husband holding a heating pad on my lower back, me hitting stress balls together and matching the volume of my low chants to the intensity of each contraction. It was the hardest thing I have ever done and the rushes continued to intensify as I progressed into transition. There were times when I thought I could not go on any longer.
I began telling myself “10 more seconds” as each rush would rise and peak. I needed to have complete control of my mind or else panic would sink in. We had a moment of celebration when the nurse announced that it was past midnight, meaning our boys would have separate birthdays! This kept me going along with my amazing support team who cheered me on the entire way. I was also incredibly determined to have this baby naturally.
After hours of labor, I was checked and found out I was at 9 cm. Uggghhhh! I was feeling the urge to push but knew I still had more work to do. I was so close. After a few more contractions and using all my labor tricks (low chants, imagery of opening, using gravity by standing in an upright position) I was finally at 10 cm and could push.
Right then and there I started pushing in my standing position. I was encouraged to get on the bed and push while on all fours, as the doctor and nurses didn’t want to catch the baby on the floor. I slowly made my way on top of the bed.
Pushing was a different type of intensity. The nurses and doctor were still hands off and allowed me to lead the pushing. For the most part I controlled each push, but there were moments when my body took over and bore down an extra few seconds. I just went with it and let my body do what it was made to do. As my baby began to crown I remember thinking, “Yep, the ring of fire is appropriately named!”
The pressure was intense but I kept telling myself the faster I get through this, the faster the pain will be over and I get to hold my baby. I pushed for about 20 minutes – I was determined! As his body emerged, the doctor told me to reach down and touch my baby. It was amazing. I looked down and remember thinking “wow this doesn’t look like a baby’s head at all!” A few more pushes and he was out. My sweet boy was plopped on my chest and I felt an intense rush of emotions. I instinctively tried to bring him closer to me and the doctor quickly reminded me that he was still attached to my placenta! Oops! I looked down at the boy who had been growing inside me for 9 months with so much love. I felt love for my husband and my doula too, who had gotten me through the most intense experience of my life. I just kept thinking, “I did it!” I couldn’t believe I did it. It was everything I wanted it to be and more. To feel every part of the most amazing miracle a woman can be a part of was incredible.
A note from Japan Birth Resource Network: Birth comes in all shapes and sizes. We often hear the negative side of birth. By sharing women’s stories we hope to put a positive outlook on the experience when giving birth here in Okinawa.
Connect with local Okinawa moms on Facebook in “Pregnancy & Birth Talk Okinawa”
Japan Birth Resource Network provides evidence based information and mother friendly support throughout Okinawa and Japan. To learn more visit: www.japanbirthresourcenetwork.com
BEC’s July Schedule:
- Sunday, July 10 - Hypnobirthing begins
- Saturday, July 16 - Movie at USO, “Trial of Labor”
- Monday, July 25 - Breastfeeding Basics
- Tuesday, July 26 - Intro to Cloth Diapering
The BEC offers a Weekly Wednesday Weigh In every week for breastfeeding mothers & baby, IBCLC consultations, Hypnobirthing, Infant Massage, and more.