Just to prepare you, this is going to be a very long post containing a few of the more gory details.
This story has a bit of back ground details, so be prepared. During nursing school, I had a labor and delivery rotation where I got to go to TMC and shadow L&D nurses and help deliver babies. You'd think that this would be a wonderful experience, full of joy and excitement, but it wasn't. To be perfectly honest, I was horrified by how laboring mothers were treated. It reminded me of a medieval torture room. In my eyes, the nurses and OBs would tie the women to their beds and force them to try to push uphill to get their baby out. The women had next to no say about how their delivery would go. Often, medical treatments were done that were not required just for the comfort of the medical staff, not of the mom or baby. After the baby was born, it was taken from its mother and sent to a room where it would be scrubbed down. The mothers were all very uncomfortable and pain was mentioned over and over again. This was definitely not the "hooray I am having a baby" experience that I had always dreamed of having when I had a baby. In fact, I was terrified at the idea of having a baby in the hospital.
Thankfully, part of my L&D rotation required that I go to the Birth Center to see an alternative way of doing things. Night and day difference in the treatment of the mothers. The most amazing difference was how the midwives acted. Shadowing the midwives helped me to see that having a baby could be that joyous experience that I always wanted. I also found out the the Birth Center does GYN care also, so I signed up to be a patient. I have been a patient at the birth center for going on 4 years and have had wonderful experiences. (Honestly, who can say that having an annual well women's visit is wonderful?) I knew that when Randy and I had a baby, I wanted to have him or her at the birth center.
This is how we ended up choosing the Birth Center as the location.
Another piece to Jolee's birth that was started by school was the use of a doula. One of the lectures for the L&D class was done by a doula. After hearing about what a doula is and what she does, I decided that a doula would be a perfect addition to our baby's birth, but now I had to find a doula. I was extremely blessed in that a wonderful lady in my old ward just happened to be a super doula. I had decided that when I got pregnant that I would ask her to be my doula and when we asked, she accepted. Anita also happens to be HypnoBabies trained and she introduced us to this form of birthing. We took our classes and did our homework and worked and worked on training me in self-hypnosis (I know some of you may be skeptical when thinking of hypnosis, but it works, believe me). The theory behind hypno babies is that the mother chooses not have pain but to have pressure and chooses to be relaxed for the baby's birth. I realized that I never knew how powerful the mind is in how I experience pain, etc. Through my training with hypno babies, I was prepared for Jolee's birth.
The weeks prior to her birth, I had had many many preppies (braxton-hicks), but none of them were regular and they didn't really cause me pain, occasional discomfort but not enough to stop me from working. The Tuesday night before I had Jolee, I had tons of preppies, in fact, I was a little nervous that I was going into the birthing time (labor). This was a bad thing because Anita was in Hawaii. I ended up working Wednesday (I was super cranky, my poor coworkers), and luckily, the preppies stopped halfway through the day. I ended up taking the following day off to rest because of how icky Wednesday was with all of the preppies. I slept all day Thursday and most of the day Friday and then went back to work on Saturday. Saturday was uneventful at work and I hardly had any preppies. So I left working, completely expecting to be going back to work on Monday. I got home, showered, ate dinner, and then went to bed. I actually wrote in my journal that night "I feel like it is getting closer and closer to time for baby." I never knew how right I was.
Sunday at 1230am I got up for my usual midnight bathroom break (poor tiny squished bladder). As I am washing my hands, I feel the need to go again (very weird) and water gushed out of me. I was wondering if my water had broken or not. So in my half asleep state, I decided it hadn't and I went back to bed. The moment I laid down, I felt the need to go again and had water gush from me again. This time, I really thought about it and realized that it had to be my water breaking. So, I climb into bed and shake Randy to wake him up. As soon as I get him semi alert, i tell him that I think my water broke. He was pretty confused. I asked him "what do we do know?" He looked at me and said "I don't know." We sat there for about a minute and then he told me to call Anita. So I call Anita, then I call my midwife. The midwife on call, just happened to be our favorite midwife, Cece. We absolutely love her. So Cece told us to met her at the birth center. I took a quick shower while Randy packed the car. When I got out and dressed, Randy was doing some last minute car loading, by this time I was having some pretty strong pressure waves (contractions). I told Randy that we had to leave right now, no more packing, time to go. We got to the birth center around 2:30am. I was already 4 cm dilated and 100% effaced. The pressure waves were now 3-4 minutes apart and were really strong. I couldn't get myself under my hypnosis because of how quickly everything started, I didn't get to get under control before I got rammed into active labor. I was started to panic because of how intense the pain was and I was shaking like crazy. Randy was doing everything he could think of to help me use my hypnosis, but to no avail. At this time, super Anita arrive and came to our rescue. She hopped up on the bed with me and quickly help both Randy and I to calm down and I was able to get back in charge/control and I was able to use my hypnosis. The relief was amazing. After some time (no clue how long), I started to get back labor and I decided that I wanted to try laboring in the shower while sitting on a birthing ball. Our nurse was concerned I might slip and suggested that I use the birthing stool instead. I tried it and it was hurting my poor bum, so I chucked it out of the shower and Anita ran and got the birthing ball for me. I used Randy to support me and I went completely under using my hypnosis and I was super calm and labor was actually (okay don't hate me) easy. My back labor started again, so I used a technique from the book "Back Labor No More" call the belly lift technique and my back labor stopped instantly which helped me to be so much more comfortable and sped my labor. In no time, I started to feel like I needed to push. My nurse got the tub ready and check me. I was full dilated but had a small lip (a tiny part of the cervix that just doesn't want to dilate). So I headed to the birthing tub to start pushing. The water felt so nice, in fact, I think I fell asleep between some of the pushes. Around 4:50am, I started pushing. Anita climbed behind me and sat on the edge of the tub and supported me while I pushed away. After pushing for a while and not getting much progress, we tried a few different positions. And I ended up on my hands and knees. This position was the key and I was able to push much more easily. With the baby's head out, her face came out of the water and she started to breath and then her face went back under (not good). With Cece and the nurse's quick care, they quickly held the baby out of the water and emptied the tub so that the baby's head would stay out of the water and I quickly pushed her the rest of the way out. Randy was able to catch her and as he handed her to me, he said "you were right" and something about that the baby was a girl, our little Jolee. I was such an amazing, powerful, and emotional experience. As I held her, I just cried and cried. Pushing her out was very hard work, but oh so worth it. After the umbilical cord stopped pulsating, Randy cut the cord and he took Jolee while Cece, Anita, and the nurse helped me to the bed where I delivered the placenta (a huge placenta at 1 lb 13 oz). At this point, I started to bleed and earned a shot of pitocin to help stop the bleeding. I stopped bleeding right away. Randy, Jolee and I laid in bed together and snuggled and bonded for over an hour before we asked for her to be weighed and measured. The three of use spent the day lounging at the Birth Center. It was joyous experience that I had always wanted. I was able to do exactly as I had planned, deliver my baby without the use of pain medications or epidural, at the birth center, all natural, and in the water. Randy was the best birth partner ever. He was constantly reminded me of his love for me and doing anything and everything that I asked of him. He also told me how proud he was of me and what an amazing job I was doing. His support was definitely perfect. I am so grateful for him! We are so blessed to have been able to have this opportunity and for our darling daughter!