When we learned that we were expecting, it was pretty clear from the beginning that we wanted to go naturally with a vaginal birth without any pain medication. After attending several Isis classes (Natural
Childbirth, Newborn Essentials and Breastfeeding Basics) we felt prepared and were eagerly seeing the due date approaching. All that was missing was our little girl.
Then, on February 8th, labor started at 11pm. Contractions were not unbearable, however had gotten stronger over time. Therefore at 7:00 am we decided to head off to the Birthplace at North Shore Medical Center in Salem.
How disappointed we were when we were told that I was still at 3cm! Additionally, contractions had stopped completely while we were at the hospital and I was able to talk to the physician without any problems, so she sent us home again. How stupid did we feel?
Back at home, contractions started again and became stronger and stronger. How helpful it was to have Lars by my side. He wrote down the duration and frequency of the contractions, made sure I ate and drank, sent me to the bathroom frequently and was my rock I could hang on to during more painful contractions. At 7:00 pm on February 9th we decided to drive to the Birthplace again. This time, I was at 6cm and everybody was optimistic that the baby should be born by no later than 11pm. But we were so wrong…
Baby’s head was not in an optimal position and could not turn the corner of the pelvis. Our amazing labor nurse tried position after position to get her to move, and eventually me laying on my right side helped. Contractions were strong and long, sometimes around 2 minutes, but since they were not frequent enough the baby slipped back into the birth canal again and again. In the meantime her heart rate was lost intermittently by the external monitoring, so internal monitoring was used.
While the labor nurse encouraged us to hang in there and led us through contraction after contraction, our physician started to get worried about the well being of the baby and dropped the ‘c’-word. Oh no! More than 24 hours of labor already without pain medication – should all the work been for nothing and we would end up with a c-section? We knew that we would have to be open and flexible but this was a thought hard to deal with.
The labor nurse bought more and more time from the physician, but finally an ultimatum was set: An episiotomy will be done. If this does not work, the vacuum will be used. And if this also fails, we will have to go with the c-section.
By that point I was mentally really exhausted but kept on doing what I was told to do. Then the episiotomy failed – and I was feeling even more mentally drained. In the meantime a pediatrician was called into the delivery room just in case the baby would need additional help once born.
Then there was the next contraction, everybody was cheering at me while I was pushing. I was screaming, the whole room into pieces and suddenly, beautiful Olivia Jazz arrived in this world on February 10th at 2:36 am!
She was screaming loudly and had a pink color with a weight of 7.0lb and a height of 20in. The
pediatrician examined her and came to me: “I really tried to find something, but there is nothing wrong with her.” All I could do was smile – we really made it! Lars never left my side the whole 28 hours of labor (didn’t even get out of his hiking boots) and finally proudly could cut the cord.
Looking back, we are so thankful for the support we received from everybody at the Birthplace during delivery and post-partum. Especially we are grateful for having had such an amazing labor nurse who respected our wish for a natural birth and stood by our side the whole time. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
For a long time I could not see myself being a mother. Honestly, sometimes I thought that I never wanted to have children. But when I now look at little Olivia Jazz all I can think of is that she is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.