Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Chase's Birth Story

After dealing with a bad doctor for almost 9 months, I was ready to have our baby and never deal with that doctor again. I was so excited that labor had started naturally and on its own, because that meant not being induced. During labor at home, I continued keeping our doula posted with the progress.

this was later in labor at at the hospital

{ this story is long, if you just want pictures scroll to the bottom }

With a natural birth as my goal, I wanted to labor at home as long as possible. The moment you get to the hospital, I feel there is a tendency for staff to put you on a clock. Since I tested positive for GBS (group beta strep), there was even more reason for doctors to have me on a clock. They like to see the baby delivered by 24 hours after your labor starts to reduce the risk of infection to mother and baby. My total labor lasted over 30 hours, so I was thankful we could stay at home for early labor.

We talked about doing something nice for for the nurses and doctors, so my mom was in the kitchen making cookies when I noticed my water break. It just had to happen at the most inopportune time. My husband began frantically packing the last items for our hospital bags and even packed them in the car. My doctor had insisted on heading to the hospital immediately if my water broke. I knew that wasn't always necessary, and I still wanted to labor at home to avoid being in the hospital for an extended time. Again, it took some convincing since my husband wanted to rush to the hospital, but my gut told me it was okay to labor at home. Our doula assured us that everything was going well and that the bleeding I noticed was just my cervix thinning. It was nice having someone with birth experience to help comfort and reassure us both.

Eventually contractions were close enough that I started thinking we should head to the hospital. Our doula thought we could stay at home longer, but something told me we should just go. So my husband drove us to the hospital. On the way I actually started thinking something might be wrong, because I continued to feel gushing (which was just more fluid from my water breaking). My husband drove like a mad man, but we made it to the hospital safely.

We had pre-registered at the hospital, so that saved us some paperwork. Upon arriving at the check-in counter, we informed them not to call my doctor and that we wanted a midwife. There were no midwives that evening, so they assigned me a female doctor that was on call. We were taken to a small room to be checked, and my contractions were strong enough where I was needing to focus on breathing through them. I tried my best to stay relaxed and calm, and my husband was a comforting presence.

The nurses monitored my contractions to see that baby was doing well, and that gave me such piece of mind to know that he was doing great through each contraction. I mentioned that I didn't want an IV, so they installed a heparin lock that would allow them to administer antibiotics to treat my group beta strep. They stuck me multiple times trying to get a good vein. I had bruises for weeks after that!

My progress was checked, and they informed me that I was 5cm dilated! I was pretty happy with that, because it meant I was fairly close to transition. They wheeled us up to the labor and delivery room, and then my mom and doula joined us again.

I felt so empowered not calling my doctor, and I knew it was the best decision. That choice was reaffirmed when we met the doctor who would deliver our baby. She was enthusiastic, encouraging, and supportive; she was everything my doctor hadn't been the past 9 months. I felt at ease with her, and I ended up having a really great nurse too! Things were going better than I had imagined.

The hospital has the anesthesiologist explain things as standard protocol, but they didn't push anything. I had my birth plan stating that I didn't want to be offered any pain medications unless I asked for it. An epidural wasn't even an option in my mind. I just wanted to breathe through my contractions and do my best to stay calm and relaxed. The nurses never once pushed the epidural, and I never really thought much about it.

Thankfully the labor and delivery rooms have lights on dimmers, so we were able to keep a relaxed environment. My nurse was so supportive of me wanting a natural birth, and I'm incredibly thankful for that. I didn't want to be hooked up to the monitors, and they couldn't get the wireless monitors to work. Since our baby looked great, they agreed to monitor me at intervals so I could move freely in between checks.

I labored in positions I had been using at home, and I even brought my own birth ball and blankets from home to make me feel more comfortable. Our doula, Alyssa, helped with different positions to help keep me calm and comfortable. Once I finally hit transition, the contractions finally started getting really strong and back to back. That was the most intense part of labor. I remember Alyssa suggesting I sit backwards on a chair and rest my arms and head on the chair back. I think being upright helped the baby descend, but by that point I don't remember too much about what anyone said. I definitely went into my own space once I hit transition. My husband was at my head keeping me calm and Alyssa rubbed my back and reminded me to breathe and stay in control.

Contractions at that point weren't like anything I ever expected. They were definitely wave-like, and I found the best thing was to just focus on "getting to the top of the hill" and then "ride it down". With each contraction I remember thinking to myself that it's like riding a bike or hiking a really steep hill, and once I got to the top I could just coast. I could tell once I'd hit the peak and it was a coast until the next contraction hit. Alyssa had some relaxing music playing, aromatherapy, and I had a rice pack that could be microwaved for pain relief.

Transition dilates you from 7-10 cm, and I was hoping to be close to 10cm and push our baby into the world. The doctor checked me, and I was at 9 cm. She told me that breaking my water would speed things up and help me fully dilate. Imagine my confusion when I realized my water had broke on Saturday afternoon. She told me that sometimes your bag of waters can re-seal itself, and she thought that's what happened. I said go ahead and break my water if that would help me dilate completely. I knew the pain would get more intense once she broke my water, and I had no idea it would happen so fast. She broke my water, and I immediately had a painful contraction that had me feeling a little nervous.

labor got tough after having my water broken

After having my water broken, I couldn't manage to move as freely as before. I laid in the bed on my side and tried to keep my breathing under control. I kept feeling the urge to bear down, but my nurse said my cervix wasn't fully dilated yet. I needed to control that urge to push. That was most definitely the hardest part of my labor. I was 9cm dilated, and I wanted push so badly. She told me that when I breathe, I should release my breath like I'm blowing out a candle. Boy did I blow out a lot of candles! At one point I thought I might lose control, but Alyssa was amazing at keeping me breathing. My nurse Janene just keep reminding me to "blow out candles". I'm so thankful for such a great support team. I held onto my husband's hand so tightly, and I tried my best to stay patient, in control, and not push. It was by far one of the hardest things to do.

It seemed like my contractions had spaced out, and I finally felt like I really had the urge to push again. I asked for the nurse to check me, and I'll never forget how I felt when she said I was 10cm. I just wanted to meet our baby!

I never thought pushing would take so long. I pushed for about an hour and a half before our little guy made his appearance. My doula reminded me not to try and push baby out quickly, because that's when you tear down there. Yikes! I took my time and allowed this to happen slowly. After pushing for so long, I started to wonder if this guy was ever going to make his exit. I was exhausted from having started labor on Saturday. Come Monday morning, I was wanting to meet our baby so badly.

Pushing with contractions didn't come easily at first. I wasn't pushing really effectively, but I finally got the hang of it. The doctor was incredibly patient with how long it was taking me to push. There came a point where I wondered if I was going to actually deliver a baby vaginally. The doctor eventually told me that "some one's getting tired, and it's not you". That made me worry that baby's heart rate wasn't holding up anymore, so I gave every push after that everything I had. I wasn't about to have a c-section after all of that hard work, and it seemed like just a couple more pushes and our baby arrived.

I remember wanting to hear him scream to know he was okay, but he didn't scream right away. Apparently the cord was around his neck, but it was no problem for the doctor to remove it right away. My husband cut the cord, and then they put our baby right on my chest.

finally in my arms

He was so incredibly pink and squishy and perfect! After a little time he let out the loudest screams as if to tell us he was fine and healthy. I remember looking at my husband with the most love that I'd ever felt. It was amazing to finally hold this tiny human that we created. The love is indescribable!

After spending some time holding baby skin to skin, the nurses did some other checks on him and finally weighed our little guy. When they said he came out weighing 8 lbs 15 ounces and 22 inches, my jaw just about hit the floor. He was quite the big boy! Since he was so big and had no vernix, they ended up doing some tests on him to make sure he didn't have diabetes. He was perfectly healthy, no diabetes. I guess he just cooked a little longer than normal.

tall boy... just like his daddy

Actually going through with a natural birth made me feel so empowered and strong. It felt as if I could conquer anything after that. I was so happy to finally hold our baby, and it was a relief to be done with labor. We did it! I spent every second of recovery just gazing at our perfect baby boy, Chase Daniel.

welcome to the world Chase Daniel, mommy and daddy love you

Thanks to Dr. Escobar, our nurse Janene, our doula Alyssa,
and my mom (grandma) for being a part of our baby's birth!


  1. So glad everything worked out for you! Congrats on your beautiful son! xoxo

  2. Congratulations! He is beautiful!. Nice work, mama! Thank you for sharing your incredible, inspiring story. Enjoy every single precious newborn moment.

  3. Congrats Ashley!! He is just perfect!!

  4. Congrats! Welcome to mommyhood!

  5. So beautiful, congrats Momma and yay for a beautiful and healthy baby boy!!!

  6. Wow. What an incredible and beautiful story. Congratulations!

  7. beautiful!

    I had a natural birth with #2...your story is much more graceful than mine. Mine story included lots of screaming "it hurts" and "help me" :)

    He is beautiful. Congratulations!!!

  8. Well that got me choked up! That was a beautiful story Ashley, congratulations! We're due December 17th, you very much an inspiration to have a natural birth!

  9. So glad to read all this! I want to someday do natural and this story was very encouraging!! So glad everything worked out and that your team was so wonderful!! I am loving all the fun pics of your sweet lil guy :) hope you are all having a wonderful week!