Delivering With The Midwives: Kim’s Unmedicated Birth Story

We love getting stories from mama’s who have delivered multiple babies with Valley. Kim submitted her first daughters birth story to us and we love all the details she included and we know you will too! I think we are all dying to know what was on her upbeat birth playlist!

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My pre-labor contractions had been keeping me up through the night for almost a week when they started intensifying. My contractions were 4-5 minutes apart and lasting close to a minute. I labored on my own for a couple of hours, using the relaxation techniques I learned in my Hypnobabies classes, and breathed through each contraction until I felt like I needed help to get through them. I woke my husband, Clay, around midnight and he talked me through each contraction, applying pressure to my back. I took a warm bath and listened to my Hypnobabies recordings, which helped me stay positive and manage my pain.

At 3 a.m. we called my doula, Melissa Chappell, and told her we were ready for her to come over. I thought I was in “real” labor, but I was worried my contractions would continue dragging on, so I didn’t want to get my hopes up. When Melissa arrived, she worked her magic. She helped me manage each contraction, applying pressure to my back and my hips, and helped me find different positions to ease the pain.

Melissa recommended I make a few different playlists for labor and I decided to make four: Upbeat, Calm, Christmas, and Church. I was exhausted and was only able to doze off a few times between contractions, so when the sun came up, I played my Upbeat mix. I highly recommend making playlists! Studies have shown women who listen to music during labor feel less pain.

Melissa was amazing! She made us omelets and fruit salad for breakfast and suggested we take take a walk. The weather was absolutely beautiful and it felt wonderful being outside! It was especially hilarious for fellow walkers who got to witness an exhausted, bundled up, pregnant lady randomly collapsing into her husband’s arms while another woman pressed on her back. We got some funny looks, but I was beyond caring by that point! The walk actually made my contraction pain more manageable.

I labored at home for a total of 19 and ½ hours in various positions, but  favorite was on a birthing ball. At around 6:00 p.m. my pain level was so intense we decided it was time to go to the hospital.

Let the drama begin!

We drove to the hospital in rush hour traffic, and having contractions in the car is awful!  We made it to American Fork Hospital and I got checked into the triage room. I was completely effaced and dilated at a 3+, but they wouldn’t admit me until I was a solid 4. We decided to walk the halls of the hospital for two hours and get checked again, with no luck. The midwife on call gave us three options: Go home, hang out in the triage room until I could be admitted, or take a shot of morphine so I could get some sleep. Melissa said she thought the morphine was the best option because my body was too exhausted to have productive contractions, and a little sleep would give me the energy to be able to  avoid any birth interventions.

Everyone left to give us privacy to think our options over. It was truly a moment of despair. We did not want to go home. I was completely exhausted physically and emotionally and I didn’t know if I could continue. Later on, my sweet husband told me how worried he was about me despite his reassurances, and, unbeknownst to me, he texted many of our friends asking for prayers. Clay asked once more what I wanted to do and offered one of the most heartfelt, pleading prayers I have ever heard.

I told him I wanted the morphine.

And it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! Of all possible answers to the prayers in my life, I never thought a shot of MORPHINE in the butt would be one of them. Melissa was relieved I decided to get the shot, she was worried I was too exhausted to continue laboring the way I intended. The morphine started working immediately. I rarely take medication so it is incredibly effective when I do!

We decided to go to my mom’s house in Draper because the thought of going back home felt like backtracking. When we arrived, Clay carried me to the bed and I slept for hours! It was amazing!  The morphine wore off around 2:30 a.m. and my contractions picked right up again. I called for Clay and he sent in Melanie, a doula-in-training/angel from heaven who came to help while Melissa went home and rested. Melanie was incredible. So sweet and motherly. She helped me through the contractions for a couple of hours until Melissa came back. I labored at home until 8:30 a.m.

When I started feeling slight urges to push during contractions, we thought it would be a good idea to head to the hospital again, crossing our fingers that I was far enough along this time.

We hit rush hour traffic again. When we got to the triage room, I heard some screaming and moaning. I tried to convince myself it was just a fussy kid that sounded like a woman in labor. Then the nurse patted me on the shoulder and said, “Oh, don’t worry, she’s just screaming because she’s doing a natural birth.” I just smiled and nodded and wondered if I’d be screaming like that. When the nurse checked me, I was dilated eight centimeters! I was SO relieved. I was admitted to a room, and was so happy Abby was the midwife who would deliver my baby. I had met all of the midwives in the practice and felt comfortable with all of them, but Abby had such a calm, loving approach and was the perfect fit for my first birthing experience. I climbed into the tub, and things moved really quickly. I was at a 9.5 then a 10 in under 2 hours. I was surprised at how little I cared about privacy at this point. The only thing I cared about was remaining calm during my contractions and getting my baby out! The pushing urges started getting stronger, so I got into bed in a side-lying position, had Clay turn on my “Church Music” playlist and I started pushing. I was excited to be at the pushing stage because I knew I was so close to the end and would meet our baby girl so soon. It was nice to get kind of a break from contractions and do something more productive. The urge to push was really strong and draining. Abby didn’t do any coaching—she just let me push when I felt like I wanted to, which was the kind of hands-off approach I was hoping for.

Abby asked me if I wanted her to break my water. I asked what the risks/benefits were and she said there wasn’t much risk at this point, but it would speed things up. I remembered seeing the hook they use to break water in my Hypnobabies class—it looks like an extra long knitting needle. I decided I didn’t want to have my water broken. Before I had a chance to answer, another pushing urge came and my water broke like a balloon. Everyone said they heard it! I just felt it.

I had Clay change the music to my Upbeat playlist. I was just pushing along when everyone excitedly said they could see Ellie’s head. My mom said, “She has dark curly hair just like you had!” That little sneak peek gave me some extra motivation to push. I got her head out, and then the rest of her body slipped out into Abby’s hands like a jellyfish—all to the tune of Weezer’s “Island In The Sun”. Abby handed Ellie to me right away and I said, “I did it!” I felt SO relieved, and ecstatic! Ellie had arrived safely, and I actually made it through the unmedicated childbirth I had wanted so badly. I did tear a little and bleed a lot, so there were stitches and shots to be reckoned with, but they didn’t phase me. I felt like I could handle anything! I was completely awake and energized the entire day, which I didn’t expect. The fact that the little brown-haired baby I was finally holding in my arms was mine, and that I had given birth to her felt surreal. I was so grateful to be holding a healthy baby in my arms, which is nothing short of a miracle.

Some conclusive thoughts: “Natural” childbirth is not as crazy or as impossible as people sometimes make it sound. Women are much stronger than we give ourselves credit for, and this is especially when it comes to giving birth. Anyone who wants to have an unmedicated childbirth, and prepares for it, (barring situations requiring medical intervention) CAN do it and even have a good experience! The process of pregnancy and childbirth is completely fascinating, and a perfectly healthy baby is an absolute miracle!