*Marin, A Birth Story*

This is Marin's birth story, she is now three years old, amazing!!  We found out we were pregnant with Marin at the beginning of December 2007.  I remember being elated and in disbelief that my husband and I were going to be parents...eeek!  Let me cut to the chase about the first trimester...it was HARD.  Nausea is all that can describe it!  It would progressively get worse during the day, and I felt that everything I had tried to eat during the day was festering in my stomach until the the dark evening found me and squeezed every last drop of stomach juice from my starving body.  Showers?  Total barf-fest.  My nausea did subside and my skin glowed with pregnancy, I really did look great.  My last trimester hit and then the poundage found me.  Yikes...I couldn't even look at the scale at the doctors office.  I gained a total of 53 pound with Marin. 

Throughout the pregnancy, I knew I wanted to have a natural delivery.  Kris and I read a book by Dr. Robert Bradly on his birth method and I would talk to my friend in NY who had delivered her children medication free.  We did some exercises and stretching techniques, along with relaxation techniques and while all of these were good, truth be told, I was still petrified of delivering a child. I had seen those episodes of "A Baby Story"...I knew what it was all about!  The screaming women, the pain the anguish...it really, *really* scared me. 

At 37 weeks, the doctor told me I was 3cm dilated and about 50% effaced, so he said it could be "Any day now!".  Riiiight.  We walked out of the office expecting things to happen...soon!  Any little thing, we thought it might be labor.  And then we went past our due date.  I won't sport with you mom's who have been there...you know how that feels.  I did NOT want to be induced because I knew that if I had pitocin, my hopes for a natural delivery would be gone.  But my doctor said..."You need to deliver.".  So we scheduled our date to be induced, and my anxiety level went up significantly.  The doctor must be right...right?

The evening before my induction, we had our bags packed, family at the house to cheer us on and our alarms set for 3:30am so we could be there by 4:30am.  I gave Kris a benadryl so he could sleep, cleaned the shower (you know how that nesting thing goes!) and went to sleep.  30 minutes later, my water Bu-ROKE!  What a sensation!!  We flew/drove to the hospital, and I was secretly relieved to have gone into labor on my own.  The nurse told me I was 4cm (great!) and then she started my IV and strapped me to the bed with the fetal monitor and then hung up my IV bag and had me sign a paper for an epidural I kept telling he I didn't want. 

And labor began.  You really can't know what labor is like unless you've experienced it.  My best description is like *REALLLLLLLY* intense menstrual cramps (sorry men...I know that still doesn't help you).  I tried to do the relaxation techniques we had practiced and Kris tried helping me but I snarled and barked him away (apparently I'm pretty independent..huh).  I kept feeling like I need to pee, so we would unhook the monitors and walk to the bathroom dragging the IV pole, then go back and hook back up again.  A contraction would come and out of reflex, I would curl up in a ball and fight it.  I didn't know what else to do.  So I fought.  Every single contraction.  I tried so hard not to!  After 2 hours....still at 4cm.  I was crushed.  The nurse told me I could labor for another 2 hours and then they would have to start the pitocin if i hadn't progressed.  2 hours later....still a 4, and I was devastated and SCARED.  The pit went up and I could feel it as soon as it hit my bloodstream.  My contractions went from soft, mountainous, natural forces of birth to hard, mechanical, relentless poundings of intervention.  They were AWFUL. 

I labored for two hours on the pit by myself, cringing deeper inside myself with each contraction and brimming with tears over the loss of my labor.  It wasn't my labor anymore, it belonged to the Pitocin...the doctor, the hospital, not me.  Another check...still a 4.  I started to cry and wheeze to my husband "I need help...I need help...I need help...".  I'm sure he almost gagged as I did this...the pitocin made me vomit and my breath must have been horrible.  The nurse told me if I wanted to dilate and relax (and not have a C-section), I would need an epidural.  Boom.  There it was.  When you are in labor, you are completely unable to make decisions.  Your mind and body are in a totally different place.  So, I'm not sure if it was me that consented or my white-as-a-sheet husband, but the anesthesiologist came and numbed my body.  He numbed me from feeling anything.  At the time, it was a relief, but inside, I was crying.  As I closed my eyes to rest while my body labored, all I could picture was my baby girl, my sweet baby girl, being dosed up with the drugs I had just chosen to give her.  The risks I was running by exposing this 7 pound 4 pounce fetus to bupivacaine and lidocaine and anything else they chose to put in there.  And then I slept.

Within 20 minutes I was at a 7 and an hour later, fully dilated.  I pushed away my grief as I prepared to welcome our daughter into the world.  The nurse had me practice push and then the doctor came.  Now, I was really trying hard to push, but, when fully numb, you just don't know what to do, so I tried my best.  It wasn't quite good enough as the doctor broke out the vacuum and yanked on my daughters head, pulling to make up for numb-inadequacy.  He also gave me an episiotomy, meh.  Not my first choice.

She did arrive!!  A beautiful 7 pound 4 ounce, 20 inch long baby girl with athletes legs to boot.  She was perfect.  A round (very) round head and just lovely.  In that moment, I was able to forget my labor and relish in the joy of becoming a first time mom, and it was sublime.  After soaking in all of my gorgeous daughter, I requested a large keg of iced orange juice.  You would not believe how thirsty I was for OJ!  I downed at least three large glasses and it was delicious. 

I want to conclude this experience with an acknowledgement that I am so grateful my daughter is healthy and well and that I did not need a C-section.  I love my daughter to pieces and am thankful that my birth experience with her was able to teach me much about myself, and ultimately make me wiser for the next time around.