I found out I was pregnant with my first, after about five months of trying. My husband, Kenny, and I were thrilled. I had a very easy pregnancy, no morning sickness, gained about 27 pounds total. I was due October 5, 1997. We did not know the sex, but I always suspected it was a boy. I read everything I could get my hands on about natural childbirth and pregnancy in general. I knew exactly the kind of birth I wanted. Because I was experiencing a normal pregnancy, if I gave birth during the day, the nurse/midwife would actually deliver the baby at the hospital. I had discussed my birth plan with her: no I.V., no drugs, no episiotomy, and immediate breastfeeding.
On October 8, my husband and I were shopping and I started feeling very tired (beyond the usual) and experiencing some low back cramps. By about 7 PM, I knew I was in labor. I tried to sleep, but the growing "cramping" pain prevented much sleep. The back pains were getting worse, so I would take a hot shower to relieve the pain, every hour or so. My husband was massaging by back and trying to help me relax.
By 8 AM the next day I could barely stand up straight, and we knew it was time to go the hospital. Within in an hour I was in a birthing room, hooked up to an external fetal monitor. I was dilated to 8 cm at this point when I suddenly stopped progressing. The nurse discovered I was dehydrated and threatened to hook up an I.V. I refused and began chugging water. The baby's heartbeat was fine and there was no cause for intervention. By noon, they (nurses & midwife) were anxious to move things along and started mentioning pitocin. I refused. I had the sense they were growing impatient with me, but I knew what I wanted.
My water still had not broken so at 1 PM the midwife broke my water. I was not prepared for the amount of water/fluids that come out! But boy what a relief! I immediately felt many pounds lighter. Soon after, the pushing began. I was on a bed that was partially cranked up with my legs pulled back. My husband was on one side and my sister on the other. I can't recommend enough, how helpful it was to have two people coaching you on. Once I started pushing, I can honestly say there was no pain; it was the just the HARDEST work I've ever done. I had my eyes closed most of the time so that I could visualize the baby moving through birth canal. It really helped me focus on the work I was doing, and everyone telling me what they could see as the baby progressed.
Just as the baby was crowning, the midwife advised me that I was going to tear if I didn't have the episiotomy. My husband reminded her of my wishes, and I proceeded without one. Then all of a sudden, they were telling me to look up and there was my baby boy being placed on my tummy. He was born at exactly 3 PM. It was the most awesome experience of my life. The placenta followed, and I received a few stitches from the tear.
We named him Casey James and he went for the breast immediately. My parents were allowed in shortly after and everyone was crying; it was a great moment. They weighed (8 lbs. 5 oz) and measured him (20 1/2") a short time later and then I was able to shower and move to a regular hospital room. I asked they not do the eyedrops until after he was in the nursery.
I was still amazed at the whole process as I sat and ate Chinese take-out in my bed. I felt like I had exercised every muscle in my body. It was totally exhausting. They brought him to spend the night with me, and I actually changed his first diaper. We left the next morning and were home by 10 AM.
I breastfed exclusively and lost all my weight in six weeks, with no effort. Becoming a parent is the greatest joy.