My name is Danielle and I have had 4 babies. The first 2 births were very similar. I labored at home gradually over several hours then went to the hospital at about 5 cm dilated. I then got my epidural, waited quietly while listening to music for about 4-6 hours, pushed a few times, and out came my first boy and girl.
The second 2 births were very different. I decided with my 3rd that I wanted to have a completely natural labor without meds so I hired April as my doula cause I had not idea how I would get through the pain (and my husband would not know what to do to help me since our other birth experiences were very calm and pain free once I got the epidural). I woke up at about 5am with contractions and steadily increased in intensity until about 9 am when I asked April to come over. By the time she got there I was bouncing on my ball, working on my breathing, staying rhythmic, and waiting for my mom to get there so she could watch our little ones. Within about 10 min April said that we had to go since I was feeling nauseous (apparently this is close to the transition phase). We were getting in the car when my mom drove up and off we went. The hospital is about 7 min away but during the drive things changed quickly. I felt like I had to push. At this point visions of being on the news due to having my baby in the car were playing in my head. Needless to say we made it! When I got in the room a nurse hands me a gown and says “go change in the bathroom, I’ll be right back.” What?! I was thinking don’t leave me here this baby is coming! Just as my husband and April run in my water burst. I stripped down and hopped into the bed while my husband rushed into the hallway to get someone to come deliver the baby. A nurse came in to check me. Really, lady?! She said there was no doctor available but within a few minutes right when I started pushing, a doctor appeared and delivered our surprise 2nd little girl, 15 minutes after I got to the hospital. It was amazing and crazy to push and feel each section of her body come out.
My 4th was very similar, although a bit less dramatic The day before I delivered, I thought I was in labor but after about 3 hours everything stopped so we went about our day but my back was really sore most of the day and especially the night. The next morning, again at around 5 am, I was for sure in labor. I spent a couple hours walking and bouncing on my ball. With this one my husband wouldn’t let me labor quite as long at home. He didn’t want to cut it as close as we did with the last one. So at about 9am we met April at the hospital. I was laboring and pacing in the lobby waiting to check in. It felt better to move around and when a contraction would hit hard I would lean over to breathe and get the pressure off my low back where I usually get a lot of labor pains. Once I was in the room and in a gown the nurse went to find their wireless monitor so I could keep moving. It seemed like she was gone for way too long. Things changed quickly (again), within about 5-10 minutes of pacing and leaning over the bed in the room with my husband and April doing counter pressure on my pelvis, my body was starting to push. Again my husband runs into the hall to get someone. They came in and hooked me up to a monitor and while laboring on all fours my water burst on the bed. I don’t remember too much of the specifics, just that I felt like the baby and I were waiting on the doctor to come so I could push. I didn’t know what to do. Within a couple minutes or so the doctor came in, pulled on his gloves, and told me to open my eyes and to give him one push. And then they put my almost 10 lb 2nd baby boy on my chest. It was amazing! He is an awesome baby and definitely completes our family.
I’m so thankful that I got to experience labor with and without an epidural. With the epidural it was a very quiet waiting game. I loved having that very calm experience, especially since I was a new mom. The recovery was very sore and painful. But with the fully natural births things were very quick and active. It was a very empowering experience and I loved being so present, involved, and able to feel my babies come out. After the natural births the recovery was super easy with minimal pain or soreness and there was this surge of energy. Having April there during the unmedicated births was the best. I don’t think I would have known how to get through the pain without her guidance and instruction. She was invaluable. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. If I were to have any more babies (which I’m not) I would go the natural route again, in a second.