More thanks to Nicole Cox for sharing her second birth story with us. Be sure to check out her first one on our site: Advocating Your Birth.
After going through my first pregnancy and delivery, I decided to have a midwife for my second. I was so disgusted with waiting for my appointments at the OB/GYN with my first. They didn’t care about my schedule and because the practice was so large there were so many doctors. I never got to know any of them. It was a new doctor each time. What if I show up to give birth and there is a doctor I have never met before and they don’t know what I want, what my wishes are? I didn’t want to have to fight that fight again.
When I got pregnant, I just went to look at a midwife practice and it was just a good fit. It was interesting to see the different types or levels of midwives. One was more doctorish, you need to do this and this, etc. Some of them were really into vitamins, herbs and natural things.
We also decided to use a doula again. She was fantastic. She was the third one we interviewed to find the right fit. She was just phenomenal. She actually suggested that I let my mom in the room, which I was totally against during the first one. I just wanted to have some guidelines for my mom because I was a little nervous. Because my mom never had a vaginal birth, she didn’t really know what I was going through and had never experienced it before, so she just needed to have some guidance about what might happen and what state of mind I might be in, which is what I was nervous about. The doula had a meeting with us at the house and went through all of the “rules” and a lot of discussion of boundaries. It was such an honor to have my mom there. For my doula to take the time to work with me and my mom to allow for that to happen was so fantastic. It was just amazing to have my mom there.
I was two weeks past my due date again and they wanted to induce me. I said no. I really didn’t want to be induced. I wanted to do it naturally. A few days later, I went into labor. My contractions were pretty strong at first. Then after we got into the hospital, they started to subside. I was walking around and talking and laughing. We all thought it would go quickly, but the contractions would just build up and then subside.
I did labor and deliver in the water. It was amazing how the buoyancy makes your contractions more bearable. The water was warm and soothing and there was a lot of opportunity for different positions. I would labor for 45 minutes or an hour, and then get out and labor in other places to dry out. I ate whatever I wanted—string cheese, grapes…they were very open about allowing me to eat and drink. Then the labor got more intense and I got in the water again. With having Pitocin with the first, the contractions were involuntary. With the natural labor, they didn’t come as fast as I thought they would. For hours they were telling me I was going to be pushing soon. The midwife was telling me, “Just push. You can push.” I just didn’t feel like I needed too, maybe because I was in the water. Finally I just pushed one big hard push and out she popped.
Labor ended up being 13 hours, when I was expecting 6 hours. But I think it is just the way her personality is—I am going to come when I feel like it. That is just the way she is now and the way she was in the womb.
I was worried about how post-partum would go again after what we experienced with our first because of our request to not do certain tests and routines. It was totally different this time. The nurses seemed trained to work with the midwives because they followed my birth plan and post-partum plan to a T. Except there was one thing; I didn’t want the vitamin-K shot. The doctor basically said he would not release us until we got the shot, so we felt trapped. We finally said okay. We got the shot and they still wouldn’t let us go. So next time, we would want to do it at home, without doctors telling us what we need to do and checking vitals all the time. It’s just intrusive.
My family was always really supportive of my birthing choices, but I got a lot of flack from people I work with. People just thought it was weird that I did a water birth. Why don’t you just get the epidural? They think it’s weird, but I think sticking a needle in your back is weird. But what matters is that you sit down and think about what you want. No matter your choice, you shouldn’t be embarrassed about doing what is right for you.