The following is a true story - this interview was an assignment for my Normal Maternity course. I went into the assignment feeling like it was busy work. I came out understanding more about the empowerment women feel from having natural births.
Names in the story are fictitious to protect their privacy.
May this short true story empower women to have successful natural births.
Enjoy the story!
At 10am April Fool’s Day, Aimee had a trickster on her hands – well, rather in her belly. Little Sam wanted out as he could already imagine how popular his birthday would be among his pals. Aimee was not having it. She is not the type to allow one to fool her and her second son, who was yet to be born, was not going to pull the ultimate prank.
Alone at home, Aimee lazed around reading her books knowing that if she did absolutely nothing, then April 1st would pass without her delivering.
At 10pm, the contractions really started coming. As an experienced mother already, she knew that the contractions were not close enough. At 5 am, contractions were intense and coming right at 5 minutes apart. Phew – she made it to April 2nd.
Aimee and her husband, Scott, squeezed into their car with their first son, Spenser, a 10 year old. The car’s wheels came to rest at Swedish Hospital where they all strode up to the maternity ward. After 10 minutes in the ward, Scott was out of there taking Spenser with him. Scott had to leave in order to pick up Spenser's ADD/ADHD meds.
The kicker is Scott and Spenser never came back. Scott ended up popping Spenser's Ritalin leaving him on cloud 9, Spenser inattentive and his wife without him in labor.
Aimee was not alone. Her younger nagging sister, who she wished was not there, was there. Aimee's sister was there not really for support; rather she was there as Aimee wanted her to witness a natural birth. Little sis had two prior c-sections and Aimee, damn it, was going to have a natural birth no matter the odds.
And her odds were high: no husband support, nagging sister, placenta previa, 242 pounds, full bowels and bleeding throughout pregnancy.
Fighting the odds, Aimee had strength from her girlfriend’s presence. However, her main strength arose from her prior non-participatory delivery of her first boy, Spenser. Loaded with the juice from an epidural, Aimee simply laid back while the nurses and doctors manually pushed out baby when the monitor showed peak contractions. She felt nothing. Aimee stated she simply felt like she popped out a grape.
The first birthing experience did not qualify as an experience to Aimee – at least not in terms of her participating. Doctors were in control and she was completely passive. This is not Aimee – and she knew it. She wanted to be there – in feeling, spirit, pain and pleasure.
So, with odds against her, she maintained hope for a natural delivery. Her OB told her the week before her due date, that baby may have just enough space to push through naturally. She took that as a green light.
Aimee was attended by a nurse who had been working in Swedish Maternity Ward since that October prior – making it 18 months. Remarkable is during those 18 months, her nurse had not witnessed a single natural birth. Aimee was going to be her first.
Aimee was remaining in control by breathing rhythmically. She noticed a light fixture above her with concentric rings and she used that as a breathing guide. Then nurse came in at noon and dimmed Aimee's guiding light. She was not pleased.
To make matters a bit more interesting, Aimee told her nurse that she had the strong urge to defecate. Nurse stated that was not an option and she would have to hold it. The nurse and doctor later found out Aimee was not joking.
Aimee was started on Pitocin as she was not progressing. Her contractions became closer, stronger and more persistent. A couple hours of Pitocin led to delivery time.
The doc and nurses demanded that she push even without contractions – they wanted to go home. Aimee did not abide by their demands as she was in charge this time. Without epidural and with determination, Aimee pushed through the intense ring-o-fire.
At peak contractions, all 242 pounds of Aimee began to push with all her might. Her doc was right there ready to catch. Little did he know he would be at bat three separate times before baby Sam arrived. Pitch 1, he caught a complete shower of amniotic fluid. Pitch 2, Aimee completely evacuated her bowels from baby’s pressure. Pitch 3, the doctor almost struck out but managed to catch the fast pitch thrown by Aimee. Little Sam shot out so fast that the doc caught him only by his tiny ankle.
A quick wipe down and then Aimee's beautiful 8lb 6oz, 21” baby boy was laid down on her chest at 2pm, April 2nd. A natural birth was Aimee's desire and she did it through all odds.
Emotions were everywhere for Aimee. While she was immensely pleased with her new boy and her awesome achievement, she was immensely saddened and angered by the absence of her husband. He had failed to witness his wife’s strongest and most validating moment. This was their biggest fallout and her husband found himself in a drug rehabilitation center a couple months after the birth of his second son. It was the treatment center or the door. Happily, the treatment center was successful.
Aimee succeeded through the toughest experience in her life and she could not revel in the moment. She went home the next morning with her new baby boy, breast fed, iced her huge vaginal hematoma and cooked dinner for the family.
It was not long after delivery that she had to head back to the hospital with a bout of pancreatitis and inflamed gall bladder. She managed to breastfeed through her hospital stay despite the nurses desires for her to stop. Aimee went home with no gall bladder, a scar the width of her belly and discovered 18 loads of laundry needing to be sorted and washed.
Aimee now tells her story to pregnant women empowering them to do achieve a natural birth. She is quoted as saying:
“I am very thankful for having done it as now I know how powerful I am – it was a very validating experience for me.”
Thank you, Aimee. You supported and encouraged my wife through her fears of a natural birth. May you continue to spread confidence to pregnant women so that they may to realize their most powerful day.