By Amanda B.

I’m a planner. I always have been, and it didn’t change with pregnancy. So naturally, we had a birth plan. My plan was to have a drug-free birth with as little medical intervention as possible. Nothing went according to plan. That little piece of paper we had thought about so carefully didn’t even leave my hospital bag.

My water broke around 4:00 a.m. five days before my due date. After all of the anticipation, there was a moment of panic and thinking “We’re not ready!”, but it was really happening. I woke up my husband; we got our stuff together and made our way to the hospital.

There was a huge snowstorm in the forecast the day I went in to labor. We joked all throughout the pregnancy that he would arrive in the middle of a snowstorm. Luckily, the storm hadn’t started yet, and we had no problems getting to the hospital. I wasn’t having any contractions yet. I just felt like the baby had dropped and was sitting directly on my pelvis. By the time we got settled in to the labor and delivery room, the snow had started and my contractions started coming hard and fast. I honestly didn’t even realize they were contractions at the time. It felt like extreme cramping, but there was no rest in between contractions. After some monitoring the nurse informed me that they were coming about every minute; that’s why I wasn’t feeling a break. I thought if only I could get up and move around, I’ll be okay. Once I got the okay to get up and move, I could barely walk. I was lightheaded and nauseous, and I proceeded to throw up multiple times. No matter what position I tried, I couldn’t shake the nausea. My body was evacuating everything in it. This went on for about two hours. At one point I was sitting on the toilet throwing up and shaking uncontrollably. I was only dilated between 4-5 cm, and I knew I had a long way to go.

After a lot of battling with myself internally and discussion with my husband and nurse, I decided I would get an epidural. I was really scared of the actual epidural process because I was shaking so badly. How were they going to stick a needle in my spine while my body was shaking out of control?! The nurse offered Fentanyl to take the edge off. It took the edge off the pain enough that my body stopped shaking, and the anesthesiologist was able to give me the epidural without any issues. I was finally able to relax and get some rest after the epidural kicked in, and I dilated to 10 cm relatively quickly. All the while we watched the snowstorm build outside.

Around 11:30 am, the nurse checked me, and I was fully dilated and fully effaced. We gave it one push to see where we were at. I made a lot of progress with that first push. The nurse decided it was time to call the doctor. The baby would be coming soon. We were ecstatic! (On a side note, I thought I would be a pro at breath work while pushing, but it was so backwards! I’m used to doing a lot of long, steady, yoga breaths. Breathing while pushing is the complete opposite of everything you learn in yoga.)

We continued to push while waiting for the doctor to arrive, and an hour came and went. Still no doctor and still no baby. We continued to push. The doctor finally arrived and checked on me, but I hadn’t made much progress since the first push. At about two hours of pushing my contractions slowed down, so I was given Pitocin to keep my contractions going. Three hours in we could hear the baby’s heart rate start to drop with every contraction. The doctor said we needed to get him out soon, or we would have to think about a c-section. I didn’t even want to hear those words. He would give me a few more pushes and then explained how he was probably going to have to use forceps to try to free the baby’s head. I was terrified at this point, but all I could do was concentrate on pushing. All my focus was on getting every last bit of force out of each push.

We found out the baby was face up instead of face down, so for three and a half hours of pushing, he was just getting more and more stuck in my pelvis. He couldn’t tuck his chin to get under the pubic bone. I didn’t have any recognizable back labor, so everyone was surprised that he was positioned face up. My husband and the doctor did a great job of staying calm and helping me to stay calm in preparation for the use of forceps. The doctor gave me an episiotomy to assist with getting the forceps in place, and with just a quick adjustment, the baby’s head was free, and he came right out. It was the most amazing, indescribable feeling! He was crying and healthy. As soon as the nurse put him on my chest my husband and I started crying. I can’t even put into words the amount of love I felt for this tiny human. We named him Ryder. By the time Ryder was born at 3:03 p.m. the snowstorm was over, and we had our perfect baby.

We went in with a plan for a drug free birth and little medical intervention. I ended up having an anti-nausea medicine, Fentanyl, an epidural, Pitocin, an episiotomy, and the use of forceps. This is proof that no matter how much we plan, things don’t always happen the way we want them to. I’m so happy I listened to my body and didn’t let my idea of a perfect plan get in my way. I can’t imagine making it through three and a half hours of pushing with no drugs. I didn’t have any side effects, and Ryder was perfectly healthy. So if you take anything away from this, just know that it’s okay if things don’t go as planned. Don’t feel guilty or beat yourself up if your birth doesn’t follow what you had in mind.

I really want to thank Sandi and Roots Prenatal Yoga for keeping my mind and body healthy throughout my pregnancy. The doctor said most women wouldn’t have made it through three and a half hours of pushing, and this scenario would have ended in a c-section a majority of the time. I attribute of lot of my strength and focus to the prenatal yoga classes I attended.