Read Selena's story and learn from the Lamaze childbirth educator's comments that follow.
I began having irregular contractions in the evening, and they continued on through the night. At about 11 the next morning, my bag of waters broke at home. After a visit to my midwife's office, we went on to the hospital. To help with the pain I was experiencing, I began doing some breathing. I had never learned the "correct" method, but I found that it just happened very naturally.
When we got to the hospital, I was dilated to five or six centimeters, and I was really feeling the contractions. I asked for pain relief immediately, and an anesthesiologist administered an epidural. It didn't cause me any discomfort, and the pain subsided within a very short time.
I spent the rest of my labor comfortably, peacefully, joyfully, talking with my husband and our wonderful nurse and midwife. At around 5pm, I could feel I was fully dilated and wanted to push. After verifying my feelings, the midwife gave the okay and the last leg of the journey began. Although I couldn't feel the contractions as such, I could definitely feel when to push and was absolutely experiencing my baby's progress into the world.
After 45 minutes or so, I was getting tired, and the midwife asked if I would like to have an episiotomy to speed things up. I said yes, she quickly performed it, I gave one last big push, and at 5:51pm our beautiful baby was born. I felt rested and calm and was truly able to enjoy my first few hours with my daughter, Sierra.