It was only a couple weeks ago that I shared the birth story of my son and I, my second birth. Fast forward a few weeks later and now it is time to celebrate my daughter- the first one to make me a mommy. I cannot believe how fast the years have gone by. My little girl is so amazing, full of life and very VERY strong willed. She is sassy and sweet, smart and so funny. She is very social and loves being around people, she loves being silly and making jokes and is just so smart. I feel so blessed everyday for my beautiful children.The events of those days are still so vivid in my mind. In honor of my daughter’s birthday I wanted to share my first birth story with my readers.
Birth Story #1
It was a HOT Summer, our house had no air conditioning and I felt so SO big and uncomfortable. The scariest thing about labor for me was the fear of the unknown. I had known for years before I ever got pregnant that I wanted to have a natural, drug free labor, but during my pregnancy encountered many nay sayers who told me I was crazy and that it was basically impossible. I knew that I could do it for two reasons: 1) I am very stubborn and 2) I had my heart set on it. Usually when I deeply set an intention I try to do anything in my power to make it happen. I was still nervous about what to expect, how it would happen and most importantly when it would happen. Would my water break out in public? Would I wake up in the middle of the night? Being a control freak I really had to relinquish control and just know that it would happen exactly when it was supposed to.
We had just moved into our new house on July 3rd and I was due on July 24th. During the moving process I was so anxious to get everything done before baby girl came that I would stay up late unpacking and putting things away, setting up the nursery and sometimes just lay in bed with the anticipation of how much our lives would change. I didn’t know what labor felt like and was having braxton hicks for weeks and swore I was going into labor about 8 times during that period. On July 18th I started getting sensations that felt like period cramps and just knew deep down that I would be meeting my daughter soon.
That entire day I spent in bed, the cramping was irregular, they would come and go in waves. There was no real rhyme or reason to them and by 7pm that night they had disappeared. I woke up around 2am with the same cramps, but they were more frequent and a bit more intense. I watched the clock and realized that they were about every 5-7 minutes. My husband was sleeping so I got up and went into the nursery and sat on the birthing ball, doing hip circles and just breathing. I tried to walk around to see if they cramping would stop like they did the day before. They stayed frequent and lasted for about a minute. Once I realized this was most likely the real deal I decided to try to get some rest to save up my energy for when things started to progress and to listen to my relaxation prompts. I went back into bed and slept on and off until about 5am. I woke up and the cramping had gotten stronger so I thought it was a good idea to call the midwife. I was so happy when the midwife on call happened to be my favorite one that I had met with over the 9 months of my pregnancy. We talked through a couple of my contractions and she told me I sounded like it was still early and to call her in an hour or so to check in. I woke up my husband around 6:30 and let him know that it was time and that I was going to go in and get checked out shortly. I called the midwife back around 7 and she told me to come in to see how far along I was.
We drove to the birthing center and she opened the door. She looked at me and right away said “Honey, I can tell you have a ways to go because most women who come in here are pretty uncomfortable and hardly able to talk, and you still have a big smile on your face!” She checked me out and I was dilated to 2.5 centimeters. The birthing center wants you to be dilated to at least 4 before they check you in. They usually encourage moms to be walk around Balboa Park for awhile and come back to get checked, but it was Gay Pride Parade in Hillcrest and the last thing I wanted to do was walk around a crowded park while in labor. I told her I felt like I was going to progress really quickly and she just smiled and said “All women hope they progress quickly, but labor can last a long time!” She sent me home and said I could be dilated at 2 for hours or days and to call her if my water broke or if things got significantly stronger.
Home we went, I laid in bed and listened to my birth affirmation and relaxation prompts some more. My lower back was really hurting so I hopped into the shower and just put my hands up against the wall and let the hot water hit my lower back. It felt so good. It really helped to ease the discomfort. I stated to do some of the visualization and meditation techniques I learned and had two VERY strong surges in the shower, to the point I got dizzy and lightheaded. I decided at that point to get out of the shower. The contractions were starting to get very intense. I felt like I had to either throw up or poo, or both! I told my husband to call the midwife and tell her I needed to come in immediately. It had only been an hour or so since we left. He thought I was crazy and reminded me that she said it could take hours or days. I didn’t care, I begged him to call her because my body was telling me that it was progressing. He did and of course the midwife said that she doesn’t think that I would be that far along since I just left, but to come in and she would ease my mind and check me again. We headed back down to the center. This time she looked at me and said, “Well, you still have a smile, but you look a bit more uncomfortable, lets check you out!” All I kept thinking was ‘Dear God, Please let me be dilated to at least 7 or I don’t know if I can do this!” She checked me and was shocked “Oh My Gosh! You are at 10 centimeters and fully effaced! If your water broke you could have had this baby on the way over here!” When I heard that I knew the worst part was over! I knew I could do this! I had always heard that the dilating part was the hardest, once you get past that the worst has passed.
We filled up the tub and that was amazing. The warm water does so much for the labor sensations. I pushed when I felt the urge, I was able to eat almonds, raspberry and sip on orange juice to keep up my energy. So different from what I heard about hospital births and I loved it. The environment was so warm and homey, the midwife and nurses were so friendly and encouraging! I pushed for two hours and not much was happening. I started to get tired and frustrated. We all knew I had to get her out and soon. During the pushing process my husband had one of my feet on his shoulder, my mom had the other, the nurses had a sheet with two knots, one on each end, they held one end while I held the other and pulled on it while I tried to push her out. It was crazy, it felt so archaic, like something that my ancestors had done and I loved it!
After about 20 minutes of intense pushing I was exhausted. Everyone went to talk in the other room while I was in the tub and they all came back with solemn looks on their faces. I knew something was wrong. My husband looked at me and said that I basically had 5 minutes to deliver the baby or I was going to be taken in an ambulance to get a C-section because they thought I was too tired to be able to continue pushing and wasnt progressing much. Don’t get me wrong, if I needed a Cesarean I was prepared and willing to have one, but at this point I felt that I could get her out on my own. I yelled “Alright, lets do this!” The nurses and midwife looked at me and asked if I was sure. HECK YES! LETS GO! We moved me out of the tub and on to the bed. I did a couple more pushes and her head was right there. I reached down and felt her hair, they gave me a mirror to show me how close I was and I got so much energy. After two more pushes I felt a pop and her head was out. One more push and I felt her body slide out and the next thing I knew she was on my chest. I was looking at this beautiful little girl that we made! I couldn’t believe it. What an amazing experience. Such a Rite of Passage into womanhood. I felt so full of life, experiencing a true love cocktail that I had read about in the natural birth books. Nobody’s description can prepare you for how it feels to see your child for the first time. It is a day that will always be one of my favorites, and it was a very special way for my husband and I to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary! Yep, you heard right, she came 4 days early meaning that this day will always belong to two people in this world who are nearest and dearest to my heart. So while my husband and I will never get a day dedicated solely to ourselves, this day will always be cause for much celebration!