Giving birth was the most amazing day of my life. I could feel the unique bond I had with my baby all through the pregnancy and had spent many quiet hours envisioning the birth I hoped for and talking with my baby about the whole process. I truly feel that this helped ease his transition as he went through labor, and it helped me to focus on the positive and remind myself that the journey of birth is one between mother and child.
My waters broke with a huge gush at 10pm, one week past his due date. I felt a rush of excitement followed by nerves! I had not expected my water to break, so I was a little shocked and had to breathe deep to calm myself down. My husband was a great support reminding me to trust baby and my body. He was beyond excited to see signs of his child arriving.
We went to sleep that night. I had small contractions that night but was easily able to sleep through them. The next morning there wasn’t much change, and it almost felt like they had stopped, just now and again I felt a little cramping. We decided it was a good time to go for a walk, so after a big breakfast, we headed out into the beautiful fall day together, with a knowing that baby was on his way and the best thing we could do was to remain open and calm, trusting that his timeline was perfect for all three of us. By noon nothing had really changed, so I took a nap, listening to my Hypnobabies recordings, which always helped ease any nervousness I had about birthing. I slept well and woke up feeling so refreshed and ready to get into it !
We spoke with our midwives, who suggested a few ways to get contractions to come a little stronger, since it had been about 16 hours since the waters had been open.
I knew that I had to get focused and work closely with my baby and body and take more of an active role in the process. I started to take some homeopathic remedies that I knew about for labor and began walking up and down the stairs, my husband readily at my side and encouraging me all the while. It was a sudden switch when contractions began to get really strong and very regular. I can almost remember the exact moment. Looking back on it, I realized that it was when I jumped on board emotionally and said YES to what had to happen. As a doula, I have attended many births, and I know how hard it can be, but also know how amazing and peaceful it can be, too. Although it was helpful to know about birth so intimately, I think it also made me apprehensive about how I would personally handle going through labor. Perhaps this was why contractions didn’t start immediately? Who knows about the mysteries of the birth, but somehow I felt it helped move the labor along when I embraced it wholeheartedly remembering that my baby was on the other side.
The contractions were coming regularly, and with an other worldly force behind them, I knew this was it, and it felt good. I continued walking up and down the stairs, thinking of different births I had attended, finding different breathing techniques that spontaneously came to me in that moment. My husband’s hand was on mine, and I could feel his excitement building as more signs that his child was closer!
It was around 4pm at this point, and Heidi came to check on us at this point. She could see that things had turned around pretty quickly and so left us to continue.
I wanted quiet and to be alone with my husband for the whole time I was having contractions and the midwives could tell this and immediately responded and left us to it!
For the next 2 and a half hours I labored on my hands and knees, on the birth ball and standing up, I threw up a few times and could feel that the contractions were definitely increasing quickly in intensity. I felt calm and focused, each one felt like a wave that I was riding on. It never felt overwhelming or even painful. It’s even hard to say where I was in those hours, but I felt that each contraction I was able to work with, as long as I stayed super present and focused.
It was not long until Heidi cam to check on us. seeing that they were very regular by this point and judging by some of my noises, she decided to check me. I wasn’t expecting that I would be far along since I had been having contractions for only 3 hours by this point, but I was 8-9 cms already!
I got in the tub which had been filled quietly by my birthing team. The water felt good the moment I went it, and it was the next contraction that I felt the strong urge to push. I remember yelling and feeling quite shocked by the sensation! I called for Heidi, and she and Mary were immediately in the room. I could feel a shift in the labor, and I knew I had to again fire up that focus and strength to go through the next phase!
Heidi helped me to get into a pushing pattern, and as soon as I pushed with the urge it felt great and not scary at all. I pushed in the tub like this for about an hour, his little headed started to emerge, and I remember my husband telling me he could see hair and some of our baby’s head. I was so in the zone I didn’t even register the excitement or the progress. It was just a matter of push and breath, push and relax, etc.
The midwives decided it might be a good idea to move to the bed and continue pushing from there, so I went onto the bed and did some nice strong pushes. It felt stronger being out of the water, and I could feel his head really opening me up each time, and then go back in. I knew that was a good thing. He was slowly stretching all my tissues.
I pushed on the bed for another 45 minutes, giving it all I had and more! It is amazing how you find the ‘even more’ when you think you can’t give it anything else! Eventually, he crowned, and it felt like his head was huge. I had to breathe deep, and my eyes remained closed as I mustered up the strength I knew I had within. Again, it was just a matter of staying extremely focused and present with it so it didn’t get overwhelming. His head gently came out, and I could feel it emerge – what a relief that was! His body followed very quickly, and I remember feeling his legs emerge like a jellyfish! Heidi put him right on my chest, and I held my baby’s slimy little body for the first time – all wet and warm, fresh from the womb. He was crying, and the atmosphere was so magical in the room with the arrival of this new life among us.
The placenta followed quickly afterwards, and I felt relief that everything was out! My baby was slick in my arms, and my husband and I rejoiced in cooing him and kissing his sweet little head.
What followed was all a blur and hazy with this intense love and relief that our baby arrived safely at home. Being at home was such a gift and having midwives who are intuitive and gentle yet completely focused and ready for anything to happen was incredible. I felt safe and supported the whole time, never wavering for a second that I wasn’t in the best hands for birthing!
I loved birthing and I can’t wait to do it again!!!