[Click here to read Part 1] The hourly contractions would wake me but cease to continue so I got as much sporadic sleep as I could.
At 3am I remember waking to a pretty heavy contraction. Another 10 minutes I’d feel another – finally, I thought, this had to be it! After laying through a few contractions, I decided to get up since laying was not entirely comfortable. I sat on the toilet seat backwards (hearing this could be relief) but didn’t feel much. This baby was posterior – every thing I had prepped and practiced to have this boy in the right position was not my reality — hello back labor.
By 4:30am I woke up my husband Nick, told him today was the day – we were going to meet our son. He got up, started prepping for what we knew was d-day.. packing coconut waters, labor-aide, birth bags, etc. I decided to hop in the shower to bring relief to these waves and to my guess – sweet relief! I knew I couldn’t stay in the shower all day as the contractions were now 6 minutes apart so I got out and started getting ready kill time. Nick called the birth center to give them a heads up and they said call back at 3-4 minutes apart… [What? No green light? Fine…]
I knew getting from 6 minutes apart down to 4 could be a major feat, so to not focus on the time, I did my makeup, cut my bangs and blow dried most of my [incredibly long and now thick] hair – pausing for every contraction to take a deep breath. All while listening to Hillsong on Pandora and my Hypnobabies tracks to stay in an uplifting, positive mood — it worked! People wondered how I looked so fresh post-delivery and I thought, well I only got ready a few hours ago..
Close to 6am contractions were at 4 minutes apart, I remember pacing the nursery, holding my hospital binder, thinking, Nick just call the Birth center, this is way too much pressure and I don’t want to have this baby at home! So with a look, he called and they told us to make our way.
[Insert drive time — a twenty minute ride to South County] When you’re in labor and in the car, please note, you will feel every minor bump, crack and tiny fracture in the pavement. Do what you can to stay comfy and distracted – this was the hardest part of my entire birth story – I swear.
I remember arriving at the center, the door was locked and I was anxious to get in and announce the arrival of this baby boy. Once they let us in, they immediately took me in to check my progress and low and behold – I was 7 centimeters dilated [I made it – the real deal!]. Unable to contain excitement, they moved me into the back up room and I shed the only tears I would shed until I met my unborn son.
Anyone notice how I said back-up room? Yes, the birth center, that rarely has two women giving birth at the same time, had two women in labor.. The secondary room did not have a tub but otherwise remained the same – however my hopes of a possible water birth were momentarily struck down. I remained calm and just focused on myself and my posterior baby. The midwife offered to use the Rebozo technique to attempt to flip baby boy around – while uncomfortable and with a chance of flipping him, I thought, let’s give it a try. I laid on my right side for approximately an hour with no such luck – this baby was coming posterior and stubborn like his momma.
After a short time we received news that the other family was transferring to Saddleback [bad news for them, but great news for me!] so we got to head into the larger room. I remember family showing up and stopping in to say hello. No one was in true belief that I was in heavy labor because I was talkative and happy in between contractions and then doing my best to not let the contractions wear me out. [You fight them, you tire. You relax through them, you have baby – I would tell myself]
I decided to hop into a warm bath since the hot shower seemed to truly help earlier that morning. I relaxed in there for a while and my doula showed back up – my saving grace. [Helen, you were a God send – just having you there kept my mind at ease. Where I had no answers – you would assure me with one look and I thank you] Considering a doula? GET ONE! Also – huge thanks to my cousin, Sami – she was there to document this wonderful day but acted as a support and communication line to our family waiting anxiously in the front. I was never aware of any of this happening but they all did a great job. My husband hopped in the tub with me to help with counter pressure and to keep me company. Husbands, your job is harder than ours – you have to endure our pain and yet not understand how it feels. The attention is drawn away from you, yet you continue to comfort – no one thanks you enough. My wonderful man, who kept me hydrated and fed me ice chips never left my side – did you even take a moment to yourself? Or pee?
The midwives asked to check my progression and I looked at my doula who gave me a nod. On the bed I [ungracefully] hopped. 9 centimeters! It’s time to let this baby make an entrance. I got off the bed and stood to the side, my husband there for my every move. With every contraction, now a minute apart and a minute in length, I would relax my midsection and feel him move down. If I can give one piece of advice to any expectant mom’s – don’t fight your contractions, they are there to help your baby into this world. I told myself over and over – this is only one day, I am capable of this. Just when I was having thoughts of, why didn’t I go the epidural route? What harm could it have caused? I was reminded of what my doula told me earlier in my pregnancy.. “Just when you’re about to give up, when you think you can’t take it any longer – you have arrived. It’s time to meet your baby”
A moment later I was being checked again and to my wonder the midwife said, “Well, there’s the top of his head! You can push” [Big smiles all around]. With the very next contraction I started pushing, I could feel all the movement yet it would mean only millimeters. With the next push there was a large gush – I momentarily thought, WTF? I looked up, wide eyed – with responses of hooray’s from midwives and support team as they said “There’s your water!” Wow – I hadn’t even thought about my water this entire time and it finally broke. A couple pushes later, the midwives informed me my son was crowning and offered to show me with a mirror – Are you kidding, I thought.. “I can already feel everything, I’m good!” The midwives laughed and said I can’t believe he’s continuing to crown although you’re not having a contraction – I thought, I’m not letting him get back in! [I’ve worked hard enough]. The next push, his head was out – I could hear baby – my work almost done. It took a total of 7 pushes and 15 minutes and with the last contraction – he was out. I am now a mother.
Maverick Leo – born Tuesday, March 24th at 1:37pm. Weighed in at 8 lbs 13 oz and a whole 22.5″ long! Family celebrated with the pop of champagne in the waiting room and my husband and I longed after our newborn son. All I could think was, he’s here. I did it. I sat there in true awe for the next couple hours. Family came in to meet him and then left to celebrate [again] over margaritas at a Mexican restaurant.
By 6:30pm the birth center was sending us on our marry way. A whole 12 hour excursion and we are now parents, set free into the world.
It is funny looking back – I remember all the bizarre comments of why would you give birth naturally? Oh, you’re going to want that epidural! Etc.. My reasoning? I wanted the experience. Women’s bodies are built for birthing babes and I knew it would be one day in the span of my life and I wanted to recollect the experience. So many people talk about how exhausted they were, how they don’t remember much about their birth story – but laying on the bed with my newborn and my husband post delivery, I relished in everything that had just divulged. This was the moment I was hankering for and I got it.