There’s no better way to come back to “work” than to write a birth story! Had you asked me that Tuesday morning, on my due date August 16th, if I would meet my baby that day… I would have said, no way. I woke up feeling the same as I had the past few weeks – comfortable. I miraculously didn’t feel 40 weeks which also frightened me because I imagined myself going way overdue with a large child. For me, at exactly 40 weeks.. I was headed for a long and eventful day. Let me break it down.
I woke up on Tuesday, August 16th begrudgingly making it to my due date. I was tired of all the same questions and people being surprised I was still pregnant so I wrote the Conversations at 40 Weeks blog.. I blew off some steam, had a few laughs and felt way better because of it. If you are reaching the end, read it. If you know someone who’s pregnant, share it & read it… They’ll laugh and you’ll learn and everyone will be happy.
On Monday night I had a few contractions but they were so faint and barely timetable so I chalked them up to Braxton Hicks but I did re-arrange my chiropractic appointment for the next morning so I could check my hip alignment (just in case). I went into the appointment and got much needed relief and walked out thinking, hopefully I didn’t move this appointment early for no reason. I had a normal morning at home and got myself out on yet another walk and let me tell you.. my FitBit stats from week 39 topped the charts but I clearly wasn’t convinced it was working, but at least I had something to focus on: Steps. I texted a friend around noon and told her I’d still be making swim lessons that afternoon which meant me hopping into a bikini for yet another week at my son’s mom & me lesson.
At the pool I had fun cherishing my son and his improvements in the water. I had a couple contractions that were noticeable enough but not painful so I just put a mental note on timing and kept on with the lesson. When I got out of the pool to change, I noticed some fluid in my swimwear and thought I might be losing my Mucous Plug. [Side note – I am not a fan of that word and vow to not use it again, I will instead say MP and you will just know what I mean, Mm-kay?] It was faint and clear so again, I just noted the change but carried on with my afternoon.
Once we got home, my son decided he didn’t need a nap although I was having the hardest time keeping my eyes open. So, I did what any desperate mom would do in that moment and turned on cartoons and convinced my son to relax on the couch with me. I filtered in and out of a nap for maybe 30 minutes and thankfully it kick started me to last the rest of the day – I did NOT know how much I was going to need that rest!
I started feeling some more noticeable presure waves starting at 3:17pm so I turned on my tracker app and noticed they were 12 minutes apart. I texted my husband who was on high alert anyways and he decided he would come head home to hang out and wait with me.. At this point I still was not convinced that I was truly going into labor. I had prodromal labor with my son for two days prior to his arrival so I figured we’d be able to get in a decent evening, get some rest overnight and that our little girl would arrive possible on Wednesday. Here I was, wrong again.
We made dinner around 5ish, italian sausage pasta — a fitting carb loaded dinner and while it was simmering, we headed out on a walk around 6pm. We ran into a few neighbors and my pressure waves at that point were around 10 minutes apart. Of course they were curious how things were, but I couldn’t be all “hey, I’m in labor” so we just attempted to make mention that we thought things were moving along, hence the walking. When we sat down for dinner as a family of 3, my pressure waves were now about 9 minutes apart and definitely hard to ignore but I hadn’t lost my appetite and I could still carry conversation. I know in my mind I was afraid to admit that I really knew things were moving out of fear of stalling.. but things were really getting going.
We went to give our son a bath and put him down just before 8pm and I had to take a few photos because although I had a hard time believing I was really headed for active labor, I knew these moments were truly fleeting. Just after we put him down I went to use the restroom and I lost the MP. ALL of it. There was no questioning and I could tell my body was preparing for having a baby. I told my husband and paced around the house a bit. Pressure waves were now nearing 8 minutes a part but lasting just 55 seconds. I was planning on hopping in the shower to relieve what I could tell was a little more intensity during the waves. I figured now was a good time to call in backup (my grandma) to come over to sleep at our house in case we needed to leave our son in the middle of the night.
The hot shower felt so good and really seemed to kick up the intensity of the waves so I had my husband call the birth center. Waves were nearing 7 minutes apart, still 55 seconds in length and not totally debilitating but it was at this point my husband asked me if I wanted to go listen to my Hypnobabies tracks to ease my mind, so I obliged. By the time my grandma arrived I wanted to attempt to sit out and chat with her but I was no longer in a state where I wanted to talk through the waves and I knew I needed focus so I stayed in the nursery and swayed in the rocking chair. I think my biggest downfall with my first was letting people constantly come in and sit with me. I realized later that it would take away my focus from my birthing and progression. My husband started packing the car and we figured it was a good idea to have his sister come over to get our son’s carseat in their car for what we figured would be a morning trip to the birth center to meet the baby.
My sister in law arrived just after 10pm and we went to install the carseat… and of course it was the biggest pain to install. I tried helping between a couple pressure waves but had to give up since the intensity really increased at this point. I remember looking my husband in the eyes and saying, “No time, call the birth center now. We need to go.” He miraculously clicked it in and we headed to the car. I had one large pressure wave that was the first time I felt some heavy pressure as if I was going to need to go to the bathroom.. a pushing sign. I remember this feeling from my first born and it was just the beginning of true active labor and I still had a while before transition. None the less, I immediately hopped in the car so we could make the trek.
The car ride wasn’t nearly as bad as with my first – probably due to back labor since he was posterior. Yet, there is nothing that can quite ready you for sitting in a car through active labor.. especially for a 25 minute car ride. When we got to the birth center at 10:50pm, we were walking in and I had a very long pressure wave. I thought to myself, “2 minutes?! This can’t be right…” but it sure was. At this point waves were roughly 5 minutes apart but lasting a lot longer than they ever did with my first. Once we got into the birthing room, my midwife asked if I wanted to be checked. What a glorious feeling of control when your team lets you do things on your own time – another reason I chose the natural route at a birth center. I opted to be checked out of curiosity but I told myself I could only be a 4 or a 5. Out of my disbelief the midwife told me I was dilated a 7 almost 8 and the baby’s head was 0 effaced. She said I was nicely stretched and I seriously have to thank my 37 week regiment that I religiously follow up until I give birth.
The midwives asked if I wanted to get in the tub and my only thought was “ah yes – sweet relief of some hot water.” At this point I had no idea how I was going to deliver my baby girl, wether that would be in the water or elsewhere.. I labored for quite a while in the tub with my first but eventually got out. At this point I just wanted to relax and listen to my Hypnobabies cues and continue to progress. I stood next to the tub as it filled, listening to the affirmations track and I had a heavy pressure wave and out of no where I heard a pop and a gallon of water flooded to the floor. I was momentarily shocked because I never lost my water with my first so I had no idea what the feeling was like. I laughed and looked at my husband as the midwives quickly threw down towels and got me out of my soaking wet dress — into the tub I went [perfect timing]. My water broke just 6 waves after I arrived at the birth center at 11:16pm… thank goodness that wasn’t in my car.. we didn’t even have towels down for the ride over [what was I thinking?!]
Once in the tub just 3 waves later at 11:28pm, I had another long one and I felt baby girl actually move down the birth canal. This shocked me quite a bit and when I reached down, I actually felt the top of her head! I looked at the midwife with slightly fearful eyes and said, “I wasn’t trying to push but I think my body is.” She reassured me and told me to position myself on the other end of the tub so she could take a look. She confirmed and glanced at my husband and said “Yep, theres her head – you’re about to have a baby.” He abruptly jumped off the bed, stunned things were going so quickly and sat next to me outside the tub holding my hand. With Hypnobabies, it teaches you to let your body naturally push and when you truly relax and give in to your body doing the work it’s amazing to feel it in action.
Just a few [5 to be exact] pressure waves later at 11:45pm I could feel her move down the birth canal even further and start to crown. My midwife talked me through the entire thing. She’d say.. “There’s her head. She’s crowning. [ah yes, there’s that ring of fire] Alright her head is out. [okay, breathe Britt] You’re doing great, keep slowly pushing her out at your own pace. Okay her shoulders are out. [oh, there was the fire again or did I tear? I can’t tell] Just one more small push and I’m going to need you to catch her.” SAY WHAT?! Can this really be happening already. Although I knew the answer because I could feel everything she was describing to perfection, thanks to being drug free. So one small push and her body was free at 11:51pm, I reached down and grabbed her lifting her onto my chest and sitting back in the tub. I looked over at my husband laughing that it happened so fast and easy and I saw the tears staining his eyes and burst into a joyful cry. I couldn’t believe she made it. On her due date, her great grandmother’s birthday who had just passed away earlier this year. It was a sign from God that he was there, with me the whole time and He had our family in his blessed hands. I remember the first thing I did was double check her gender.. I had this weird feeling of what if the ultrasound techs were wrong. When I glanced, I saw the cord and briefly panicked [my one moment of hysterics] but looked further and was reassured, her gender was correct. Sedona Rey was born at 11:51pm on 8/16/16 weighing in at a hefty 9lbs 4oz and stretching 20.75 inches long.
Of course, we didn’t find out those stats right away. We did skin to skin for nearly two hours and had to wake most of our family since they had gone to bed not thinking she would have arrived so quickly. When they took Sedona to weigh her the midwives checked me. To my surprise she said, “alright you stretched so nicely I don’t think you tore but I want to make sure.” I thought.. wait.. did you just say I didn’t tear?! Or might not have… and to my delight I had not torn. NO stitches! Unbelievable, did my regiments actually work? I only had 3 small stitched with my first but this time I was more religious to my regiments and added a few other tweaks and I stretched beautifully, just as Hypnobabies taught me I could.
Just a few short hours later, we were back at home by 3:30am – another beautiful thing about using a birth center.. getting home to sleep in your own bed! Although I really only slept 1 hour still running off adrenaline and endorphins from the birth. When we “woke” up that morning we introduced our first born, Maverick and my heart couldn’t have exploded any more than it did. He was in love and so were we. Welcome to the world my little [big] girl.
For those mom’s that wish to go the natural route…
If you plan to go natural you have to COMMIT to it. Practice every day and tell yourself that this is what you are doing. If you go into it with a “maybe” or a wishy/washy feeling at all, you will change your mind. I am currently considering writing a blog on ways to prepare mentally for a natural birth and what helped me through… If anyone would find this helpful, please let me know and if there is enough chatter – I’d be happy to share.
-Essentially a Mom of Two