It actually happened. Everything I’ve been dreaming about for what seems like forever has actually come to pass. And its sweeter, more enchanting, more lovely than I ever imagined. This is my birth story.
I had envision my entire pregnancy that my baby girl was going to be born on a Saturday, so when Sunday night rolled around and I was feeling 100% normal, I surrendered to the never-ending anxiousness that it would be another week before baby girl’s arrival. All the while growing secretly jealous of all the schedule inductions and appointed caesareans because how relieving is that to actually KNOW when baby is coming.
So just like every other night, i woke up to pee probably around midnight. And just like every other night as I waddled to the toilet, I huffed and puffed that this baby is never coming out of me. Then at 4:00am I awoke to what felt like my period had just started in combination with the super uncomfortable period-like cramps I had been experiencing for the past 3 weeks. Nothing new...so I rolled over. Second thought, that gush didn’t really feel “normal.” So I didn’t move. I just laid there contemplating if I had to pee again, if that gush was anything outside of normal, if I was just building up the possibility of labor once again just to be let down...once again. But just in case it was...I rolled out of bed, stood up, and immediately felt like I had unintentionally peed myself. My heart stopped. I let out a little laugh and then waddled my way to my baby girl’s room where my mom currently resided. Knocked, opened the door, and said still chuckling, “Mom, my water just broke.” A phrase I thought would never cross my lips actually came out of my mouth! Before I could clean myself up, I ran to the phone to call Chase. Two rings in, “Hello?” like he’d been waiting for my call. “Babe...My water just broke” I said again, still trying to believe it myself. In the most declarative voice, Chase says, “I’M ON MY WAY.” Click.
By the way, when your water breaks, it’s nothing like you see in the movies. One big gush and then immediately your contractions start. Well, at least that’s not what happened for me. Parked on the toilet, I rang the midwife on call to let her know my water had broken. Our conversation hadn’t lasted very long. She made sure everything sounded normal and just said to try to get some rest and that they will check in with me at the “end of the day.” I kept thinking, “At the end of the day??? But its 4am! This baby is coming for sure before the end of the day!” But I just said okay, hung up and crawled back into bed.
I started to feel contractions probably within 30 minutes of my water breaking. But they were very mild. Much like what I had been feeling for the past 3 weeks. Finally Chase rushed in around 9am and we both tried desperately to get some sleep before our lives would change forever. Sometime around noon, I crawled out of bed and parked myself on the couch, wanting to watch t.v. to help distract me from the contractions that had just intensified. We proceeded to watch 3 hours of Shark Tank, several movies including Horrible Bosses and We are the Millers. Mom and I went for a walk around the block twice to try to help speed things up. We ordered Pit Fire Pizza for lunch and at some point made cinnamon rolls for a snack. I figured it might be the last time I have a guilt-free meal for a while so why not indulge???
My contractions at this point were definitely painful but unfortunately very inconsistent. All day they would go from 15 minutes apart to 7 to 5 and then climb back to 9. It wasn’t until around 9 pm that they were consistently between 4-6 minutes so the midwives finally were on their way. Kara and her assistant Andrey arrived around 10 pm. Finally. Progress. Kara checked me right away to see how dilated I was. That hurt almost as much as the contraction. When she was done, she asked “Do you want to know where you are?” I said hesitantly, “I don’t know...Is it good news or bad??” She said in that sweet little Irish accent of hers, “Well the good news is you are 3 centimeters dilated! And going from 0 to 3 can be the hardest and longest part of labor!”
Poor thing. She was trying to make the reality of 3 centimeters a good thing. I remember trying my best not to show any emotion when “3” echoed through the room. But in my head I remember just thinking “you gotta be F-ing kidding me.”
Oh and I forgot to mention that the 18 hours I had just spent laboring was all back labor...which apparently hurts wayyyy more than it should. I spent almost every contraction on my hands and knees. When I would feel the wave start to intrude, I would get into position and either Chase or my Mom would have to apply pressure to my tailbone to give me some relief. One of the many techniques we learned in our birthing class. Worth every penny.
So it turned out baby was in the wrong position, explaining why I felt it all in my back. So for the third and final time, Andrey performed a Ribozo on me. If you are not familiar with this technique, let’s just say its like a massage, vibrator, roller coaster all wrapped up into one. It’s purpose is to turn the baby into the proper position. Sure enough, once they successfully turned baby, the whole game changed. My contractions finally felt like contractions and not like some angry baby stabbing me in the back every 5 minutes.
After they turned baby, Kara explained they would expect “things to slow down” and that she and Andrey were going to head back home to try to get some rest. What a huge letdown. Eighteen hours in and the professionals were telling me it was going to slow down. Yippee. I was a little nervous about them leaving but I trusted their judgement. I just wanted to know when would be the right time to call them back? I asked both Kara and Andrey at separate times, and they both gave me the same answer, “Don’t worry about that. We informed Chase.” And all I could think was, “Chase is not going to know!!! I need to know!” But I quickly let that go because it’s hard to focus on any thought when that next contraction kicks in. So I guess I trusted their judgment and their faith in Chase to follow through whatever instructions they gave him.
So I crawled back into bed. It was the end of the day, and still no baby.
Lying on my side, attempting to rest as much as I could in between contractions. Chase and my mom took shifts, lying next to me, timing my contractions and coaching me through them.
Around 2am, I got up to pee. Another contraction hit me while on the toilet, and I just lost it. “CALL THE MIDWIVES!” I yelled with tears running down my cheeks. This was the first and only time I felt fear. That one contraction took me to another level that was more intense than I had ever expected and lasted way longer than it was “supposed” to last. Chase had Kara on the phone within seconds, and her and Andrey were there within 20 minutes. As they walked in the door, I’m throwing up. Kara sung praises reassuring me that by vomiting I was definitely progressing and “Baby is coming!”
Someone offered the option to get into the birthing tub, so at 2am things get busy. In the middle of setting up the tub, the water heater decides it would rather not work at 2am. So what should have been a 20 min set up, took about an hour before I could climb in. Oh, but it sure was worth the wait.
I melted like butter into that tub. It didn’t even matter that I was in the most intense pain of my life, I couldn’t wait to get through the next contraction to just enjoy the warmth of the water. I even fell asleep in-between contractions. After lounging for about 3 hours, the midwives suggested that I get in the shower to help speed things up. I had been laboring on my back the whole time in the tub and they were sure that had slowed things down. So the shower seemed like the next best thing to get me standing, moving, but still with the warmth and comfort of the water.
Oh they were so wrong.
Every little droplet of water hitting my body, felt like tiny little knives stabbing me with vengeance. I remember screaming at Chase to turn the water off, but that was like asking him to climb over Mt. Everest to get to the tiny knob. So in the middle of a contraction, I jump out of the shower screaming, Andrey rushes in to catch me and holds me through the rest of the contraction.
Once it was over, I remember getting really upset. In an effort to lift my spirits, Kara told me to reach down and see if I could feel Baby’s head. Sure enough, I could. “That’s your baby! She is almost here! You are doing amazing!” Everyone chimed in hoping to cheer me up. But I remember thinking, “but she’s still so far up...she’s never going to come...they are just saying that to make me feel better!” This was probably around hour 26 hours so it really felt like she was NEVER going to come out.
Kara checked my cervix again to see how dilated I was. After being so let down last time, I did not want to know. But I caught a glimpse when she flashed the room eight fingers and that big beautiful Irish smile.
After this point, I went from one position to another one to another. Looking back, I’m sure its because she really was coming soon and the midwives picked up on the fact that every time I would move, I would progress. Straddled the toilet, hung from a sheet, squatted up against a wall...I’m pretty sure I did it all.
Finally, I felt the urge to push. Just like they said it would happen. At the end of one contraction, I let out a little grunt. If I hadn’t of taken our birthing class, I’m absolutely certain I would have been embarrassed and held back. But once I felt that urge, I remember first thinking, “ITS GO TIME.” But then the memory of my good friend’s birth story popped into my head. She pushed for two hours. “Oh Hell No. I cannot...will not do this for two more hours. I’m getting this baby out right now.” So with every contraction, I pushed with everything I had. I remember thinking “I know I’m supposed to take my time. I know I’m supposed to go slow. I don’t care. I have to get her out now.”
I loved pushing. I finally had something to do. It felt good emotionally. It felt good physically. I think I only pushed through 6 or 7 contractions.
I felt the “ring of fire” but thought “It burns...but not as bad as everyone says it’s going to burn.” She was crowning. I finally began to believe that this was all leading up to something.
Then I saw her. “I can see her.” She really was almost here.
After 6 or 7 contractions, her head was born. Now that was a weird feeling.
“What do I do now?” I asked even though I knew the answer. “Just relax and wait for her to turn.” I watched as my baby girl’s head rotated to the left exposing her profile. And then with the next contraction before my brain could even process what was happening, she was in my arms. Born at 8:57am on Tuesday May 6th, 2014.
Listening to those cries as her little naked body pressed against mine was the moment I’ve been waiting for my entire life. They talk about how wonderful it is holding your baby for the first time, but I’m pretty sure its impossible to fully understand how miraculous that moment is until you’ve actually been there.
29 hours later, she was here. I did it. I actually gave birth. She came out. I survived.