Originally Published 12/7/14 9:41pm
When I got pregnant earlier this year I was already committed to this being a different pregnancy and birth.
With Emilio I loved being pregnant, and very much treated it as a first pregnancy - aka - ate what I wanted. And as prepared as I was for my natural birth, there were ways of taking care of myself, that I didn’t do. And he was big and not well positioned and my natural homebirth ended with a c-section (Story Here)
My midwife commented to me after Ava was born that she remembers in one of my first appointments me being very clear with her that this time would be different. I was going to do things differently. And I was going to have my natural birth. I was going to have a VBAC.
Spoiler alert. I DID IT!
But backing up. I also worked really hard at having a different pregnancy.
I had chiro care to keep me and the baby in alignment.
I worked out, kept moving, literally through my labor.
I ate healthy meals, supplementing with herbs and vitamins.
I hired a doula who specializes in VBACs. (Hire a doula, seriously. All women should have a doula supporting their labor and birth)
I already had my midwife. Her support, guidance and nature were a large part of my “not the birth I wanted” ending up being one that was peaceful and one I could be okay with easily the first time.
And I prepared mentally, which is the hardest of all.
So when I knew this girl was already in a much different position than Emilio I was hopeful, and happy. So I kept it up.
And when I started to feel early labor signs the week before my “due date” I was ready and excited.
And when I went past my due date I was slightly nervous about her size, but I knew that she would come when she was ready and that was the best way.
I did some homeopathic preps, I walked, I got acupuncture.
A few evenings in a row were filled with inconsistent contractions. Tuesday evening being one, well past bedtime- but I woke up with none and went through most of Wednesday feeling very far from labor- and discouraged.
After a walk Wednesday evening I started to feel more activity, but again assumed it was nothing. When 1:00am hit and I couldn’t quite sleep through them anymore, I moved in to the guest room that had been set up as the labor room. I was up every 10 minutes having to move through the contractions. At times I slept through a few, just breathing, to get myself more rest.
Knowing I wanted my Mom to be there for the labor and delivery, I made the call at 4am to NH. I knew it would be a while yet, but figured best for them to beat the traffic.
Emilio came looking for me at 5am and climbed in to bed with me. After I got up a few times to move through a contraction I heard him whisper from the bed, “I like your dancing Mama.”
We kept morning as normal as possible for Emilio and him and Matt headed out to Forest Hills for his usual Thursday with Mima.
I went for a walk, walking through contractions and texting my Doula.
I got in a warm bath, contractions slowed down, but it felt great.
We called the Doula and told her to come over.
I kept laboring consistently and things progressed normally.
I went for 2 more walks.
Then the midwife who lives nearby came over at 3 to check me. I was sure I’d be a 4 (where I stalled with Emilio) and I was prepared to be dissapointed, but resolute that I would push on. My doula immediately said to me, “A 4 is great! A 4 is progressing. It does not mean you’re having the same birth again.” And I knew she was right.
I was 6.5-7 and 80% effaced, mostly on the left side.
Oh the joy I felt. And then another contraction hit. I started to squat in to them, intense but I knew it would help move things along faster. I was ready for faster. I was ready to meet this girl.
At 4:30 I called my Midwife who said she was on her way in to the hospital to beat traffic and she wanted to hear from me at 5:00.
One of my biggest priorities was to go to the hospital at the last possible minute, so when the Midwife asked me when I wanted to come in I honestly said, “Never”. When I had been in the bath earlier I just wanted to a birth pool in my bedroom like last time.
But this wasn’t going to be like last time, and I had to get okay with that. In that moment in the bath I had to get okay with it. In that moment on the phone with my midwife I had to face this reality and move towards it, not shrink back from it.
So I did. And I listened to my body and let it tell me when it was time. And 5:00 was the time.
I did a final work email check, and set my out of office response (which I’d already drafted earlier in the week). Everyone was laughing at me as I breathed through a few contractions doing it.
Its funny, you read so much about getting in to this other space, a whole other world really, when you’re in labor. That it is necessary to go there so you have a progressive labor that takes you and your body where you need to go to birth your baby.
And that is true.
But your space can include the last final details that need to be done. Mine did, and it didn’t hold me back in labor at all.
When we got to the hospital I was clearly in transition labor. I had to stop several times walking in to the hospital.
A guy wouldn’t get on the elevator with us, that’s how evident it was that I was going to have this baby and soon.
And then the labor ward was full.
So I transitioned in the lobby of the L&D ward.
Thankfully we had my birth ball with us.
I sat on that, leaned in to Matt- with my doula behind me as contractions came every few minutes and I yelled through them.
And sounds and words that just came out, that I had no control over.
At one point I said, “How am I going to walk to the room?”
I started to feel pushy, like pushing was going to happen without me even wanting to.
And then a room was ready.
Before I could even get there I had to get on all fours to have a contraction.
And when my midwife checked me I was nearly ready to go, my water just hadn’t broken.
As I stood up for too long waiting for my birthball to be covered a contraction came on and my water broke.
“There goes my water.” I called out and sat down to contract on.
And then what seemed like moments later at about 7:00 I said, “I want to push her out.”
So my midwife said, “Let’s do it.”
That’s when the real hard work started.
I’m still sore today (my arms, legs, neck and back) from the pushing.
Every time I pushed there was excitement in my birthing teams voices, but it was taking a long time and I was getting tired.
I tried different positions.
But my arms were tired, and I couldn’t hold my neck up and I couldn’t catch my breath in between.
“Is anything really happening?” I asked at several points.
“Yes! Yes there is” They all declared.
My Mom even snapped a picture to show me how close she was.
Then my doula twisted up a sheet for her and Matt to hold and me to pull against.
And they put oxygen on me.
And my Mom held my neck up.
(My whole labor/pushing team was sore the next day)
And I pushed her out. After 2.5 hours of pushing, she finally came out.
Sunnyside up (that’s a really hard way to push a baby out and a leading cause of c-sections).
And it was the most incredible feeling.
I believe I declared, “I fucking did it!”
And then there she was on my chest, new and pink and here and mine.
And I created her, and grew her and then labored her out of my body.
I did it.
It was intense, and all new to me, and I was so present in so many of the moments.
And now I’m on the other side, and I’m so happy.
I’m so happy she’s here, and healthy.
I’m so happy I got the labor and delivery I wanted.
I’m so happy that I built a team around me that supported me through it all and were so instrumental in me getting the labor and delivery I wanted.
I’m so happy my hard work paid off.
I’m so happy to talk about my experiences, both of them and help others feel empowered to have the labor and delivery they want.
And it all makes me ready for the realities of life now.
Like swollen lady bits, oh so swollen.
And sore nipples and engorged breasts.
And managing a little baby when I was trained on a very big one (hello I bought no newborn clothing and she’s swimming in everything!)
And helping Emilio manage all this change.
And really, just going with the flow. Cause that is what much of this has taught me.
Work hard, plan, make good choices that work for you, and then go with the flow.
Let it wash over you like a wave.
You are strong.
Your strength is her world.
Birth is beautiful.