A Birth Story

The following is written in a real mom’s own words. This is an outlet for parents who would like to share their stories, in the hope that others will connect and find support. If you have a story you’d like to share, please message us on Facebook or email us at bianca@momof11kids.com.

I knew as soon as I got pregnant that I was interested in going the more natural route, if I could. I ended up switching providers at 28 weeks so that I could deliver at a hospital that allowed water birth. I found myself a fantastic doula, and I read all of the books.

My list of “people who thought I was crazy” was quite long—my mother, my friends, my co-workers, anyone I spoke to about birth. My husband came around pretty quickly, and ended up pretty enthusiastic about the whole thing.

I read as much as I could. I practiced low-toned noises. I tried to work on my posture. I did cat-cow yoga poses. I did water aerobics with the old ladies (they loved me, with my big ol’ belly). I drank red raspberry leaf tea, and towards the end I took evening primrose oil capsules.

And I went to work, and school, and ran errands, and wondered if my water would break and where, and would I manage my labor, and how much would it hurt?

By my last two weeks of pregnancy, I had been increasingly uncomfortable each morning. I would wake up and threaten not to go to work, and then go to work anyway. On the Wednesday that this story starts, it took all of my resolve to go to work.

So go to work I did. This was my first baby—I had no idea that I was in early labor. All I knew was that I didn’t feel well, but I didn’t want to start my leave a second earlier than I had to. Luckily, I worked short days (I was part-time, because I was also in school…although I did take that semester off) and when I left to go to my 39 week midwife appointment I caved. I told my boss I would be starting my leave the next day. I just didn’t know how I could keep working if each day was going to be so much worse than the one before.

At the OB/GYN office, the nurses kept asking if I was ok. At that point, I realized I was contracting. The midwife was great, but made sure that I understood that this may or may not have been the real thing. I was pretty sure it was the real thing.

I got stuck in traffic on the way home and labored nicely on the highway, with my doula on the phone the whole time. Bless those doulas. My husband was great, and had dinner and a contraction timer waiting when I walked in the door, and then left for a three hour class (I told him to go, I figured we had time).

I labored on skype with my family. I labored in the shower. I labored rhythmically, swinging my upper body in circles while I sat on the bed. My husband came home, packed up the car, and tried to nap (I tried to let him, but I kept getting him up—I was too excited).

Once we felt it was time, we went to the hospital where the nurses all remarked that I probably wasn’t that far along because I was still laughing, joking, and chatting. First of all, if you know me, it takes a lot to get me to stop chatting (my apologies, people who know me!). Also, I had read in every book that fear was bad for labor and laughter was good, so I did everything possible to keep perky. I was promptly hooked up to machines for “only 20 minutes” while they got my/baby’s baseline vitals and contractions. It took twice that time (because I couldn’t sit still, which I don’t think was unreasonable under the circumstances), during which time my doula arrived and the hospital staff filled up the birth pool. At this point, around 12:45 a.m., I was 3-4 cm dilated (closer to 3, but they called it 4 so I could get in the tub. Thanks nurses!). This was really happening.

I got in the tub. If I could tell you one point in my labor that I would like to relive (other than meeting bub) it was that. Getting into the tub was like entering heaven. I floated and twisted and generally enjoyed moving freely in a low-gravity, warm, watery paradise for a while. Around 1:30 a.m. my midwife arrived and checked me. 7-8 cm. Holy cow! Was I in transition?

No. I was certainly not. I know that because about 20 minutes later, I hit transition and there is no way I could have mistaken that for anything else. My voice took on a life of its own, without consulting me first, and I was shocked to hear bear-bellows bursting from my throat. Honestly, there isn’t any other way to describe it. I bellowed. Like a bear.

You should have seen my husband’s face at that point—I had been cheerfully joking and talking and smiling my whole labor, managing the contractions pretty well (except for when they had me on monitors or when we were in the car on our way to the hospital…whenever I had to stay somewhat still, my labor was much less manageable. Apparently I kept telling my husband “it burns!” during the car ride, and threatening to climb out the window if it took much longer to get to the hospital. I have no recollection of either of those facts…). Anyhow, I had been mostly managing my labor without too many “Hollywood signs” of the laboring woman, like groaning or screaming. And suddenly, out of nowhere, bear-bellows. The poor guy looked terrified.

I don’t even remember it hurting that much (although I am looking back on it now, I probably felt differently in the moment). All I remember is the shock of the power of it all. I felt like a conduit for lightning. I felt like the forces of the universe were doing battle in my blood. I felt like I needed a sign that said “warning: high voltage. Do not touch.”

Basically, it was cray-cray.

And then it was over.

Suddenly I looked up and said “I need to push,” but that doesn’t really do it justice. See, I wasn’t medicated, so nothing was dampening my nerves or reflexes. I was pushing, with or without permission. My body simply pushed. Then paused. Then pushed.

My midwife looked a bit surprised, and asked to check my progress before I fully gave in to my body’s urge to push (I was already giving in, there was no alternative. My body wouldn’t wait). She wanted to make sure I had no cervical lip left, which could bruise and swell with the pushes and delay my baby’s entrance to the world. So she checked.

The baby was already halfway down the birth canal.

Four minutes later, my water broke (I know, right? I was this close to birthing my baby en caul, which would have been pretty cool) and the baby crowned. One push later, a little human—my little human—was born. The midwife lifted him from the water and placed him on my chest.

I had a baby.

It was a boy.

I had a son.

There have been many ups and downs of both life and parenting since that day, but nothing can ever take away my birth story. Afterwards, I felt so many things—an overwhelming love for this tiny baby I had birthed, a deepened love for my husband, a strength I didn’t know I had, tremendous pride, and the world’ biggest high. I still look back on it and smile.

And sometimes, when I am cuddling my toddler, I try to remember how he looked and felt, that first moment I held him: tiny and squinchy and red, with vernix and a funky-shaped skull (ah, the power of the birth canal to reshape skulls!), and my heart melts and soars, melts and soars. It melts for the baby he was, and it soars for the memory of becoming his mother. It melts for the toddler he is, and it soars for the woman I have become through loving him.

And that’s my birth story, with some commentary. Thank you for doing me the honor of reading it.

Have something to share? Write about anything family-related, from pregnancy or struggles with getting pregnant, to breastfeeding or not, being a stay-at-home or working mom, kids and pets, how things change when little ones come along, c-sections, natural births, was the epidural as scary as you thought, vaccinations, first birthday party ideas, your best parenting moments, your biggest challenges, infertility, foster kids, allergies, taking care of you, the cutest things they’ve ever done. There’s almost nothing that wouldn’t fit, whether it’s happy, or not so much. If it’s real, we love it. Email bianca@momof11kids.com to get started.

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