I am 6 weeks postpartum today and feel like I am in a good place to finally write part 2 of my birth story. This is labor. This is what I have been prepping for. Excited about. Nervous about. Even though I have gone through it twice before, this labor was going to be vastly different. There were so many unknowns even with labor and birth being so familiar to me. I was not afraid of it in the normal way most people are afraid to experience labor. I never really have been. I have always greeting labor and birth with a welcoming mind and that space to allow it to happen has grown the more I am immersed in the birthing world. I did find myself in the days leading up to labor nervous about it though, which I did find strange. I guess it just goes to show you that no matter how many times you give birth, or how many timed you witness birth, you can still be nervous for it. I think that comes from the fact that no matter what, birth always looks different no matter how many times you’ve seen it and have gone through it personally.
We left off with my waters being released and everyone just waiting for labor to start. Contractions were not painful or uncomfortable at all throughout the day and I was having to battle my worry of transferring into the hospital. Fortunately, my team was fielding the texts and calls from my Intended Parents so I didn’t have to put that extra stress on myself and the situation. I was playing with my kids and talking about every subject with Amanda, my photographer, texting my partner updates and just enjoying the day. I started to take some herbs in the early afternoon but they didn’t seem to be affecting anything, which was fine. I then took a dose of caster oil because I was hoping it would take some effect, it really did not do much either so I decided that labor would come when it was ready. I had to just surrender to that.
Around 8:40pm I started to have some more consistent, timetable tightening, still nothing painful or intense but it was there. So I let my Doula and Midwife know that something was heading in the right direction but nothing I needed anyone for yet and that it could still be a bit. I decided to order some Panda Express on postmates for everyone that was there because I needed to keep some protein in me for when labor decided to finally start. I laid on my bed in Mountain Climber position/Extended side lying/ (or my least favorite term for it: SIMS) position so see if I could get my belly buddy to rotate down a bit in my pelvis and put more consistent pressure on my cervix. About the same time I hit send on the order for food, I had my first “painful” contraction. My face lit up and I got so excited! Then about 3. Minutes later another string one came. I remember basically shouting, “Oh! That one hurt! YAY!” and then another came. Since I have a history of decently fast labors, I excitedly texted my Doula, Mychal, first with a text that stated, in very me language, “They just got active as f**k” and that I didn’t need her right that second but she should head over. I then texted my Midwife, Faith, that they finally were hurting and again, that I didn’t need her right that second because they were very manageable, but she should get ready and head over when she was finished with what she was doing. This was about 9:20ish PM.
The contractions decided to ramp up very quickly. Like… I should not have told people to take their time getting to me quickly. I decided to get into the shower to let the warm water run down my belly and over my body. I have always found the shower comforting. As I was getting to the shower the contractions were now very intense and about 2 minutes apart and a minute and a half long. I could not talk through them but I could still stand so I wasn’t too concerned thinking I was just in early active labor. About 10PM our postmates order was delivered and I was in no mood to eat, but I remember moaning like a buffalo in the shower thinking to myself what that poor postmated delivery person was thinking was happening in here. I labored in the shower for about maybe 15 minutes and decided it was pool time. (About 10PM)
I could not stand anymore. I was getting louder with my sounds. I was becoming more primal with animalistic feeling movements and I knew I had hit transition. Faith had texted me how it was. Going and all I could text back was “Intense and shaking” as I was kneeling at the bottom of the shower unable to get comfortable. My youngest son was by my side at the shower asking me “Mommy, are these still the good labor sounds?” which I responded that they were and it meant that baby was almost here. I turned the shower off to switch to the hose to fill the tub in my bedroom. Liam held the hose while my photographer helped him set it up and I crawled out of the tub onto the floor with a towel draped over me.
I very, very slowly stood up and made it to my hallway were another contraction hit and I had to drop to hands and knees. There was no more walking for me. It was crawling and thrashing like a wild animal form here on out. My head was noisy, my body was noisy and I was surprisingly noisy. I had never in previous labors allowed myself to vocalize like I was doing in that moment. If felt wild and really good. I think I apologized for being so loud but there was no holding it back. I managed to crawl around the corner and my Doula walked in. She was on the phone with my Midwife and asked if I wanted to tell her anything. I shook my head no and then I felt my body give a huge growling push and I yelled “YES, THAT I’M PUSHING”. I was about 20 feet from that pool in my room and I felt like I was never going to make it. Mychal got behind me and rubbed my back and squeezed my hips and I remember staring at the ground in between contractions thinking, “man, this is why people get epidurals… I get it” then I realized that means I am almost done and a new wave of energy came over me. I did one more contraction on the floor of my hallway and then I made it to the pool. I literally have no idea how I got there. Did I crawl? Did I leap? I don’t care. It was sweet relief.
I had never pictured myself to be one that delivered in the water. Historically, I like to use it as a comfort measure, but once I got in that pool… there was NO getting me out! My body was pushing and I was not going to move again from that spot. The sounds that came out of me were apparently very loud because my 5 year old decided he was out of there and went to the living room until Faith got there. My 9 year old was taking photos also. I remember him announcing that I was almost finished with labor because my vagina was parting (my mini midwife). I felt the head of my fetal passenger come into my vaginal canal and reached in to gauge how close we were. Her sweet, wrinkly head was maybe 1 knuckle in. I felt some weird pressure and swept around her head to find a piece of her membranes filled with fluid so I popped it with my fingers and with that, the pressure felt better. More even and manageable. I asked Mychal where Faith was, which I was informed that she was about 10 minutes away. I just looked up at her and said, “She’s not going to make it”. Mychal was so sweet, she found the gloves and towels and just calmly said, “Well, let’s have a baby.”
My body continued to push and just as I started to feel pressure on the end of my tailbone, I saw Faith pull up around the back of my house and bang on my door. I was relieved! She ran in got gloves on. I told her I could feel the baby’s head stuck on my tailbone and that I needed it out of the way. She asked if I wanted her to do it and I moaned I don’t know as I started another contraction. She reached down and gently applied pressure to my tailbone and that’s all that was needed for me to get that head out. The baby’s head emerged slowly and gently out of my body, my hands helping to guide and ease her out. I remember feeling like the stretching would never end. This was my third time having a human being come out of my body and it still amazes me how little give that head has and how much our bodies are capable of opening to allow passage. I called time for the head and said, “Hi, baby” and held her head in my hands. I felt for her shoulders and with one push guided them out. She was born at 10:19pm. I got to labor completely uninhibited. Uncontrolled. Nothing was pushed on me. Zero cervical exams. No one doing things to me. I was in control of my own body, my own timing, my own autonomy. It was absolute perfection.
I lifted her out of the water and onto my chest where she was draped in a warm towel while I stimulated her to breathe. She immediately let out a nice cry followed by a more gurgled one. Midwife me mode took over and I tuned her over to help drain her upper airways and called for a bulb to assist in clearing her fluids.
My surrobaby’s parents did not make it. My midwife made it at 10:17pm… just 2 minutes before she was born. We facetimed her parents while I was in the pool still and I decided I wanted to move to the bed to deliver my placenta. As I got out of the pool, I had a separation gush so once I laid down I attempted to deliver my own placenta. But it was still partially on and I started to bleed a bit. Faith had to finish getting it out for me, which made me a bit sad because that’s something I wanted to do but I had the most perfect birth and was okay that of all things, that was what I couldn’t do. Then I started bleeding, and bleeding, and some more bleeding…
And that brings up to part 3…
My entire labor was about an hour. It was intense. Like an unstoppable force that you just had to let take over.