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I haven’t posted much here but got such comfort from reading positive birth stories I wanted to post mine. This is really long but it was such a great experience I couldn’t stop writing about it! The thing that really amazed me was how I never actually thought about my lightswitch once during my birthing time, but looking back on it I realize I was in center or off the whole time, it just happened automatically. Amazing!
I had been having prodromal labor for about a week before my due date, with pressure waves that started and stopped over and over again. I was trying to be patient but feeling very tired and was so ready to meet my little girl! I worked up until I was 39 weeks and three days, but over the weekend I really felt like I was too uncomfortable and exhausted to keep working, so called in and let them know I was done. That Monday was Columbus Day so my husband and son were home with me, and we spent the day just hanging around the house. The next day was my due date, I had a midwife appointment that morning and had my cervix checked, more out of curiosity than anything, and was 2 cm dilated and “soft”. I had agreed for her to strip my membranes but my cervix was too high for her to even reach. I was a little discouraged but tried to keep in mind that things can change quickly! On the way home from the midwife, I stopped at the grocery store and stocked up on basics as well as some treats for myself. I planned to spend the day resting and focusing on listening to my body, and that’s just what I did.
I spent most of the afternoon on the couch, just having the sense that my body needed rest. I was actually having almost no pressure waves all day, which was unusual after the many days of prodromal labor, but I tried not to think about it and just go with the flow. I decided to download the “Come OUT baby” track, and listened to it at about 3 pm. My husband and son got home shortly after I finished listening to the track, and I noticed that my back was aching some, which wasn’t unusual with all the prodromal labor. I fixed dinner and we ate, and by then my back was aching more, feeling just like period cramps, but I didn’t notice any pressure waves at all. At about 6:15 pm we had finished dinner and I sat down on the couch with a warm buckwheat pillow on my back. Almost as soon as I sat down I felt a trickle between my legs, I stood up quickly and ran to the bathroom, and as soon as I sat down on the toilet there was a huge gush of fluid. I was so surprised and I yelled to my husband “I think my water just broke!” He was just as surprised, but brought me a dry pair of pants and underwear. I called the midwife who said I needed to come in since I was GBS positive, so I called my mother who was going to come up to stay with my son. She lives about an hour and 20 minutes away but I was feeling fine at that point and figured that would be plenty of time. I also called my sisters who were going to come for the birth. I wanted to get my son into bed before I left, so we started his bedtime routine and got him into bed by a little before 7pm. By then I was having regular pressure waves that were getting more uncomfortable and I was having to really concentrate through them.
I told my husband he needed to get things ready, and I went down into the living room and starting timing pressure waves, I was so surprised to realize they were 2 minutes apart. I put on my headphones and started the “Easy First Stage” track. I found the most comfortable position was on my hands and knees resting my head on the couch during each pressure wave, and found myself moaning through each one, which really helped me control my breathing and get through each wave. Meanwhile my husband was running around getting things into the car and calling my mother to make sure she was coming soon since things were moving so fast! Eventually, I told my husband I really needed him, and he came and sat with me, using the “Relax” cues which worked really well. I threw up once and was so proud of my husband for not getting sick himself (which he usually does!)
Finally my mother and sister arrived, I made it out to the car while having multiple waves on the way out. During the drive I mostly kept my eyes closed and my husband did the best he could with the “Relax” cues as he drove. My sister followed us to the hospital, and once we got there brought me up the OB floor in a wheelchair while my husband parked our car. I was concentrating so hard I was hardly even aware of where I was or what was going on, just going with the flow and breathing/moaning my way through each pressure wave. They had a room ready for me and as soon as I got in there they put the monitors on. The nurses were wonderful and had clearly read my birth plan in advance, they had the lights low, never asked me about my pain, called them pressure waves, etc. I still had my headphones on, and had been listening to “Easy First Stage” and “Birthing Day affirmations” alternating since things had really picked up. I could hear them commenting on how relaxed I was, they were so impressed! The nurse tried to start an IV for the antibiotics but couldn’t get it, and after looking at both of my arms felt that the IV specialists would be more likely to get it in. Meanwhile, I finished my 20 minutes on the monitor, and was just reclining in the bed with my legs bent, eyes closed, with my husband right by my side, hand on his shoulder and whispering “Relax” with every pressure wave. I felt so supported and loved! I decided to try sitting up in the rocking chair but only lasted about 2 pressure waves because sitting up made things so intense. I moved to a chair next to the bed and tried leaning forward on some pillows but the waves were just getting more and more intense. As this was going on the IV specialist was trying to start another IV in between waves, but after a few tries the midwife asked her to stop because it was obvious things were moving too fast to make it worthwhile.
Suddenly, during a wave, my beautiful controlled moaning turned into a push, and I had the overwhelming sensation of needing to move my bowels. At the time, it didn’t even occur to me that it was the baby! I ran to the bathroom, practically throwing my iPod at my sister on the way. I sat on the toilet and pushed without even trying to, and this was the only time I felt a little out of control, I yelled a little bit because the pressure was so intense and I couldn’t stop it. My midwife was so great, and asked if she could check to make sure it was the baby’s head coming down, and it definitely was! She pulled my pants off for me and said “We need to move out of the bathroom if you can.” I basically jumped off the toilet and ran to the bed, and started kneeling on the bed on my hands and knees. I decided to try to lie on my side but after about one second in that position felt much more comfortable kneeling so went back to that. I was still panicking a little bit until my midwife said “You can do this, you’re doing fine, push gently now to let yourself stretch”. This was exactly what I needed to hear, and felt an immediate calm settle over me, I even said right out loud “Okay, I’m okay, I can do this”. One push later and I had the most amazing feeling of release as she was born. The midwife passed her to me through my legs and I looked at my baby girl for the first time. 8 lbs even, 21 inches long, born with no tears less than three and half hours after my water broke.