FYI, you’re about to read a real birth story ahead. If you prefer not to know details, you should just click away now and go read something different, this may be more than you want to know about me. Oh and if you want to read a comparison, here is Dominic’s birth story. I’m going to use initials like last time, so hopefully you can follow, and hopefully everything makes sense. I was in labor for a long time and I don’t always quite remember what happened exactly when, but I am doing my best to tell a cohesive story haha. Labor has some weird wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff going on.
It all starts on Friday morning, October 17th. I had been having contractions on and off since Wednesday of the previous week, but no this is it type contractions. Well Friday morning things were a bit different. I had a few intense contractions and I was starting to get irritated with Dominic coming in and out of the room I was in. I texted my friend B, one of the few people who knew the real due date (October 22nd, if anyone is wondering now) that I was having a few more intense contractions, but I wasn’t sure yet whether or not they would go anywhere. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. After a little while, I texted Nick and he told me to call A, my midwife, and see what she said. I called her and she was in the middle of giving blood so she told me to call L, one of the other midwives, and talk to her. L said if I was feeling uncomfortable that I should come in. So I called Nick and told him that and he got ready to come home from work. Then I called R, my doula, and let her know. Then Nick called me back and stayed on the phone with me while he was driving home because I was freaking out a bit and he was working his hardest to keep me calm. I was feeling anxious and a bit scared. It seemed like it was taking forever for Nick to get home, but eventually he got there. He helped get our things together and get Dominic into the car and then we headed to the birth center.
I didn’t know yet if this was going to be the real deal or not, so we were taking Dominic with us until we knew. Nick would tell me in the car I was doing a great job and then Dominic would tell me too. When we got to the birth center, midwife B was there and we went to midwife A’s office/space (I guess you want to call it? I don’t know what to call it lol) and she checked me for dilation. I knew I was scared of being sent home again like I had been with Dominic, but I didn’t realize until that moment just how scared I was of that happening again. Midwife B checked me and assessed that I was probably a 6 and I asked her if that meant that I was staying and she told me I was staying and I remember crying, which felt weird, but I was just so relieved and my emotions were so crazy at that point in time. Nick went to go call a few people to try to find someone for Dominic to go with and it was about this time that my doula, R, showed up. S, the doula in training, would show up a little while later. After Nick found a friend of ours to come get Dominic, we moved down to Serenity, which was the birthing suite I wanted, partially because of the big tub and partially because of the name Serenity.
Once we were down there I got in the tub pretty quick and labored in there for a while. The tub helped make the contractions more bearable. Now, I will say, it is going to be impossible to list all the possible ways that I labored during birth in the writing of this birth story when they happened, because I labored in a lot of different ways. I don’t even know if I remember them all, but through the course of the day and night I labored in the tub, in the shower, on the birth ball, on my hands and knees, on my hands and knees with the birth ball in the shower and on the bed, laying on my side on the bed, walking the halls of the birth center in the middle of night, and I am not even sure that is all of them. I’ll try to add in the ones I remember where I remember them. So anyways, I labored in the tub for a while in the beginning and this was hard but not unbearable. I still felt pretty okay between contractions and I felt like I could handle them. I kept asking about Dominic, because I needed to know he was okay, and I kept asking if I was staying and having this baby, because like I said, I had not realized until that day just how afraid I was of being sent home again.
At some point I was checked for dilation. I can’t remember this time if I asked for it wanting to know or if they suggested it might be a good idea, I don’t remember. I had been laboring for a while and I know I wanted to see if I was making progress. Midwife B had me at about the same dilation as I was before, but she wanted midwife A to check me. When midwife A checked me, she figured I was probably about a 4-5, which was less than what midwife B had thought, even initially. They explained to me that it can vary based on who is checking you and midwife A asked me when the last time I had pooped was and I had said Tuesday (the joys of pregnancy constipation). I guess she could tell that it might have been a while when she was in there checking me for dilation. She said this might be slowing my progress. They told me what to do was up to me, but they gave me a couple of options. I could see if I could get things moving on my own, I could opt for an enema, or I could do nothing. I definitely did not want an enema so I decided to try to see if I could move things on my own so I went and labored in the bathroom for a while, which is definitely not my preferred place to labor, but I was able to make some progress and I didn’t need an enema so hooray for that! I remember after this check too asking if I was still staying and they reassured me that yes I was and not to be discouraged. I am not going to lie, it was a little hard not to be discouraged, but I knew that I trusted my midwives and that one way or another, I was going to do this.
I labored for a while and then eventually I was checked again. I had made more progress, a solid 5 this time. Midwife A could feel that Allen was a little posterior, which also might be slowing my progress, so she suggested a couple of ways to labor that might help him get in more optimal position. One she suggested was hands and knees, which I had done for a bit before, but that seemed to be pretty hard on my back and I could only be that way for a few contractions before my legs would get really shaky and I would have to stop because I would feel like my legs were not going to be able to support me. The other one she suggested was three-quarters position, which I had never heard of, and it would be hard to describe, but I was laboring laying on my side with one leg straight and the other leg bent and pulled up towards my belly and one arm straight behind my head. That’s the best I can describe it and I actually don’t even know if I could show you if you were right here with me. They helped me get into that position and I labored that way for a while, first on one side and then on the other side.
The next two dilation checks I made steady progress. The next one was six and the one after that was seven. I wanted to be making more progress than that, but I tried to be patient with the pace my body was working at. My midwives were so helpful during this process, coming in and suggesting I do certain things (like walk) to help labor along, but not ever pushing me to do something, just always being there and being encouraging. I don’t remember what all happened when, so here are some things I do remember from that evening.
I remember saying one of the times that I was in the tub that I felt like a pregnant mermaid and this led to a whole discussion on how mermaids reproduced with Nick and my doulas between contractions. It helped distract me from what was going on.
I remember throwing up while I was in the tub and hating it, but also having the reassurance of knowing that throwing up in labor is usually a good sign that you are making progress.
I remember walking the halls with Nick, stopping with every contraction to brace myself against him and try to get through them. In between contractions I would repeat to myself with Nick reassuring me things like, “This baby wants to be born” and “This baby is going to be born” and “I am the only one who can help this baby be born” and “We are a team, we are going to do this together.” My doulas were standing at the corner by our room (Nick and I were walking in a big circle, well technically rectangle) and every time we passed them I would stop for a water pit stop and drink some more (staying hydrated during labor is very important).
I remember being in the tub with Nick and leaning back into him and using him as a support and I could get some rest that way in between contractions.
I think sometime after 7 is when it got hard. It’s hard to say, because I don’t exactly remember. Not that it hadn’t been hard before this, but it just got to the point where the hardness became so intense that I began to feel like I couldn’t do it. I was having horrible back pain with every contraction and while Nick told me I had this with Dominic too, I honestly don’t remember having any with Dominic. My doulas and Nick and the midwives were all very reassuring that I could do this, even as I told them that I couldn’t do this, that I wanted them to let me transfer so I could have the drugs, so they could just cut Allen out of me. This is not what I really wanted, but I was beginning to hit that point in labor where I was scared and where I felt like I couldn’t do it and I was starting to panic. I know I hit this point at some point with Dominic too. But to their credit, everyone around me stayed calm and was nothing but encouraging which is exactly what I needed.
At some point, I got out of the tub. I think it was suggested that I should walk around or try laboring in the shower for a bit. I was so tired though, I ended up laying on the bed though, just to try to get some rest. It’s already Saturday morning at this point, and so not only have I been up a long time, but I’ve been working through these contractions for a long time at this point already. Labor is exhausting. Laying on my side I was able to doze off in between contractions a bit, but after every contraction I would feel like I was about to throw up. But midwife B had put some cinnamon essential oil in the bottom of the puke bowl and smelling that would really take the nausea away thankfully.
I think after a little while this is when midwife B came in. I had eaten some granola bars earlier but that was before I had thrown up and I had been more nauseous than hungry since that point. So I had the option of peanut butter or honey on a spoon, for some energy and strength. I picked peanut butter. After eating that, we talked a bit about whether I should be checked again or what I wanted to do and I decided to get back in the shower again. I labored for a bit in the shower and then when I was ready to get out, I decided I would be checked now. I was bracing myself for the fact that I might have gone only one centimeter more, but to my awesome surprise, midwife A said I was almost complete, I just had a little bit of cervix left. She wanted to see what would happen if I pushed for one contraction, if it would go away and so I pushed during one contraction on my hands and knees and she was right, that worked. I decided I couldn’t be on my hands and knees though, holy back pain at that point, even when I wasn’t contracting. Somebody suggested side lying and that was much better. Now it was weird because I had felt pushy on and off all labor, but I hadn’t felt a strong urge to push when I was actually complete, but I knew it was the right thing because it felt so good (okay, good is not the right word maybe – it felt so right to be pushing) and once I started I didn’t want to stop. With one of my first pushes, side lying, my water broke in an epic way, going everywhere. After that I threw up a couple of times, which midwife A told Nick to help me hold my leg up when I was doing that because the same muscles you use for throwing up actually help move the baby down. At some point I said someone is poking me and they told me, “No, that’s your baby.” And in my head I was like “What?!?” I do not know how many times I pushed, but all of that that I just described as happening during pushing was very quick, because I pushed him out in less than 5 minutes and then he came immediately to my chest for skin to skin. I remember thinking while I was pushing that he was coming out so fast that I was sure I was going to tear but at that point I didn’t care, I was SO ready for him to be born. (To my surprise though, no tears!)
So that’s my story. So it’s long and jumbly and doesn’t flow the best. It’s what I remember and how I experienced it. Special thanks to Nick and my doulas and my midwives, who were all such an amazing support team for me, who did nothing but encourage mr and believe in me the whole time. I am truly grateful for all of them and as much as laboring was something I did, I would not have wanted to do it without the support I received from all of them because it made such a difference.
Even though I was reluctant to include it, Nick and Meghan both encouraged me to include this in my 101 in 1001 list and so that’s another thing crossed off the list.