It was a Saturday night and my older daughter was at grandmas , so my husband and I got Indian take out and headed to Target to get some last minute additions for her V-Day basket. While perusing Target some pretty good contractions hit. It was rather entertaining walking around Target + Sprouts having contractions, so of course my husband was cracking me up; I am pretty sure that we looked like crazy people. By the time we got home, they become mild; so I did some cleaning and headed to bed. Mild contractions continued throughout the evening, I mostly slept through them. They continued with consistency through the morning. At around 6:30am I started to time them, while the rest of the house quietly slept. At around 8am, I texted my amazing Midwife Lindsey to tell her that we might be having a Valentines Day Baby! *note: both of my children were born on the one date I would have preferred them not to be born on* They had just finished up at a birth, and would head over after they had some breakfast.
We eventually got up and started our day, luckily it was a lazy Sunday. Some other signs of labor started to kick in, but the contractions themselves began to spread out. We started to prep for the birth: blowing up the tub, calling my doula and good friend Michelle, and making plans for my daughter to be entertained. By the early afternoon the midwife and her assistant had arrived and my daughter was having being kept busy. The house was lively, my Dad even stopped by for a random visit (he did not know that we may be in labor). We all had lunch together while the midwife and her assistant took a walk and then took a much needed rest.
The afternoon continued with inconsistent contractions, in effort to get things moving we took lots of walks (It was a beautiful summerlike day), tried different positions, played with the rebozo, did inversions, did pelvic tilts that hurt like hell, took some nasty homeopathic remedies and anything else I could think of. But the house was too lively for birth to unfold. My amazing friend an acupuncturist Kristin paid me a visit to try and get things moving along. Shortly after her visit, around 5pm, everyone left, all the birth supplies littered the house, it was finally still and quiet; L was enjoying some time out with her grandparents and cousins (it was good she was out of the house, as she was a distraction to my being able to truly focus on the birth). When it comes to birth, the more people that are around the longer the birth will be (a watched pot never boils), now my husband and I were alone in a quiet, still space. It was just what I needed. (and I know this, but I would say being distracted sounded much better than birthing!).
After a long day of trying to get this moving, I tired, I decided to take a warm shower and rest. But of course, while in the shower some pretty intense pressure waves begin to hit. I made it quick and headed straight for bed, trying to rest up as best as possible between the contractions. In what seemed like just a few minutes, they were what I would call very intense. I was beginning to make deep throaty sounds to cope and keep my body relaxed. At a certain point it was too uncomfortable to lay down, it was uncomfortable to sit down, it was just uncomfortable. I started to cry (or whine really), “I cannot do this”. As I said the words, I knew deep down that I would be pushing this baby out pretty soon. "I can't do this" is usually a sure sign that things are getting challenging, and this phrase is usually uttered as a mama nears transition (the light at the end of the tunnel). I told my husband to call everyone.
There was a huge fear, stemming from my past birth exprience, that I was not capable of birthing my baby this way, how could I manage to handle these intense pressure waves for what could be hours and hours? I tried to breathe through my doubt, keeping my body as relaxed as possible. Deep, very deep down, I knew I could do this, but I was so unsure of myself. There was a lack of trust, in the process, and in my body.
Matt and Michelle filled up the tub, by the time I got in, the contractions were intense and the pressure was building and I felt frozen. All I could focus on was not holding my breath and keeping my body as relaxed as possible.
I continued to try my best to breathe through the doubt that I had about being able to birth my baby my way, the fear of being in labor for hours and hours and having to be transferred because I couldn’t hang, looming over me the whole time.
Shortly after I was submerged in the warmth of the tub, Lindsey came in the door, checked on baby E and gave me an IV (antibiotics for my GBS). The IV had barley finished, when the contraction hit that started involuntarily pushing my baby down. I looked straight at Lindsey, moaning through the wave that told her I was pushing, and that this sensation was f-ing intense. With a pop, my water broke, 10:18pm. “Where is Matt!?" I yelled, when I realized he was not in the room. He had ran outside to console my daughter as she begrudgingly was getting ready to head to Grandpa's house. My doula ran out to get him and told him that Elle needed to stay because it was just about time! (I irrationally thought I would be pushing for hours and hours and even initially refused to reach down and feel that my baby was SO close, I finally did, she was right there! That is motivation!).
With each wave, my baby made her way closer, the uncontrollable urge to push washed over me. I was terrified, I had to relinquish the doubt as well as any control I thought I had. Eventually, I got brave enough to reach down and feel her. She was right there! I can do this, I was doing it. I took a few more deep breaths to breathe her down and out. As her head emerged, I was able to pull her to my chest. What a feeling, we did it! We really did it! My oldest came in just in time to see her sister transition into this world at 10:38pm. She was ecstatic. She literally beamed with light and love as she checked out the newest addition to our family.
I smiled and sighed in relief. I overcame my doubt; doubt that was lingering from my first birth experience, a type of doubt and fear that I did not realize existed within me until I was actually in the throes of birthing. This birth helped me heal, and it also made me realize how strong I am. How strong we as women are, no matter what your birth looks like, it is some superhero type stuff. I gathered a wonderful birth team who supported me through this process and in the end I am forever changed by this experience. Birth, no matter what it looks like, is life changing. Motherhood, no matter if you are already a mother or not, is life changing. These are things we often do not understand until we have lived them, and words cannot do them justice. I embrace both of my births, and they make me better; a better mother, a better woman, a better teacher, a better doula. Birth shows us how strong and amazing we truly are, it is something that stays with us forever and is also part of our child’s story. It should feel empowering, it should feel like a team effort and we should feel completely supported by compassionate and caring professionals; that is what we all deserve. I am beyond excited to have these experiences to share in my teachings, as my two births were so very different. We are so freaking amazing mamas! You are so freaking amazing!!