It was Saturday March 22nd. I was 40 weeks 5 days. If baby didn’t arrive by Monday the doctor told me I would start daily fetal monitoring checks. The last prenatal appointment indicated that I was dilated 3.5-4 cm. I was really wishing her to come soon to avoid medical interventions.
I woke up that morning feeling a little different. Everyone always says when you’re in labor you will know it. I wondered if this was going to be the day but then I had been playing that game all week and she still wasn’t here! I had what felt like indigestion pains most of the day. We went out for Indian food that evening and returned home at about 8pm. I had that feeling as if I had started my period and found that I was bleeding. This caused me to worry so I called my doula, Cathy, and Labor & Delivery to see if it was normal. I was told it was most likely the start of active labor but that if became heavier I should head to the hospital. It turned into light spotting.
At about 9pm, sporadic pressure waves began. We had agreed Freddy would get some sleep and I would wake him once I needed his help to get through them. I tried sleeping a bit myself but by 12am the waves were too strong to sleep through. My thoughts at this point consisted mostly of self-doubt about my ability to do this without medication, as I had wanted, as the pain was so intense I only imagined what it would get like later. I stopped myself from looking ahead and forced myself to stay in the moment, one pressure wave at a time.
At 3:30am Freddy called Cathy, our doula, to update her. I remember telling her “I don't feel like anything is working anymore” to help with the pain. She suggested some comfort measures like getting in the shower and asked me to call back when I wanted her to come over. In hindsight that should’ve been my cue to ask her to come, an indicator of how far along I really was in. An hour later we called her to join us. The waves were coming so close together it felt almost impossible to time them on the app we had downloaded. Once she arrived, I could no longer bear them, as there was no pause in between them. I even felt the urge to start pushing. I felt like vomiting. I was internally panicking that I had labored too long and wouldn’t make it to the hospital. I told her and Freddy that it was time to go. I dreaded the car ride. Thankfully, I managed to tune into the hypnobabies tracks that I had been listening to throughout my pregnancy, breathe and “zone out” until we made it to the hospital.
Upon arriving to the hospital and getting checked around 6am, I was found to be 10 cm dilated. What a relief! However, knowing I had labored that much at home and cut it very close was also a bit scary. We were immediately taken to a labor and delivery room to begin pushing. That is when things stalled for a while. It was becoming very mentally and emotionally difficult. Reminding myself and hearing from Freddy and Cathy that every wave, every push would get me closer to meeting Salma was huge encouragement. A nurse suggested I labor on the ball for a while and that’s when things got moving again. Those final moments were very intense. The feeling I had when Salma came out and I grabbed her is indescribable. I remember Freddy had a couple of tears running down his face which was one of the few times I’d ever seen him cry. To have experienced this with him and to be holding our daughter was priceless.
I feel so fortunate that we had this empowering, positive birth. I am extremely proud of what my body was capable of doing and of the mental strength I had to get through it. I understand the circumstances of this birth came together like a perfect storm to make it come true for me and not everyone has that experience. I don’t take any of it for granted. Salma Clarissa, born at 8:23am on March 23rd, 2014 was the best gift we could have ever asked for….until our next daughter :)