Both my C-Sections were scheduled C-Sections therefore I have never really experienced Labor before.
I had been feeling what I thought were Braxton Hicks since 26 weeks pregnant. At around 35 weeks, I started feeling them more often. I would have maybe 2-5 contractions a day. I was so excited when I reached 39 weeks and 3 days. I had never been pregnant past 39 +2 since my C-Sections were scheduled at 39 weeks and the second at 39 +2. At 39 +3, I decided to keep both my girls home and run a couple of errands. Naturally, I did a Target run and was not feeling too well. Started to feel really tired and wanting to go home and lay down. I wanted to go to the grocery store to start stocking up on food for us and our Birth Team. As I was paying, I remember telling the cashier, “Oh boy, I think this baby might come sooner than I thought.” She was like “Yeah, you look tired. You should go home and rest”. I went home to rest.
That night, I had my husband paint a lion on my belly, which came out awesome! I took a shower and went to bed. At around 10 pm, I started to feel the Braxton Hicks again, this time, they were coming back to back. I started to time them and they were 2-6 minutes apart. I contacted my Midwife around 11:30 pm and she said to take a bath and see if I can get some rest. My husband and I got in the bath with some Epson salt together to see if we can both relax and try to sleep. The contractions were still coming, just farther apart. Got out of the tub and tried laying down, but the contractions were pretty steady, from 2 to 8 minutes apart. I called my Birth Team at around 3 am. By 3:30 am, everyone began to trickle in, Doula, Midwife, Birth Assistant, and Midwife Assistant. I was in and out of the tub, walking around, going up and down the stairs, laying down to rest in between contractions. Surprisingly, whenever I would lay down, my contractions would slow down and were farther apart, giving me time to rest. So glad they did. I went to the bathroom several times to relieve myself. I asked to be checked around 5 am. I was so disappointed to hear I was only at 3 cm. At around 8:40 am, my Chiropractor friend came by to adjust me. At 10:30 am, I started walking around the house and my 5-year-old, my sweet Emma, was walking with me keeping me company. At one point, a slow salsa song played from my Birth Playlist, I grabbed my husband and we started to salsa a little bit. A very sweet and beautiful moment between the two of us. So, someone was able to get it on video. I kept walking back and forth when my 13-year-old daughter said, “Eewww Mom, what is that?”, pointing to my vagina. Turns out it was my bloody show! I was so excited that I asked everyone to take a picture of it! This meant that I was dilating! I was getting tired. My midwives encouraged me to eat. My Doula made me the most delicious smoothie I had ever had!
As my labor progressed, I was feeling exhausted. I was given homeopathic meds to help with the exhaustion and help encourage labor patterns. My energy shifted and I got my second wind. My Midwives and Doula did a smudge around our room with Sage and Palo Santo. I was given honey and coconut water. Contractions were getting harder and really intense. It’s 3:15 pm and I was ready to have this baby. My Chiropractor adjusted me again and I was encouraged to get out of the tub and get into the shower to bring the contractions closer together. Though my contractions were really intense, things didn’t seem to be progressing. At around 5 o’clock, my Midwife was concerned that maybe Baby was a little stuck under my pubic bone. She checked my cervix and I was at about 7-8 cm dilated and felt that I had a cervical lip and that Baby’s head was a bit swollen from the pressure of my contractions. Our Birth Assistant and Doula did some belly sifting with the robozo to encourage optimal fetal position. We tried different positions, knee to chest and me laying on my back with my legs up and knees to my chest. My energy levels were draining and each contraction felt stronger and harder to get through. I was encouraged by my Midwife to drink some Coke to help with my glucose and give me a boost of caffeine. They discussed possibly putting in an IV if I didn’t drink the coke, something I really really didn’t want. They also talked about having to transfer me to hospital due to exhaustion if I didn’t drink it, something that no one wanted to do, not even my Midwives. My team was rooting for me. I drank the cup of coke in less than 5 minutes. I think drinking the coke was the worst part of my labor. At 7:20 pm, I was checked again to see if any of the swelling went down and if Baby was in a better position and I felt the pop and gush of water come out! We were all in shock since we had already thought that my water broke earlier in the day. Turns out what we thought was swelling, was actually the bulge of amniotic sac on my cervix.
After my water broke, things got really intense. Contractions were coming much closer together. I felt like I couldn’t catch a break. My belly kept getting tighter and tighter with each contraction. This is the point where I said I couldn’t do this anymore. I can’t do this. I felt like my body was failing me. I was so tired, I didn’t think I would have the energy to push this Baby out. I wasn’t feeling the urge to push. My Doula, Midwives, Birth Assistant, and Husband were all encouraging me to keep going, that I WAS DOING THIS! They believed in me so much. I looked in my Doula’s eyes and was reminded that she had a wonderful home birth. One of my Midwives had a successful VBAC. If they could do it, so could I. At 8 pm, my Doula and Midwife suggested that I get in the shower so that the hot water can help stimulate Oxytocin. The contractions got so strong, I felt like I was going to fall over in the shower. I yelled, “My body is pushing!!!” I felt this really heavy pressure in my butt and in my vagina. I had to get out of the shower and get on the floor on my knees. I leaned over my husband on the floor and my moans turned into deep grunting sounds. Surprisingly I didn’t feel my Baby coming through my canal but felt tons of heavy pressure. I wanted to push but hesitated with fear of tearing. My husband and my 5-year-old daughter were on the floor looking up at my vagina watching Baby crown. I was later told that my girls and my husband touched Baby’s head while crowning. My Midwife said she could see his head. Midwife Asst said to reach down and touch my Baby’s head and I yelled to shut up! I told everyone to shut up so that I can take a few calming deep breaths. I then asked for the mirror (I’m so glad I did) and Midwife slid it right under me. I could see my Baby’s head!!!! I reached down to touch him!! I couldn’t believe it!! I didn’t feel him being so close to being out! I was Birthing my Baby!!! Holy shit!!! With a deep grunt I pushed! At 8:46 pm I Birthed my beautiful and perfect Baby Boy. He was caught by big sister Emma, Dad, and Midwife. My husband handed me our Baby and I couldn’t believe that I did it!! I fucking did it!!!
Well, that was hard and exhausting!
Midwives: Ryann Morales (Del Ray Birth Collective) and Brit Avrill (Birth Center of Northern Michigan)
Birth Assistant: Bridget Ballenger (BB Birth Services)
Birth Photographer: Brenda Amaya (Brenda Amaya - NOVA Doula and Photographer)