All birth stories are important, each for different reasons.
The birth of my second child was redemptive and restorative for me because it showed me my own power.
I was woefully uneducated with my first birth and put a lot of trust into my ob-gyn that was, unfortunately, misplaced faith. Suffice it to say that the birth of my first child, while not traumatic, was a real eye-opener and inspired me to explore my next birth with a midwife and ultimately to become a birth doula myself.
Working with midwives was a completely empowering and lovely experience.
I felt nurtured and supported throughout my entire pregnancy, and I felt very confident that my goal of an unmedicated, intervention-free birth was possible.
I went 40 weeks and 2 days with this pregnancy and felt strong and ready for labor when it started.
I woke to contractions at 6 a.m. that morning.
I was so excited! I knew this was it. I decided to let my husband sleep a little longer (he is not a morning person), and I relished that time totally to myself, talking to my son in my belly.
At 7 a.m., things were progressing rapidly, so we both got up and showered and began our normal routine of feeding our daughter and getting her dressed for daycare. By 8 a.m., we were headed out the door to drop her off, and I was calling my family to let them know how things were progressing.
At daycare when we dropped off my daughter, our child care provider was amazed that I was walking around and smiling between contractions. I just felt so happy and excited and on top of those surges!
By this time, they were getting really close together, and the midwife was expecting us at the hospital. My water hadn’t broken yet, but I could tell that my son had dropped down really low. (Side note: it isn’t like the movies, usually. Water breaking is not typically the start of labor.)
We arrived at the hospital at 9 a.m.
My family was already there in the waiting room. (We do everything together!) I laughed at them for being so excited, and I even curled up in my mom’s lap as best as I could for some snuggles.
The nurse doing the intake forms was very doubtful that I was in “real labor” because I was so happy. I would pause for contractions while answering her questions, but as soon as the contraction passed, I was good again. She took me back to a room with my husband and my mother and did a quick check of my dilation. Surprise! 8 cm already! I was in transition! (Side note to that nurse: Told ya’ so!)
At this point, things got intense.
I was still feeling really strong, but those surges were much stronger and closer together. I decided to get in the tub and listen to my BirthMix on the iPod. That really helped.
My mother, who had been nervous about me having a natural birth, was so loving and supportive and helpful. My husband, who is my rock, was right beside me while I was in the tub, telling me how great I was doing.
My amazing midwife, Nicole, checked my dilation while I was in the tub. I was at 10 cm and definitely feeling the need to push. I made it to the bed and got on my hands and knees, which was the only position that felt remotely comfortable. After about 30 mins, I could feel my son crowning.
Now, no one was laughing or joking anymore.
The change in the atmosphere actually distracted me. Everyone was so serious! So I jokingly asked my midwife if it was too late for an epidural. She responded with an incredulous look on her face, “Are you messing with me? The head is almost out!” I laughed and the mood instantly lightened. My mother said, “I know you are NOT cracking jokes right now!” But it was what I needed.
Within 10 minutes, Nicole told me to reach down and get my baby. I had switched to laying on my side for the final pushes, so I reached down and helped guide my son out. It was amazing. My mother was crying, my husband was smiling, and I was laughing.
At 8 lbs and 10 oz, Roy was fat and pink and healthy. I placed him on my chest, and within minutes, he was nursing like a pro. From start to finish, my labor was 6 hours exactly.
This birth restored my faith in my body and in the birth process.
It will always be vivid and fresh in my mind—every detail imprinted on my soul. Birth is transformative.