My Birth Story
This is the birth story I wrote less than 24 hours after my daughter was born. I wanted to document every little detail, so it is pretty lengthy. I gave birth to my daughter in a 300 gallon birthing tub at a freestanding birth center surrounded by two amazing midwives. The birth of my daughter and the amazing level of care I received during my pregnancy led me down the path to become a doula.
This is my birth story…I hope you enjoy.
Events that led up to the big day...
September 17th 2009 - I found out I was pregnant just two months after we got married. We were THRILLED!
January 7th 2010 - We found out we were expecting a baby girl!
After a very easy and enjoyable pregnancy, the last few weeks suddenly became very emotional.
May 3rd 2010 - At our 37 week appt…we got upsetting news. Our baby girl was breech. We personally felt like the wind had been knocked out of our sails, so to speak. After planning for an unmedicated birth the entire pregnancy, we quickly weighed all our options and decided we would do some chiropractic adjustments and also an external version to turn her. The chiropractic adjustments were a big help. They got her to turn from breech to transverse in just a few days.
May 7th 2010 - I had an external version done at 37.5 weeks. She was easily turned from transverse to head down in less than a minute. (I had to have an epidural in order to be relaxed enough for them to turn her and I absolutely HATED it…I knew I definitely didn’t want one in labor!)
May 10th 2010 - At our 38 week appt, we were shocked to find out that yet again, our daughter was transverse. We couldn’t believe it! Due to the fact that she wasn’t staying head down and my cervix still wasn’t changing, and we scheduled a 39 week c-section on May 18th 2010, since there was a very slim chance that she would turn back to head down.
May 17th 2010 - Our 39 week appt and the day before our scheduled c-section, we went for our last appointment with the midwives, only to find out, lo and behold, our little girl was head down! I was barely 1cm dilated and she was at a -3 station. After that appointment, we got really excited. We tried EVERYTHING to get her out! But, being her stubborn little self, she didn’t want to come out when we wanted her out. (I guess it goes back to the whole thing our childbirth educator said about babies choosing their perfect birthdays!) I was walking, using the birth ball, taking borage oil and Dr Christopher’s Birth Prep, as well as black cohosh tincture…which is absolutely HORRIBLE tasting! I even tried baking “labor cookies” from an online recipe…and they were disgusting to say the least, and didn’t send me into labor. Go figure!
May 24th 2010 - Our 40 week appt, and day before my due date…we got some more not so great news. I was still only 1cm dilated and my cervix wasn’t making the kind of progress it was supposed to. The midwife told us that she considered my cervix to be “unfavorable” at that point and gave us the option to schedule an induction. I was so bummed out that I was to the point of giving up the idea of a natural birth all together. I spent the rest of that week in the mind set that if I was meant to have a natural birth, it would happen.
May 31st 2010 - At our 41 week appt, we were very surprised to find out that I was 3cm dilated and a -2 station. The midwife told us that she could give us a “labor cocktail” if I was still pregnant in a few days to get labor really going. We were so excited!
3:00am - It was storming like crazy and thunder woke me up. I noticed I had a dull ache in my lower back. I brushed it off as nothing and went back to sleep.
9:00am - I woke up to the sound of my husband's cell phone going off. After he got off the phone, I told him I had a dull backache but it wasn’t getting any worse. I laid there for a little while longer and realized I was wrong…the backache was getting more intense. (I had never experienced Braxton Hicks, so I figured that’s what it was.)
10:00am - We started timing these “aches”…they were about 5 minutes apart, lasting about a minute, and kept going well over an hour. I could still talk through them, but I could tell they were building in strength and I was needing to really breathe through them. These didn’t seem like “textbook contractions” yet so I figured I’d get out of bed, walk around and see if they continued. I knew I needed to eat something sort of light, so I ate some oatmeal and worked through the ever building contractions as best as I could.
12:00pm - I called the midwife at the birth center to let her know what was up, and she told me to call back when they were between 2 or 3 minutes apart. I went and got back in bed…and the contractions got worse. I immediately got out of bed and got in the bathtub. I labored in the bathtub for about an hour. My husband was timing my contractions and kept reminding me to breathe. My contractions were now about 2 1/2 minutes apart and lasting roughly 40 seconds. I knew this was definitely “it”…so I told my husband to start calling the Birth Center.
1:00pm - He started calling and unfortunately, they were at lunch. After every contraction, I would tell him to call back, and he did until he got a hold of our midwife around 1:30pm. She told us to come in whenever we were ready. I told her I was getting needy and I was ready to come in! My contractions were coming so fast that I couldn’t really concentrate. My husband kept having to remind me to get out of the tub and get dressed so we could go. As soon as I’d start to get dressed, a contraction would start, and I’d stop what I was doing. It took me about an hour to finally get dressed and in the car. Luckily it was only a 15 minute drive to the Birth Center, but the car ride was brutal. Every little bump in the road made the contractions worse. I was so happy to get out of that car!
2:45pm - We finally made it to the Birth Center. The midwife wanted to put me on the monitor for 10 to 15 minutes to check baby's heart rate and monitor my contractions. (It’s very difficult to stay in one spot for that long when your contractions are coming that fast!) After being monitored, she decided to check me.
3:00pm - I was only 4cm and still at a -2 station. In my mind, I started going through the “oh crap I don’t think I can do this for another 6cm” stage. A few times I almost got up the courage to tell the midwife to take me to the hospital, but I kept telling myself she’d get pissed for setting up the room for us for nothing and so, I kept my mouth shut. She brought in a birth ball, and I labored on it and a stack of pillows on the bed. My husband kept reminding me to breathe and used counter pressure on my back with each contraction while I moaned with a constant ohhhhhh sound.
4:00pm - The midwife suggested I get in the shower and labor in there. I was having horrible back labor and nothing seemed to help. My husband held the shower sprayer on my lower back and kept reminding me to breathe. He told me that I was beautiful and that he loved me, but I just shook my head no each time. I tried to keep a repetitive moan through each contraction to concentrate on, but that only helped for a little while. I kept telling the midwife I wanted to get in the tub really badly and she kept reminding me that if I got in too soon, it could stall my labor. So, I sucked it up and stayed in the shower as long as I could.
4:45pm - After being in the shower for a good 45 minutes or so, I begged the midwife to check me. She looked me in the eyes and said, “yep that’s definitely good progress…you're 7cm...let me get the tub filled!” I was so happy to hear her say that, but then I got worried because I knew I was entering transition. She told me it would take about 20-30minutes to fill the tub up. Much to my surprise, the other midwife came in the room and told us that she would be there for our birth as well. I was so happy to have both of them there!
5:00pm - The midwife told me the tub was about halfway filled and I could go ahead and get in if I wanted to. I was in that tub super fast. I got in and laid down with my head on the step and my body floating as the water rose. My husband was sitting on the edge of the tub waiting for it to fill. I went through a few contractions and told the midwife I had the urge to push. She told me not to push, but to let my body do it for me. I told her again, “I need to push…I feel burning…my body is pushing” She checked me and said, “oh wow, that baby is right there and I don’t even know when your water broke!” My husband got in the tub behind me and I hooked my arms through his legs.
5:15pm - The midwife told me to push when I felt the urge. Both midwives kept saying that I deserved this labor for all the craziness I had gone through the last few weeks. I remember them both smiling huge smiles at me between pushes and telling me how I was an excellent pusher. I pushed for about 10 minutes, and her head was out.
5:29pm - I gave birth to our beautiful daughter! She was 6lbs 13oz and 20.25 inches long.
Never in my life have I felt a more empowering feeling then I did when her body was brought out of the water and up on my chest. I feel so blessed that both midwives were there for her birth, because we had grown incredibly close to both of them. Hearing my daughter cry for the first time made the whole rollercoaster of the last few weeks go out the window.