Little Lady’s Natural Birth Story

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Little Lady’s Birth Center birth story

I had the day off work on Friday. First, we had our regularly scheduled prenatal exam and then my plan for the day was to go get pedicure and massage. At the appointment, I was 4cm dilated and about 50% effaced, which is normal for my body considering the amount of prelabor I have had for weeks in both my pregnancies. Unfortunately, when I got to my spa appointment, the massage therapist cancelled last-minute (while I was at the spa), so I had only a pedicure and a brief neck massage. I had not slept well the night before – typical pregnancy insomnia had me up at 4:30 AM and could not go back to sleep after that.

While I was getting the neck massage at the end of the appointment around 3PM, I had a contraction that felt very real. I ignored it, but headed home instead of doing errands, so I could take a nap. I kept having fairly persistent contractions from that point on, although not always very strong and not evenly spaced. When I got home, I got into the bath in order to slow the contractions down or make them go away, so that I could sleep. I laid down for a little over an hour after the bath, but kept having contractions that woke me up on a regular basis and nausea.

When Christian got home at 6 I did not feel great due the nausea and the lack of sleep and the contractions and cramping that would not go away. We had leftovers for dinner and put Asher to bed. I was starting to have to breathe through the contractions and they were about 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute. Christian was working on our labor playlist on the computer, even though we still didn’t think I was actually in labor.

If it was labor, I did not want to go into it feeling so tired and nauseated, so I poured another bath and Christian got me a glass of wine. I wasn’t able to finish the wine due to the nausea and I finally decided we might need to call the Beverly, the midwife on call, who had also been the midwife who had seen me at my appointment earlier that day. I told her that I was in the bath trying to make the contractions stop and she said I was welcome to try that for another 15 minutes or so and then call her back because what I was describing sounded like labor to her and she knew how dilated and effaced I had been earlier in the day. I got out of the tub after about 15 minutes and started shaking uncontrollably. Being in the tub had only slowed the contractions a little, a few had breaks of 7 minutes instead of 5. I had Christian call Beverly back and she said we should go ahead and come in. I had been texting our nanny and told her to go ahead and come over – the plan was for her to spend the night at our house, Asher was already asleep.

We got our stuff packed up and the nanny arrived. While I was talking to her I had another break in the pattern of the contractions (I wasn’t timing them at that point either), but they came back fully and regularly in the car. We left the house around 10:40 and got to the birth center around 11PM. I was still bummed about having gotten no sleep and not convinced this was “real” labor.

When Beverly checked me, I was still only 4cm, which was disappointing after having annoying contractions all day. I was around 100% effaced, though, and Beverly said the only reason I wasn’t more dilated was probably because my bag of waters was still intact and the baby’s head wasn’t low enough to press on the cervix and cause further dilation yet. She said if we wanted she could break the bag of waters and let the head go down, or we could just do a lot of power walking and  work on positions that angled the baby down onto the cervix. We decided on the walking so we walked around the park for quite a while. At one point there was a gush of fluid (I was, of course, wearing my Depends, which are MY BEST FRIEND), but when tested, it was not amniotic fluid. I think the movement of the baby and the contractions made me pee myself a little which is embarrassing. Especially since it happened more than once!

Squatting into a contraction inside the birth center

After we walked for a while the contractions got harder but I was still only dilated to a 5. We went back outside with instructions to stop every 3 contractions and have me squat leaning backwards onto Christian while the contraction was happening. This is definitely the most flattering position EVER, and I was doing it at 2AM in a public park gazebo wearing a birthing gown.

It occurred to me while we were walking that I needed to mentally accept that I would be having the baby that night. I am a big believer in Ina May‘s theory that what goes on inside your head has a huge impact on the progress of your labor, and it was my belief that my refusal to accept the idea that I was really in labor might be hindering my further dilation.

The next time when we went back inside from the park to be checked, I was 7cm, which was better. I was also feeling very tired, I had been awake almost 24 hours at that point and the contractions were painful and close. We got the go-ahead for me to keep laboring in the tub. I love the tub. I went through transition in the tub during Little Sir’s birth and this birth was the same. I tried very hard not to tense up during transition because I was so focused on trying to make sure my cervix opened more.

Cherie showed up and checked me around 2:45 AM, I think, and I was 8 cm. I think the check caused my water to break because something popped and I started losing my mucus plug. My vocalizations changed from humming to more like long grunting and I started feeling pressure to push.

I had the antibiotics hooked up to my port at that time because it was 3AM and had been 4 hours since the last time (I was Group B Strep positive again), but I needed to get out of the tub so I could get into a pushing position. Moving around while needing to push and hooked up to an IV is just the most fun thing EVER. I left the tub at 3:15 AM.

I only pushed on the bed post through maybe one contraction and the head started crowning. I felt the need to keep pushing even when I didn’t have a contraction. We moved up to the bed to deliver and, oh, I HATE moving mid-push, I remember I hated it last time too. It is really difficult to move through that kind of pain and I thought I couldn’t do it! While things were being adjusted on the bed, I was on my hands and knees between contractions and that was a huge momentary relief.

When the next contraction came, I was in position on the bed and ready to go. I was fully dilated so there would not be any trouble delivering the head without a need for anyone cutting anything. I was really focusing on using my diaphragm to push. I had recently spoken to our Bradley instructor about pushing, since I felt I didn’t do it correctly with Little Sir and it wasn’t terribly effective. This time it was more effective – again, I felt like pushing even without a contraction so I did that too. Overall, the pushing time was probably around 10 minutes total and then our little girl was born at 3:25 AM! When she came out, she had her hand over her nose, so her elbow was folded and it did cause a little tear when it came out, but it wasn’t bad – I didn’t need stitches.

Starting to come out…

She was covered in vernix and HAIR! To us, she looked almost exactly like Little Sir did in his first few minutes of life. Christian “caught” her just like he caught Little Sir, and put her on my chest where she stayed for over an hour. She nursed perfectly for about 45 minutes shortly after the cord was cut.

Then, after the birth, Christian got in the tub with her for a LeBoyer bath while I ate some food and rested.

We are so excited to welcome the newest member of our family!

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