My Birthing Story
Before I begin I want to make it so very clear that birth in any fashion is no easy task. I respect every woman’s decision when it comes to birthing a baby and bringing life into this world! So wether or not you went “natural”, had an epidural, was supported with pitocin, or had a c-section ... I love you and I respect you mama!
With that being said, I made the choice to have a “natural” birth at a birthing center instead of going to a hospital. It was something I decided on years ago after talking to a dear friend about her birthing experience.
[I put natural in quotations because essentially all births are natural — doesn’t matter the means. What I mean by my natural birth is that I made the choice to have no medicinal intervention. I did not have an epidural or use pitocin.]
The thought of being in an intimate setting without having to go to the hospital meant everything for me. I wanted an environment where I felt supported and felt like I was in control of my labor and birthing experience.
Going into labor, I didn’t have many expectations. I knew that things could go wrong and not exactly as I had planned. I knew that there was a possibility that I could be transferred to a hospital. But I also knew that this was where I was supposed to give birth. I visualized myself every day while I was pregnant bringing baby earth side at the birthing center. I saw myself holding her immediately after she took her first breath into this world. I literally saw it and felt how I would feel everyday.
So here’s how it went...
On Monday [11.19] I woke up without any inclination that I would start labor that day.
I had plans to go to lunch with a friend and from there we were going to my 40 week appointment. My due date was 11.22 [thanksgiving day] — this was technically the last of three due dates I had been given. But I loved the alignment of 11.22, so I asked for it to be kept on that day.
I had pretty good energy for most of the day and at my appointment they basically prepared me for what I should expect if I went past 41 weeks. I didn’t want to know how dilated I was because I knew it could give me a sense of false hope.
I basically went home that day mentally prepared to be pregnant for another week or so... boy was I wrong!
I started having pretty strong labor pains that night around 9pm. Honestly, they just felt like pretty strong period pains that would fade in and out. I had some Braxton Hicks contractions prior, but for some reason I just knew that these were different.
I told Justin to get some rest and called my doula to let her know that I thought I was going into early labor. I tried my best to sleep that night, but my contractions were about 10-15 minutes apart which kept me up.
As the night went on the wave got stronger and stronger. Justin ended up waking up around 2am to put the last minute items in our bags, make me something to eat and just try to comfort me best he could.
If you’ve never been in labor, then you should know this early labor phase is not so bad. You are able to talk, you have energy and you are pretty excited because you know that soon you will meet your baby. You also don’t really realize how much more intense labor gets ... so the bliss is real and so is being super naive.
Around 6am Tuesday morning [11.20], I took an epsom salt bath to try to slow down my contractions and ease the pain. It helped a little but I was still having contractions about every 10 minutes that were lasting anywhere from 45-60 seconds. But I was finally able to lay down with Justin and get a few moments of rest.
When my contractions started getting 6-8 minutes apart, I let my doula know and she decided to come over. She honestly thought that she would just be there to help support me and work on some positioning techniques, but when she got there around 10:30am she quickly realized that this was going to progress a lot faster than expected.
My midwife told me to keep laboring at home until my contractions were less than 4 mins apart, lasted for a minute for at least an hour.
I’m not exactly sure how long it took me to get to that point, maybe close to two hours. But i ended up calling my midwife around 12:30. She told me to plan to be at the birthing center in an hour.
I remember wanting to cry because I wanted to get there sooner, but my doula reassured me that the baby wasn’t ready just yet and we still had time.
While I was laboring at home, I remember picturing what I wanted my birth to look like. I saw myself giving birth in water with Justin catching her and crying tears of joy that I just brought my precious babe earth side. The funny thing is that that was the opposite of what happened.
Before we left to go to the birthing center, I made sure to draw a card from my Ascended Masters oracle card deck. I knew in the back of my mind that I was being supported. I new that God was present, that my angels were present, that every spiritual being I needed to go through this experience was there for me … but something in me told me to pull.
I pulled the card “Stay Focused” — it was a reminder that I manifested this experience. I manifested having a baby. I manifested wanting to give birth at birthing center. That I didn’t want to have any medical intervention — no Pitocin or an epidural or a c-section. It was a reminder that I spent 9 months leading up to this moment and that if I stayed focus, and not let the temporary pain and discomfort get to me I would in fact have the birth of my dreams.
Our drive to the birthing center was short and I only experienced 2 or 3 contractions. Justin was also forcing me to eat a protein bar, since we truly did not know how long I was going to be laboring and I need fuel to keep my energy up. Honestly, I didn’t want to eat anything. For the first time during my whole pregnancy, I wasn’t hungry.
When my midwife, Michelle, arrived she checked my vitals and the baby’s heartbeat. She asked me if I wanted to find out how dilated I was. This [I believe] Is totally different than a hospital experience. Towards the end of my pregnancy I was constantly being asked how dilated I was, but I never knew. I never really wanted to know because I knew it would give me false hope and it’s something that the midwives believed to be true.
But, for whatever reason I wanted to know then. I was so anxious to bring Elliott into this world. I just wanted an idea of how much longer. I didn’t want to wait anymore. I just wanted to meet her.
Well … I found out that I was about 4-5 cm dilated! Which meant progress was being made!
For the next 3-4 hours, I labored just about anywhere and everywhere … on a birthing ball, on the toilet [which I hated — literally at one point I’m pretty sure I said “I f*cking hate the toilet”], in the shower, on the couch, up against a wall, on all fours, leaning up against Justin … you name it!
I’m not 100% sure what time it was, but Michelle asked me if I wanted to have another check to see how dilated I was. My contractions were pretty close together and I was getting into a pretty deep state of labor. I was no longer talking, just breathing. It’s almost as though I was conscious, but not. And truth be told this is where my memory starts to fade in and out .. I think it’s what they call labor land.
This time I was 8-9 cm dilated, which everyone thought meant it was go time.
I had never been more excited to get into a tub in my life. I remember kissing Justin and telling him that we were about to have a baby. I thought in my heart of hearts that this was it. That I would labor a little more and push and then there she would be, delivered in a tub, caught by Justin and me crying tears of joy.
The universe obviously had other plans.
I stalled out.
I’m not sure what happened, but after laboring in the water for a few hours nothing happened.
I started having pretty intense back labor. I was starting to feel defeated. I was exhausted, I was weak and I was starting to wonder if, in fact, I had made a huge mistake.
I’m not going to lie these last few hours were even more of a blur.
They transferred me to the bed and checked to see what was happening. My water still hadn’t broken and my cervix wasn’t affected enough.
This is where things got really tough. This is the point in labor where I struggled both mentally and physically.
I’m not going to sugar coat this for you, but these next few hours were some of the most intense in my life. I don’t remember it all. I was told things I did and said — like trying to bite Justin a few times. Looking back, it is almost as if I had an out of body experience.
So I’m going to share what I remember, somethings might be out of order but I will do my best to keep into as in synch as I can.
I labored on the bed for awhile, enduring the most painful back labor. Not to get too graphic but it literally felt like she was trying to come out of my butt. I have never in my life experience such pain. I had my doula, Justin and a birth assistant on rotation rubbing my lower back.
I started getting the chills and then I would be extremely hot. If one person was rubbing my back, another was giving me sips of coconut water and another was making sure I had a cold rag on my neck.
After awhile, my midwife decided to check me again and ended up breaking my water.
And then… just when I thought it couldn’t get anymore intense … it did!
I asked to labor in the water again, because for whatever reason it’s where I felt the most comfort and release.
While I was in the tub I had about an hour to an hour and a half of back to back contractions. Like I’m talking no break! This is when I started fighting my body. I stopped breathing like I was supposed and started fighting each contraction. Instead of leaning into the pain, I resisted it.
This was when I really started to loose faith in myself and this process. I forgot that I was made for this. I forgot that I had done everything to prepare myself for this. I forgot that I am warrior and all of this was temporary with such a bigger purpose. I forgot it all. This is when I started saying I couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t want to do it anymore. It was too much. It was becoming too unbearable.
I couldn’t lean into my own strength, so instead I had to lean into everyone else. This when Clancy, my doula, reminded me of how powerful I was and that even though I thought I couldn’t do it anymore I was in fact doing the damn thing. This is when Justin’s calm presence let me know that I was still safe. This is when my midwife reminded me to go inward. To relax. To release.
And that’s when divine intervention hit. I don’t know if I said this out loud or in my head, but I remember talking to God. I remember asking for strength. I remember talking to Elliott and telling her that I was ready to meet her. That it was time for her to come into this world. That she would be safe and loved and protected.
At this moment, I laid back in the water and let go. I closed my eyes and allowed myself to trust the process again. To trust myself again.
When the contractions started flowing in, I rode the waves. I didn’t fight them. I leaned into them.
And then I had my final transition, they moved me from the water to the bed. My midwife checked me one last time and ended up pushing my cervix over the baby’s head.
She then said the most beautiful words I have ever heard “it’s time to push”
For the next two hours that is exactly what I did.
As each wave of contractions rolled in, I pushed.
I tried two different positions and then finally was moved to the birthing stool.
With each contraction I was able to let out 4 good pushes.
At one point, I felt down and could feel her head poking out. I honestly couldn’t believe it, after almost 2 days of being in labor she was almost here!
I had Justin and my doula switch positions so that Justin could see the baby come out. I asked for a honey stick and some coconut water and somehow knew that I was about to have my last few contractions.
PAUSE — Tears are literally streaming down my face as I type this out. Looking back on this journey and experience I’m in awe. I’m in awe at myself and what I am capable of. I’m in awe that I was able to endure so much. That even though my birthing story wasn’t exactly as I had pictured, it was pretty damn close.
I’m not going to lie, when she came out I was in a state of shock. [I mean just look at my face!] I remember holding her and not even knowing what to think or feel. Maybe it was from being so exhausted and enduring so much, but I didn’t cry. I just honestly couldn’t even believe she was here.
After they moved me to the bed, Justin and I just laid there looking at her. She was the most beautiful, perfect soul brought to life. I looked into her eyes and felt like my soul had known her for lifetimes.
The next couple hours were all about me recovering. I had lost 500ml of blood which was right there at the border of being transferred to a hospital. I had the shakes pretty bad, was running a fever, and my blood pressure was extremely high.
I ended up being pumped with two bags of IV fluids and resting, while Justin slept with Elliott. I thankfully was able to avoid a transfer and continue my post-delivery care at the birthing center until it was time to go home.
We were able to go home 9am that morning. One of the most beautiful things about giving birth at a birthing center is not having to stay there for too long.
Once home, it was just me, Justin and Elliott. We slowly introduced our dog, Kobe, to her just did what any parent does with a new born … figured things out as we went.
Looking back a month later, I don’t know if I would have done anything differently. Every hard moment and point of almost giving up, proved how strong I am. I can’t wait to share this story with Elliott and show here that she, too, is a woman warrior badass!
The body of a woman, literally creates life, births life, and then provides nourishment for life. We are marvelous being and that should be celebrated!