I want to tell my firstborn’s birth story because it’s not scary or horrific like stories that many like to rain down on pregnant mommas.
I gave birth to both of my babies naturally, but each story is vastly different. This is the story of my firstborn, V. Let me start first by saying I am so grateful for medical intervention. When things go wrong, how wonderful is this age of modern medicine! But, often things do not go wrong. (Or, maybe when they do it’s because of too much intervention? But that’s a different discussion for another post…).
When I became pregnant with my daughter, I knew I wanted to have little to no medical intervention. I wanted control of how and when I gave birth. Thankfully, I had a healthy pregnancy, so I could seek out a birth center birth with a Certified Nurse-Midwife. I visited other types of birth centers, but at the time, it was important to me to have a CNM who had a level of education, professional standing and training I felt I could trust. I loved seeing the same person at every prenatal visit and knowing that she would also be at the birth.
I prepped for my birth using Hypnobirthing (which I highly recommend!). If you haven’t heard of it, it is birth preparation with a focus on relaxation. Let me tell you, relaxing takes practice! I went to sleep for many nights in preparation listening to a melodic, Australian voice helping me visualize floating over each wave of contractions. I will use the breathing and relaxation exercises for the rest of my life! When it came time for the actual birth, I was not the quiet, peaceful hypno-mom, but I could not have managed otherwise!
I was 41 weeks and 3 days overdue when I woke up on February 3rd with what felt like menstrual cramps. I somehow skipped out on Braxton-Hicks (or “practice surges” if you go by Hypnobirthing terminology) and only knew these were the real thing because they would come on regularly at every ten minutes or so. I looked over to my sleeping bear of a husband and decided he needed the energy, so I left him sleeping while I took a shower. I double-checked everything we would need was packed and then told the husband.
“Really? Are you sure?”
“Yes, I think so.”
Let me pause and say I have an amazing husband. He is kind, thoughtful and loves me so very much. He is the optimum husband-doula! He put up with all the meditations, the visualization exercises, all the forward-leaning inversions… He rubbed my back through every single contraction, made sure I was drinking enough fluids and was affectionately and lovingly there for me.
Anyway, I go downstairs to bake a birthday cake for the baby (I had to stop halfway through and my sister finished it in time for our return), make my electrolyte drink and roll around on my birthing ball whenever a contraction hit. In as little as four hours, they were coming every five minutes! My husband texted the midwife and she advised to come to the birth center and warned us she was overseeing another birth at the same time. A little concerning, but I had hours, right? Right?
That 10-minute drive was no joke! I remember lifting my booty as high as it would go and yelling at my poor husband to drive faster!
We completely forgot about lunch and thankfully a friend who was planning on attending the birth to looking to gain doula experience came to the rescue with Carl’s Jr. The birthing room was so homey: a queen bed with tasteful bedding, beautiful framed portraits of sleeping newborns, and best of all, a jetted tub! I rolled around on the floor with my birthing ball quite loudly reminding myself to “relax!” and “breathe!”, but then my midwife suggested the bath and man, oh, man! So. Much. Better!
The midwife left me with the birth assistant who, bless her heart, tried to encourage me, but I was in such a state that everything she did and said annoyed me. I’m not proud of it, but I may have shushed her a few times… I was warned through my hypnobirthing course in a little thing called “transition”. For me, this meant me yelling “We are celebrating me on her birthday! Me!” and “I’m not doing this again!”
Finally, I had the irresistible urge to push and any thought to “breathe the baby out” went out the window. My midwife helped me get into position and I pushed for 90 mins. I couldn’t have done it without my husband encouraging me.
“I can see her head!” he told me excitedly. “You’re almost there!”
I pushed her out and pulled her up to my belly because her umbilical cord was so short. My husband cut her cord after it stopped pulsating though he had swore he wouldn’t be the one to cut it. In the end, he found he was up for it and wanted the memory. I finally held her to my chest and she latched beautifully.
Giving birth to a whole new person, I felt like I could do anything. I looking down at her face felt such excitement to get to know this little girl.
I was able to hold her uninterrupted for as long as we wanted, and our little girl made her daddy cry for the first time.
The best part about birthing in a birth center is being able to go home only three hours later. So, from the beginning contractions at 8am to leaving for the birth center at 12pm and pushing her out at 3:45pm, her birth was fast and furious.
All in all, I loved her birth. I wish I was the perfect hypnobirthing mom, but really, I can’t complain.
Did you have a water birth? Have you heard of hypnobirthing before? Tell me about it in the comments!
If you enjoyed this post, check out my other posts on What to Put on Your Baby Registry and The One Thing to Increase Your Milk Stash Instantly!