So…I had a baby! Here is the story of her birth from this past March.
Throughout my pregnancy I was convinced our child would arrive early. I have a family history of early term births (37-39 weeks) and was sure Eliza would follow suite. Starting at week 37 people would tell me “any day now!!” Which is sweet the first week…but by the fourth week I didn’t want to hear it. I wasn’t in a rush for her to vacate, luckily I had a wonderful pregnancy and used the extra time to finish house projects, sleep, and paint my toenails.
After 40 weeks came and went with no end in sight I began to get worried about having an induction. I was scheduled for my NST and ultrasounds at 41 weeks and what felt like a countdown of eating ridiculous amounts of pineapples (I think I ate 12 in a 10 day period), walking extra, doing everything possible to avoid the induction. On Sunday night my husband and I had a final deep cleaning session and I had intense back pain. Since it was midnight, I decided it was definitely my bedtime.
Less than two hours later I awoke with the first pressure wave. I tried to go back to sleep, because that’s what all the books tell you to do, but between the excitement and the sensation I just couldn’t. I put on my hypnobabies tracks and began the early labor track to help me sleep. Around 3am I stopped pretending I can sleep and walk around our house in the early morning. I text my doula, Danielle, around 6am to let her know I think today is the day. She asks me to call her around 9am and she suggests I go for a walk outside. I let Nick sleep a bit longer, and finally wake him just before 7am. At this point, I needed to focus on each wave, but immediately after I can talk/walk completely normally.
I notice we have three bananas that are on their way out—so I decide to make banana bread thinking I can give it to the nurses. I still have to pause at every wave, so it take a ridiculously long time to make it. We head outside for a walk and I think we should go to costco when it opens and walk there–at least we will have groceries and be productive. By 9:30am I have no desire to go to costco anymore. Someone else can go some other time.
I speak with Danielle at 9am, and she encourages me to hold off on getting into the tub. By our 11am check in I beg her to let me get in. She agrees, but says if it slows down at all that I need to get out. I hook up the Hypnobabies early labor track and get in the tub—it was incredible. I keep reminding Nick to eat lunch, and when Danielle arrives they take turns sitting in the bathroom with me. The intensity grows, each wave is more intense, and they begin to come closer together. Danielle mentions something about “the pressure allows the release” and I focus on this for the next 14 hours.
I labor in and out of the tub until about 6pm when I decide it is time to go to the hospital. I realize I forgot to tell my doctor’s office that I am in labor. We slowly get into the car and call the office – which isn’t open at 6pm. We endure a slow round of number dialing, and an irritated midwife who wants to know why we didn’t come in earlier to the office to see how far I was (I didn’t know this was a possibility and honestly, I wouldn’t have wanted to anyway). Nick is furious as she begrudgingly checks me—I’m almost a 7! Nick is elated to learn there is a shift change and we will have a different midwife.
I answer the nurses’ questions, I am monitored, we walk some more, I get in the shower, we walk, I get in the shower, I lean on the bed. The waves have continued on a slow, but steady rise since the first one. They are becoming more intense. I don’t want my second gown on and soon I am begging for people to take the first and last gown off of me. I have stopped thinking about anything other than Eliza. I have not stopped listening to my hypnobabies early labor track since I left for the hospital. They check me again, I’m good to go except for my bag of waters.
I ask if they will break it, Nora the midwife warns me that it will increase the intensity, but that it could speed things up. I tell them to do it, because I don’t think I can handle another 18 hours of this. She assures me I won’t have to, and she breaks the bag of water that has kept Eliza safe and warm for so long.
Nora is right. Things progress quickly and the waves change flavor again.I switch to the hypnobabies pushing track. During my childbirth class they showed a video of an unmedicated birth and talk about the break between transition and pushing. I remind myself that a break is coming soon, and that they dial the epidural back during pushing anyway.
Spoiler alert – there is no break. The waves change flavor again, and I am trying to stay with my body as I recognize that we are all instinct and no thought now. She is coming. I hear Nick and Danielle discuss if her birthday will be the 10th or the 11th. I realize it must be close to midnight. Danielle gets Nora as she says I sound ready to push. This unrelenting feeling continues and for so long it is just my husband, my doula, my baby and my hypnobabies track. At some point I open my eyes and am surprised to see my midwife is back with multiple nurses. I begin to squat to push. I am so grateful for crossfit, powerlifting, and my perfect squats.
I squat for over an hour. No baby. I move to the C position on the bed and I can tell that this is much more productive. I still don’t fully understand the movement until my nurse places her incredibly cool hand on the back of my neck to help me tuck my chin—and I understand. The waves are coming so quickly it’s hard to catch my breath in between. I have been pushing for two hours, I am so tired. Eliza’s heart rate drops. I do three sets of pushes and she is out! She has arrived, but she is blue and her cord is so short she won’t go past my belly button. I don’t have my glasses on, I can’t even see her.
My husband rushes to give me my glasses, to cut her cord, to follow her over to the bed with the NICU nurses. My mind and heart have been blown apart. It’s the most incredible thing I have ever done and I can’t even see her from across the room. They call a surgeon in to start the repair, I begin to hemorrhage, they give me pitocin. After an hour and a half she is in my arms and she is pink, warm, and perfect.