Over Christmas and Boxing day I was miserable. All I wanted to do was hibernate, and it’s pretty much all I did. I was in so much pain from my pelvic disorder, my prosthetic no longer fit and I was so done.
On the 27th I even made a post of how done with being pregnant I was. Later that day though something shifted, I had a boost of energy, took a shower, did my hair and wanted to go out, even though I had been having cramps and back pain on and off all day. As I was debating wether taking a 5 and 3 yr old to a restaurant was a good idea it hit me that labour may be near. I decided to stay home. After dinner I got in a bath so I could do my best to rest and relax. While in the bath my waves were anywhere from 6-10 minutes apart, but were sporadic in length and intensity. I had already planned a phone call to help mentor someone on breastfeeding and my waves weren’t consistent enough to cancel. I started the call telling her that if I paused I wasn’t ignoring her but in early labour. After an hour I ended the call as I was pausing more and more and had to focus getting through them. I said goodnight to my kids and I went to bed myself hoping to sleep a few hours in case this really was it was it ( I still wasn’t totally convinced). I couldn’t find a good position though, my doula suggested more pillows and more pillows didn’t work. I went downstairs after a couple hours to bounce on the birth ball but all I was was annoyed, I moved back to bed. I couldn’t get comfortable no mater what I did and the I was becoming more and more irritable, all I wanted was some sleep. Finally around midnight I gave up, I knew I was in labour but I wasn’t ready to call my birth team. I decided to distract myself my blowing up the birth pool for my planned home birth. My big pregnant belly and I crawled around the dining room, putting down plastic tarps, blew up the pool and was happy for the distraction.
At 2am, after one last attempt at sleep I knew it wasn’t coming and I was ready to call my team. I called my doula, midwife and photographer. Within an hour they were all there. Just before they got there I did my own cervical exam I knew I was around 4cm but I asked to be checked by my midwife when she got there jut to be sure and yup I was at 4cm. I loved being at home and being able to move as I wanted to. I went from the couch, to the cold floor, to sleeping on the stairs in between waves. I was freezing cold and spent a lot of time being wrapped in a blanket a friend had made for me 18 years before. My doula was a god send, making sure I was sipping on water, getting the tens machine hooked up and making sure the bowl was ready when I threw up. Even with that though, all I wanted was to be in my birth pool I think I asked between each wave, it felt like is was taking forever to fill. I spent this time visualizing waves crashing over me and moving out into the ocean, over and over. The wave would start and I wold picture it coming towards me getting taller and bigger, at its peak it was crash over me before moving back out. I kept telling myself I could do this, and then I switched to telling myself I AM doing this.
Finally I was able to get into the birth pool. Crutches were impossible so we pull one of my kitchen barstools up next to the pool for me to sit and swivel into. I felt so relaxed. My waves spread out and became more manageable. Because things had slowed down a bit my midwife mentioned getting out to pick things up. Instinctively though, I knew that I was where I needed to be (I say that nicely but what I was thinking was, there is no fucking way I’m getting out of this pool.) We did try to have me move positions but I just wanted to be sitting. AT this point I’m told every thought my birth might take longer than expected. To the point that my photographer was about to text her husband to make child care arrangements for her children.
Just before 5:30am a wave came over me and all of a sudden felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. I looked at my doula and asked why I was doing this, she knew this was my last baby and said just that “you never have to do this again”. It was what I needed to hear, I just had to do this and then I was done. It wasn’t long after that I let out a moan. That very specific animal noise that let everyone know I was probably in transition. Waves started taking over and coming back to back. It was at this time I went from sitting to wanting to be on my knees leaning against the pool. It was so intense and I felt so overwhelmed that I started saying no. “no, no, no, no” My doula looked at me and said “yes” again she said what I needed to hear. “Yes, yes, yes” I repeated back.Almost immediately it felt like K took an elevator down into my birth canal. Drop. Intensity increased which I didn’t even know was possible. All I could do was swear, scream and go with my body as it took over pushing my baby out. I remember thinking that women were crazy to like pushing because this felt horrible. Once K started crowning my midwife asked if she could rupture my membranes but I didn’t hear her. My doula had to get in my face to make sure I knew what my midwife was asking. My response was that “I don’t care, I just want her the fuck out!”. I felt the ring of fire and then got a small break. My body took control and started pushing the rest of K out, which resulted in a second ring of fire and I remember thinking this was bullshit. It didn’t last long though, my midwife caught her and within seconds she was in my arms and I completely forgot it all.
She was so beautiful and so covered with vernix that I had to wipe some off so she could open her eyes. Emotions took over. I have never felt so powerful. We relaxed in the pool getting to know each other. I birthed her placenta. Her brother and sister came to meet her. The second midwife showed up (everything happened so fast she missed the birth) She was born 17 minutes after that moan and 3 minutes after the fetal ejection reflex took over.
To this day her birth is something I’m incredibly proud of. I knew what I wanted and I put in the work to make it happen. Her birth left me stronger.
Photo Credit : Michelle Cervo Photography