Heidi’s birth story
I’ve had the experience of two totally different types of birth, with Madeleine, my first, I was in the hospital with pitocin and an epidural (18 hour labor). Then with Heidi, baby number 2, I was in a birth center with no medical interventions (8 hour labor). Both experiences were great and so so different!
Here is Heidi’s birth story:
On August 10, I went in for my 40 week check up. I went in not expecting to be dilated much (I didn’t want to get my hopes up) and I was 3cm dilated already! I had been having contractions all week so I was glad they had been productive. The midwife offered to do a membrane sweep, which can help things progress down there. I, of course, took her up on the offer since I was eager to meet our little girl. We left the appointment very hopeful and I had inconsistent contractions for the rest of the day. My cousins had just arrived to town the evening before and were staying at our house so that was a great distraction. By 3am I realized I couldn’t sleep through the contractions anymore and started to time them.
We had a full house that night, so I tried to labor quietly and enjoy the time of peacefulness before labor REALLY got going. Around 530am I couldn’t sit around the house any longer and called my mom to come over and walk with me (I wanted Greg to keep sleeping and save his energy). My mom arrived around 630am. I was impatiently awaiting her arrival and met her on the street. She didn’t even make it in the house and I was already walking. We walked for about 5 blocks and decided to call the midwife. I was finally convinced that this was really labor and the contractions seemed close enough together (about 4-6 minutes apart, lasting 45seconds to 1 minute) to call the midwife and get ready to go in.
My mom and I spoke to Nancy, our midwife, and she said to go home, shower, eat something, and then head in to the birth center. So we went home, woke up the house and started getting ready. The shower felt amazing! I had a snack and called to tell my dad and step mom to book their flights because we were having a baby today! By the time we were ready to leave the house it was about 8:30am and we arrived at the birth center at 9am.
Nancy met us in the parking lot, I think I managed to murmur a “hi” to her when I was taken over by a contraction. She held me up and then helped me into the birth center and birthing room, where the lights were dim, candles were lit and the bath tub was being filled.
I tried to labor in a couple different places (bed, toilet, squatting on the floor) but the tub was by far the best! I was so tired because I didn’t sleep well the past 2 nights. When I got to the center my midwife offered to do another membrane sweep. She said I can allow myself to progress naturally or she could do the sweep to help me along since I was so tired already. I opted for the sweep again. It was more painful this time but I knew it would bring me one step closer to my baby. I went from 3cm to 7 in a matter of 2 minutes from the sweep! Yey!
The only way for me to deal with the contractions and keep good breathing was to close my eyes and block out everyone in the room and just focus on my body, and on the contractions and trying to relax into them. (I had my eyes closed the ENTIRE labor once I was in the tub) It really helped me to have a mantra in my head going during the really tough ones. It was hard for me to stay in control of my breathing which is key so I just kept say ” this is a peaceful birth” and ” I trust my body”. Although to anyone else, I know my birth sounded anything but peaceful. Low deep (very loud) moans were the only thing I do to attempt to maintain my breathing. I have literally never heard myself make those sounds before. I didn’t know it was in me. There were times at the end where I was telling myself that I literally could not handle one more contraction, but low and behold another would come and I would get through it.
Pushing was the hardest part although Nancy never told me to push, my body just pushed when it needed too. I had no control over the pushing. It was quite amazing to see how your body knows what to do. All I could do was try to relax my muscles by taking low slow breaths (easier said then done) to help my body and my baby do what they needed to do. It also really helped me to think of my body and my baby as a team working together. It wasn’t just me in labor it was also my baby making her way out. Heidi came in and out about 5 or 6 times before her head actually came out. What a relief that was! Nancy asked if I wanted to feel her head , but I declined because I knew if I felt her I would just want to pull her the rest of the way out because I was so tired and ready. About 1 minute later another push came, and her body came out and then she was in my arms! Amazing!! We did it! Heidi was born at 11:36am, on Thursday, August 11, 2016.
A couple of tid bits to anyone considering a natural birth ( or just any one pregnant for that matter):
I watched a documentary on Netflix called “the business of being born” I would highly recommend watching this!!
For a month or so before birth, I visualized myself in the birth center and having my baby without complications and I think that helped a lot too. After birth my mom asked me, “was this what you expected?” And I said “it’s exactly what I expected, it went exactly how I have been visualizing it for the last month”
Every birth will be different though and if it doesn’t go how you’ve planned, if you need interventions, or opt for an epidural, have a C-section, whatever the situation ends up being give yourself permission to do that and to accept that. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that your baby is healthy. And whatever happens in labor, it will be you and your baby’s story and it will be amazing!
This photo: Nancy (our amazing midwife), myself and Heidi, sweet Maddie, and (the best husband in the world) Greg.
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