Today at my 1 week post natal appointment my midwife asked me how I felt about my birth and if I had accepted it which really got me thinking about what all happened (from what I remember) and how I felt about it all.
I remember being asked while pregnant by a hypnotherapist what my perfect birth looked like. I could easily say a pain free easy labor where I effortlessly popped out a baby and lived happily ever after, but I didn’t want that. I wanted to feel the raw-ness of labor and delivery. I wanted to feel the pain, I wanted to feel the exhaustion and I wanted to feel the amazing “wonder woman” feeling, as my therapist called it. I imagined myself laboring at home for as long as I felt comfortable. I could even picture myself rocking back and forth on my birthing ball in my living room breathing through a contraction in the comfort of my own apartment with Shawn holding my hands or rubbing my back. I imagined myself being hit with the exciting feeling of “Okay, I’m ready.” and making the 20 minute drive to the birth center where I endured the hardest part of my labor, with the help of my lovely doula and midwives and gave birth to my beautiful baby boy in the water.
With that being said, I had an understanding that I had no idea what to expect. I had never given birth before and honestly, I knew then, and even more so now that there is no way to fully prepare yourself. I knew I had no idea what I would feel, physically or emotionally. I knew not to get dead set on a specific birth and to be open to all possibilities and I truthfully believed that I was, but I was set on a natural birth.
Though I felt I had prepared myself well, I wasn’t prepared for going into labor at 37 weeks.
This was my last weekly pregnancy picture at 37 weeks on Sunday the 8th of September. I was carrying so small I naively thought that little Bane would cook past my due date and that the contractions I began feeling this day weren’t anything to think twice about. Even though they were consistently 4-7 minutes apart all day long, I just felt nothing was happening (a common theme of my whole labor and delivery). Fast forward three days and I was in consistent labor with contractions 3-5 minutes apart, although I was still in denial anything was happening, I decided early in the morning it was time to go to the birthing center. Despite my want to labor at home for as long as possible, I don’t know why I felt the need to go so suddenly. Maybe the idea of the unknown, or even just the want for my labor to progress further, I guess I felt the birthing center would make it seem more real to me.
But of course, I was late.
I guess everyone was assuming that my labor was going to be faster moving than it truly was, other than me, I felt the opposite. After already dealing with this for three days I guess I was having a hard time, although I was ready for it to be over, that it was actually going to end.
Despite how some of these pictures look, this part of my labor was actually quite peaceful. Between contractions I was able to talk and laugh and walk around the lovely grounds of the birth center to help my labor progress.
After hours and hours, though I have no idea how many, but the day had passed and it was night again, My labor had begun to stall. Though in my birth plan I had said I did not want vaginal exams, I was desperate to know that my cervix was progressing. I didn’t want to hear numbers, I just wanted to know something was happening, but at this point I truly was stuck. I was unaware I was 9cm, and almost fully effaced, I’m not sure if I would have wanted to know, either. i was exhausted. I hadn’t had real sleep in days, and I’m sure my body was exhausted, though I still felt nothing was happening, I now know my body was doing an incredible amount of work. With the suggestion of my midwives, whom I trusted very much, I was put on an IV, just to get some fluid in me and hopefully give me some energy and help my body get that last little push it needed. I was warned that my contractions would become more intense, but I wasn’t fully aware how much. Until this point, my labor, though long and tiring, had been very bearable through breathing exercises and counter pressure from Shawn or my lovely doula, Ashley. But with the IV came some very very strong contractions and their support was even more so important, and appreciated.
Wanting to take full advantage of the small amount of energy the IV did give me, my midwives encouraged some exercises to help open my cervix and move baby down. I am glad there are no pictures of this part of my labor. It was by far my least favorite part of laboring. I was instructed to walk up stairs, and squat with each step… You’re talking about a girl, who non pregnant could have cried over doing squats. Let alone 25lbs heavier, let alone on stairs, let alone in labor. I was sobbing uncontrollably as I did, but I conquered those stairs, multiple times.
This helped my labor continue, but my burst of energy did not last long. This picture was taken within minutes of my water finally breaking. It helped me realize that something was truly happening, but I just wished I had had the energy to take advantage of the fact that I should have been so so close to being done.
I have no idea how long I was here on the floor, but I know it was a long time. A long time of crying and yelling, and as my mom said, auditioning for the exorcist. All I remember is saying over and over I was ready to be done, I was tired and nothing was happening. Just one break. All I wanted was a moment to regroup. I swear at the moment, if I had a 10 minute breather, I could have had him out in minutes.
What happened next, I had no idea and I now appreciate how truly well my midwives handled it. Bane’s heart rate dropped, and somehow after being on the floor unwilling to even think about moving, they were able to convince me to get on a birthing chair, a position that would be far more productive.
And next thing I knew, for the first time in my whole labor I actually felt like something I was really happening, and it was Bane coming!
At 2:40 in the morning, after over 90 hour of labor I watched Baby Bane be born and caught my his father, who immediately handed him to me.
After which I was injected with something to stop me from hemorrhaging, I’m sure at some point they told me what it was, but I don’t remember,all I knew is I had my boy in my arms.
So here I am, looking down at my very alert and content 12 day old boy laying in my lap and I think about the question my midwife asked me, how I felt about my birth. My birth was perfect. It wasn’t what I expected. 4 days of labor isn’t exactly what I had in mind. Interventions weren’t part of my plan, but I still managed, drug free, to get my perfect baby boy earth side, despite feeling as if I was unable to do it them whole time. I did it. I did it.