7 lbs 10 oz
I knew I would need him with me soon. The water felt amazing. I instantly felt more relaxed and able to handle the contractions. I labored like that for awhile.
As many of you know we had some preterm labor action around 32 weeks. It was intense and I was so scared I would have to go to the hospital, it made it incredibly difficult to cope. We made it through the night and were able to stop the contractions. After that experience, I was constantly on guard, in fear that I would have baby before she was ready. Thankfully, 37 weeks came and went and I was officially ready to have a baby. The end of my pregnancy was difficult. I had constant pelvic and back pain, frequent braxton hicks and was always exhausted.
We went to bed early. I was physically (and mentally) exhausted. I climbed into bed and started praying/pleading/crying/bargaining. I knew that baby would come sooner than later but I also knew that I was ready then. I had a rough night with very little sleep. It turns out, I was having some back labor.
I woke up the next morning giving myself counter pressure and was having pretty regular contractions every 10ish minutes. I refused to believe I was in labor... if I admitted it, it would stop. I had an acupuncture appointment that morning and was hoping that may speed things along if it was the real deal. My acupuncturist was amazing. She worked on turning her into the ideal position (LOA... she had been LOP for awhile). I started visualizing a bit through the contractions. It's odd how different your mind works in labor! I had always thought the helpful visualizations had waves from the ocean... instead I pictured a large snake wrapping around my belly and squeezing tighter and tighter, If I stayed calm and breathed deeply the snake would slither away. After acupuncture, I went to my midwife appointment. I was happy that something was happening. Even if it wasn't the real thing, something was finally happening! When I got home we decided to go to Costco, we needed a few things and it would be a good distraction. My back was killing me as we walked around. Later that evening, I was trying to take a nap on the couch and was starting to get frustrated. My contractions were still about ten minutes apart. They weren't getting any more intense or any closer together but they wouldn't go away! We tried to go to bed around 10:30 and slept on and off.
At 1am I had to get up. I couldn't lay or sit through them anymore and they were ranging from 3 to 5 minutes apart. I ate some yogurt, drank some water and cruised through them. I started to have a different visualization now. I pictured my cervix as a large donut. When I breathed in it inflated, when I breathed out it shrunk. Before long I started to think about when or IF we should call the midwives. I had to vocalize though each contraction but I was still enjoying them and wasn't yet sure this was real. You'd think that working as a birth doula would make me more aware, but no... just like every mama out there I questioned whether this was real or not. Around 3am I had a couple contractions that made me think "ok, I'm in labor now. maybe I should call the midwives." Then afterwards I would think "no, I'm just being a baby- labor just started!" At 3:10am we decided to call just to be safe. Soon after we let our photographer know. I felt silly, I kept thinking, what if they get here and everything just stops. I was kicking myself for calling so early. A (one of my midwives) arrived around 4 and D (the other one) arrived shortly after. When A arrived, she told us to go ahead and set up the birth tub. Barry pumped it up and somehow Lily slept through it! She woke up just as he was finishing and I labored on and off on the ball.
I kept thinking, "I wonder why women fear labor, this is so enjoyable!" Lily came in and we cuddled for awhile.
She was so sweet and it was reassuring that she was ok with what was happening. I tried to prepare myself for a long day, but around 5:30 it was starting to get hard. I asked A&D (<<lol sorry guys, I just turned you into a stinky cream!) if it was too early to get into the tub.
I didn't want to risk getting in too soon but it was getting really hard to relax without it. I considered getting in the shower but they assured me it would be ok to get in the tub, so I did. I let Barry know I wanted my friend Terri to come,
Lily would come in, rub my hand and tell me everything was ok. It was so sweet. Her presence really helped me stay calm. A little past 7am, things started to get hard. I was no longer enjoying the contractions. I had crazy back labor so D did some counter pressure for a bit, then Barry took over.
I was so happy he was there for me. I kept seeing glimpses of him next to me and they were so reassuring. At this point Lily would run in after every contraction and ask if baby was here yet. She'd make sure and inspect the tub for signs of her brother-sister. It was getting extremely intense, I kept thinking, I can't do this for twelve more hours. There is no way this baby was going to come out of me. I knew that meant I had hit transition but I also didn't believe it. What if I'm only 7 cm??? I started to panic a bit. I asked D if there was anything that could help. She said something along the lines of "sure there are" but didn't let on what they were. I checked myself during a couple contractions and could feel how high she was, how high the amniotic sac was. It was so discouraging. I wanted it gone. I wanted her to slide out right then.
D and Barry encouraged me to get out of the tub and go to the bathroom. I knew it was going to be terrible though and that's what I said, over and over, "it's going to be torture!" Finally I was convinced that it was the only way to get baby out and I stepped out (with a whole lot of help). With an incredibly intense contraction, I lay over D's shoulder and my water broke, all over her. The only way to describe it was projectile rupture of membranes. It was kind of funny, but I also felt bad that this amazing woman was drenched in birth juices. I let out an "I'm SO sorry" and she started laughing.
Soon after, I finally made my way to the bathroom. I tried to sit down but it was just so intense. During the next contraction my body started pushing. I could feel baby's head in my hand. At this point, all I could think was "I just need one more minute!".
I heard A say "If you want to have a water birth you need to move, now!" I stood up, pushed gently on baby's head and made my way back to the tub... it felt like I was sprinting while pushing baby back in. Finally, I could relax in the tub again. I just kept saying "I just need one more minute!" while keeping my hand on baby's head. I could feel all her hair. I was so happy. After a contraction or two, breathing her down I felt her head slide out followed by her body.
It was the most amazing feeling in the world. It didn't hurt, it didn't burn, she was just there. I lifted her up onto my chest and instantly felt an overwhelming sense of relief and joy. Baby was here! Baby is a girl! Lily hopped in the tub with us and we spent some time relaxing and bonding together. We were officially a family of four.
Out of the tub, baby latched on right away. She was a pro! Lily joined in and we had our first tandem nursing session. It felt so amazing to have both of my girls there together and that Lily could be involved. Lily kept asking to hold her, she was so excited to have a baby sister! We called grandma to tell her and Lily got to spill the beans :)
|Our first tandem session!|
After Lily's birth, I fell in love with birth. It became a passion of mine. The experience is truly magical. After Lexi's birth, I have an even deeper passion and feel so refreshed. I don't think I could ever have a hospital birth after experiencing the wonders of a hands off experience. I will never be able to find enough ways to thank my midwives for giving me the confidence to have such a raw and amazing experience. They are such hard working, skillful, truly lovely women who have found their passion in life. I also can't thank my friend Terri and my photographer Heather enough for being there. Terri was such a blessing to have for Lily, and we really appreciate her taking care of our baby girl. Heather skillfully captured this amazing adventure for us so we can always remember. I am forever grateful to these amazing women and hope I get to work with them again!
(For our full photo birth session, please see Motherbird Photography's website HERE.)