It was Sunday, June 21st, 2015. I woke up in the morning feeling sad, as this was the first Father’s Day I was not spending with my father who had passed just two months before I got pregnant. Trying to keep busy (and in full nesting mode) I finished my final touches downstairs in my birthing suite (my birth was at home) and my mother came over to take me to Walmart for some things I felt I had to have before I went into labor. I still needed a curtain rod to hang my curtain, an end table in the living room for my guests, bathroom supplies and more. After putting only a quarter of the stuff away, exhausted and missing my nap, my mother left and I began to cook a Father’s Day dinner for my fiance. We probably ate around 7:30 pm and then I asked him if he minded if I left the dishes until morning, I needed to lay down! He of course said he did not care and up to bed we went. We watched our Sunday night TV and just before 11:00 pm I got up, went to the bathroom, turned the light off and got back in bed. We both said goodnight and closed our eyes. Not even three minutes later, I yell,
“Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God!”
“What?!” He asks.
“My water just broke! Come get me, help!”
He hops out of bed to come get me and walks me to the bathroom. As I sit on the toilet he asks me, “Are you sure?”
I probably gave him the look of death as I said, “Yes I am sure, do you see this?!”
Every woman and every labor is different. I was told that a lot of waters do not even break until active labor or even delivery. I was also told that when your water breaks it may not be a huge “gush” and you may not be sure, or you could have a false alarm, that it wasn’t always like the movies where the women end up standing in a puddle! Well there was no mistaken mine, I had the movie-like experience! My water had broke, at 11:00 pm, on Father’s Day. It was my birthing time!
(Off note: My baby girl is feeding right now and I am typing this blog at the same time! Go me for being a multi-tasking, breastfeeding, coffee drinking, blog writing momma!)
After my water broke I called my midwife right away to tell her. I had no pressure waves yet and felt pretty normal. She told me to get some sleep and that my waves should start anytime between now and morning. We hung up, I got back in bed and tried to close my eyes. (HOW am I supposed to SLEEP!?) Well within ten minutes I felt my first wave. We timed them right away because they seemed awfully close for the beginning. Three minutes. Within fifteen minutes I had five consecutive pressure waves. I called my midwife back and told her about my waves, that they were small and not discomforting yet, but happening every three minutes. She again advised me to try and sleep. I got out my iPod and began my Hypnobabies tracks immediately.
By 2:30 am I hadn’t slept and could not concentrate on my hypnosis as well as I wanted to. I was so anxious and my waves were still so close – anywhere from two to four minutes apart and lasting about fifteen to thirty seconds. I needed to get ready. I woke my fiance up (HOW could he of fallen asleep anyway, right?!) and told him we needed to go downstairs and setup. After the birth we were going to be sleeping/staying downstairs for about a week (two months later and we are still down here every night) as I wasn’t going to be able to use the stairs. I began gathering things like I was an animal heading into hibernation. I took two trips downstairs and brought everything I was going to need for the next week with me. My laptop and chargers, my toothbrush and hairbrush, my makeup (like I was going to reapply during my birthing time) and anything I could think of that wasn’t already down there.
By 5 am I had my fiance filling the birthing pool and doing last night's dishes while my midwife was on her way. I had been lying on the couch getting deep into my hypnosis and as a first time mom I was not sure what I was feeling. Is this it? Am I close? Am I not even close? I needed reassurance.
My midwife arrived around 6:00 am. She sat with me and asked me some questions before doing my first check. I did not want to know how far I was throughout my birthing time and I had not been checked for dilation at any of my appointments.
“You are in labor, Teresa. I think you are going to start to feel things a little more intensely in the hours to come. I want you to rest as much as you can. I am gonna go home for a little, call me when you would like me to come back, when you really need to use your vocals to get through a wave,” she said to me. I knew then that this was indeed the very beginning if she wasn’t even staying, and for a minute, that scared me.
I continued to listen to my hypnosis on the couch and slip in and out “sleep” (it was probably a deep state of hypnosis) between waves. I was becoming less anxious and more relaxed every hour. I could not believe I was almost eight hours into my birthing time. To me it had only felt like two. Little did I know, I had twenty more hours to go.
As I laid on the couch and watched the sunrise through the windows, my waves were getting stronger and I was starting to moan at the peak of each one. I could feel the difference in intensity and needed to change my atmosphere. It was probably around 8 o’clock AM when I got off the couch. My fiance, Albe, had filled the birthing pool halfway and covered it so it kept warm. I asked him to finish filling as I was now feeling the waves with more pressure and so eager to get in my birth pool and see how good it felt. As he finished filling I got in the shower and let the hot water run down my back and on my stomach. This felt AMAZING and got me super excited to get in my pool. Once the water was filled enough and the correct temperature Albe helped me in. WOW. Words cannot even describe that first feeling when I sat in my pool seat and rested my head back, submerged in a pool of 100 degree water. The relief is indescribable and the relaxation was instant. My hypnosis tracks were playing out loud through a speaker and I was truly in paradise.
My midwife and my birth photographer – who I forgot to mention was already being updated throughout the night as well – were notified that I was in the pool and feeling intense pressure waves, using my vocals through them but deeply relaxed at the same time, and that I believed the time was right for them to come. While I waited for them to arrive, I was still pretty alert. The last time I touched my phone was at 9:47 am after I got the “I’m on way” texts from the midwife and photographer and I sent a returning text to a friend who asked how I was doing. My response was, “Oh just chillin’ in my birthing pool listenin’ to my hypno tracks”…(this was a surprise to me…I barely remember texting this plus I was 11 hours into my labor and “chillin”) and then I took a labor-selfie I was going to send to a friend to show her I was wearing the birthing stone she had gotten me!
I didn’t pick my phone back up until 3:52 am when I took my first photo (besides the photographer pictures obviously, but we had not seen them yet!) of my brand new baby girl.
Heather, my midwife, arrived right around 11 am. I was starting to feel silly I called her back so soon because I was so relaxed and happy when she arrived, but I was definitely having much more intense pressure waves, as she could tell as well. The photographer, Lauren, arrived around 11:30 am and I believe somewhere in between that my mother and mother-in-law also arrived. (I did not see them until 2:30 am! Way to be patient, Moms!) My best friend, Erica also came over sometime before 2 pm. My timeline is going to be a little off – as I was so deeply relaxed and not keeping track of time. The only way I estimated time was by the sun setting through the windows. All I can really tell you between then and 7 pm is that my best friend came in and sat with me for a couple hours (I thought she was only there for maybe twenty minutes!) and Albe was in and out of the room running his business through his cell phone and still being the best birth partner I could of asked for!
I could see my Mom through the curtain a few times cooking and I could smell the homemade spaghetti sauce.
I had no idea where Lauren was or why she wasn’t taking photos (she was but I had no idea!) and Heather was being the sweetest midwife in the world, her voice was so calming to me and she patiently waited for me to get through each wave to ask me questions, check on me and offer me food and water. I still had not had a dilation check since 6 am.
The next thing I can remember well is when the student midwife, Yuliya, arrived. Oh, and I remember when Heather said it was time to call her, when my vocals were getting louder and longer every wave. This excited me! For sure I was close if she was calling in her reinforcements! Once she got there, she checked my blood pressure and my dilation. Little did I know I was 7 cm and the midwives told Albe and our family that the baby would be here by dinner time! Good thing I did not know this news, or I would have been HIGHLY disappointed come midnight and still no baby! Things were pretty intense in the later evening hours. I got out of the pool a couple times to labor on my birthing ball and cool off.
This intense laboring went on throughout the afternoon and passed dinner time. I will tell you I could not have done this without my amazing fiance, my awesome midwives, supportive and patient family, and most of all, my water bottle spray fan! I am telling you, this $5.00 item save my life that day. Through every single wave I can remember I was being sprayed with cold misty water and fanned! It is a MUST HAVE for natural births!
Sometime around 7 pm is when I began to push. I wasn’t pushing the traditional way, I was “breathing my baby out” using my breath and vocals to allow my body to do the work for me. I pushed in the pool for quite some time. At one point I remember Heather saying to me, “It’s you versus the sunset…and I think you’re going to win.” She was wrong. (I still love you, Heather!!) The sun was setting and I was not making progress and exhausted. Heather and Yuliya suggested I get out of the pool to speed up the progression and have another dilation check to make sure all was okay. That is when they discovered I was stuck at 9.5 cm and a piece of my cervix just did not want to break free! They did a few things that I would rather not speak of, mainly because it was the worst pain I ever physically felt, but also because I am not quite sure still what was happening. They were trying to break that piece of cervix and no hypnosis in the world could of stopped me from feeling that! I did NOT want to be pushing out of the water, it hurt. In the water all I felt was my “pressure” and “discomfort” but outside of the water, I felt the pain! My “pushing baby out” track was on repeat for already 3 hours and at this point I needed to come out of my hypnosis and get this baby out!
After pushing on all fours for a while I decided to go lay down in bed and try to sleep – yes, 24 hours into my labor (3 hours of pushing) and I try to go to sleep – in between pushes. I think I really did slip away a few times – I really needed it. I tried side laying pushes on both sides and squatting against the bed. I think this is where I began to crown. They could see I was so close, yet I was still so far away! I was so terrified they were going to tell me I needed to be transferred at this point but they were SO patient with me and let my body take its time and naturally progress as slow or fast as it was. After these positions were not making much of a difference, my midwives suggested toilet laboring. I had tried this a couple minutes earlier in the day and I HATED it, but they thought it was most effective so we went to the toilet. I was determined this would be my last move. I was going to push this baby out! There were times I could not believe what I was feeling was not the head fully out. It was about a quarter of the way out for nearly 2 hours now. Ever try walking from room to room with half a head sticking out of your (yeah)? It is not fun! At this point, I was making the most progress but it was least favorite position so it was bittersweet. After an hour or so of squatting, sitting, leaning, slipping through Albe’s arms, we were both too exhausted to go on this way.
I needed to be on all fours again so back to the ottoman it was. I pushed on all fours here for sometime and was closer than ever! Albe was behind me, waiting to catch our little princess. After some time my midwife told me if I could stand up and give three big pushes during squatting, this would be it. But I knew how much catching our baby meant to Albe so I tried to stay where I was. We were debating which way should I go and he asked me if I wanted to try sitting up. I told him I knew he wanted to catch so I would stay however that possible. My words were actually, “It’s up to you babe, it’s your moment”. My midwives and the photographer were so moved and could not believe I just said that witnessing what was currently happening to me. Thinking back, I have no idea what I was thinking saying that either! (Just kidding, babe! I love you!) So we decided I should stand /squat.
28 hours in, 7.5 hours of pushing, nearly 4 hours of crowning and over 10 positions later, out came my beautiful, healthy baby girl at 2:14 am on June 23rd, 2015. The instant relief was unlike anything I had felt before. Finally, she was here.