I find childbirth to be an absolutely beautiful event. It is certainly not at all glamorous by any means, but it is such an amazing experience to view not only as a bystander, but also as a participant. I have had 4 children, all girls, with 4 completely different experiences. All 4 birth experiences, in addition to my losses, have shaped me into the woman I am today. My youngest daughter is now almost 22 months old, and she was conceived the same month I had a miscarriage. The pregnancy went very well, but I was very afraid that my labor and delivery would mirror the delivery of my third daughter, Spirit, which was extremely traumatic. This led to a lot of anxiety and fear, despite my knowledge on the subject. It was for this reason that I hired a birth doula.
My due date was Saturday 11/21 and absolutely NOTHING was happening, only slight Braxton Hicks here and there. My older kids were at my parents’ spending the weekend, so I figured it was the perfect time to put together my bedframe and make sure the room was arranged for baby’s arrival. So I took everything out of our room, and with a little help, put the bedframe together. My boyfriend Jermaine wasn’t too happy about it, but it needed to be done so I had access to our bedroom closet so I could start setting shit up. That probably should have been my sign that something was up since I was so determined to get it done RIGHT THEN, lol. Mind you, I had already partly cleaned my kitchen (still had dishes to do, but had cleaned the floor by hand and had already done enough dishes to fill the dishwasher and dish drain by the sink) and had cleaned my bathroom the day before. Once I was done, I wanted to start putting everything back in our room, but Jermaine was hungry so we ordered food and I went to go get it. By that time it was about 8-8:30 pm, and still nothing was happening. I was exhausted and my back was starting to hurt a little, which I chalked up to it being from bending over to clean and work on the bedframe. We started getting ready for bed and I left the place a complete mess thinking “Oh, I’ll just get up early and move everything back, etc etc”. So around 12:45-1 am, the back pain was still just annoying and then suddenly got really intense. I posted on Facebook in a pregnancy group I was in asking if anybody had experienced back labor and what it felt like, and called my OB as I had began feeling some pressure as well. He told me to wait it out a little since I wasn’t having any contractions at all, but said he would call the hospital just in case I decided to go in so they knew to keep me. Right after I got off the phone with him, I used the bathroom and then went to bed.
I woke up at about 3:45 am, because I had to pee again (had been drinking tons of water to see if it would help the pain, which it had) and began feeling the intense back pain and pressure again. Still no contractions at that point, but I just couldn’t move much anymore so we decided to head to the hospital. Because of the pain, it took me awhile to get dressed and then at about 4:30am, BAM! First contraction hit! And the back pain and pressure literally stopped and I was cool. Started timing the contractions and they were 3-5 min apart straight off the bat and lasting from 30-45 seconds each. So, through all the mess I had made, we grabbed my bag, got as dressed as I could, and we were out the door. In the hurry, I tried calling my doula, Sam, and couldn’t get in touch with her since my phone was acting screwy so to keep my anxiety down I just texted her what was going on and updates as they happened. When we got to the hospital, we were immediately taken to triage after they verified my documentation and weighed me. In triage, they hooked me up to the monitors and checked me. I was a stretchy 4-5 cm dilated, had bulging membranes, and was almost completely effaced, this was at about 5:15 am. They moved me into my room, which had a relaxation tub, and immediately started filling it up for me. That tub was AWESOME!!!!!!! Definitely consider laboring in a tub of warm water if you can, it feels ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!
So, my doula comes and having her there was so relaxing and completely made the difference between a good, stress-free experience and a stressful, anxiety filled experience. I labored in the tub for about 2 hours and only got out to use the bathroom. At about 7:50, the contractions that hadn’t been bothering me suddenly felt different and I was feeling much more pressure so I asked to be checked. I told them that if I was a 7 or less, I wanted the epidural but if I was more than 7, I would tough it out. As soon as I stood up, I got hit with the most intense contractions back to back that I had EVER felt. After about 5-10 min of contractions where I couldn’t move, I finally made it over to the bed. I couldn’t sit, it was unbearable so I was on all fours moaning through the contractions. The nurse checked me and I was at a 7, so they hooked me up to fluids and called the anesthesiologist for my epidural. My dr and a midwife came in and right then I got the unbearable urge to push and couldn’t stop, so they helped me roll over, my water broke, and in 2 pushes (about 2-3 minutes), my little rainbow was Earthside and super alert! 6lbs, 19.25in long, no stitches or repairs needed, and the anesthesiologist walked in not even a minute after she was born to give the meds, lol.
Oh, and did I mention that this was my second VBAC!
Jen is mother to 4 beautiful girls! She is very passionate about all things birth and is studying for her BSN and hopes to be a midwife one day. As a woman who has has 4 very different births herself Jen brings a lot of experience to every family she serves as a doula. You can read more about Jen here.