“There is a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.” ~ Laura Stavoe Harm
My baby’s birth story was quite uneventful but was simply everything I could have hoped for. I would do it all again in a heart beat and I hope my story can help to empower others to think positively and not fear birth. It really is such a beautiful thing and something that should not be feared but rather celebrated. My story may be rather ideal and I realize how blessed I truly am but, I did try to do a lot to prep my body for the big day and I do believe it all helped to give me a great labour and delivery. Here’s the story!
About two weeks ago I went for my scheduled 38 week appointment. They checked me and found that I was 5cm dilated and quite effaced. The doctor looked up at me and said “you’re going to have a baby this weekend,” insert panicked face here. There was some concern as I was measuring quite ahead and they thought I may have too much fluid but, because I was already quite progressed, she was quite certain that labour would start at any time. I could have technically gone to the hospital right then and there but I wasn’t having any contractions at the time and my water hadn’t broken so there wasn’t much of a point. I went home to finish up some work I had to do and to alert my hubby as to what might be happening.
We carried on the weekend as normal but I definitely stayed closer to home, and the hospital. We were watching all-star basketball most of the weekend and hoped the baby would make the debut after the weekend (haha). On the Sunday, I went for a long walk with my aunt and ate some ice cream. I had been drinking date/cacao elixirs for weeks (dates soften the cervix) so I had one of those as well as some rather greasy pizza. I also started rubbing DoTerra’s Clary Calm on my lower back and on my neck – I was too nervous to do this before the doctor told me I was progressed so far (Clary Sage can induce labour, or so they say). At this point I wasn’t really interested in being that dilated for a prolonged period of time and well, I probably wouldn’t have been anyway but I thought I would try to get things moving.
I stayed up late that night and then woke up a few times during the night thinking I had peed in my sleep. I ignored the feeling probably longer that I should have thinking it was normal discharge or a small amount of urine (regular pregnancy things). It wasn’t until about 5:30am I decided to get up and check it out… that was when the flood gates seemed to open and I felt like Niagra Falls was coming out of me. The whole pregnancy I had been worried I was leaking fluid or my water had broken prematurely – it was really just incontinence… so when my water broke I was a bit in shock, I didn’t think it would feel like that and I’ll be honest, it felt pretty gross.
We waited at home as long as we could. For about three hours I was trying to get rest while getting up every few minutes to change my pad because of the faucet that had been turned on in my body. This baby was coming and probably in a hurry. At about 7:30am or 8:00am (I can’t remember the exact times), I noticed my contractions were getting stronger – I didn’t even bother to measure them, I just knew I felt like shit and things were starting to happen. I called my Doula, Lacey from Chinook City Doulas and my aunt who was also going to attend the birth. At this point, I had decided I wasn’t going to labour at home anymore and probably should get tot he hospital. Lacey, knowing how far progressed I was already decided to start heading there as well. My aunt also met us at the hospital.
When we got there, I was in quite a bit of pain and was having trouble talking through my contractions. They really are the coolest thing though – they hurt for a while but then you get a break until the next one comes. It wasn’t so fascinating at the time but, looking back, the body really is amazing. We went up to the labour and delivery unit and I was brought to triage and was checked – part of my birth plan was not to use any pain medication but I would consider it if need be. I had brought a bunch of essential oils to help with the pain. I used peppermint oil for nausea (that was amazing) and basil oil on my belly to help through the pain of contractions – I think it really did help. The nurse said I was now 7cm but not fully effaced. They had a room for me but there was still a little ways to go. Once in the room they offered me the laughing gas, I tried a bit but didn’t get any and hated the feeling so I refused. Then they suggested I go in the shower… this was the saving grace. My aunt directed the warm water onto my lower belly where I was feeling the contractions and I was holding onto hubby for dear life. It helped so much though. I had to go back and forth a few times to get re-checked. I was dilating further but there was still a bit of a lip in my cervix so I couldn’t begin to push just yet so I kept heading back to the shower. My doula Lacey kept up with all of my essential oil requests, using lavender oil on cold cloths on my head and running back and forth to ensure it was always fresh, she added a great calming element to my birthing team.
Finally, at about 10am (I think) I was given the go ahead to start pushing. Wow, this was a rush and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It kind of felt like an eternity. So many people keep yelling different things at you. I had a mix between directed and undirected pushing and I think it went pretty well. His head was stuck for quite a while. I kept reaching down to feel my progress but I thought that everyone was lying to me saying he was close to coming out. I kept shouting, “I can do this, I can do this!” and “This hurts so bad! You’re lying to me!!” My second pushes always seemed to be the strongest. I kept yelling but they tell you not to as it releases too munch energy but I just felt like I was doing what I needed to do and screaming was part of that. My aunt and my hubby were holding my feet as I pushed and Lacey was by my head giving me encouraging words and catering to my needs. I felt really focused when pushing. I felt empowered and determined to get him out, even setting a deadline for myself and asking everyone if he would be out before 2pm (haha).
There was a bit of concern because his head was stuck for so long and the doctor called to get the vacuum and as she did that I decided to push again and with that, he was out, shortly after 12pm! I got the drug-free labour that I wanted and he was placed right on my chest, all his beautiful 9 lbs!
It was an amazing experience for me and I truly believed I was blessed with how it all went. I also believe that my prep for labour helped immensely. I had been drinking red raspberry leaf tea religiously for months prior, I had been eating dates for weeks and I had been seeing a chiropractor to get properly aligned for labour. I had also done prenatal yoga throughout pregnancy. And while a lot of it is probably good genetics, I like to think positive thinking and my labour prep really helped. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I decided I wasn’t going to read any horror stories or anything negative, I wanted to only know positive birthing stories. My body knows what to do so I should trust it, right? I hope that this positive birth story can help to inspire someone else. I would do it all again tomorrow, it truly is an amazing thing!