Boy, did my body want lots of practice! This routine of pressure waves gearing up in the day, usually around 3pm, and stopping once I fell asleep went on every day or two, each time with a little more intensity. It felt like a seemingly endless mental dance of desperately wanting my baby and also trying to accept however my body and baby wanted to birth. The quote I found on the back of my birth center’s appointment reminder cards became my mantra and in many ways carried me through:
“One of the most important things I have learned about birthing babies is that the process is more of an unfolding marvel than a routine progression of events.” –Tori Kropp.
I told myself over and over, “I am an unfolding marvel” and tried not to be annoyed with it all.
On Thursday, July 25th, I went to the chiropractor (again!) and as I was leaving, she mentioned that it felt like my baby’s head was just getting a little stuck and recommended trying more inversions and hip circles to help her get in position. After hearing that, I felt highly motivated. I decided that my baby wanted to be born and I just had to help her get there! I spent the whole afternoon hip rolling, cat-cowing, crawling around on all fours, and rolling on my birth ball. I started feeling some pressure waves (again) around 3pm and although these were the first ones I needed to focus through, they were still very irregular and short.
After dinner, we decided to take a family trip to the park. My 2 year old, Claire, got to play and run with her Papa to her heart’s content and I watched and timed the waves on my phone. We took a walk down to the beach and back which was about a mile long and although they sometimes got closer together, they were still very strong and only about 30 seconds. It was so hard to time them from this point on because they would come on so fast and hard that there was very little warning. When we got home, I was feeling pretty frustrated. I didn’t think I could handle another night of getting excited, going to bed, and waking up with no baby. I called my doula, Holly, and she was cautiously encouraging and recommended I take a bath and see what happens. When I got off the phone with her, I burst into tears. The emotions of the past few weeks and the fear of my baby never being born was too much for me. My husband, Leif, was wonderfully comforting and was really there for me. He drew up the bath for me, lit some candles, and put my first baby to bed while I relaxed and listened to my Hypnobabies Birthing Day Affirmations. They very much helped me let go of some of my fears and while I relaxed my pressure waves slowed down to about 10 minutes apart. I decided that this must be another practice run and felt more ok with it.
The funny thing was though, when I laid down to go to sleep, they picked back up to 7 minutes apart again. Listening to my Hypnobabies tracks allowed me to relax enough to pretty much sleep through them, but finally at 2am I decided I’d had enough sleep and I couldn’t take the interruptions every 7 minutes anymore. Leif woke up too and we just sort of hung out, eating and playing on our computers. I used my fingerdrop hypnosis through all of this and although the pressure waves were very intense, I still felt calm and in control the whole time. Around 3am they had picked up to about 5 minutes apart and Leif wanted to call the midwife because that’s when they said we should call. I didn’t really want to bother her, but I didn’t stop him as he dialed the number and handed me the phone. I wasn’t sure what to say to her so I just asked her how I would know that it was time to go into the birth center. She said that things would feel a lot more intense and I said that I couldn’t see how they could get any more intense than they already were. (HAHA!) We made a plan for me to call her back in 2 hours and see how things were going.
I stayed in bed and listened to my HB first stage track and it was so encouraging. I felt so happy! Somewhere around 4:15am or so, everything changed. All of a sudden, right in the middle of a pressure wave, it felt like my baby had kicked me really hard and it really hurt! It was like she had snapped something inside of me with that kick. I actually got kind of mad at the baby because it seemed like such a mean thing to do. Couldn’t she wait until in between waves to kick me?! Everything suddenly felt 10 times stronger and more intense. I couldn’t stay in bed anymore so I jumped up and felt water running down my legs. I ran to the bathroom and yelled to my husband that my water had just broken. I couldn’t believe how strong and intense my waves were and I really had to focus down to get through each one. I immediately started shaking and felt nauseous as I sat down on the toilet and kicked off my wet shorts. Leif called our midwife and she thought we should head into the birth center. I kept yelling at him to make sure she knew I was shaking while simultaneously crying because my foot was all wet. “My foot is wet!” Leif called his brother to come over and watch Claire and our doula to come help me.
Waiting for them to arrive was kind of tough. I was feeling pressure in my bottom, so I was scared to sit down and kept pacing all around. I would lean against whatever was in front of me and say “Peace, open, open, open.” I kind of lost it at the beginning of each wave because they came on so hard and fast I couldn’t keep focus. But then after each “I can’t do it!” moment I would pull it in, focus, and say “I can do it.” Leif kept putting his hand on my belly and saying Peace, which helped a lot too.
After 25 minutes, my single guy 21 year old brother-in-law walked in as I was vocalizing, blowing raspberries, and had a towel stuck between my legs. I yelled at him to forget he’d ever seen me like this and he kept his head down and ran into our guest room. When my doula arrived shortly after, we rushed out the door. I took one look at the seat in the car and said “I can’t do that,” so my doula suggested facing backwards and hugging the headrest, which seemed more feasible. The whole 20 minute car ride I was focusing on hanging on and NOT opening. I was still feeling pressure in my bum and I was determined not to have the baby in the car. As we sped along the highway, I took a break to look up and see the very beginnings of the sunrise and remembered that I had been visualizing and hoping that the baby would be born as the sun came up. The light and clouds were beautiful and I felt so grateful to God for this gift.
We finally got to the birth center at 5:30 am and my midwife was waiting. She checked my dilation, but I didn’t let her tell me the number because I knew it would mess with my head. I did, however, ask if I was above a 6 and I was. All I wanted to do was get in the tub so they started filling it up for me and I jumped in while the water rose. Once I was in the water, my pressure waves seemed to slow way down. I enjoyed the break, but was kind of annoyed too because I didn’t want to just be sitting there with everyone staring at me and nothing happening. It was nice though, my husband and doula were incredibly encouraging and I really enjoyed listening to the HB track.
After a few minutes I started feeling really antsy and hopped up onto my knees. (As I did this my track said something like, “I easily move when my body and my baby need to.” It was so encouraging.) This is when I feel like I kind of went into animal mode. With each pressure wave I would grab onto my husband and pull him up and toward me, pressing my face into his chest. Sometimes I would just grab his face and hold on and a few times I would grab my doula’s hand and just dig my face into it. (Leif told me later that he was pretty sure I could have picked him up and lifted him off the ground if I had wanted.)
She was the most beautiful creation that ever existed. Jane was born at 6:15 am, 9 days after her guess date, and after 9 minutes of pushing. Apparently, I had only been 7 cm dilated when we arrived, which means I went from a 7 to baby being born in 45 minutes. It was almost exactly the birth I had visualized. I had always visualized that it would be on a Friday, at dawn, in the exact spot and position that it happened. After she was born, I hopped out of the tub and we went and rested on the bed to deliver the placenta and stitch up my little tear. My husband laid with me and we just marveled at her. I truly felt the “birth high” that you hear about and I think it lasted about 3 days! We stayed at the birth center and were pampered and fed for about 5 hours and then decided it was time to go home. When we got home my now older daughter was still in her pjs, watching cartoons, and hadn’t really noticed we were gone, which I still laugh about. We like to joke that we had a baby and were home by lunch! My little girl is such a happy, mellow little newborn and I feel like everything just went so much better and easier this time. It was such an amazing birth and I am so thankful for my amazing husband, doula, and birth center. I did it!