My morning began with an exciting sign of impending birthing time, the release of my mucous plug! Being so pregnant and having experienced light practice waves for a while by then, this sign brought much hope and relief that I might meet this baby soon.
I showered and went to an early morning chiropractor appointment, complete with acupuncture. It was my first experience with the later and I must say I didn’t care for it. But if it helped get things moving that’s fine too.
Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the birth story for a gorgeous video of this birth!
Paul came home from work where he had wrapped things up just in case. We enjoyed a good dinner and I had a few more waves, stronger but not consistent. After dinner, Juliet and I made a birthday cake for the new baby we were pretty sure we’d meet the next day. The cake in the oven, Paul put Juliet to bed and I made chocolate frosting. Mid-stir I felt a bigger wave coming and dropped to hands-and-knees on the floor. I finished the frosting, poured it on the still-warm cake, and retreated downstairs to snuggle with Bear the dog and send another update to my team.
Fri, March 30, 41 weeks and 4 days
2am. I can’t sleep. I get up to pee and start shaking uncontrollably. My inner doula is excited. This is a great sign! Back on the couch we decide to call Janine. Your heart told you to call me, she says, I can come check in. After hearing me moan through a wave, she suggests calling the others as well. I change my Hypnobabies track.
3am. The dream team arrives. Megan the doula, Raven the photographer and Janine and Holly, midwives extraordinaire. I have changed into my pink lacey nightgown, all dressed up for a birthday. Janine listens to baby and she’s perfect. I’m so happy! Paul starts to fill the pool. I have waves on the couch, the toilet. I have applesauce and water. Megan presses on my hips. Paul hugs me. But then my waves space out. They fizzle.
8am. We start to wake up. Janine suggests a walk. Nope. How about a shower with nipple stimulation. Fine. But to no avail. My waves are a distant memory of last night it seems. I eat some oatmeal with banana and drink apple juice. Paul feeds Juliet breakfast and calls Hannah. (Juliet gets her own doula, lucky girl.) They take Bear for a walk while my cervix is checked. Feels very birthy, says Janine. She doesn’t give a number and I don’t ask for one. I will later guess correctly – 3cm.
Noon. Janine is back to check in. Baby still sounding great! I eat cottage cheese with tomatoes. How about a walk outside? Nope, still not interested. I am an animal and I don’t want to leave my den. What about going out for bodywork? I’m skeptical. Janine and Megan call around while my body steadily produces waves at 20-30 minute increments. This person has an opening at this time, etc. . . I don’t. Want. To. Leave. My. House! I ask for some space so I can meltdown with Paul. I apologize for being so stubborn. Leaving my house is the last thing I want to do. Word comes through that Adrienne can come at 4pm, right between work today and a trip tomorrow. My spirits lift. A savior is coming! Janine leaves again. Megan and Paul work with me some more. My body produces more waves, strong but irregular, sometimes 12 min apart sometimes 6, but always long and strong.
This baby will come. She will come and she will challenge me. As a doula I thought I could predict birth, problem-solve, but all I could do was let go and trust. I hear Kerry say, you deserve an easy and comfortable birthing time. I hope she’s right.
4pm. Adrienne arrives and observes. I have nice waves but she can make them nicer. Paul takes this opportunity for a nap and we go to the other bedroom. I can finally unwrap my rebozo-bound belly. Adrienne “unwinds me”. Don’t ask what that means, I just know it involves lots of leg movement. We do side-lying releases. We do standing releases. Release Christina, release. . . Waves close in on me but I can still breath. I hear Kerry say, your waves feel like a blood pressure cuff. I tell her to be quiet. I guess things are getting real! I’m in the bathroom, leaning on Adrienne and threatening to break the towel rack off the wall now. I want to get back to my birth space so we move downstairs. Each time I find a place on my back that hurts, Adrienne knows how to release it. Janine returns.
The water in the birth tub is now cool, so I find relief in the shower as my team scrambles to bail out the cold and add in hot. They alternate who sits with me by the shower for support. On hands-and-knees, I lean into the birth ball with each wave while the shower soothes my back. Waves carry me up and over but never under. I always come back down. But I do tell Kerry to be quiet again.
Out of the shower I put on a sports bra and Megan braids my hair, French on one side and regular on the other. Janine does a much less comfortable exam and seems happy with the change. I will later accurately guess 6cm. I have some coconut water and honey. Raven and Holly return.
Adrienne continues to work and I continue to comply. Side-lying releases on the couch bring big crashing waves. Juliet, back from a fun day out, and with her ‘race track headphones’ on, joins me briefly. The pool is finally ready. I climb in and let my body melt, the water holding me up. Adrienne stays for another 15 minutes and comments that she is happy with the active labor pattern I’m in now. I SO wanted this to be transformation, I can’t wrap my head around it. Yet I thank her as she departs. Juliet goes to bed and I’m a little sad that she won’t get to meet her baby sister right away. But I don’t have much time to dwell on that.
As soon as Janine gets a good listen to baby, I’m back in the tub. I don’t know why I thought I could do this, I want to be done! Good, says my inner doula, that means you’re almost there. I bite my knuckle and rock back and forth. Doula Megan pours water on my back. Paul is my rock in front of me.
Like a light switch, my waves change and I yell out, I need to push! Janine and Holly jump from the couch and coach me to slow down. This is the most intense feeling I have ever felt. Like holding back a galloping horse, I say my Peace cue over and over and my body bears down. I can’t not push. Breathe. I feel her move back up and I protest. It’s ok, she’s coming. Between waves I feel inside for my baby’s head. She’s so close.
A mere 20 minutes of pushing and I feel again, her head is out, I felt her head! I cry out with joy. Waiting, waiting. A gentle push. Janine asks me to push harder.
Then I hear those sweet words I’ve been waiting for, Reach down and grab your baby. I do. She’s a big beautiful chunk of a baby with vernix for miles.
BUBBLE OF PEACE: I begin to lift her to my chest and Holly calls, stand up! The cord is too short. Hand her to me! Holly says. I’m so confused. I hand her over but can’t seem to let go. Holly rolls her over and back and forth. My baby is floppy, not crying, her cord wrapped around several times. I’m not worried, Holly is not worried, Janine is not worried. I am talking to her, come on sweetie, you can do this, breathe for us honey! They finally unwrap her, assist with air and lots of rubbing.
END BUBBLE OF PEACE
The most beautiful sound finally fills the room, my baby’s first cries.
Olivia Marie, born at home on March 30, 2018
8 pounds, 1 ounce
20.5 inches long