Laurel’s Birth Story
October 26, 2010
Laurel is my daughter. My red-headed, stubborn, likes to climb everything little toddler.
As I tell all my friends and clients, every birth story is unique. All of our bodies are technically doing the same thing during labor and delivery; but our perceptions, past experiences, body and self esteem issues, etc shape the way we handle, react and perceive labor and delivery of our precious bundles.
Giving birth to Laurel was one of my greatest experiences in life. Being pregnant with her was wonderful, but giving birth was exciting! An adventure!
So this is how it went down:
I was due on July 4th, 2009. A Saturday.
The week before, a Friday, I was at work and I kicked butt that day. I was more productive that day than the whole month of June. Even my boss (not a mother) joked that I would probably have Laurel over the weekend. I reassured her I would be there next week (I was planning on working right up to the due date).
That night I went home, my husband and I went out to eat. I was feeling uncomfortable. I attributed it to all the work I did that day. We went home and I went to bed, thinking about these weird cramps I was probably having; again attributing it to the productive day.
The next day, after sleeping like a rock, we got up and my husband went to help some friends move while I went to another friends house to help her go over lines for a play she was in. I was still feeling crampy. But I hummed my way through them and if they got really bad, I just asked my friend to stop and I slowly breathed through it. Around 1pm, I met up with my hubby and friends at a pub where I nibbled a little at a hamburger and drank half a beer. But by then I was on a warpath to go swimming. I had this really strong urge to be in a pool that day. We went home, I got ready (including shaving!) and after stopping for a gallon of water, we arrived at a pool. It felt glorious. At that point, the cramps were getting more noticeable.
After returning home from the pool, though, I began to question what really was going on. I was a week early, this was my first, there was no plug, no bloody show, no water breaking, and I was expecting the contractions to be all over my belly, not just in the lower ab area.
We had tickets to go to a play with the friend I helped with her lines. She showed up at our house ready to go, but I was in “I don’t know what’s going on mode and these are getting harder and I wouldn’t be able to pay attention to the play” zone. So I showered, in case we did decide to go and when I noticed I was leaning against the wall, with the hot water on my back, I knew I wasn’t going to a play.
After dressing, I called my mom. She suggested going for a walk. We did. It hurt. We were stopping every 2-3 minutes for a contraction and it was hot (we live in Texas). We headed back for the house where I did the lunge through contractions for a while before getting on all fours on the bed. I called the birthing center. The midwife said I was in early labor and to sleep. But everytime I went to the bathroom (which made the contractions harder and the pressure was enormous!), there was discharge. Around 9pm, we called our doula. We needed help timing the contractions since we didn’t have anything ready and my husband was running around getting things together. And there was no way I was going to time them.
She came over. She timed them. They were 1-3 minutes apart. She suggested calling the birthing center again. We did.
Again, the midwife said it was early labor. But I insisted on coming in, if only just to see where I was.
We gathered up our things and headed there.
The car ride was the hardest part. I had about 5 contractions during a 10 minute drive. I could barely sit properly the pressure was so great. I was annoyed that my friend texted to see if my husband wanted coffee. I was thoroughly annoyed and yelled when my husband nearly missed the turn into the birthing center.
The midwife met us and checked me.
She said “Well. The only reason why you haven’t had this baby is because your water hasn’t broken. You are 8 cm.”
My doula cheered. I don’t remember what everyone faces looked like because I went from shock to ‘we are having a baby’ mode.
(My midwife later told me she backed out of the room slowly as not to alarm me and then ran to prep the room).
I got off the exam table and waddled to the reception area, where I felt a slight trickle. I said “Did my water just break?” and then whoosh!!! My water broke and it felt like the earth had opened up beneath me and gravity was pulling me through it. I immediately squatted down, realizing I wanted to push and started panting. My doula ran after the midwife and my husband was trying to support me as I tried to stand. He kept kissing me as I panted, squealed and eventually screamed “Stop kissing me!!”
And then bam. End of transition. End of 1st stage labor. I waddled into the birth room, was asked about the bath tub, where I said “Sure”. I got in, pushed when the urge came but my midwife told me I wasn’t doing it right. I didn’t feel comfortable pushing like I should for a BM in water, so I got out of the tub. I waddled over the bed. In the semi-lying position, with my doula holding one leg and my husband holding another, I pushed about 4 times before the midwife asked me to pant through the next two so she could get ready. I did. That was hard.
Then I pushed a couple of more times. The last push, where she crowned, was definitely the ring of fire. It hurt. Good Lord. I kept on pushing though the burn though and she emerged fully and it immediately stopped. The pain immediately went away. And there was my baby. On my chest.
I did tear, requiring 4 stitches. But I didn’t care. I didn’t even feel where she numbed me.
There are a couple of things I would do different:
1. I would have had my bags packed so I didn’t have to yell for my husband when a contraction was coming on.
2. I would have called my doula sooner.
3. I would have squatted in the 2nd stage.
4. I would have labored down a little more, or at least panted when she crowned instead of pushing so I wouldn’t have torn.
But all of that I learned from experience, there was no way to exactly, in my head know all of that. Overall, it was a very instinctual process for me. I had a lot of back labor, so without thinking, I got into the positions to help with that. I trusted myself completely. And maybe that is what I love about birth. The fact that with the right amount of knowledge and support, for sometimes the first time in a woman’s life, we completely love and trust our bodies. Instead of society telling us we are not pretty enough, thin enough, etc…during labor, we are in charge. We can do everything needed to help bring our child into this world.
yay birth stories!