08 May A Mother is born…
It was Halloween morning and I was exactly 1 week past my due date. Today was the very last day that my birth plan could come true. We had planned a water birth with a spiritual birth doula and a midwife at our local birthing center. We rented a birth tub from a place an hour away because I had this vision of my husband and I in the water together bringing our son into the world.
I tried to release my attachment to my plan because I had read so many birth stories and they all say it never goes as planned but I am firm believer that we can create our own reality with our thoughts, beliefs, and intentions.
We had an appointment with our midwife that morning and they did an ultrasound to check on our baby and he was head down and in position for birth and I was 2cm dilated. She told me to go home and take it easy and if I started having contractions and became 4-5 cm dilated at some point that day then I could be admitted to the birth center, otherwise I would need to give birth at the hospital.
I really didn’t want to give birth at the hospital especially because I wouldn’t be able to have the water birth I wanted so badly. Also because I had always been afraid of hospitals and doctors.
I felt so much anxiety as the minutes and hours went on that day. My husband and I were trying all the recommended natural induction methods. I had been getting acupuncture treatments for the whole week, taking evening primrose oil to soften my cervix, having sex, going for walks, doing circuits, going out for spicy curry, and trying to surrender to our son’s divine timing.
We even tried to act like it was a normal halloween and made treats for trick or treaters. We had come home from dinner and I was sitting on my yoga ball and I started to feel a contraction. This is it! I thought screaming to my husband to call our doula. We tracked my contractions on a dry-erase board and tried to stay open to what the evening had in store for us. It was 545pm and we had until midnight to be admitted into the birthing center to move forward with our birth plan so I was really scared we would need to go to the hospital instead.
Our doula came over around 8pm and things had started to pick up and my contractions were closer together. By 11pm we called the birth center and they told us to come down to be assessed for admission. I was 4.5 centimeters dilated and just made the cut for admission- we were thrilled.
I birthed on my yoga ball while they were putting the tub together for me. I had my best friend, my doula, and my husband by my side as the midwives were in and out changing shifts and checking my vitals.
I started to feel some pretty intense pain right before the tub was ready for me. I got in my tub that was decorated with twinkling lights and prayer flags with empowering affirmations from loving women in my life. My husband sat behind me outside of the tub rubbing my shoulders as I started to feel more pressure on my pelvic floor, I put a bath pillow between my legs to help with the pressure but it was crazy intense. I just moaned through contractions and tried to rest between them. I was in and out of the tub throughout the night. Standing with one leg up on the toilet leaning into my best friend and biting on a wet wash cloth- I found fleeting moments of ecstasy which felt like the climax that exhausted me into a scary place.
I wanted to get back into the tub but the midwife assessed that the water was too cold and my husband started boiling water with a tea kettle to get it warm enough. We should have taken it as a sign not to keep trying in the water but I was determined after already birthing for 12 hours so I got back in one last time and my blood pressure dropped and my baby’s heart rate went up and my midwife told us we needed to go to the hospital or she would need to discontinue my care.
I shocked myself, my husband, and my birth team when I did not hesitate in saying yes please, where’s my wheel chair? I knew that what you resist persists, and I had been resisting the hospital for far too long. It was clear that I needed to heal this old hospital fear of mine. So I surrendered. My husband asked if I was sure and I told him I think it’s time for me to let other people take care of me for once.
And with that surrender came more fear to be released. Once I was checked into my room at the hospital my contractions had slowed down dramatically and this was concerning. My midwife recommended petocin to invite the contractions back several times before I said yes to the smallest amount. At that point the contractions and their intensity were like tidal waves pushing my baby down. Those were the moments I wanted to give up, those were the moments I thought I couldn’t do it. The pain had its own language, my team told me afterwards they weren’t sure what language I was screaming in.
There was also a learning curve for me in learning to productively push a baby out. I must have changed positions a thousand times before I got it right and long behold my baby shot out of me like a bullet. My husband caught him and put him on my chest and in that moment I was wonder woman.
I had 2, two-degree tares and needed to be stitched up, they kept asking if I was okay and because my baby was out and we were both breathing nothing else mattered to me. All I could see was my baby.
Even though my birth plan didn’t go as planned I was able to surrender to the plan my son had for his birth. My husband was amazing and I couldn’t have done it without him. I joke with him that he should become a birth doula because he stepped into the role I needed at every turn. My best friend fed me yogurt and miso soup, and peanut butter bliss bars to keep my strength up and told me how soft my skin was as she lovingly rubbed cool wash cloths on me. My doula advocated for the details of my birth plan with the medical staff at every turn. My midwife held exactly the attitude I needed to surrender to birth. I have nothing negative to say about my hospital care and I feel grateful that I was able to transform my fear and negative beliefs about hospitals into trust. What a gift my baby has given me!? I may not have gotten the birth I wanted but I definitely got the birth I needed in order to step firmly into motherhood.