My guess date was August 5th. I had put in my mind that I would probably go "over-due", so the 40-week mark didn't mean much to me. On August 1st, James and I spent the day at the beach. It was nice to sunbathe with my belly buried in the sand and to walk along the ocean. I got a lot of scared looks and mentioned to James that I probably looked like I was ready to pop (I heard that a lot). We had some ice cream and headed home. As usual, we went to bed listening to the Rainbow Relaxation and affirmations.
I woke up at 3:30 am with a strong cramping sensation. I though to myself: "Wow, if this is the first surge, I don't want to see how the next ones are going to feel like!" Once I got up and started moving, it didn't feel as bad. I went to the bathroom and stayed there. Sitting on the toilet helped me feel more comfortable. I started timing the surges on my phone. They lasted from 30 seconds to 2 minutes and were coming every 4 to 6 minutes. I was still not sure if this was it and decided to try to get some rest. I couldn't sleep so I kept going back and forth to the bathroom to sit on the toilet, and trying different positions on the bed while listening to the affirmations. The breathing helped a lot. When the sun came up, I woke James up and told him that was the day! He organized the house and made me breakfast which I threw up right after eating. I was trying to labor on my own for as long as I could before asking the midwives to come over. James filled up the tub while I took a shower. The hot water really helped to relieve the strong surges. I got in the tub and kept listening to the Rainbow CD. I stopped timing the surges because I couldn't really focus on anything at that point. James stayed with me and guided me through his own version of the Balloon Script and did some light touch massage. I got out of the tub and labored on a birth ball while waiting for Nat, my doula, and the midwives. I did the slow breathing technique with every surge while visualizing the blue satin ribbons visualization technique and the opening blossom technique. I was a little afraid I wouldn't be too far along once the midwives arrived and checked me. I kept visualizing my cervix as a lotus flower, opening one petal at a time.
Around 1:30 pm, the doula and the midwives arrived. I was happy to see them. They started filling up the birth pool and getting everything ready. Andrea asked me if I wanted to get checked and I agreed. I had been in labor for 11 hours and I really hoped I was almost there. I was super excited to hear that I was 8 cm dilated. I got in the birth pool and told James I couldn't believe our baby was going to be in our arms in a few hours. James and the doula stayed by my side the whole time. They made sure I drank lots of coconut water and ate granola bars. Surges were getting more and more intense, and I knew I was having back labor. James did counter pressure every time I had a surge. He also kept telling me how great I was doing, how strong and beautiful I was, and that every surge was like a wave bringing our daughter closer to us.
Beyond this point I lost sense of time. I got out of the pool to get checked again. This time Andrea said I was 10 cm. She felt a bulging bag and the baby's head! I kept laboring on my bed with James by my side. I was in birth land and at the same time aware of what was going on around me. I did not want James to leave my side and he didn't. Neither did Nat, my doula. Kayti, my other midwife, was always checking the baby's heartbeat with the Doppler. Right there on my bed, my water broke during a surge. I had to ask James days later how it looked like because I did not open my eyes. I had to focus on my breathing to go through each surge. James and Nat were really good a reminding me to breath and to relax. Relaxing my hands and jaw helped a lot. Kayti had to remind me to make low toned noises. I made a lot more noise than I thought I'd make!
Time was passing by and baby was not making her way down. My body started pushing, and there was nothing I could do to stop. I asked: "Where is she? Why isn't she coming down?". Everyone reassured me she was making her way down, and she'd be here soon, and that I was doing a good job. I was getting very tired, and it was hard for me to relax and manage the surges. We tried many different positions and the rebozo to see if the baby would turn to the anterior position. I remember getting in and out of the pool, using the birth ball on my bed, polar bear on the floor, one leg up on a stool in the shower, & sitting on the toilet. Kayti told me to try to rest for a while and try not to push. As she said that, I pushed with all the strength I had in me, not because I wanted to, but because I had no more control over my body.
Debra came over for extra support. She did some cranio-sacral therapy on me and helped me to relax. I also took a few shots of vodka! I went back to the pool to try to rest and relax, and save energy for later. I was exhausted. The AC was broken and the house was so hot. They always had cold towels on my forehead, and it felt so good! I told James that I thought I wanted to go to the hospital. "I'm so tired, I'm exhausted!". The epidural sounded like a good idea to me at that point. James told me that I had gone so far, and that I was so strong and he knew I did not want that. Debra told me: "Your body is so powerful! You are so powerful!". The midwives told me I could go to the hospital anytime I wanted, but we could try a few more positions first if I wanted to. I agreed to try. Debra told me she felt the baby was confused and needed reassurance. I told our baby how much I loved her and that it was okay to come down. James told her it was time to come because her mommy was very tired.
We went from the pool to my bedroom floor. We tried a few positions and Andrea checked me. I couldn't believe when she told me the head was right there and I could start pushing when I felt a surge coming. They asked me if I wanted to change positions, but I was so tired I just stayed where I was: laying on my back on the floor. I did the birth breathing - keeping it down while inhaling. I guess it worked because the baby would come down a little and stay. I got to see her hairy head with a mirror. I was so happy it was finally time, but had no energy to celebrate, no energy to worry about the pain. I could just breath. James and I caught the baby together. She came straight to my chest. She never turned and came out facing me, sunny side up. I have imprinted in me every detail of that moment - the moment I saw my daughter for the first time. Her chubby cheeks, her cute face, her sweet smell, her weight against my chest.
The placenta came out right after the baby. I had some hemorrhage and a little tear. We laid there, on the floor, baby on my chest still attached to the placenta for a couple of hours while they worked to stop the bleeding and stitch me up. James cut the cord and I was carried to bed. The baby slept for 12 hours. We were both tired from a long 22-hour-labor. We did it! I was so grateful to everyone that was there with me. They never made me feel like something was wrong, or that my labor should be progressing at a different speed. They just allowed my body to do its work and my baby to come out on her own time.
I am so glad we chose to take Carol's Hypnobirthing classes. It prepared James to be an awesome birth coach. He never left my side and was able to give all the support I needed because. He was able to trust the process and never doubt my ability to keep going (even when I doubted it myself). I did not have the easy birth I had imagined, but I'm sure I had the best birth I could have had under the circumstances. I was able to labor on my own for a long time and had reached full dilation way before I even wondered about the epidural. I thought I had pushed for 20 minutes and was surprised to find out I pushed for an hour. What we learned in class helped us in so many ways. It made us more conscious parents, it gave us confidence to make choices that we believed in. It helped us strengthen our connection with our baby in the womb and between us and it gave us tools to stay relaxed through many hours of labor. Thank you for preparing us to welcome our daughter in the best way possible, Carol!
Thanks again for everything you have taught us and all the support you gave us through our special journey. Hugs, Aline------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Congratulations Aline & James! Thank you so much for sharing your birth story! I'm so glad that the classes helped you have such a positive experience!
If you'd like more information about Aline's midwives, please visit www.andreasmidwiferysandiego.com .
If you'd like more information about Aline's cranial sacral therapist, please visit www.debrabochinski.com .
If you'd like more information about Aline's doula, please visit Nat Romine at 619-727-3511.
If you'd like more information about Carol's HypnoBirthing classes, please visit www.AWellLivedLife.Net . If her classes don't fit into your schedule, she would be happy to refer you to one of the other practitioners in the area. If you are outside of San Diego, please visit www.hypnobirthing.com to find a practitioner near you.