April, 31, Charlotte, North Carolina
As I sit here and watch my mother burp him and look at his full head of hair and his big alert brown eyes, I am reminded of how absolutely perfect God made the woman. We are so powerful! Birthing him au naturale is the most empowered I have ever felt in my life. Every time I look at him I remember how bringing him into this world revealed another layer of strength I didn't know existed inside of me.
I have had 7 days to nurse and heal and reflect on my pregnancy journey and my labor and delivery experience, and it could not have gone any better. It was pretty much text book, perfect and everything that I had been speaking and manifesting for the past 9 months.
Things escalated fairly quickly towards the weekend, but I guess I will start at my last OBGYN appt prior to his arrival.
Monday April 16, 2018: I had my typical weekly appt with my OB. Nothing too eventful, just the usual urine sample, measure the belly, check the heart beat with the doppler and cervix check. I was 39 weeks and not dilated at all. My OB told me that if I was not dilated by May 1st I would "have to be induced". This made me very upset, being induced was not a part of my birth plan. The terms made me cringe and I started to feel anxious about the thought of it actually happening.
Tuesday April 17, 2018: Nothing too exciting as far as labor is concerned. My husband did get a new truck. He's so excited. I was still working my normal schedule. This week was two 13 hour shifts on Wednesday and Thursday. Those went over well not too strenuous nothing out of the ordinary.
Saturday April 21, 2018: My Birthday! My 31st birthday!!!!!! That morning I was up and at em at about 9:00 am. My mom and I went to the farmers market. We shopped there for about an hour and a half. I was feeling really good. Energized and excited. Birthdays are kind of a big deal in my family so it was a special day. After coming coming home and getting dressed, my husband and I went to a small outdoor community festival by our house. We walked around, talked, and sampled some food and desserts. The weather was awesome. We then went to my dads house so I could get my birthday gift and then we headed to an early dinner with my mom and sister. Around 6:30pm we went to Duck Donuts for a birthday treat/dessert.
Here's where the action started.
Of course the wait at Duck Donuts was pretty long and I started having my first true contractions. My husband and I walked around the building and up the stairs several times to soothe the contractions a bit and it worked. Later that night the contractions were a mixture of Braxton Hicks and real contractions. They were not painful just more uncomfortable.
Sunday April 22, 2018: I took it easy on Sunday. I mostly stayed at the house. My contractions were still coming. Around 12:00pm my sister and I organized my pots and pans cabinet. For some reason I felt it urgent we do this lol. Last minute nesting? Who knows. Thats when I had my first pretty significant contraction. It actually hurt. I recovered well though and we continued on organizing. At 4:00pm my mom, sister, and I went for a walk at the park. We walked about a mile and during our walk, I had 3 moderately strong contractions. To cope I would lean on my mom or sisters shoulder and hunch over to create more room in my uterus. Our doula taught us this. It was very useful. At 6:00pm my sister and I went to my dads house. The 22nd was his 60th birthday. We had made plans to take him out for a seafood dinner. I was still down to go, but he refused and said he had a feeling we just needed to reschedule. Smart man, because at this point my contractions were getting extremely uncomfortable. At 9:00pm I went to the restroom and discovered that my mucus plug had come out. Those things really are huge and look so gross. I then texted my doula and let her know. I took a shower and tried to lay down for bed. That was an epic fail. My contractions were coming sporadically every 20 to 30 minutes. Through out the night I was eating snacks and drinking water. My husband would remind me to use the restroom as well. He really was my foundation throughout our time laboring at home. He used the contraction app to track each contraction and made sure he gave me positive words of encouragement which helped me a ton. With each contraction he would remind me to breath deeply. This was fundamental my entire labor and delivery.
Monday April 23, 2018 2:30 am: At this time my contractions were coming every 5 to 10 minutes. They were at moderate to intense pain scale. It was at this time that we started implementing some of the early labor positions our Doula had taught us. I pretty much begged my husband to have our Doula come over. He convinced me that I was doing an awesome job without her. An hour later I pleaded with him again to call her. He did and she confirmed what he already said and she reassured me that I was doing great and she would come when my contractions were 2 to 3 minutes apart. Working through the contractions I used the pregnancy ball. I would bounce and roll my hips on that while leaning over on the bed. That and leaning on someones shoulders were my favorite positions.
4:30 am: Things had really progressed. My contractions were now 2 to 3 min apart and intense. My husband called our Doula and she was at our house in about 15 minutes. We labored with her at home for about an hour and 30 minutes. We tried several other early labor positions with her and then she said it was probably best we head to hospital. I was dreading the drive because I knew I couldn't move or do any positions to help work through the contractions. Our hospital was about 25 minutes away from our house and I was pretty much miserable the entire time in route.
6:30 am: We arrived at the hospital. My mom, sister and our doula came as well. My husband wheeled us up stairs and my mom moved the car for us. We delivered at Novant Health Matthews and I have nothing but great things to say about that facility and staff. The nurses and staff had phenomenal bedside manners and customer service!
In the exam room, nurse Tanika hooked me up to monitors to check baby boys heart rate. My husband gave her a copy of our birth plan. She looked it over carefully and she checked my cervix. I was thrilled to find out I was 7cm dilated! Knowing that I only had to get to 10cm made me feel confident and hopeful.
We got checked into a room and then my mom and my Doula came up. They started an IV bag of fluids on me to ensure that I didn't get dehydrated. My Doula brought her large birthing ball and we used that along with some cloth contraption she put on the bathroom door so I could lean over and rest my head in my arms during contractions as well.
10:00 am: We continued to labor in our delivery room. I was now in the transition phase of labor. I was now laying on my side on the bed covered in about 5 blankets with a peanut ball between my legs. My body was shaking pretty bad. A rush or influx in hormones can make a moms body tremble or shake hard. I was freezing too, hence all the blankets.
My sister had written my affirmations on a sticky notes for me and my husband had arranged them along the bed rails so I could see them closely. The affirmations and the peanut ball helped me tremendously. When I asked my Doula if I was in transition she said, "Yes and you're almost done! You're doing an amazing job! You're almost finished!"
This was music to my ears y'all! Knowing that transition phase is the most painful and the fact that I was almost done made me so happy. After every contraction I forced my self to smile and to read an affirmation. It sounds dumb, but forcing myself to smile reminded me that with every contraction I was getting closer to holding him in my arms.
11:00 am: I could now feel his head descending and my body was voluntarily pushing him further down. I told the nurse and she quickly summoned my doctor. I was now 9cm dilated.
11:20 am: The bright lights were on. I was surrounded by 6 or 7 people now. It was time to push and I was scared. I closed my eyes. I was told to hold my legs open, keep my elbows out, and keep my chin down all while pushing! I'm a pretty coordinated person and even I struggled.
My doctor demanded I open my eyes and I'm glad she did. Opening my eyes made me feel more present and focused. Four pushes later they were sliding his little body onto my chest and he had arrived! I felt an overwhelming rush of excitement and energy after he was born. I would imagine it to be similar to adrenaline high. I should've been exhausted, but I never felt more alive.
My labor and delivery was everything I wanted it to be. For me, being at peace mentally and learning to relax your body when it wants to be tense helped me get through the most difficult moments. Being knowledgable about the stages of labor and how your body naturally functions during labor and delivery gave me confidence that my body knew what to do and would not fail me.
When I would tell people that I wanted a natural delivery with no epidural, no pain meds, and no induction they laughed. They said, "Ok, you say that now". They doubted me and they told me their stories. While I appreciate opinions of some, I never let doubt sink into my head. I kept a positive mindset and never strayed from the delivery I wanted. I never doubted my own ability to have a natural delivery. All I had was 800mg Ibuprofen after the delivery. Thats it! I had no tearing and very minimal vaginal pain and bleeding. Our bodies are truly amazing!
I feel so honored that I was chosen to be his momma. Our home feels complete now that he's here. Our journey is just beginning and its off to an amazing start.
Thank you to everyone who texted, DM'd, or called and gave me an encouraging word or advice. It is appreciated.
April 23, 2018