Sherelle, 27, Bermuda
It all started on Sunday May 20, 2018. I was 6 days overdue. My hubby had woken up early to go to work. All morning I felt a bit “different”. Around 12 pm I started to feel cramping in my lower abdomen. I messaged hubby to say “I don’t feel well”. He finished up his work and came home. As time went on the cramps (contractions) were coming closer together and getting more intense. So he suggested we go for a walk down the hill from our house to the water. Once we got there I put my feet in the water while he went swimming. It felt good, but my intuition was telling me “Yup, today or tomorrow will be the day you meet your little one".
We went home from the water and I laid down on the couch. Contractions still coming and going, but they were not intolerable yet. Hubby cooked dinner and then ran me a nice hot bath. He turned the lights out, lit a candle, and played soft relaxing music for me. After the bath I bounced for a bit on my birthing ball and laid on the couch again.
Around 11:30 pm I decided to call the labor and delivery unit at the local hospital to let them know what was happening. My contractions were now coming between 5-6 minutes apart. Being a first time mother I wanted to call for advice first and to see if they wanted me to come in. The nurse on the line said “Yes, please come in”. We arrived around 11:50 pm. I left my packed bag in the car just in case we got sent home. I’ve heard so many stories of first time mothers getting to the hospital only to find out they are only 1cm dilated and must go home and wait it out.
We arrived to the maternity unit and I was hooked up to the NST (non stress test) machine which measures fetal activity, heart rate, and contractions. The test did show I was having contractions, but the final test the nurse wanted to perform to confirm if I’m indeed in labor was a cervical check. She checked my cervix and I was 3-4 cm dilated. The nurse said to me, “Congrats, you will be admitted as you are in active labor”. Hubby and I smiled at each other. We knew in a few hours we would be meeting the little love of our lives!
I was given a gown to put on and then was transferred to the birthing room. Once in there I was hooked up to the NST again just so they can continue to monitor my babies activity. The nurse then read over my birth plan with me. All was confirmed. She then brought me a birth ball and I bounced on the ball and walked around the ward. Keeping active was written in my birth plan. My birth plan stated:
A mirror to watch the birth
Delayed cord clamping
Immediate skin to skin
I am happy to say I was able to follow my birth plan 100%. For many years I had always said I would like to have a home birth when I decide to start having kids. My hubby wasn’t on board with it so I had to let go of that idea. But I am happy I was able to have a 100% natural birth in the hospital.
So time was moving and I was beginning to feel the intense contractions. Wow this is it! My body is getting ready to bring my baby earth side! I was in painnnnnnnnnnnnnnn, but I stuck with my “No meds mindset". I wanted to allow my body and baby to do what it was made to do. I relied heavily on ice chips and having a cold cloth on my forehead and under my neck. Every time a contraction came my hubby would allow me to squeeze his hand and he would coach me with my breathing techniques, which we had learned in the classes that we had taken. At one point I almost asked for meds. But I would whisper to myself “You can do this! Your body and baby are made for this. You prepared well for this!".
So contractions were getting more intense and now every time I got one I would pull hard on the bed rails or go in the yoga dog pose position. The nurses kept coming in and checking my blood pressure, which was always good. At one point I began to feel nauseous so I told the nurse. She gave me a bucket, which I vomited in. This was all apart of the body clearing out and making way for birth.
Contractions were now very intense. The nurse came in around 3 am and decided to “break my water”. It felt gross with so much fluid gushing out of me. But now I knew things would start to progress fast. Every time a contraction came I would tense up with my whole body shivering and having the need to push. The nurses came in and said, "Go girl! You are a warrior! You're doing so amazing!”.
I felt like a strong woman, yes, but no one can prepare you for that pain. A few minutes later she checked my cervix and said I was now at 7-8 cm and she was going to call my Doctor. She told me to try hard not to push. My body was now pushing on its' own and I couldn’t stop it. The nurse came back and said, “Your Doctor is 10 minutes away, hold tight!”. Soon after that I heard the door open and it was my Doctor. He said, “Hey Mommy! You ready?”. I’m sure I must have looked at him like, “HELL YES! MORE THAN READY!”
The nurse then set up the mirror I requested and we were ready to go. The Doctor told me to put my chin on my chest and only push when I felt a contraction. I felt one coming so I took a deep breath, put my chin on my chest, and pushed as hard as I could. After about 6 pushes I started to see my little one’s head full of hair. I was in the worst pain of my life, but when I saw that head it’s like I was given an extra dose of strength to bring my baby Earth side.
Then I began to experience what they call “The Ring of Fire”, which is pain when your labia and perineum eventually reach maximum stretching. I dug deep and gave one more push and my baby slid right on out and was placed on my chest. Keep in mind we weren’t sure of the gender. My hubby opened the babies legs and we both said, “Oh my God! It’s a little girl!” I was so in shock that I was holding my child in my arms. The most beautiful little girl I’ve ever held or seen. I looked at my hubby and we kissed. Our first kiss as a family of 3. I’m sure I felt like crying, but was just so in love and in shock. Later, my hubby told me he shed 2 tears. He made it clear that it was only 2. Lol! He doesn’t really like to show his emotional side.
Baby girl was placed on my chest and instantly started to breastfeed. Wow! Nature is so amazing! I’ve always had a strong appreciation for nature, but experiencing giving birth truly confirmed why. I had a slight tear so baby nursed while I was stitched up.
The nurse took her away from me about a half an hour later to weigh her etc. She weighed 6lbs 13oz. Healthy weight, but still felt so tiny. They put her in a warmer for about 20 minutes to regulate her body temperature. I was now a mommy and so in shock! I felt so proud!
Giving birth has made me feel powerful and strong. When it became too much to handle I would whisper to myself, “You’ve got this. You’re strong. Your body is made for this. Your baby knows what to do.” Throughout my pregnancy I stayed positive and read many great books such as:
The Conscious Pregnancy – Shivani Gupta,
The Natural Pregnancy book: Herbs, Nutrition, and Other Holistic Choices – Aviva Romm
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – Ina May Gaskins
During my pregnancy people would often ask me if I was nervous to give birth to my first child. I would always reply as, “I’m not nervous at all. Women are designed to give birth. I started to prepare my body for this 8 years ago when I joined a gym and started to eat healthy”. Everything we set out to do in life is navigated by our mindset. I stayed positive during the entire journey. Would I do it all over again? The answer will always be, YES!
Everyday I look at my little girl, kiss her, and tell her that I love her. Parenting is one of the hardest, yet most important and rewarding jobs we will ever have. I pray to raise her the best way I can. Thank you to my parents! I feel that they have done excellent with me and so I will try my best to be even better with my little girl.
Amaiya, born May 21, 2018. A love like no other. It's hard to put into words the love I feel for this little person. It is now 7 weeks later and I finally feel like I’ve got this. The first 2 weeks are challenging getting used to parenting and breastfeeding. She’s still exclusively breastfed and I also pump and store milk for her if I have to be away from her for a short moment.
I had read many books during pregnancy, exercised, and ate right all to be able to bring my child into the world as natural and healthy as possible. I was terrified to go the c-section route and having a needle jabbed in near my spine (epidural), but I knew I had to keep an open mind because giving birth, especially for the first time, can be unpredictable. For the safety of my baby, if interventions were needed, I had to be open to it. My OB mentioned that I was so amazing giving birth that I could have been on a documentary. *No judgement to other’s who have turned to the medicated route*.
I feel encouraged to share my story so I never forget it and also to inspire someone else who may be terrified of giving birth naturally. It’s not as bad as you’ve seen in the movies.
We’ve got this Mamas!
May 21, 2018