My water broke one morning after having a nasty cold for a few days. With that, came sporadic and very mild contractions for that whole day. I went about my day, mentally preparing, eating, and resting. I was excited but also scared. I was able to get a couple of hours of sleep before I spent the entire next day laboring. It gradually increased in intensity, each time taking so much energy out of me. I called my doula Amy and asked her to come over and we spent time chatting, hanging out, timing my contractions, and frequently changing positions. I practiced my breathing techniques and remembered the affirmations. But what surprised me most was the pain of each contraction, coming and going like a wave that submerges you underwater. Childbirth was going to be very hard work.
At about 9pm, my midwife Tiffanie came, and I started to cry the way kids do when their mothers recognize and acknowledge their pain. With my whole birth team- my husband, doula, and midwife, I knew that real labor had started. I tried to get in the tub, but I could not relax my pelvic floor, and ended up sitting on the toilet and emptying my bladder and bowels. I grunted, cried out, and even screamed with each contraction that seemed to never end. I had lots of negative thoughts come up and had to face my personal demons.
At this point, I was afraid to actually give birth because that meant the pain would increase and I honestly felt that I couldn't, and didn't want to do it. I kept crying out, "I can't!!". My husband was the biggest help then, completely validating my feelings yet encouraging me to be positive and embrace this event. My team cheered me on the entire time, but I stalled for a time while sitting in positions I knew would not get the baby to come.
Tiffanie instructed me to lay on my back and begin to push with my legs in squatting position. I was so completely exhausted that I felt close to passing out. Amy fed me some honey and it gave me the extra energy I needed. Finally I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and felt inspired to get to the finish line. I think I even cracked a joke then. With each push, my baby was closer and closer to coming out, and what really assured me was Tiff feeling my baby's head and letting me know how much closer I was to pushing her out. When I touched my baby's head I was so encouraged and so proud of myself that I just wanted to push and push, even though I knew I would tear.
As my baby came out I heard her cry. My husband and I grabbed her and put her on my chest and all I could say to my daughter was "Hi." That moment was not sunny and blissful like I had imagined, but it was raw, intimate, and full of disbelief. "Is this happening?" "Did I really grow this in my body?". After delivering my placenta, I had quite a bit of bleeding that was stopped with some massage and a pitocin injection. I moved to the bed and started to nurse her, which was a totally new sensation, but felt natural. Through this experience I learned that "natural" does not mean easy. Natural means feeling everything the way they were meant to be felt, including the highs and lows. Of course I had moments where I wished for pain meds, but overall I'm very grateful for my natural homebirth experience. "