9/1/19 – It was Sunday, the day before Labor Day. I went to the grocery store to get supplies to make freezer meals the following day since Brian and I both had off work. The lightning crotch at the store was UNREAL. I had been having it here and there, but it was to the point that I wasn’t sure I would even be able to walk in the store. I should have known something was going to happen.
At 11 PM Brian and I went to bed, and I started having contractions. They felt different from the Braxton hicks contractions that I had been having off and on for weeks. I wasn’t sure if it was the real deal or not but they were coming every 10 minutes very consistently. We laid down and closed our eyes. Brian had his hand on my belly, neither of us could sleep because we kept waiting for the next one…all the while thinking they would stop and it would be a false alarm.
Then at 12AM, my water broke. I heard a pop sound and all of a sudden I was leaking amniotic fluid all over the bed. That was the moment we knew our baby was going to be coming. It was super exciting! I went to the bathroom to make sure the fluid was clear. It was! No meconium for this gal! Hurray! I had hoped my water would stay intact as I knew contractions would be less painful with a cushion of water. But, it was what it was. I called my midwife and doula. The plan was to try to go to bed and sleep as much as possible and see how I was in the morning.
Contractions were consistent through the night, I would doze in between. Brian slept. I labored in bed as long as I could then about 5 AM is when things started to become more painful and laying down was no longer an option. I needed to move and breathe to cope.
At 7 AM on 9/2/19 I called my midwife again, she wanted me to come in around 11 AM or so but it was my final call on when we would arrive. I wanted to make sure that I was at least 4cm dilated before we went so I would be admitted right away. Contractions were coming every 3-5 minutes but only lasting 30-45 seconds. We wanted them to be coming that often but lasting a minute. So Brian and I walked around our neighborhood to try to get things going. Then we got out the manual breast pump at the suggestion of our Midwife to help get things going.
At this point, my doula arrived at our home and had me do a couple of positions to make sure Olive was in a good birthing position. Some of these moves made contractions much stronger and longer, which was good!
We left our house around 1 PM and arrived at Fairview Hospital at 1:30 PM. I had around 5 contractions while en route. I was in the backseat, on all fours with my head resting on a pillow. We arrived at the hospital, my midwife is already there to meet me. She checks me and I am 4cm and 90% effaced! This is amazing news!! They did a 20-minute strip to make sure Olive’s heart rate was good and then I was admitted to the 4th floor – their natural/unmedicated birthing floor. It had been my plan to have an unmedicated birth. I have many reasons for this, but I want to share those at another time in another post 🙂
We got into the room and set up my comfort items: lights, fake candles, my affirmation cards etc. At this point, I had been laboring for around 14 hours. We walked the halls of the delivery ward, my doula had me do some more exercises and positions to help things move along, I rested when I could.
Around 8 PM we started filling the tub. I knew I wanted to labor in the tub but I didn’t want to get in too soon. My midwife was confident that it was time for me to go ahead and get in. The water helped A LOT. You’re virtually weightless, so moving around is easier, the warmth is very soothing. The tub had little footholds so I was able to work with the contractions.
Things start to get a little fuzzy here for me because I was getting tired. I never said “I can’t do this” but there was a point that I remember saying “This is hard” and wondering how much longer it was going to be. Around this time is when they started prepping the table and bed, so I knew the birth team was confident that Olive was coming soon.
My midwife checked me (I didn’t want a lot of checks because I didn’t want to be discouraged if the number was low and I was working so hard) and I was completely dilated and Olive’s head was right there. I got onto my knees and draped my arms over the side of the tub (eventually over Brian) and started pushing. At some point, I got sick and threw up so violently that it forced Olive down. I’m pretty sure I only pushed about 3 more times before she was out!
She came so quick that my doula and midwife almost weren’t ready for her! They thought I had another hour of pushing left. The water was still draining in the tub as hospital policy doesn’t allow you to birth in the water, but Olive was not going to wait. She was born in the water at 12:01 AM on 9/3/19. I was in shock, honestly. I went from feeling like she was never going to come out, to her being in my arms!
25 hours of labor, and my sweet Olive Amelia was here. I did it. And I did it my way. It was truly the most amazing experience of my life.
I am so thankful to Brian who kept me grounded. To my birth team who were a constant supportive presence and made me feel safe, and of course to Olive who’s heart rate was perfect the entire time and she worked with me to be born safely.
My doula is also a videographer and captured our story perfectly. I want to share it with all of you <3
She shoots modestly, so there’s no gore or inappropriate nudity.