Laura shares the birth of their first child born in July 2017:
On the morning of Wednesday July 26th, I went to see Corina. I was four days over my “due date” with my baby girl. The past couple weeks had been temperatures of over 90 degrees and baby girl had already dropped. I had that “I’m ready to have this baby” feeling and it was very obvious to most people who encountered me (especially since I did not complain AT ALL my entire pregnancy… until about 38 weeks that is.) Corina (midwife) was going to do another membrane sweep on me (per my request) and start me on some herbs to hopefully get labor started. The night before I had done castor oil. Corina starts the membrane sweep and during it she mentioned to me “your bag is nice and bulgy” and not a minute later, my water broke. Corina was surprised and started apologizing stating how she didn’t mean to do that and she felt awful because of how strongly she believes in informed consent. She told me how that it had never happened before and that usually if a mother’s water needs to be broken that there is a special tool for it and she had never been able to do it with just her hand. I told her that it was fine and I wasn’t upset. I said it probably meant it was going to happen soon anyway and that’s why it happened by accident. She sent me home with some herbs to do and instructions to do them for a couple hours and then nap and then repeat. She also suggested I do the Miles Circuit. I did as she said and went to sleep that night.
My “labor” started at 1 A.M. on Thursday July 27, 2017. That was when I woke up with my first “real” contraction. It wasn’t very strong and so after getting up to pee and drinking some water, I went back to sleep. I woke up again at 4 A.M. with surges coming about every 10 minutes and they were lasting about 45 seconds. They weren’t very strong either, but they were enough to make me grab Mathew’s arm while he was sleeping until they were gone. Every now and then, my grip on his arm would wake him up and he’d ask if I was ok. I told him I was fine and that the surges were getting a little stronger, but that I was fine. He was debating on whether he should go to work or not. I told him it was up to him, that I’d feel bad if nothing happened and he stayed home for nothing. We eventually decided it would be better if he stayed home.
I was scheduled to go to the birth center at 9 A.M. anyway because of my water breaking the morning before when I was at the birth center. I stayed awake and continued having my surges which had gotten to be about seven minutes apart by 7 A.M. and they were getting stronger, so I had Mathew call Corina. She said to come in at 9 like we had planned. At about 7:30 we were getting ready to leave and throwing the last few things in our bag. I was walking down the hallway in our house and had the strongest surge I had all morning. It stopped me in my tracks with how suddenly it came and how strong it was and I leaked a bit of fluid. I went to the bathroom and I had to change my underwear which were soaked from the fluid despite having a pad on. We finished getting ready and got in the car, it was about 8 A.M. at that point. The ride is generally at least an hour from our house to the birth center so I got as comfortable as I could in our car.
The surges were getting stronger and closer together. I had Mathew turn the AC in the car all the way up and I was still sweating. I felt so overheated. The surges were about four minutes apart and lasting about a minute. I had Mathew call Sarah (our doula), and Cheyenne (our birth photographer) to let them know where we were with the surges and that we were headed to the birth center. The surges were getting harder for me to manage with being in a small car and having a long ride even though Mathew was getting us there as fast as he could safely. I started saying my birth affirmations out loud to myself to get my mind off of it and tried to do some of the breathing exercises I learned in hypnobirthing. I also had told Mathew a few times to get me out of the car and to the birth center. We were at that last traffic light before arriving and I told Mathew to call or text Corina that we were there since we would be in a minute and I wasn’t sure if the door was open.
We arrived at the birth center at 8:45 A.M. When we got there Cheyenne were already there and Sarah arrived not long after. Corina checked me and I was about 4-5cm dilated. I told her I felt like I needed to push even though I knew it wasn’t time to. She got a birth ball on the bed and had me get on my knees on the bed and lean over the ball and when I had surges make a low groaning noise. It helped some but at the surges were getting stronger and it was getting more difficult to stay focused on it. Corina tried to do a hip squeeze for me, but it didn’t feel good or seem to help me personally. She wanted me to do a urine sample but when I tried I couldn’t go much. I had to lean all the way back to pee and couldn’t catch the few drops that came out.
Corina had given me some herbs to promote relaxation and Sarah was trying different things to make me more comfortable. She started swaying with me and that seemed to help a lot. There had been multiple times I had said “I can’t” by that point. The surges were feeling so strong and I couldn’t seem to focus enough to use my hypnobirthing breathing a whole lot. It was probably about 9:30 A.M. at that point and Corina said that she usually doesn’t do this but that if I wanted she’d fill the tub for me if I wanted and that it might help. I told her I’d try it and she started the tub. Mathew and Sarah both swayed with me and did some light touch massage to help relax me. Sarah tried to say some of my affirmations to me and have me repeat them, but I didn’t feel like talking much.
The tub is big and took probably 15-20 minutes to fill. I got in the tub on my knees where my belly was in the water and leaned over the edge. They put a cool towel behind my neck because I was still feeling hot. This made me feel much better during my surges and I continued to sway my hips in the water because that helped. After a little bit my surges got incredibly strong and there was no way to stop my body from pushing. I told Sarah and Mathew to go get Corina because I felt there was no way to not push at that point. My body was instinctively pushing and there was no preventing it.
Corina had come in and I told her what I was feeling. She told me to turn so she could check me. It took me and minute to turn due to feeling like I needed to push, but once I did she checked me and said that it was time to have the baby! She checked for the baby’s heartbeat and everything was good. I had sat in the tub with my feet against the other side of it. Corina told me with the next surge to push. I did and screamed some with the first couple of pushes. Corina said with the next push to tuck my chin and push while trying to not tense up and scream. I did that with the next push and it felt more effective. I was feeling a lot of pressure and Corina asked if I wanted to feel her head. I asked her if she had a lot of hair and Corina replied “I’d say so.” I told her I wanted to feel her, but I was worried if I felt her I’d freak out and lose focus. She asked if I wanted Mathew to feel her and I said if he wants to, but he needs to hurry because I needed to push her out.
Corina told Mathew what to do and he felt her head. When the next surge came, I pushed and her head was out. Corina had to tell me to slow down at this point because I was still pushing and she said the squeezing is good for her. When the next surge had come I pushed and our Joanna Grace was born at 10:11 A.M.
Corina had to get the cord unwrapped from around her and then handed her to me and she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Mathew was right there behind me the whole time and I just held her and we both talked to her for a while. It was the most amazing thing. Corina told me that first time moms usually don’t go through labor that fast and she was surprised. She thought we wouldn’t have had a baby until that evening and that I went through labor fast and that’s why everything felt as strong and powerful as it did. I figured that meant Joanna was just as ready to meet us as we were to meet her. Just like that our perfect baby girl was here.
After a while, Mathew cut the cord and I birthed the placenta standing up. Corina rinsed me off. I felt so cold and was shivering at that point. She helped me out the tub and got wrapped in a warm towel. Mathew and I laid in the comfy bed and did skin to skin with our Joanna. Mathew had run and got us food. After a while, Sarah offered to hold Joanna for a bit so we could nap. We tried to get Joanna to latch to nurse, but she wasn’t having it and would just fall asleep. Corina had later done her newborn exam and before weighing her we all tried to guess how much she weighed. Sarah guessed 7lbs 15oz, Mathew guessed about the same, I guessed 8lbs 3oz, and Corina guessed 8lbs 5 oz. It turned out Joanna was 9lbs 8oz and 21 inches long! I was surprised, she looked so little! Sarah came back in the room with me while Corina sutured my 2nd degree tear. We had come back and tried to get Joanna to latch again, but she was still too sleepy. After a few more hours of relaxing and spending time with Joanna, Corina had come in and went over some more stuff with us and we went home around 6 P.M. Baby Joanna latched on once we got her home and nursed like a pro.
It was truly an honor to support this family throughout their pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum!