I wrote this today for myself, to celebrate Isla turing one. (!!) But then I figured, why not share it? I loved reading birth stories when I was pregnant. Please enjoy!
Isla’s due date was 2/14/15. I was having contractions every night for a week before she arrived. I would get in bed at night, sometimes having to breathe through the contractions, wondering, “Will I have her tonight?” But every morning I would wake up, and another day of waiting would begin.
At my 40-week appointment, my midwife (Kathy Hindle) informed me that I would need to start going into the hospital for non-stress tests at the 41-week mark. I needed to go in for one roughly every other day until Isla arrived. I was nervous about reaching 41 weeks, because I didn’t want to go in for these tests, and I didn’t want the hospital staff to wonder about an induction.
Forty-two weeks was also a date I was dreading. At 42 weeks, Kathy would recommend castor oil for induction (rough), because at 42 weeks, I could no longer have a homebirth.
I kept going to acupuncture almost every day, I was still swimming at the YMCA, and I was just hoping I would go into labor soon.
2/22 was a Sunday. I was 8 days over my due date, and I was planning to go to the hospital for an NST that afternoon. My mom and stepdad were planning to come over for a visit with Ava. By 7:00 am, I was having some contractions, but I didn’t believe that it was “real.” So I got into the shower to try to relax. I found myself actually swaying in the shower, or “laboring.” I called down to Jon and told him that it might be real.
There had been a lot of snow that winter, including a big storm a few days before. Jon bundled Ava up, took her in the backyard, and he shoveled the driveway and walk for the midwives and my doula. I called my mom and told her I might have the baby today. But I still wasn’t sure. I called my doula (Lori Daley), and she said it sounded like I would have the baby today. I also called Kathy, who told me the same.
I went downstairs, greeted my parents, had breakfast, and hung out with Ava. I sat on the yoga ball and bounced and breathed through contractions. They quickly started getting more intense around 9:00 am. I found myself unable to talk to everyone, and I was getting pretty antsy.
I called Kathy and Lori around 9:30. I remember saying to Kathy, “The last hour has been pretty intense.” She must have heard it in my voice, because she said, “I’m on my way,” and hung up the phone! My stepdad went home, and my mom stayed with Ava (she brought her overnight bag, thankfully, since she was staying with us for a week).
I made my way up to our bedroom where everything was set up for the birth. I rested in bed for a bit and tried some different positions. Jon started filling the tub. I barely remember Kathy, Alison, Kara, and Lori coming in. I remember hearing them greeting my mom and Ava, and quietly making their way up the stairs. I think I was already in the tub when they arrived. I was laboring pretty seriously at that point. They helped me take sips of water, massaged my legs, hips, and back, but otherwise they barely uttered a word.
After a bit in the tub, I remember Kathy encouraging me to change positions. It took me a while to move, I kept saying/thinking, “after the next contraction.” But they were coming pretty steadily and pretty intensely. I vomited at one point, but only once, and they gave me a homeopathic remedy for nausea. I also remember telling everyone how much I hated this and how stupid I was for not getting an epidural -- that gave everyone a laugh. I must have been getting close to (or in) transition.
All the while, Alison kept listening to Isla’s heartbeat. She was low (yay!), and doing great.
I got out of the tub and tried to labor on the toilet for a bit. I knew that was a good place to be, but I hated it! So uncomfortable. I didn’t last long there. I climbed into bed and leaned on the birth ball and Jon at times.
Kathy told me that at some point soon, my water would break. I would hear a pop, feel the fluid, feel intense pressure, and then likely she would be born soon after that. That’s exactly what happened. I was laying on my left side. I asked her if I should/could start pushing, and she said, “push when you feel like it.”
All of a sudden, I had to push! It was undeniable. I pushed with a few contractions. They encouraged me to pant so that I wouldn’t push her out too quickly, and that my body would have a chance to slowly open up. This was hard, but it worked so well. After a few minutes, her head was out. One contraction later, and she was fully out.
(I remember during pushing that Ava was waking up from her nap, and her and my mom sounded so happy. It was a sweet sound to hear as Isla was being born.)
Jon caught Isla and handed her up to me. I still get chills/tears thinking of that. I remember someone saying, “she’s big!” Then I just remember holding her to my chest, feeling the whole weight of her body and snuggling her. I was euphoric -- that she was finally here, and that labor was over. It was around 2:30 pm.
I was holding her, and we were loving her. She nursed right away. And not like a newborn, like she was a pro!
She had her newborn exam. We all guessed at her weight, and laughed, when she was 10 pounds, 5 ounces. I ate a peanut butter and banana sandwich, while Kathy tended to some stitches on my bottom (I don't know why, but I love that detail!). I drank so much, I ate so much, and I was cozy in my bed.
The midwives cleaned up everything and me. Once I was cleaned up, my mom brought Ava up. I remember seeing their faces so vividly. My mom was full of joy and emotion, and tearing up. Ava was surprised, confused, and really interested to see what was going on. Then she saw Kathy, and was elated -- hahaha!
Isla gave Ava a stuffed dragon. Ava was happy to snuggle in with us for a few pictures.
We ordered sushi and had a feast. Everyone went home happy and peacefully. Isla snuggled into bed with us, and slept on my chest or by my side for the next 10 months.
I spent the next three weeks “bedding in” with Isla. It was bliss. Jon, my mom, my aunt, and my mother-in-law all took care of Ava and me. Ava would come up to play and for snacks. I remember food tasting so good and eating so much, and feeling so happy and at peace. I was so cozy. I would wake up and nurse, hop in the shower, get back in bed, nurse, nurse, nurse, let her snooze on my chest, watch netflix, read books, eat, snooze, play with Ava, until the end of the day, when we would turn out the lights and tuck in each night.