My little munchie turns one today! In honor of her entry into the world last year, and the day that I became a mother, I’m going to share the story of her birth.
I woke up at 4:30am last June 1st to a contraction. I wasn’t sure if this was the real thing, but after three or four more waves, I got out of bed. I decided that I wanted to be alone for a while, so I let Eric sleep. I headed to the living room to bounce on my birth ball and listen to the Birthing Day Affirmations track. Secretly, I had been so excited just to listen to the “forbidden until you go into labor” recordings from the Hypnobabies program that I had been working with for months. Haha! Well, I was also pretty excited to have a baby too, I suppose!
So I peacefully bounced on the ball for a while, chanting my mantra of “open” over and over. I focused on relaxing into the pain, inviting it instead of trying to escape it. This pain would bring me my child, so it was welcomed. This is what I had been practicing my deep relaxation for. The time was finally here. I would be lying if I said that there wasn’t a part of me that was a little bit nervous about just what I was going to have to face before my baby arrived. But I felt calm at the same time, I really trusted that my body knew how to do this and that everything was going to be fine.
Things began progressing, each wave was getting stronger, so I woke Eric up at 5:30 or so. My midwife, Mary, had reminded me about a million times (with love, of course!) that it was important to eat during labor to keep my strength up. I tried to eat, but it wasn’t happening. We called Mary to give her a heads up that things were moving. She told my husband that it was still early and we could just stay home for a while, but to cometo the birth center whenever I felt ready. In the meantime, I was pacing the house. Movement really helped me to stay focused, and it just felt good. I kept a hot compress against my low belly while I paced, and I even went and stood in the shower a few times. The water felt amazing, it was such a relief!
At about 7, I tried to eat again. I managed a few bites before the waves were coming so close together that I didn’t have time anymore. I was starting to get worried, because it had only been three hours since the start of labor, and I knew that with this being my first child, it could go on for a very long time. I thought to myself, “If this is early labor, I might really be screwed…” Finally, I told Eric that even though everyone seemed to think we should wait, it was time to go to the birth center. I knew that, if things got any more intense, I would never be able to handle the car ride there. We timed my contractions right before we left, and they were coming 2 minutes apart! I put my headphones on with a Hypnobabies track playing, and we were on our way.
We arrived at the birth center at 8 am. Mary checked me (the only time she did) and started filling the tub right away. She told me I was dilated to an 8 already. Wow! I was really surprised. (Once it was all said and done, she did tell me that I was actually fully dilated when she checked, but she didn’t want to say so. That was actually really perfect, because I was trying so hard to stay focused on the moment and only deal with one wave at a time. It was challenging to do, because my mind wanted to focus on how much time I had left, and hurry things up. Knowing that I was so close to the end would have made that a lot more difficult.) Once I got into the tub, I retreated into my own world. Every bit of focus was on staying calm and breathing through the experience, relaxing into the pain and allowing my body to progress. I was aware that there were people around me, but not in the usual way. It was like everyone was speaking to me through a wall, and while I felt their total support, I also felt alone. Not in a lonely way, but just from the sense of being totally enveloped in an experience that none of them could share. At some point, Eric got into the tub with me so I could lean on him to hold myself up. The feelings in my body started to change, and I just began to push. At first, I was afraid, but I just kept reminding myself to follow what felt right, to stay with the experience. I kept telling myself not to get too excited because it would still be a while before the baby was born. Then Mary told me to reach down, and I felt the baby’s head! Even then, I was still thinking I had a ways to go. The next push, her head was out! She came out with her eyes open. (Very appropriate, now that I know her personality. This girl doesn’t want to miss a thing!) One more push, and Mary was handing me my baby!!!
As I held her on my chest that morning, I can remember thinking “That wasn’t so bad, I could do that again!” Now, after a year of not sleeping, I’m happy to wait a little longer for a second baby… Either way, the last year of my life has been shaped by getting to know this tiny little person, and it has been amazing. She is teaching me so many important lessons, and I am so very happy to be in her life.