There is absolutely no birth video on the planet that can prepare you for the actual rite of childbirth, let alone natural childbirth. Yeah you read all the articles on the stages of labor, your friends give you their experiences but the only way to really know….. is to walk through that ring of fire for yourself. WARNING: contains graphic explanations, this is a birth story.
I was just one day shy of being 41 weeks pregnant. It seemed like an eternity. I had been having contractions for weeks and was growing impatient and at times defeated at the thought of suffering contractions without any progress towards getting my baby. I started to loathe the thought of going out in public and doing our normal activities. The moms at dance class and gymnastics would surely ask me “You’re still pregnant?” to which I really wanted to reply…. “Well this isn’t a soccer ball folks!” I would just smile and tell them he or she was still baking.
On Saturday we had bought one of those exercise balls or birthing balls. I had heard they help with with early laboring positions and they may induce labor. I was literally trying everything. They had swept my membranes at 40 weeks and I just bled a bit and got a lot of cramping. We tried all the natural ways to induce labor: acupressure, nipple stimulation, exercise and spicy food. Sex was a fun one that we practiced on multiple occasions just in case we did not do something right. My weekend plans consisted of bouncing up and down on my birthing ball and rubbing my nipples to get this baby moving. The hottest Saturday night I’ve had in a while.
Sunday I woke up around 5 am having contractions. I commented the night before that I hoped to go into labor so I wouldn’t have to go to church. Everyone would ask me about the baby. Ryan said even if we don’t go, they will ask still ask just via text. I timed my contractions and they were every five minutes. I waited before I alerted anyone since this had pretty much been happening for the past two weeks. The only thing that was different was an increase in pressure down in my nether regions followed by me peeing blood-tinged urine also called the “bloody show.” I got extremely excited and texted our neighbors to come get the kids. My midwife said to let her know in an hour of any changes. An hour came and my contractions were still the same. My daughters woke up about that time and my contractions had spaced out. These contractions felt different but they had stopped as soon as I started moving around for breakfast. We decided that we should stay home from church and have our neighbors take our kids for the day. I was sure today was going to be it and I needed to concentrate on relaxing and getting my mind right.
After the girls left Ryan and I took a 2.5 mile hike with the dogs in the creek. My contractions continued along with pelvic pain. I was definitely in early labor. I practiced my J-breathing, imagining pushing my baby out with every inhale and exhale I took. I was starving when we got back from our walk and Ryan read that I should take a relaxing bath and try and rest. We decided to Netflix-and-chill the rest of the afternoon. I had fallen asleep. Around 5pm I was awaken by some of the worst contractions I’ve had. We were getting closer, I was in active labor. These contractions made it harder to walk. I still was not completely sure since I didn’t feel pain in my back. I asked my mom to pick up the girls at 6:30pm and bring them home for dinner. Around 7:30 contractions were full on intense and frequent. I texted my midwife about an hour later and she called during a contraction and decided to meet at the birthing center about 10:30pm.
We had just enough time to tuck the girls in and get a few last things ready. The pain had gotten more intense and I had to wait for a contractions to pass before I walked into the birthing center. They examined me and I was 7-8 centimeters dilated. Hallelujah!!!! It was time to rock and roll.
They started an IV since I was GBS positive which caused me to throw up probably dilating me to 10. I wanted to pee and laboring on the toilet seemed to be the worst. I made a last minute decision to get into the tub. I was so glad I did. I had maybe three or four contractions before I felt the need to get on all fours in the water to get more comfortable. A few more contractions passed and I felt like I needed to take a gigantic dump, this was it. You know those sounds in birthing videos that sound extremely horrible and unattractive and you swear you will never make those sounds. I had no control over the sounds coming out of my body. My sister said I kept saying it feels like I need to shit! I don’t remember saying that but it is exactly what it felt like. I’ve heard the midwives tell me to let my body do the work and I could hear Ryan tell me breathe out the contractions. The pressure was intense but also a relief with every push. I wanted to stand but they would not let me since I was in a slippery tub. Then I felt it the ring of fire. The baby was crowning. I concentrated on this push, and didn’t even make a sound knowing that this would be the worst of it. I faintly heard them tell me…. “Ok Venice, you are about to catch your baby,” I reached down and felt her head and hair in the water. I got so excited I was ready to push her out. They had to tell me to wait for the contraction. Another push and she was out. I felt her leave my body from behind me and I flipped over immediately to greet her. I saw the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and I was so overcome with concern I started to help pull it off. Ryan stopped me and told me to let them handle it. As soon as she was free they laid her on my chest, I heard a faint cry and she started to look around without another peep. I decided to try and make her cry just to be sure she was fine. She was so quiet. They said that the cord will wrap around the baby because they twist as they birth and it is usually not life threatening I didn’t even check the gender because I was so nervous about the cord. We had our third girl! We are so blessed. I had given birth within an hour an a half of getting to the birthing center.
We welcomed Baby Norah Margaret Sunday March 3, 2019 at 11:51 pm. It was amazing and euphoric. The pain of child birth melted away the second that baby was in my arms.
They checked the baby’s stats and monitored our vital signs for the next four hours. Ryan and I fell asleep with the baby between us. They woke us up a short time later and said after they go over discharge instructions we could leave. We drove home at 4 am, the air was cool and crisp and it was like we were floating on a cloud through the streets. We were away from home for less than six hours. I was so excited to get into my bed. The girls would wake up to a new baby sister. We were so excited and exhausted.
I wanted this birth to be different. I’ve grown leaps and bounds in my faith and mindset that I truly felt empowered to complete something that my body was truly made for. I also was encouraged by my little sister whom had a home birth with her daughter a little over two years ago. I saw how truly miraculous it was for her and I wanted the same thing for myself. My sister truly impresses me with the strength and confidence she had during her first pregnancy. I would definitely choose birthing naturally at a birthing center or at home if we had another child.
I could have only gotten through this with my husband. His preparation for this birth was so awesome. He learned all about the stages of labor, natural birthing and even made laminated sheets of laboring positions. My husband also made sure my nutrition was in check by researching the best prenatal vitamins and the best foods for receiving the proper nutrients needed for growing a baby. He is truly amazing and takes care of me physically, emotionally and spiritually. Without him I would not be on this side of wonderful.
We are both very thankful to my midwives from The Addice Birthing Center. They made our journey of having Norah magical and sweet. We will be forever grateful for their knowledge and encouragement through my entire pregnancy.
Love and Blessings,
Venice and Ryan