By Taylor R., Mother ~

This is the birth story of our sweet Finley Rose. She was born on January 2nd, 2018 at 8:39 pm, weighing 7 lbs. 4.4 oz. and measuring 20.75 inches – changing our world in an instant forever!

birth storyWe thought we were going to have a Christmas baby, just like her Papa…our technical due date was the 27th of December. Next thing we knew it was New Year’s Eve, and still no baby…we were sure she wanted to come on the 1st day of the year. We went to get the famous “birthing salad” at Pizza Caioti in Studio City, (that’s claimed to induce labor within 24-48 hours), and spent New Year’s Eve with our dear friends, the Morrisons, who also had their baby just two months earlier at Del Mar.

birth storyWe rang in the new year together, having fun eating the “induction salad” and doing labor induction pressure points and baby belly massage! On New Year’s Day we woke up, with still no sign of baby to our curiosity and surprise. We went to pick up lunch that day and noticed that everything was closed for the holiday and decided our baby girl wanted her own special day to be born. We were right. The very next morning, on January 2nd, I woke to mild cramping, and went to the bathroom and proceeded to throw up! I thought that could be a good sign, but also didn’t want to get my hopes up, thinking it could just be pre-labor signs. It was about 8:30am, and my partner, Steph, wanted to start timing my mild cramping “just for fun”, so we started observing. He reported that they were coming consistently every 15 minutes, but they were so mild that I was still in denial, thinking this could last for days.

We had some breakfast and proceeded to just chill and relax at home throughout the day continuing to time them and by 5pm my cramps had become much more substantial and were now 4 minutes apart. We knew it was happening! Things were getting exciting! Steph told our doula to come over. As we were waiting for her to arrive, I got into the tub around 5:20pm to keep “relaxing” as the contractions intensified. Steph handed me a glass of red wine (as we had been taught in birthing class) but I was in no mood to drink it, haha it was game time and I was totally in the zone now focusing on getting through each wave of contractions.

I noticed that my contractions were actually speeding up to every couple of minutes! Steph and I were concerned. We had been told that the bath could slow them down a bit, but this was not the case, it felt like I was on a fast moving train now – my baby was on her way and it was happening! By 6 pm my contractions were becoming even more intense so Erin, our midwife on call, asked us to send a video of me going through one, and after seeing that she said, “Come in right now!” By this time it was 6:15 pm. We collected ourselves as quickly as possible, and dashed out of the house!

I had started feeling pretty woozy at this point, reluctantly getting into the car, and before we had even left our street, we had to stop and pull over because I felt like I was going to throw up. At that point I felt that we had waited too long, and I just wanted to go back inside the house and birth my baby! Apparently I refused to get back into the car, saying that my baby was coming and that it was too late. Steph sternly told me to get back into the car! Haha and I decided he was right even though my body said otherwise and I was dreading the long 45 minute drive.

We pulled onto the 405 freeway to find a parking lot of red lights, with horrific rush hour bumper to bumper traffic. I was even more convinced at this point that we just needed to go back home to birth. I told him to either take me home or drive along the side of the road. I didn’t care if we got pulled over, I was in labor and would be birthing in the car if we had to sit in that traffic! So he opted to drive on the shoulder of the freeway LOL, all the way to Pasadena! I was laying down in the back seat the whole time, focusing on getting through my now extreme contractions, so I didn’t get to see the spectacle but I sure could hear the honks! Especially when he drove up on the sidewalk once we had exited for Del Mar! Lol

We whirled into the back parking lot where we were immediately greeted by Erin’s calm smiling face. I remained on my side in the back seat with her out the open door waiting until my current contraction subsided, and then we rushed inside! By this point it was about 7:30 pm. (Little did we know just an hour later we would be seeing our baby girl for the first time!) Our doula met us there at the birth center, as she had never made it to our house. My reiki master bestie also met us there to assist and support.

Erin checked me right away and to my surprise I was only at 6 centimeters. I felt like I was entering transition quickly as Erin prepared the tub for me. I got into the tub and immediately threw up (into a convenient baggie) all the coconut water I had just consumed. Our birthing room was so soothing with the lights dimmed and my twinkly lights and candles glowing. I listened to my Hypnobabies tracks as well as my kundalini yoga music playlist that I had prepared specially for her birth. The mood was set. I had my birthing team all around me ready to go, it was game time! I got through a few more – five or six deep, intense waves of transition contractions (“like a champ” says Steph) and then looked down and saw that my mucous plug had released! Wow! Shortly after that I felt my body begin to bear down – I was feeling like I needed to PUSH!

Already?! I thought. It seemed so sudden. Erin swiftly checked me and said that I was at 10 centimeters! She called the nurse and head midwife, Margo, to come right away. Before actively pushing, Erin wanted to check our baby’s heartbeat again. She felt that it was lower than she liked to hear, and told me to get out of the tub to my shock and confusion. I had planned on a water birth, but I didn’t question it, following her orders instantly. I could tell she meant business in her tone and clear concern.

As I stood up I could feel my baby descending out of me! I was asked if I could pee quickly and I replied “No she’s coming! Right now!” as I lay down on the bed. Margo came in just as Erin had told me to feel down where my intact caul (amniotic sac) was protruding and pushing out of me! It felt like a smooth, silky water balloon. Margo said to go ahead and break my water. Erin broke it and put her hand up to block the water as it sprayed out of me. Erin quietly said “Meconium” to Margo. It must have just happened from the distress of her shooting down my birth canal so quickly! Thankfully most of my water was still clear! They then listened to her heartbeat again still not liking what they were hearing with the Doppler… telling me not to push yet. After that the energy in the room shifted into a sense of urgency. They said, “We need to get your baby out now” and flipped me up onto all fours, like a horse! (I prefer unicorn) and finally said to “PUSH!!!!!”. I remember hearing Margo, matter of factly say “We may need to help baby breathe when she gets out”. In that moment I went into wild-warrior-mama-bear survival mode and all I could think about was getting my baby girl out to safety. I didn’t even notice or care what I was feeling physically, all I could think about was my baby girl. With all my might I pushed with everything I had in me… so hard…. and with ONE PUSH out she popped!!! Perfect and pink!!! Crying!!! The sweetest sound of relief!!!! We all exhaled with pure joy. It all happened so fast, no one even caught it on camera, except for a very blurry photo. I pulled her out from underneath me and stared down over her (still on allfours!) in total awe and complete wonder and love for her. The feeling is utterly indescribable. It’s simply perfection.

Thank you Del Mar Birth Center for your sacred space. Her birth was so incredibly special and empowering. Powerful and peaceful, full of joy and magic. A unicorn birth. Just as I had envisioned for her. The most sweet, calm, gentle soul I have ever known, that I have had the blessing and privilege of growing inside me all these months. This infinite love… takes my breath away and brings me to tears. It’s so vast and so deep, that it hurts. She’s so precious and so pure, my heart has exploded wide open and never felt more expanded. I’m so grateful and honored to be her Momma, and that she chose me for this sacred gift.