By Michelle S., Mother~
I delivered my son, Trey, at DMBC in March 2017. When my husband, Tommy, and I found out we were expecting our next child, we immediately knew we wanted to be under the care of the midwives at DMBC. I was so excited to make our first appointment and be back at the birth center.
The weeks leading up to the birth of my daughter were similar to my first pregnancy. I experienced practice contractions regularly and was starting to worry that I would not be able to distinguish them from actual labor. I went into labor with Trey very early in the morning. I subconsciously thought that this birth would be the same. Each day that I did not wake up in labor, I thought, “well, she’s not coming today!” and carried on with my day. I was really not in a hurry to have her. Yes, the last few weeks of pregnancy are brutal. I was so uncomfortable, sleeping was nearly impossible. My joints ached. I would have to switch sides multiple times during the night because my hips would tighten up. I was really enjoying the one on one time with Trey. It was so special enjoying those last few days together with just the two of us.
From the very beginning of my pregnancy, I guessed that she would come on May 27th, 39 weeks exactly. The day came and I woke up 39 weeks pregnant and I was not in labor. It was Memorial Day and I was tempted to head to the beach with my parents, but did not want to risk getting stuck in traffic on a holiday. Noon came around and I thought to myself, there is still time, I could still have her today. I was optimistic that my guess would be correct!
We had an easy morning around the house and grilled lunch outside on the BBQ. After lunch, I felt tired and wanted to take a nap. At this point in pregnancy, I was trying to nap during the day as often as I could so I was somewhat rested if I went into labor. I went to try and nap around 3:00 pm or so. I couldn’t get comfortable and felt contractions coming and going, they still felt like practice contractions as there was no pattern forming. Unable to sleep, I started timing them around 4:00 pm. I got up and drank a glass of water and hopped in the shower to see if the contractions stopped or got stronger. They were not stopping. At about 5:30 pm, I texted one of my best friends, and fellow birth center mama, that I had been having contractions for the past two to three hours every four to seven minutes, but that they weren’t intense or consistent. To which she responded, “Sounds like labor!” I also thought it was strange because the baby was very active. I thought that she wouldn’t be moving so much if I was in labor. Still not convinced that this was it, I notified my mom that I thought labor could possibly be coming soon and to get her bags ready to come over and stay with Trey. At around 6:00 pm, I decided to call DMBC and let them know what was going on, Jamie asked me a few questions and said I should come in to get checked. I told my mom to come over, but that I was just going in as a precaution. I would probably be back in a little while.
I bathed Trey and did his normal bedtime routine. The contractions were ramping up and definitely taking my breath away. I was trying to time the frequency and length, but I was too distracted with getting Trey ready for bed. My mom arrived at 7:30 pm and we were on our way to the birth center. I took one last picture in my living room before we left, just in case.
Jamie met us the birth center and checked my cervix, she said I was about 5 cm dilated. She already had a bath running and let me know I could get in when I was ready. I was finally convinced that I was in labor now. We sent a text to my mom and gave her an update.
When I arrived at the birth center to deliver Trey, I was 6 cm, and he was born less than 5 hours later. My labor progressed rather quickly, but it could have been faster if I didn’t fight against my body’s natural instincts. Hayley, the midwife that delivered him, explained to me that I stalled my labor because I was resisting the pain. She told me to go with the contractions, rather than fight them. At the time, this did not make sense and I just wanted it to be over with. I was determined this time to really focus on surrendering control.
So now, it was time. Time to sink into labor and prepare to meet my daughter. I was determined to let the pain take over. My body knows what to do, it has done this before, and I need to release control. It was a huge mental game. I had to be in control of my mind and not let my brain fight what my body was doing. I felt most comfortable by sitting at the edge of the bed, holding onto Tommy, rocking back and forth. I cannot sit still in labor, I tried to lay on my side during one contraction and changed positions immediately. I made my way back to the tub, hoping that changing positions would give me some relief. I felt a pop in my pelvis and thought my bag of waters had ruptured, it was now 8:30 pm. The intensity was really growing. I got out of the bath and was holding onto the ladder on the wall. I found a new rhythm by swaying back and forth and then holding onto the ladder, bent over during a contraction. I felt that it was helpful in keeping things moving with gravity playing a part. I still felt as if I was crushing this labor thing, I was drifting off into labor land and moving with the contractions. I could hear Hayley so clearly in my head to “find the top of the contraction and ride it back down. Once you reach the peak of a contraction, it will only get softer. The hard part of that contraction is over.”
I felt like I had been in labor for so long and was hoping I had made significant progress. Jamie checked my cervix again and I was dilated to 7 cm, it was now 9:30 pm. I asked to start the nitrous oxide. I tried to start inhaling the nitrous 30 seconds before the contraction so that I would have the full effect at the peak of the contraction. Sometimes, it worked. I remember sitting in the tub and Jamie asked how the nitrous was and I responded with a snarky comment of “it still hurts.” I was so exhausted and still thought I had a ways to go before meeting my baby. I felt like giving up. I was later reminded by Tommy that giving up was not an option. Labor isn’t something you get to change your mind about. Luckily for him, he did not remind me of this in the moment.
Jamie offered to check my cervix, so I stood up to get out of the tub. I had one leg in the tub and one leg on the stool right outside and I suddenly felt the urge to push. I never had the urge to push with my son, so this was a very new feeling. I immediately knew the baby was coming out, now. Jamie quickly checked and could feel the baby crowning. She only had one glove on and called for the nurses in the hallway to come in the room.
Still standing hunched over the bed, I pushed one time and her head started to come out, I screamed out in pain. Jamie reeled me back in and instructed me to wait to push again during the next contraction. I was not successful in getting her out during the next push, so they flipped me onto my back on the bed. I pushed again and her shoulder and the rest of her body were out, it was 10:13 pm. Jamie placed her on my chest. I didn’t hear her cry right away and quickly asked if she was breathing, they gave her a quick pat and then I heard her cry and my whole world stopped. I did it, again. I immediately came back into my body and was in awe of this precious girl I just gave life to. She looked exactly like her brother! The team left us to bond with our new baby. The golden hour with my new baby is something I will never forget. The nurses came in routinely to check our vitals and my bleeding. My bleeding was still heavy, so I was given a shot of pitocin and later a shot of methergine. Thankfully, this worked. I was going to be so sad if I had to be transferred to the hospital after delivery for bleeding.
We were cleared to leave the birth center at around 2:30 am, so we headed home.
I tried to get some sleep, but woke up when Trey was up at 6:30 am. My son woke up a big brother and has been obsessed with his little sister ever since.
You can read Trey’s birth story here.