I’ve been delayed sharing my story because 1.) keeping a baby alive and 2.) I haven’t felt like I could do the experience justice with my words but here it goes…
I woke up at about 1am with what I had been referring to as “crampy” feelings that had been present since early evening. The kind that make you want to grab your sweatpants and a heating pad. Up until this point I had no signs of pre-labor. I went to one session with the acupuncturist and 24 hours later-bam!- things were happening. I got out of bed and made my way to the couch where I tried to continue to rest. At 3am I decided the waves were getting more intense so I thought I would mix things up and try a bath. At about 4am my husband, Josh, came in to check on me. I told him what was going on and he texted Julie, our doula. She responded immediately and asked Josh to time my pressure waves. They were about 5 min apart. Julie said she was headed over.
At that point I believe I got out of the bathtub, put on a tank top and underwear and went back to the bed. I have to note here that I stressed for weeks about what I was going to wear during my birthing time. I wanted to be comfortable and covered- I was not going to be a naked birther! I had two different birth skirts, bikini tops and coverups. None of those things made it on my body that day. People would tell me this wouldn’t matter or be something I thought about when it was time and they were so right!
I sat on the edge of my bed at 5am and thought I needed to call my mom to start making the 1.5 hour drive to me. By the way I was feeling, I thought surely this baby is coming quickly! 🙂
Julie came over and with her she brought a calming presence into our home. I started listening to my Hypnobabies tracks in bed with her by my side. Josh started filling the birthing tub.
Julie notified the rest of the birth team: Elizabeth and Sarah (my midwives); and Jen, the birth photographer, and they all came over. I remember feeling so comforted when they all arrived. Everything was so relaxed and calm. Nothing at all like what you’ve been taught that birth is and everything you hoped it would be.
I didn’t feel physically able to walk but I tried. I made it a couple of steps down the hall, tried the birthing ball briefly and all movement was unpleasant. I got in the tub where I stayed until I was prune-like. I had no perception of time so when the birth team told me they were leaving Josh and me to spend some time alone, in my head that meant “you have stalled and aren’t progressing, if something doesn’t happen we will transport you”. The team was just giving us the opportunity to enjoy this time privately. And that turned out to be the biggest blessing and my most treasured memory of the day (besides holding baby of course).
I felt very close to throwing up at one point but remember thinking that was a positive sign. The team encouraged me to change positions in the water because I had been pushing and was getting tired. Again, in hind sight I would not have started pushing so early! I remember hanging my arms over the edge of the tub (a position I stayed in for what felt like most of the day) and looked outside from our open French doors. It was raining. The most dreary fall day. Those days are my favorite because they typically give you an excuse to do all of my favorite things: watch tv, nap or read a book. It turned out to be perfect weather to have a baby as well.
My water broke at 12:30pm unbeknownst to me. I was fully dilated and could now do some productive pushing.
I was calm, I was focused, I was determined. I talked to my baby and my body to get it to do what I wanted. I had an amazing experience with my husband during birth that has formed a closeness I only wish that everyone could have during birth. It makes me sad for those that don’t know that it’s possible. I’ve been asked so many times why did I give birth the way I did and without lessening anyone else’s experience, it wasn’t about why I went through the “pain” but more about what I gained through the process. The love. The intimacy. My birth was intense but the beautiful moments I experienced during the process were life changing. I wish that for everyone. I owe it all to my birth team and hypnobabies.
Finally, my mom recommended that I try to get out of the tub and do something different. Who came up with the toilet idea, I don’t know, but praise the Lord for them. I pushed on the toilet which was very productive. I pushed so hard and felt the baby moving down. Was my baby going to be born in a toilet? Sure, why not! At that point, it didn’t matter. My sweet, sweet midwife Elizabeth said to me, “Burgess, if you’d like to have your baby in the tub, I suggest you start moving back that way.” I waddled back to the tub, got in and started focusing on pushing again. This was the first time during the birth that I smiled. A wave of peace came over me, knowing that we were there, the baby was coming and we had done it together. Josh loves to tell me that I started talking to the baby saying, “Come on baby, you can do it, come on out. I’m ready for you”. I got the head out and Elizabeth swiftly guided the shoulders and body out (quickly, which I love her for). Baby went straight to my chest and Josh made the announcement. It was a boy! Our beautiful Hughes was born at 2:32pm on November 6th. He is such a joy!