Darling, don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years.
I’ll love you for a thousand more.
~ Christina Perri
I hadn’t been feeling that great all week. I felt a deep desire to stay close to home. I was 39-weeks pregnant after all.
Then that Thursday morning rolled around. I heard the usual call of my 3-year-old from his bedroom across the hall, “Mommy, are you there?”
I got out of bed and felt something subtly different. Was that my water breaking? I wondered. But I blew it off. I had a lot to do in that one short hour. Deep down I knew that this was probably…the day. The day my 3rd baby boy would be coming into the world. But it was school picture day for my 5-year-old and the first day of gymnastics for my younger one. So I got the boys and myself ready and off we drove to the carpool lane.
I felt a sense of relief after dropping off boy #1 to school. I called my mom and let her know I was heading her way. The midwife wanted me to stop by her office for a visit to do a “labor check.” So I dropped off boy #2 at Nana’s house, left their overnight bags and car seats (just in case), and headed to my appointment.
It was a hot morning – the last of the summer heat still lingering. For whatever reason, I didn’t want to give birth on a hot day. A shift in the weather was coming that night, though. And it was a full moon.
The visit with the midwife confirmed what I already knew. Yes, my water broke. And because my last labor went really fast, they wanted me to head over to the hospital and check-in.
Now this felt incredibly strange. For my first birth, I showed up at the hospital in the middle of the night deep into labor. And with my second birth I was wheeled into the labor and delivery unit ready to push. So to walk myself into the hospital on a bright, sunny morning, pulling my own suitcase and feeling no pain, was definitely a new experience for me.
I called my husband. He’d be there in 30 minutes. My midwife was off that day, so the on-call midwife and student would be there to assist. My doula was out of town, so the on-call doula would be there with me. I felt very emotional about this. What?! You mean my team that I so carefully handpicked wasn’t going to be with me on the most important day of my life!? Just my luck.
Now I would be under the care of women I had never met before. The on-call doula sensed my anxiety about this, and headed to the hospital right away. She turned out to be wonderful and as the day transpired, I quickly learned that having both her and the on-call midwives was completely meant to be. (I am forever grateful for my midwives and my amazing, intuitive, loving doula!)
I checked into the hospital around 10 a.m. I met my doula at 10:30 and my husband arrived soon after that.
And then…the constant monitoring began.
Because this birth was labeled a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section), the hospital has certain procedures they must follow – one of them being the use of a monitor for both the baby and me every hour for 20 minutes. And although I was told during pregnancy that the hospital had four wireless monitors that would allow me to still be mobile, the nurse informed me that, “No one seems to know where those wireless monitors are.” And it was obvious she had no interest in tracking them down. (You can read about my emergency c-section with boy #2 HERE.)
So there I was.
Sitting in a hospital bed. No contractions. And being monitored and tested on and off throughout the day. My frustration level started to rise. Had this birth not been a VBAC, I’d probably be having a home birth. I felt comfortable with my decision to have my baby in a hospital again. But with the constant monitoring and broken expectations I was starting to feel defeated. (I was also told during my pregnancy that I could labor in the big soaking tubs, but now that I was a patient of the hospital they informed me that they don’t allow it for VBAC’s.)
I did not want to fight. I knew I needed my energy for what was yet to come. And I was determined to create a peaceful space for my son’s entry into the world.
So I used my voice.
“Can every please just leave me alone? I need to be left alone for the next 30-minutes. I need time to connect with my husband and my baby.”
And that’s when the shift happened.
I felt a sense of empowerment. I was speaking up for myself and the needs of my baby. I needed quiet. I needed space. I needed dark. I needed to connect. I needed to be left alone.
Around this same time a powerful thunderstorm rolled in. I love rain and this instantly brought me a new sense of energy and strength.
My birth vision board gave me the reminders I needed to focus my mind. My birth music set the tone and created a vibration for my spirit. The connection to my husband and baby brought everything else into alignment. And meditating quietly and alone in the dark helped me enter the zone.
After many natural attempts to jumpstart my contractions, the midwives suggested Pitocin. I immediately refused. I remember with my first birth, I received Pitocin after a long unmedicated 27-hour labor. It eventually led to an epidural and I felt some sadness that I never got to feel my baby come out. I did not want that to happen again. This is my last chance to birth my baby naturally, I thought to myself. They are not taking that away from me.
I put them off a few more hours, but for anyone who has birthed a baby in a hospital, you know that once your water breaks they start counting the hours. They really don’t like going past the 24-hour mark, and it had been over 12-hours since my water broke early that morning.
Finally, after still no signs of labor, my doula told me to think of the Pitocin as “a tool.” She explained that they would start it on the smallest dose, and then turn it off when contractions got going. For some reason, thinking of it as a tool put me at ease. Again, I didn’t want to fight. And I intuitively knew that I was in the right mental and spiritual place. I was ready. I agreed to the Pitocin at around 9 p.m., and shortly after the initial dose, my labor began.
I had now entered my sacred birth space.
I experienced intense labor for about 4 hours. I was supported by my amazing husband and doula.
I was completely present. I went totally inward. I remember occasionally reaching for my husband’s hand. Just feeling his presence helped immensely. I kept my eyes closed the entire time. I felt so connected to this baby and I could feel him swimming into position with each contraction. In between contractions, still keeping my eyes closed…
I was smiling.
Seriously. I felt bliss.
After 2 incredibly different, special births, that moment had arrived. That moment where I felt my baby traveling down with each push. Again the feeling of bliss came over me in the space between the pushing. The phrase, “I’m not scared anymore,” played over and over again in my mind. (Thanks to the inspiration of my oldest son, his ability to face his fears helped guide me through this birth. You can read more about that HERE.)
It was an absolutely incredible experience. There are so many memories I will never forget – memories so meaningful and sacred that they will forever live within my heart and soul.
After 30-minutes of pushing, my baby was in my arms. Relief, happiness and love poured over and through me, and poured over and through us all.
We did it! We did it…together.
The wait is over. Grayson is here. He is healthy.
I am so very happy.
I’ve had my share of laughter and tears these past 6-weeks.
My heart is big and wide open.
I’m not scared anymore. I am totally in love.
And, once again, I am changed forever.
Join us for the November challenge:
It’s fun, easy and free! Simply thank one person in your life every day in November. Let me know if you plan on giving thanks this month, and I’ll add your name (and blog if you have one) to the list of participants.
It’s not too late – join in the challenge anytime during the month of November!
*Please note: I’m taking a break from blogging to learn this mom-of-three balancing act, but I’ll return soon to let you know my 2014 e-course schedule!
**Photos by my love, Chris Duh.