Guest Post: Birth Story from Melissa

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The Birth of Elodie Elizabeth

9/27/13 12:34pm 6lbs15oz

  Thursday, September 26 at 40weeks 2 days pregnant I woke up and went to the gym. I was extremely hopeful that my labor would begin that day as I went into labor with my first child at 40weeks 2days. I walked two miles on the treadmill while listening to my birthing day affirmations track from my hypnobabies course. Throughout the day, I felt mild contractions and generally crampy, but nothing that could be timed or tracked. I did a final cleaning of my house remaining quietly hopeful. I texted my midwife, Shannon, at around 9:00 to say that my contractions were 5-10 minutes apart and picking up in intensity but not yet painful. She suggested that I stay hydrated and get some rest. I took 2 tylenol PM and went to bed, sleeping in between contractions.   Jean-Jacques lit several candles and inflated the birthing pool and filled it just over halfway. He then lay in bed with me to comfort me through each pressure wave. Throughout the night I also listened to several hypnobabies hypnosis tracks. The hours flew by for me, and at 4am, as my pressure waves became more intense, I decided to take a hot shower. I brought my birthing ball into the shower and enjoyed the heat. I was astounded at the relief that the shower offered me. What I didn’t realize, was that my shower had stalled my labor. When I got out the shower I received a text from Shannon checking on me. I told her that my contractions were 5 minutes apart and lasting about a minute or more. She arrived at my house at 4:45 and checked me. She said that I was 3cm dilated and 80% effaced. By the time she arrived, my contractions had slowed to approximately 10 minutes apart, they were much weaker then they had been and were lasting only 45 seconds. Shannon suggested that I get some more rest and then do some curb walking to get baby into a better position.   I followed her advice, and woke up at 7:30 to intensified contractions. Jean-Jacques and I did some curb walking and things really started to pick up. Shannon came back to my house and checked me at 9am. I was then 4cm dilated. She had a training to attend and was debating on whether she should stay with me or go to her training 30 minutes away. I insisted that she go. After having intensifying contractions throughout the night with such little progress, I was certain that I would be in labor for quite a while.   Shannon suggested that we leave the house to pass the time. I never would have thought to leave the house but it sounded like a great idea to me! She said that one of her other patients was out buying a birthday cake only 4 hours before giving birth. As soon as she said the word cake, I knew I had to have some! We went to breakfast at Denny’s, then to my favorite nail salon to pick up a gift card and finally to a bakery to grab a cake. All the while, my contractions were intensifying. We arrived back at the house at around 11am and upon walking into the house, I threw myself onto the couch to get through the next contraction. As soon as it passed, I decided to that I needed to go back to the shower, even it meant slowing things down once again.   Once again, I sat on my birthing ball, the hot water pouring down my body. I used the soap holder as a handle bar, hanging from it as I relaxed my birthing muscles with each contraction. I attempted several times to labor outside of the shower; I feared that staying in the shower too long would only stall my labor like it had before, but each time that I exited the shower stall; I found that I could only tolerate the building intensity in the confines of my shower. The heat and the movement of the water were a calming force.   I asked Jean-Jacques to text Shannon, and to give her an estimate of how far apart my contractions were and to let her know that they were becoming stronger. He estimated that they were approximately 4 minutes apart, although they were actually much closer. Shannon let us know that she was on her way and would be at our house by noon.   I just KNEW that my labor would last throughout the day and I had a feeling that baby would come at around 4pm. Despite the intensity of the contractions, I had not yet ventured into the birthing pool; I wanted to save that for the last couple hours of my labor. But, after stepping out of the shower for the final time, I practically threw myself into the pool. I decided to wait out what I expected to be, my final four hours there. Jean-Jacques put on his swimsuit and got into the pool with me, coaching me through each pressure wave while my hypnobabies tracks played in the background.   Shannon arrived right around noon as she had expected and entered the bedroom to find me slumped over the side of the pool riding out contractions that were now approximately 30 seconds apart. At this point, the hypnobabies relaxation cue that I had been reciting through each contraction, “peace”, had changed to low guttural moans. Shannon said that they were “good sounds”. I remember thinking… “Good for who??? This is awful!” At some point, Andie, Shannon’s birth assistant walked through my door and into my bedroom. I was truly happy to see her.   Shannon asked how I was doing and I told her that I needed to poo. She responded with “That’s your baby, Melissa.” I was certain that she was wrong… I just REALLY needed to go the bathroom. She told me that I could go ahead and start pushing whenever I was ready. I was utterly floored! I glanced at the clock across the room, thinking, “Is it four o’clock already?!?” During the most powerful contraction that I remember having, I started pushing, I screamed Shannon’s name, searching for relief. She calmly asked, “Yes? What can I do for you?” I turned around and looked at each face in the room, and realized that no one could really do anything for me. I was surrounded with as much love and support as I could ask for, but the only person who could provide the relief that I needed, was me. It was such a poignant and slightly frightening realization. Looking back, I find it to be an incredibly empowering one as well. This is where the beauty of birthing lies: in the realization of our own strength.   I panicked for a moment and cried out that I couldn’t do it. I closed my eyes, and when I opened them, I saw Shannon there. She said, “Melissa, look at me. You can do it. You are doing it. You’re about to meet your baby.” That was all that I needed before I was ready to push in earnest. The sensation that I felt as she started to crown was sweet relief from intensity of my contractions. Despite that sense of relief, I was petrified that I would tear, and was pretty surprised that I didn’t. I delivered her head and rested for a moment before delivering the rest of her body. Jean-Jacques caught her and placed her on my chest. My baby girl was welcomed earthside at 12:34pm after only 15 minutes of pushing. I was so shocked at how quickly everything had progressed!   With the baby in my arms, I moved to the bed where I delivered the placenta. We nursed for the first time, and Elodie latched beautifully. It was such a surreal and beautiful experience, lying in my own bed after having given birth only minutes before. Andie prepared an herbal bath for us and I bathed with my sweet newborn while Shannon and Andie cleaned up any evidence that a birth had just taken place in my home. They helped dry and dress me and once I was back in bed, Andie fixed me piece of the birthday cake that had been purchased only a couple of hours prior to giving birth. Shannon and Andie were gone by three o’clock and we were left to fully enjoy our baby girl, in the comfort of our own home without interruption from doctors or nurses. I couldn’t’ be more grateful for the incredible experience of bringing my baby earthside. I couldn’t have done it without my supportive husband and amazing midwife. I’m so very blessed.

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