I had been experiencing contractions on and off from 38 weeks pregnant up until birth. I had many times when I thought “this could be it!”, only to find my contractions disappearing. It was rough. The excitement and anticipation was killing me!
When I went in for my 40 week appointment on Wednesday June 1st, the midwife informed me I was 3cm dilated and 80% effaced! She looked hopeful and said it could happen any day! Friday, June 3rd, was officially 40 weeks and I was given the go ahead if I wanted to try inducing naturally by taking castor oil, if I didn’t go into labor on my own of course.
On Friday June 3rd, at 3:30am I woke to mild contractions coming every 5 minutes or so. I had been having these often so I didn’t get my hopes up too high! I tried to sleep, had my morning coffee, and went for my usual 3 mile walk with my momma. I sent my hubby off to work and told him I’d call if the contractions got any stronger. My midwife had told me several times that you will know you’re in labor when you can’t talk or walk through the contractions because you’ll need to concentrate through them. They also need to be 5 minutes apart and continue for at least an hour before heading to the birth center.
During our walk, I found myself wanting to slow down or stop to get through a few waves, but once we got home they started to taper off. By 11:00am I was feeling discouraged and anxious to hold my baby! I decided to call my midwife to get the instructions for taking a dose of castor oil. Yep, I was ready to go for it. I poured 2 ounces shaken up with 2 ounces of orange juice, plugged my nose, and downed the mixture. As I waited, I found out there was a big fire burning on the hillside close to my home. Instantly I felt regret about trying to induce labor! My mind went to the extreme, picturing the chaos of evacuating, hard labor, panicking, and birthing my baby in a car… No big deal right? HAHA. Thankfully the fire was being put out right away and we had no reason to worry about leaving our home. I relaxed for a while until the castor oil kicked in at 1:00pm with a terrible stomach ache and kept me in the bathroom for a good hour. TMI I know. My water broke in a huge gush while (cringe) on the toilet. I was confused and in disbelief that it was actually my water breaking. I went into my bedroom and was telling my mom what was happening all the while my water was continuing to leak down my legs. My mom looked at me and said “Hannah. Your water broke. That’s not pee.” Haha. Contractions were coming back to back, probably every 1-2 minutes and I couldn’t talk through them. I kept leaning onto the bed or against the wall with each wave. My mom realized how far into labor I seemed to be in and we made a call to the midwife. She listened to me go through a contraction or two on the phone and decided we should probably head to the birth center and she’d meet us there. Of course I was scared and desperate for my husband! My mom quickly called him and told him to get home asap, considering he works an hour away! My mom scrambled to get our bags in the car as we waited for my hubs to get home. Finally, at 3:00pm my husband pulled up on our street and got straight into our car, where we were buckled and ready to go!
Driving during traffic hour was a nightmare and I was struggling to focus getting through each contraction. By 3:30pm we made it to the birth center. I remember standing in the tiny lobby, filled with several pregnant mamas, thinking “let’s go! I can’t wait out here for 2 seconds!” It was such a relief to see my midwife open the door and call me back to check me. She told me I was already 7 or 8cm dilated! I immediately turned to my mom with such excitement that I was already so far along! The midwives prepped the birthing room and filled the bathtub for me. Getting into the warm water felt SO good. I labored there for awhile, trying several different positions, having my mom and husband rub my low back, and unfortunately doubting my ability quite a bit. When the midwife checked me again she said I was just about ready to push! Pushing was difficult for me. I never felt the urge that I had heard and read about so much. I pushed in the water, thinking I’d have a water birth, but my midwife suggested I go to the bed and try a different position there. This helped baby move down better and was easier for me to position myself to push. After about an hour of pushing our baby boy was born. It was the most incredible feeling in the world when they lifted him and placed him on my tummy. I could not believe what he and I had just accomplished.
I truly love that I was able to birth at a birth center. I highly recommend it! It was so calm and welcoming. The environment was everything. Low lighting, candles, lavender oil diffused, yoga music playing quietly, and amazing gentle empowering women helping me to relax and trust in the experience. It was wonderful, especially the zero intervention part. No IV, no scared faces, no beeping machine, no routine hurrying, none of those things that I feel would add stress. It was honest and raw and natural. Everything I needed.
P.S. If you are on the west coast, definitely the best idea ever to get In-N-Out burgers and fries after labor and delivery. Best. Thing. Ever.
My advice for pregnant mamas: If you are pregnant (or just dreaming of the day when you are) I hope you enjoyed and felt encouraged by this post! Please, please trust your body and God to birth your sweet babe. Don’t worry. Just read and practice and prepare your body and mind to birth. Avoid the interventions as much as possible. You are strong and you were made (designed even) for birth. Be encouraged.