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Anne's Pregnancy Journal

Birth Story!


I was very discouraged to find that I was only 3 centimeters when I was checked around 8:30 am. At this point, I really started to struggle. It was harder than I'd thought; it wasn't going the way I'd anticipated/hoped/planned. You might recall I'd prepared for natural birth with HypnoBirthingTM. Heck, I teach it! So, I had made an assumption that I'd be some kind of HypnoBirthingTM poster child with a model labor. This was slower and more work than I thought it was supposed to be. I'm pretty sure I cried at this point. I know I was tired, but not as tired as I should have been! (The only reason I have any idea what time anything happened is Hedra's notes.) Karen gave me an herbal tincture for relaxation so I could rest a bit. I was able to cuddle Matt and get some rest for a few hours.

I recall waking up and noticing the light outside and the total quiet in the house. I asked Matt what everyone was doing. When he told me they'd gone out for breakfast, I was a little upset! (I also had not idea it was 11 am.) I realized that they couldn't be very far away, and that if I really needed them, they all had cell phones, but still, I was unsettled. Matt picked up on my discomfort at that news and reassured me that everything would be fine, that I would be fine, so I went back to resting and dozing for a while.

After that, I have no concept whatsoever of what time it was. All I knew was that night had turned into a dreary, rainy day, and eventually, day began to turn to night again. One of the advantages of our house is that the family room downstairs is pretty dark most of the time, which is where the tub was set up, and where I'd chosen to do most of my laboring. Add a dark, grey day to that, and you get more timelessness.

I had no idea how long I was upstairs in bed. I slowly worked my way downstairs again, pausing to shimmy during surges, chanting "sha-a-a-a-a-a-ake the baby down/out." Eventually I ended up in the tub again for another 30-minute float. Still wasn't really doing the trick. I'd expected the water to really soothe, but once again, it doubled the relaxation in between surges, and doubled the work during them. Grr!! Out of the tub, and in for a potty break.

I have a whole arsenal of Young Living essential oil blends in my house, so I asked for some oils to help me cope, process, let go. Hedra put some Surrender on my wrists for me, and I sat on the ball leaning back on Matt for a while. (In retrospect, Acceptance would have been a much better choice, but I wasn't thinking clearly enough to figure out what oils I needed, and the person I usually consult for such things was on an airplane.)

At this point, I was vocalizing VERY clearly - and the tones were high. They weren't high like distressed shrieks, they were "I can rise above this" high. I got REALLY annoyed with people telling me I needed to sound lower. I was following my body's lead, and low was not what wanted to be sung at the moment.

Some strong surges starting coming, and I began to doubt myself. I know I called out for my mother a few times. Specifically, I wailed "Mommiiiiiiiiiie!" I wanted to be DONE, and I was not done. Matt was being wonderfully supportive through all this. He was providing warmth, love, closeness, and strength when I felt my strength was failing. Sure, there were a few times when my husband was definitely NOT who I needed, but all in all, I needed him there, for certain. (And, there were times when it was just a girl thing, no doubt about it.)

Around 1:30 pm (a "Mommy" wailing time), Karen gave me a pep talk. She reassured me that I was going to be ok, that the baby was going to be ok (in fact, the baby's heart tones stayed fabulous all the way through), and she told me to stay in the present. Basically, time to let go of what you thought it was going to be, kiddo. It is what it is, and it's ok. I appreciated what she was trying to do, but I just couldn't quite process it at the time. Little teeny bits sank in here and there, but I was really fighting it. Not on purpose, but I was.

Matt helped me to the bathroom, and there was a whole bunch more bloody show while I was in there. Something clicked and I was doing better. The show prompted another cervix check - 4-5 centimeters at 1:50pm. I really needed Matt at this point, both to lean on physically, and emotionally. I needed him to look in my eyes, talk to me, chant "Ooooooooopen" with me while I was in surge. I got back in the tub for a bit, and sometime after 2 pm, I went back upstairs to labor in bed for a while.

A word about place and clothing: I was crystal clear that I did not want to give birth in my bedroom, or anywhere on the upper floors of the house. I wanted to have my baby in the family room downstairs. It was dark most of the time, and it had a cave-like quality to it at times. My bedroom was comforting when I needed a womblike space to retreat for a while, but it was not the place to birth. Even though I knew the others would clean it up so I could rest, it was not the place for me to do my birthing work. As for clothing, I am still amused by my desire to wear clothes the earlier part of labor - partly because I didn't want to be cold, and when the heat is cranking in our house, it gets a little stuffy. I also walked around wearing underwear and a pad because, even though I knew I wouldn't have to be the one to clean up, I didn't feel like dripping bloody show and/or amniotic fluid on my carpet or the hardwood. Go figure. That quickly changed . . .


As I labored in bed, I suddenly was hit with a surge unlike any of those which had preceded it. As I was surging, my water broke, and I hollered "Aaaaaaaaagh! My water is breaking!!!!!" All I know is that folks came running. Hedra had been napping in the guestroom next door, and she noted that she could tell something was shifting because the sounds I was making were changing. And, she knew that my water had broken before I yelled it, because those sounds were different, too.

Boy, did having my water break change things. For one, I got very impatient, but man, that surge when my water broke was STRONG. I think I panicked a little bit, because I KNOW I hollered. I guess someone must've put a Chux pad or towel or something underneath me when I'd gone up to the bed, because they whisked it out of the room to take a look at the fluid. Karen took a look at the fluid and came back in to tell me that there was some meconium. I was concerned to hear that.

Anne in tubEven though I know that passing meconium is pretty normal for babies past their due dates, I was concerned that the baby might be in distress. When Karen checked the heart tones, they were strong and steady, so that was a relief. Karen checked my cervix shortly after (that was about 3:40pm), and it was 6-7 centimeters. I was really hoping for more progress, but by this time I think I'd started to get used to the pace of my labor.

Unfortunately, the presence of meconium in the amniotic fluid meant that I would not be able to birth in the tub. I could labor in water, but I would need to birth "on land," just in case. That was disappointing at the time, although, eventually it turned out to be a good thing. So, about the tub...I was so certain it would be my haven (I'm such a water baby!), and at times it was, but mostly between surges. I could relax VERY well in between in the tub, but I just could not seem to get purchase during surges. Floating left me feeling really vulnerable, and kneeling and leaning forward over the edge just felt too loose somehow. I needed solid earth beneath me to feel secure and powerful. Eventually, I didn't ask for the tub anymore. I didn't need to work any harder than I already was.

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