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Anne's Pregnancy Journal

Birth Story!


Shortly after my water broke, I started feeling a little "pushy." I noticed that during surges, I was involuntarily bearing down a little bit. I knew it was probably a bit early, but I couldn't hold it back. Fortunately, they were just little nudges, not big pushes. I'd been needing a lot of counterpressure on my sacrum, and I wouldn't let Matt move away from me. I was really thirsty, so Hedra and Beth made sure I got something to drink. Karen checked my cervix again when I said I couldn't hold back on the bearing down. I was fully 7 centimeters at 4:30 pm, and my cervix was just a little swollen. I tried my darndest not to grunt and bear down, but it just kept happening.

Minutes later, doubt hit. Hard. I was caught in a strange double bind. My years of HypnoBirthingTM training told me that the normal unfoldment of labor did not have to be terribly painful. I was definitely having pain, so in my labor brain fog, I assumed that either something was terribly wrong, or I was a horrible failure. No matter how much reassurance my support team offered, telling me how well I was doing, how well the baby was doing, I was sure they were lying to me. They weren't lying. Actually, I was doing everything I knew to do, and doing it well. I just didn't know it.

[Later I found out that the baby had been coming down a little bit cockeyed, which while still in the fairly normal range was enough of a special circumstance to create discomfort. Because I couldn't get my brain around normal/not normal, I couldn't figure out why I was having so much discomfort in the bones of my pelvis. Now I know that the discomfort I experienced may have partially been because of bone against bone that otherwise would not have been in contact quite that way.]

Matt and Anne working hardI really needed Matt at this point. I needed to focus on him, to know he was there for me, with me. Even though I was thirsty, I wouldn't let him leave my side - hoorah for doula-friends! I was still sure I was doing a horrible job. In fact, as I was nearing transition and everyone (two midwives, two doulas, and husband) was massaging me, they noted that my entire body was totally relaxed and limp. I thought they were lying to me because I thought I would get more relief than I was getting for how relaxed they said I was. Again, it all made sense - afterwards.

Around 5 pm, I felt so nauseous I wished I could throw up. I didn't. I leaned hard emotionally on Matt. It seemed that each surge would come rolling in before the previous one had fully receded. That was tough, but good support made all the difference! Somewhere along the way the sofa bed had been opened up, and at 5:22 pm (coincidentally, the time I was born), I moved onto it, but not until after I knew it was "protected." Let's hear it for that copious supply of chux pads! Once I got on the bed and relaxed, I could finally puke. Go figure.

I definitely had a lot more control on dry land than I did in the birth tub, but even so, I spent a good bit of time sitting on the recliner and leaning forward over the birth ball, sitting backwards on the recliner leaning over the back while I squatted. I tried leaning forward over a wedge pillow, I just sat on the floor and rocked, I sat on the toilet, I sat on the ball, I laid on my side, and, my favorite, I leaned my head against the wall and shimmied while chanting "sha-a-a-a-a-a-ake the baby down, sha-a-a-a-a-a-ake the baby out."

I guess I finally started to get the hang of it. There seemed to be a different rhythm going as evening wore on. About 7 pm Christy arrived; the other lady had her baby shortly after noon, so after making sure mom and baby were all set, she came right to our house. I was really glad to see her! Something just would have seemed missing if she hadn't been here for this birth. Matt took a break - much needed, and much deserved. Christy got me vocalizing nice and low by practicing with me between surges, which then flowed nicely right into a surge.

I remember not really knowing what I wanted, but knowing I wanted something different. I had grabbed a stack of CD's early in labor that I thought might be good. Someone asked if I'd like music. I think I responded, "may as well try." Ancient Mother finally got selected, which was kind of nice (it's a CD of various Goddess-oriented chants and songs). It seemed like someone was always singing along. "Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Innanna . . . " I can't remember if I chanted the names of the Goddess out loud, or just chanted in my mind, but I definitely was in the flow. I don't recall hearing all of the chants, but I heard what I needed the most.

There's one chant on there that often makes me cry with an overwhelming sense of trust and gratitude; it's a re-languaged version of the 23rd Psalm by Bobby McFerrin (yup, that's right, the "Don't Worry, Be Happy" guy). As I rested on the sofa bed, surrounded, massaged, and comforted by a loving circle of women, I think I finally surrendered. Somehow, I had needed to hear these words, especially the 3rd verse (italicized):

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
She makes me lie down in green meadows,
Beside the still waters, she will lead.

She restores my soul, She rights my wrongs,
She leads me in a path of good things,
And fills my heart with songs.

Even though I walk through a dark and dreary land,
There is nothing that can shake me.
She has said She won't forsake me;
I'm in Her hand.

She sets table before me, in the presence of my foes.
She anoints my head with oil.
And my cup overflows.

Surely, surely goodness and kindness will follow me,
All the days of my lives.
And I will live in Her house forever, forever and ever.

Glory be to our Mother, and daughter, and to the Holy of Holies.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen.

By 8:45, my body started trying to push in earnest, I was surprised at how hard I was working. I tried to just stay loose and ride them out, but that was too much, so I gave into them and groaned and grunted. Somewhere in all this Matt reappeared. He was totally wiped out by this point, but he hung in there with me through all of it. At some point one of the checks revealed only clear amniotic fluid (no more meconium - yay!) and no more swelling in the cervix.

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