I wept for you.
I wept for never feeling you move in my womb.
I wept for never experiencing the labor that would bring you from my womb to my chest.
I wept for the chance to see your daddy cry with joy as he catches you coming into this world.
I wept for never knowing you, never holding you.
I wept for never smelling your sweet baby scent, for never hearing your cry.
I wept for never kissing your chubby cheeks, for never nursing you through the night.
I wept for never seeing your big sister hold your fragile body on her tiny lap.
I wept for what could have been. I wept for the beginning that ended too soon.
- Miscarriage is too often a silent suffering. I suffered a miscarriage this week and now feel connected to all women who have felt this loss. You are not alone. Your babies know they were wanted and loved. We suffer together and move forward together, with the love of a child we never knew imprinted on our hearts.
I know you've all been excited to read my birth story. I'm sure you understand how busy I've been though with a newborn and a (terrible) two year old.
I'm happy to say that I've had two natural births now. Each experience was beautiful and hugely transformative for me as a woman; although they were very different. Oliver's birth was a marathon event lasting 32 hours from the time my water broke to when he was in my arms. Julianne's arrival was a sprint-to-the-finish event lasting only 10 hours from my first sign of labor.
Lets start the day before her arrival.
Tuesday February 12th I saw my OB for a prenatal appointment. I was 40 weeks and 2 days. Up until this point I had not allowed him to check me for several reasons, the biggest being that dilation and effacement tell you very little about when your baby will actually arrive. I feared another early baby and since Oliver was born early, I also didn't want any unnecessary aggravation to my cervix. However, after watching my due date come and go (which was something that I secretly hoped to experience), I let curiosity get the best of me and decided to be checked. I was 2-3 cm and 60% effaced with an anterior cervix at my appointment. I know women who have spent that last few weeks of their pregnancy at 5+ cm and, personally, my water broke with Oliver with no active labor. So, this really didn't get me too excited that I was close to labor starting. Little did I know, our baby girl would be in my arms in less than 24 hours! We left the appointment with plans to go walk around the mall. We ended up meeting Libby, Sean, and Haddie and enjoyed some time walking and browsing. While there, I became very hungry and decided my old craving from Oliver's pregnancy sounded pretty good. I ate Taco Bell covered in fire sauce for dinner. (Shame on me!)
After leaving the mall, we went to my friend Renee's house. She had offered me some Hibiscus tea because it is known to induce labor. We visited on her front porch for awhile before heading home. When we got home, Kurt asked if I wanted to have sex to help bring on labor. I was feeling a little different. Something had me feeling like things would happen soon, so I turned him down. I opted for a huge glass of hibiscus tea and a warm bath. (Have you tried hibiscus tea? It's delicious!)
Wednesday February 13th I awoke to use the bathroom at 6:00 am. I noticed "bloody show" with bright, red blood and the remainder of my mucous plug. This didn't happen until very active labor with Oliver, but I was trying not to get my hopes up! I went back to bed after texting Kurt to let him know. He was excited and replied with--
About that time, Oliver came in to sleep with me. He asked to nurse and although I hadn't been allowing him to nurse at night, I let him. He snuggled into my pregnancy pillow with me and we nursed back to sleep. I figured I might as well let the nipple stimulation do some good work! :) We went back to sleep. When I awoke to use the bathroom again at 7:30, I noticied more blood. I decided I felt like today was the day!
I called Jenny and my mom so they would know to pack up and hit the road. They were coming from Virginia, about 5.5 hours of hard driving. Mom said they would start packing up and leave as soon as they could. Oliver and I got in the shower and I shaved my legs since it was my birthing day! After getting out, I dried my hair (in-between frequent trips to the bathroom!). I straightened up the bedrooms before I went downstairs and made a to-do list of things I wanted done. I was still nesting at this point and I really wanted to keep moving. I did laundry, cleaned the kitchen after breakfast, organized some things and just kept busy around the house. I was feeling mild contractions, here and there, along with loose bowels (which is a good sign of labor!). Oliver could tell something was up and was being a little whiny. At 9:39 am, Kurt said he'd get things in order at work and leave ASAP so he could help me. At 10:20, I decided I better pay attention to when I was contracting and I quickly realized they were 5 minutes apart. I was easily moving around and keeping busy. We had planned to wait to go to the hospital until 4.1.1 (contractions that are 4 minutes apart, 1 minute duration, for 1 hour.) I fully expected for them to stay that way for the majority of the day. Kurt stopped to fill up our second car with gas and got home just after 10:40. My contractions were steady at 5 minutes apart. Kurt set out working on his list of things to do: take the trash out, set up the dog crate for Ellie, make banana bread, and pack his labor bag.
I went up to take a nap at 11:00. Before laying down I quickly packed Julianne's hospital bag and called my mom to see if they had left. She was on her way home from dropping my nephews off with friends of theirs and said they'd be leaving around 11:30. I remember getting a really antsy feeling when I found out they wouldn't be leaving for another 30 minutes. I had been having a feeling for a couple weeks that my mom wouldn't make it to the birth. Those 30 minutes ended up being a big part of the story. Finally, I laid down and slept about an hour and a half until around 1:00 pm. I figured I must not have been in very early labor because I was able to sleep through any contractions I was having. When I got up, I straightened my hair, did my make up, packed my toiletries, and went downstairs for lunch. I still had my appetite and enjoyed left-over spinach lasagna roll ups for lunch. Kurt and Oliver had worked on their to do list and had already eaten lunch. Kurt was washing dishes from their banana bread. I asked Kurt to lay Oliver down for a nap and I went on to paint my nails a nice, bright hot pink. My contractions were steady and by 2:30 Kurt was back downstairs, the banana bread was out of the oven, and my nails were dry. I noticed I couldn't talk through my contractions anymore and Kurt urged me to time them with the contraction timer app we had downloaded. He was going to vacuum the downstairs so he set me up with our birthing playlist. I laid on my right side on our couch with my earbuds in my ears. Kurt put our playlist on shuffle and it was fantastic!! Our playlist included the Best of Enya, Dartmouth college relaxation tracks (which Kurt edited to avoid the talking at the beginning and the end), and our Hypnobirthing tracks. The way it shuffled from a song to another short relaxation track, to Hypnobirthing was really amazing! I became so relaxed, I didn't realize how things were picking up so quickly. Apparently, neither Kurt nor I were in our right mind or we would have called my sister Libby to come over. She had gotten out of class for the day, but we never thought to call her. Before this point, I had not wanted Pam there because Oliver was napping. I didn't want to be watched and I was concerned she wouldn't have anything to do, that was also a mistake. By the way, Pam is Kurt's boss' wife. She is one of the sweetest people you've ever met. And she saw me in the serious, crazy eyed, heat of labor. But we'll get to that soon. So by now, it's pushing 3:00 pm and things are getting very serious. I kept having to get up to pee, but being upright was really painful. It made my contractions come SO QUICKLY and STRONGLY that I didn't want to be up. They were strong and close enough when I was laying down, thank.you.very.much. While we were in the bathroom and I was moaning (Yes, I was a moaner this time; I was NOT with Oliver so that surprised me), Kurt called Dr. Brabson's office and he called Pam telling her to come quickly.
I told Kurt I needed to go lay down again. Sitting on the toilet was progressing me way too much. He helped me to the living room floor and I tried propping on the ottoman on my hands and knees. That created killer pressure and I couldn't stay there. He helped me onto the floor on my side and got me throw pillows to prop up behind my back, between my knees, and one under my belly to help support the big, ole thing. At this point, I was getting scared. I was very, very, far into labor. I mean, close to pushing far. I was thinking, "I can't move. I am going to have the baby right here." I was telling Kurt that I was scared. He reassured me we would be OK. And in my head, I trusted that he could deliver our baby if it came to that. I remember saying, "She just moved down..she moved again....and again" It was literally like that. Three movements down that were blatantly obvious to me. She was coming SOON! About this time, Pam comes in. I tell Kurt he can't leave my side. He quickly orders Pam around. The poor lady probably had no idea what she was walking into. I mean, I'm on the living room floor MOANING! Kurt's in my face telling me I'm OK. I'm in a nursing nightgown that's hiked up around my belly because I didn't want it touching me AND I'm not wearing any undies! Pam loads our bags into the car. Kurt tells her which are most important because we needed to go SOON. She backed our car out of the garage for us. Shortly thereafter, Oliver woke up crying and came downstairs. Kurt tells me I have to get up. Seriously? I have to get up? I'm not sure this is going to happen.
He goes and gets me some yoga pants to throw on. Of course, he has no idea when he’s grabbing my pants (in a frenzy straight from the dryer) that they are not maternity and only pull up to just below my hips! He helps me into them (which basically means he dressed me because I was not with it). We work together to get me standing up and I contract again before getting all of the way up. As soon as I stand fully, I contract again and I lean on the arm of the loveseat. Suddenly my water bursts. I seriously think there were sound effects. It soaked my pants, but there was no time to change. No time for shoes, or a coat. Pam tells Oliver to give mommy a kiss and I remember loving on him for a quick second. I'm barefoot and pregnant, about to be un-pregnant. My pants are soaked with amniotic fluid and it's freezing out. Pam and Kurt help me out to the car. They've put two dishtowels on the front seat. Pam buckles me in and we rush out of the driveway.
As soon as we back, out Kurt hears the dreaded noise. You know, the one where you start bearing down? I mean it when I tell you, there was NO.STOPPING.IT. It was the same feeling as Oliver's birth. I knew that meant I was 10 cm and this baby was coming out! Kurt really high tailed it after hearing that noise. He began praying out loud, "Dear Lord, Please get us to the hospital safely. Please keep us safe, keep Julianne safe." At one point on the interstate, Kurt was speeding at over 85 MPH (it feels more like 150 MPH but he assures me it wasn’t!) with the hazard lights on and honking the horn the whole way. He looked at me and said, "Riss, say the word. I'll pull this car over and I'll deliver our baby. You tell me what to do." I was still bearing down and you know what happens when you bear down? You poop. Yep, I was pooping my pants. I could feel her head. The whole time Kurt sped as fast as he could. We were swerving lanes and running red lights on Broadway. I remember passing the gas station across from the Kroger on Broadway and seriously about to tell Kurt to pull in and deliver me because she was coming. Luckily, Kurt sped on the whole way and we zoomed into the Women's Pavilion, leaving our car right in front of the door. Kurt runs in to tell them I'm crowning and it felt like it was taking FOREVER for them to get someone down there to me. I remember people walking on the sidewalk staring at me. I was MOANING and hanging half out of the car. I was debating taking my pants off but I knew I couldn't manage that myself. After what felt like an eternity, an OB (Dr. Heartline) and a couple nurses and other hospital staff come outside. They have a wheel chair and they say, "Can you get in the chair?" Kurt's like, "She's going to need help!" So, he helps me into the chair. I remember Libby, my precious little sister who had just arrived at the hospital, touching my arm as to say, "I love you, you can do this, you made it." In the heat of the excitement, Kurt told Libby to stay with the car. Sadly, that meant the nurses thought she wasn't welcome upstairs. So, Libby got stuck with a car she couldn't move because she didn't have the keys. They also expected her to fill out my paperwork, like she knew my social security number!? AND, they wouldn't let her upstairs because she didn't know the days code! Dr. Heartline was wheeling me up to my room and I remember him commenting on my nails and asked if I did them that day. He also said Dr. Brabson was going to owe him for this! Haha!
We went straight into my room and Dr. Heartline noticed the birthing pool. He said, "Are we going straight into the water?" The nurses quickly said it wasn't ready. Sadly, it only had a couple inches of water in it. So, he said he'd like to check me and they took my pants off me and helped me onto the bed. I remember he was putting his hand out to check me when he saw I was already crowning. LOL! He asked if I needed an episiotmomy with Oliver because if I was likely to need one, he was going to numb the area. I remember quickly saying, "I DON'T WANT AN EPISIOTOMY!" I was too far along for manners. About this time, Dr. Brabson walked in and I could have kissed him! :) He was dressed in khakis and a dress shirt. He quickly got ready for the delivery and asked me how I was doing and so forth. I rememeber him getting all ready then standing at the foot of the bed and crossing his hands and saying, "We'll just wait till you feel like pushing again". I really love him. I think my body was giving me a minute of rest after all the excitement. I remember processing that I was in labor, we'd made it to the hospital, Dr. Brabson had made it for the delivery, we were safe, everyone was going to miss it, etc. etc. The nurse told Dr. Brabson there was no time for an IV and asked if he was OK with that. Of course he was. She also mentioned she had Cytotec ready for after delivery and I again shouted out, leaving my manners in the car, "I DON'T WANT TO TAKE CYTOTEC!" Again, Dr. Brabson was OK with that and we moved on. Quickly I felt a contraction coming on. The nurse and Kurt helped me hold my legs. I pushed and they told me they could see her face. Then I experienced the "ring of fire". I didn't experience that with Oliver because he was so small. Once his head was out, his body basically fell out. This time was different. I waited till I felt another contraction and I pushed hard to deliver the rest of her face and her shoulders. At 4:38 pm, a mere 8 minutes after arriving at the hospital, she came straight to my chest. She was looking at me like, "Hi Mama!" That's when I realized I never took my blasted nightgown off. I hate that I missed feeling her wet and warm body right against my chest. I told Kurt and the nurse to help me and I was soon naked and feeling her body right against mine.
Do you know the rush of meeting your child? The feeling of that conquer? Knowing that you just did something so amazing. Oh, that feeling is the absolute best feeling there is. That moment is hugely transformative. And then there's the smell. Oooh, the smell of your baby. She smelled just like Oliver smelled and I LOVED that. In that moment, I became a mother of two. I suddenly had a daughter. I was meeting her for the first time and my heart was immediately changed. I've said that Oliver made me a mother and that is something I will only share with him. What I share with Julianne is that she is my daughter. My mother and I are so close and I look up to her so much. My sisters are my best friends. Now I have my own daughter; a little woman to mold and cherish. My sweet, Julianne. She's here and she's perfect.
My Birth Story My water broke at 3:30 am on Monday January 24th. I was only 36 weeks so as you can imagine, I had a mini freak out when it broke. I called Kurt into the room, he was awake to get ready for work, I told him it had broken so he immediately let work know he wasn’t coming in today. I was shaking with excitement, anticipation, nervousness, etc. Our labor bags were not packed, our nursery was not finished, and we had just switched providers so I had not even MET my new OB! Now, you understand my freak out, right?! Anyway, I tried to calm down. I made some phone calls to my mom and to Jenny. They were both planning on attending my birth. With mom coming from Delaware- she needed to get on the road! Well, we couldn’t get ahold of anyone. I called over and over. We decided we better call Dr. Brabson’s office to let them know my water had broken. Kurt talked to the answering service who said he’d have the on call Dr. at St. Mary’s call us back. Meanwhile I was trying to relax. The Dr. called us back and told us to come in to labor and delivery. Being that we were Bradley trained we KNEW it was too early to go to the hospital. We decided to wait until Dr. Brabson came in for rounds at 7am. I took a shower while Kurt packed our bags. I took the time to blow dry my hair then I laid down for a nap. I had only slept about 4 hours when my water broke so I was still very tired. Kurt asked me to put him to work so he could stay busy, what a sweetie!! So he set about making banana bread, washing dishes, doing laundry, installing the car seat, and buying me a Best of Enya cd on iTunes. I slept until 8am. I called my mom when I woke up to see where they were and her and my dad were already on the beltway going through Washington DC. Kurt called Dr. Brabson’s office again to let them know our situation. They said they’d talk to the doctor and call us back. We went ahead and repacked our labor bag- I was so nervous I’d get to the hospital and not have what I wanted! Around 8:45 am we got a call back from Dr. B’s office. They said the doctor wanted to see us in his office and to leave as soon as we were able to. At this point I was so happy! As I said, I had not met Dr. Brabson. A natural birth was EXTREMELY important to us and we had heard people say Dr. Brabson is more of a midwife than the midwives in our area! I was so relieved that he was taking the time to see us in his office. He wanted to meet us and wasn’t rushing us to L&D. SO we finished up some things at home and took our time getting out the door. We left home around 10am. I was starving but did not eat because I was unsure if I was supposed to. Looking back that was a big mistake! Did I mention that we had never been to St. Mary’s before either? We needed directions to the hospital.
Fast forward to seeing Dr. Brabson. He came in smiling and welcoming! We chatted a little about my pregnancy- since he was catching up on the whole 8 months, then talked about what to do from here. I had not had my GBS test done yet so I was going to have to be on antibiotics, but he said I could have a port. He did an exam and saw I was 1 cm, I also leaked fluid all over the floor during the exam! LOL I asked what we would do from here and asked if we could go home- he said no you’ll go over to L&D, “we’re going to have a baby today!!” I fell in love with him right there! He was not treating me as if I were only 36 weeks. He valued natural birth as much as I did and was very laid back. He was not going to rush me to have a baby by the 24 hour mark from the time my water had broken. I was feeling anxious still but very blessed to have switched providers and to be under his care.
By the time we got to our room at L&D it was about 12:30pm. Dr. Brabson wanted us to walk the halls and to try nipple stimulation to begin labor. I had to wait until after my first round of antibiotics to begin walking the halls. We walked for about an hour then tried nipple stimulation for about an hour before my mom and Jenny arrived. I was so excited to see them! I changed out of my hospital gown into a nightgown I brought and began using the breast pump to try to bring on contractions. By about 4:30pm nothing was really happening and pitocin had been talked about the whole time I’d been there. We agreed to start it with the condition that it would be shut off once labor started and that it would be raised by 1 instead of 2’s every 30 minutes. We walked with the pitocin going. Long story short- my pit kept being raised and contractions did start. By 11pm my contractions were double peaking and very intense. After another exam we found I was only 2 cm dialated and not effaced. Oliver’s heartarte was also dropping. I had had enough! I remember saying, “I’m on the rollercoaster of intervention and I need to get off!” We discussed our options and requested to speak with Dr. Brabson directly. He called our room and Kurt spoke with him. Kurt told him our concerns and Dr. B said we could turn the pit off and get 4-5 hours of sleep!!! This was the turning point!!....
At this point it had been 24 hours since I had eaten and I was starving and exhausted. Mom fixed me some peanut butter toast even though I wasn’t supposed to be eating. I ate and then went to sleep. Kurt cuddled up in my bed with me and we spooned and rested. It was wonderful! Around 3am I awoke with my first contraction. I laid there in the dark room resting still and just noticing the clock to keep track. I realized quickly that they were 2-4 minutes apart!! I was so happy that labor had started on its own!! As soon as I realized it I woke Kurt up and let him in on the news! We got Jenny and my mom up as well and we almost instantly got up to walk the halls to help keep bringing those precious contractions! As we were walking my contractions were coming strong, I’d lean on the walls and Kurt would rub my back. It felt so good to be with my team and to have a Dr who was on our side, and for contractions to be happening without that freaking pitocin! We labored back in the room for awhile before I went to the toilet. I lost the rest of my mucous plug! I had to refuse starting the pitcon back up over and over. My nurse was basically in my face at 4am that it was time to start it again. I told her no because labor was happening on its own. After another exam at 7:30 am we found that I was 3 cm and totally effaced. Dr. B came in to see what I wanted. I was so tired it was hard to even look at him to talk. I said I felt like I needed to get side-lying. I had been laboring around the room in different places like using the birthing ball, the stool, and sitting on the toilet (even backwards so Kurt could rub my back). I laid on my side with my mom holding my hand and Kurt was behind me so he could continue with the massage during contractions. These contractions were stronger with each one. I would squeeze my mom’s hand when one was starting to let her know. She coached me in my breathing and reminded me to release tension in my face and arms. Kurt applied pressure to my back and talked me through each one. It was hard work for all of us but we were very in sync. I felt like I could handle it because of their presence and love. Around 9:30 my nurse wanted to check me again. I was not interested at first because I was so scared I would only be another cm but after talking to Kurt we decided to go ahead with the exam. We waited until the next contraction was over fir her to check. The exam brought in another contraction immediately. She typed some things in the computer went to the curtain and said as she was leaving the room, “she’s 9 cm”. Jenny, mom, and Kurt all cried tears of joy. They celebrated while I continued working. Honestly at that point I was really happy to be 9 cm but I knew my work wasn’t over. The contractions kept coming and by the end of them I was kicking my feet out and beginning to push. I couldn’t control it, it was an impulse. The room suddenly was rushed by dr. B and several other nurses. I was oblivious that I had such an audience until later. People came to see the natural birth. Dr. Brabson began rubbing warmed oil on me, (can you believe an OB did this? I love him!) and I quickly was ready to push with another contraction. I pushed with 4 contractions. I put my chin to my chest and they counted to ten, then I’d breathe and push again. There was a mirror to help with the pushing. I remember everyone saying they can see him, he’s coming so I pushed again harder than ever and there he was only 14 minutes after my exam. He came out screaming which was the best sound, especially since he was only 36 weeks. The feeling of him coming out and straight to my chest all warm and wet felt so good. That moment was the best moment of my life, I feel like a changed woman because of my birth experience. I feel like I can do anything and am amazed by my body and what it is capable of. The love I feel for Oliver is greater than I ever knew possible.
Marissa and Kurt attended Intuitive Birth's September 2012 class and are expecting their second c
*For photos of Marissa and Kurt's labor, and more fun blogs by Marissa Lane, visit:
My husband and I began our relationship as friends. We were close and worked together for nearly a year before beginning a romantic relationship. Much to our surprise (and the demise of a certain “protection”) we discovered we were pregnant seven weeks into our relationship. We didn’t know if we were going to work out, we didn’t know if we were going to commute to keep this relationship alive (he had just been transferred out of the city where we met), we didn’t even know our plans for tomorrow - but we were sure of two things: we were keeping this baby and we wanted a natural birth.
So began our search for the care provider of our liking. We tried three different midwives, one of which had suggested Bradley classes to aid our experience. I had been vigorously taking notes and stumbled upon this suggestion much, much later in pregnancy. Bradley® classes, huh. I Googled “Bradley, natural birth” and came upon the website. I read on and decided this was quite possibly the method for us. Not sure yet, and one to research a decision to death, I read about Hypnobirthing. Earlier I had read a book on this method and thought it lacked a little of the physiological and medical (informed consent) info I was seeking. So, I went back to the Bradley Method® and had my husband check it out too. He agreed it sounded the most comprehensive, and we contacted Danielle Hartley, our soon-to-be instructor. Danielle responded promptly and said she could add us to her roster for the current class - and we were off and running!
To our great surprise, we LOVED the classes! They were interactive, informative and assuring. We gathered all of the knowledge and confidence we needed to achieve the birth we so desired. With the help of Danielle, we wrote our birth plan and presented it to our doctor, who nodded his head with pleasure when he read that we had prepared with the Bradley Method®. He agreed to everything stated in our plan and we felt secure with our choices. We had practiced the exercises, relaxations and followed the Brewer diet recommended.
We completed our class only 2 weeks prior to Alice’s estimated due date, so all of the information was at the forefront of our minds. About 5 days prior to her birth, I began having practice contractions. I would find myself getting so excited thinking “this is it!” but then, I would remember the Bradley® rule (paraphrasing): when you feel a contraction and it feels as though if you were crossing a busy street, you would have to stop and breathe, it may be the real thing. And the second rule (in my mind): if you eat, drink, walk, shower and sleep and the contractions are still coming on, you are probably in labor. So, time and time again, I was able to talk myself down and know that these practice contractions were simply my body gaining the strength and experience to push this baby on out.
Two days past our estimated due date, we found ourselves laughing at our own (and everyone else’s) insistence that she would arrive early. I was enormously pregnant, no doubt about it, and we were just as surprised as everyone else when November 3rd came and went with very little signs of our baby. We were thrilled that she had made it safely through 40 weeks and prepared to continue on as usual for another 2 weeks, as allowed by our doctor. I should specify that “continuing on as normal” meant hiking up a mountain, eating everything labeled “spicy” and having more sex than I cared to think about; we tried everything to help encourage her to make her appearance. Anxiously awaiting her arrival, my mother said, “Let this be the first lesson in parenthood - the baby will do things on her own time, not yours.” This was true, she came on her own time, thanks to our Bradley® knowledge about avoiding inductions.
Then, on November 5th, my body stopped practicing and began the real thing. After a long, but wonderful, day with my husband planting flowers on a steep hillside, laying a new stone pathway to our front door, and walking around our neighborhood, we laid down for a movie. As the movie began, my husband cracked a few jokes about my incessant need for him to rub my hands and arms. He had me laughing harder than I had laughed in many, many months. I said to him, “If you don’t stop, I am going to go into labor!” Two hours later I felt a different kind of contraction, one of those TAKE NOTICE contractions. I looked up at him and said, “Okay, that one was definitely different. He smiled and said, “Great, now just relax, and I will start timing them.” As we watched the movie, we noted my contractions were 3 minutes apart. However, I knew these were not “head to the hospital” contractions. If I had not had Bradley® classes I would have been racing to the hospital.
Instead, we went through the routine: we walked, we ate a bit of fruit, we showered, we tried to sleep and we drank a ton of water. I remembered from class that it was important to urinate frequently as it can slow or inhibit labor if you do not. During one of my frequent trips to the bathroom I noticed I had begun spotting. At this point, after laboring for 3 hours, my husband and I (noting that my contractions were fluctuating between 3-5 minutes apart the entire time) decided to notify our doctor that we were in active labor. The doctor on call was awakened by this call and grumbled for us to come in to “see if she is in labor.” We knew from class that if we wanted to keep our chances of natural labor high, we needed to trust our instincts and our knowledge, and that meant staying home a bit longer.
I continued to labor, in and out of the tub, on the birthing ball, up against the wall, lying on my side. Eventually, we decided to head to the hospital to be checked. Finding out that after 9 hours of intense labor I was only dilated to a 2 was devastating. I whined and moaned to my husband. He assured me that I was indeed progressing, and every minute that passed was a minute closer to birth. He took our birth plan to all of the nursing staff and announced to them that we were heading home. They said that given my contractions were reading so strong, I would be back shortly. We came home and resumed where we had left off. My husband rubbed my back with all of his might. I walked, laid, squatted, rolled on the birthing ball, and tried my best to get out of the way of my body.
Three hours later, we returned to the hospital. Things had intensified and we were looking for reassurance that all of this work was paying off. Of course it was, but we received news that I was still only 2 centimeters. I couldn’t believe it! My husband held me together. With all of his knowledge from class, he was everything I was unable to be: he was my coach, my cheerleader and my counselor. We headed back home, stopping for each contraction, still 3-5 minutes apart. At home, I climbed in the tub. My husband dialed up Danielle, our instructor, and filled her in. She quickly identified what we had missed - with all of the back labor I was experiencing, the baby was most likely stuck or positioned posterior and I needed to change positions in order to move the baby down. He came into the bathroom and helped me onto my hands and knees. I remained like this for a long time. All the while he was explaining that Danielle said when I got over this hump and the baby was in a different position my labor would move very quickly. This information encouraged me as we were approaching the 18-hour mark. After 3 hours in the tub alternating positions, I stood up. My contractions were immediately one on top of the other and my legs began to tremble. My husband instantly knew by these signs and my “out of it” state of mind that I was in transition. We left for the hospital.
Upon arrival they checked me again. I was 5 centimeters. They monitored me for 20 minutes and I was allowed into the bathtub for 30 minutes (we managed to stretch that to 45 minutes). These were the most intense 45 minutes of my life! My husband met my gaze and kept me on track, counting my contractions up and down and reminding me to breathe and relax my muscles. After 45 minutes we were checked again. I was 9 centimeters and the doctor was paged. Within an hour I was pushing with all of my strength. I never felt the urge to push but I certainly had the urge to get the baby out! As it was, my uterus had stopped contracting, but I was still pushing away. Several pushes later, she was here. A bright eyed, beautiful baby girl who met my gaze as they placed her on my chest to nurse. It was the most beautiful moment of our lives. My husband remarked, “She is perfect.” And we were both struck by her beauty and alertness. She let out a sweet cry and I put her to my breast to nurse. She didn’t miss a beat. She began sucking away and we stared in awe at this perfect little person staring back at us.
These moments following her entrance into the world were all of the reassurance we needed. We absolutely made the right choice for our baby and for us. She was alert, as was I. We would remember every second of this beautiful time with her! All that we had studied, prepared for, and made it through had paid off: We had a beautiful, healthy, vibrant little girl.
If it were not for the Bradley Method® and our amazing instructor, Danielle, we would not have made it to this most perfect end. We are forever grateful for this experience and look forward to our next child arriving the same way, naturally!
- Gracie & Adam