Our sweet little babe made his arrival on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 at 12:37pm after a 6 hour labor. He weighed 7lbs 12 oz and was 20 3/4 inches of perfection!
Every birth story is unique and beautiful in it’s own way. This birth was so….weird for lack of a better term. 🙂 Let’s start at the beginning…
December 29th was my due date. I set myself up for frustration by having high expectations of an early birth. With my first pregnancy I was put on bed rest at 29 weeks pregnant because of preterm labor complications. He was born 2 days after his due date. With my history, I thought for sure, this baby would be early- no question about it! At 37 weeks pregnant I started to pick up my exercise intensity and started researching which natural remedies I wanted to use to help my body prepare for labor. 39 weeks hit. I was 60% effaced and dilated to about a 2. Baby was head down in my pelvis and ready to come out! So, I started some acupuncture treatments to help encourage my uterus along….40 weeks hit and I was a grumpy panda! I continued with acupuncture and homeopathic remedies. I was having sporadic contractions but they never turned into labor. 41 weeks hit…and I felt like I was going to be pregnant for forever! Physically, my body was holding up just fine, but mentally and emotionally, I was struggling!
Tuesday morning, January 9, 2018 my husband woke me with a kiss good bye as he left for work at 0530. I noticed some slight contractions but I didn’t think anything of them since I had been having contractions off and on for a month at that point. I fell back asleep and they woke me up again at 0600, again I didn’t really think anything of them. At 0630 they were still there about every 10-15 minutes. At 0700 I decided to give my husband a heads up that they were continuing, but I didn’t let myself believe I was going into labor…I thought I was for sure going to be the first person in history to be pregnant for forever…ya, dramatic I know. Haha… At 0730 they were still there and about 8 minutes apart. I told the hubs it was time to come home just in case since my last labor was so fast (start to finish 4 hours). By the time he got home at 0800, I had already messaged my midwife, doula, and our birth photographer. Sorry if this is TMI…but you’ll have to get over it if you want to keep reading. 😉 Haha… By that time, I had some bloody show and lots of mucous when I went pee. Due to my history of fast labor, my midwife had me come in at 0830.
My contractions were every 5-8 minutes. Nothing too intense and nothing I couldn’t breathe through. I was full of smiles because this baby was FINALLY coming out of me!! I have to admit, when I got to our birth center (Side note…Sierra Natural Birth Center is AMAZING! It’s a house that was converted into a birth center with several birthing rooms with birthing tubs and neonatal/maternal “crash carts” available in case of emergencies) I have to admit, I felt a bit…weird. Other than my contractions that would come and go, I felt great! I was walking around, bouncing on the birthing ball, joking with my husband, doing squats…you name it. I asked my midwife to check me. I was already at 8cm dilated! Everyone was surprised…I didn’t feel like I had gone through tough enough labor to be at an 8!
About 1130 rolled around and I was getting frustrated that my labor didn’t feel like it was progressing. My contractions were staying at 5 minutes apart and were getting slightly stronger, but I was still walking around and having conversations between contractions. When I arrived, I peed in a cup and we found I was peeing ketones. This meant that my body was hungry. I forgot to eat in the craziness of the morning. I remember learning from my midwife that the uterus can get fatigued and labor can stop dead in it’s tracks if the body is hungry. We totally forgot to pack food! Thankfully I threw some Shakeology in my bag, so I downed a strawberry Shakeology. It was delicious! Immediately my contractions kicked up a knotch. I decided to get in the birthing tub to see if it would help my body relax so we could get this whole labor thing over with! Yes…that’s how my brain works. I’m incredibly impatient…haha.
I got into the warm water, which felt amazing. About 15 minutes in, they checked me again. I was at a 10! I was told to reach down because I could feel the babies head, he was so low! I was seriously shocked… My contractions never got any closer than about 5 minutes apart. I never felt the “urge” to push. I distinctly remember that overwhelming feeling with my first! I was told with my next contraction, if I wanted to, I could try and push. Mind you at this point, my water still hadn’t broken yet! So…I used those core muscles I had been working on strengthening for 2 years with the next contraction…and I felt a burst! WTF?! Did his head just pop off??? No…no…that was my water bag. Phew! What a bizarre feeling! The next push his head came out…then of course he turned weird and his shoulders got stuck…the next push was his shoulders and finally the rest of his body. Ouch…those shoulders! (Ok…you guys are going to laugh at me. You know that game, “Watch ya mouth” where people where those mouth pieces that stretch their mouth open?? Ya…that was exactly what I was thinking about when I was pushing his shoulders out…That’s how my hoo-ha felt! HA!) But FINALLY he was here!! And I got to hold him in my arms! He immediately latched on and started chowing down (and he hasn’t stopped eating constantly since that day!). We got to soak up those first minutes of his life together right there with him on my chest, my hubs right by my side without any other interruptions. It was such a beautiful moment. 6 hours of labor and I was finally at the end! <3
We then decided it was time to move me to a bed for the next phase of birth…the placenta. This is where things got a bit…complicated. I was told with the next cramping I had to try to push to deliver the placenta. It took a few pushes and some assistance from my midwives, but it finally came out. And it was huge…I feel like it was twice the size of my first son’s. Placenta’s are SO BONKERS to me! It’s a disposable sack of nutrition to grow your baby that comes out of essentially no where! SO AMAZING! Anyways…so, placenta was delivered, daddy got to cut baby’s cord after it had stopped pulsating and all the blood from the cord went back into baby’s body, and I was soaking up my newborn. A few minutes later I felt a gush of blood…midwives checked me and massaged my uterus. That seemed to do the trick. Until 5 minutes later when I felt another gush… They checked me again, massaged my uterus and once again seemed fine. On the 3rd gush I felt, they decided to give me a shot of pitocin in the thigh. With the next gush, I had an IV started with IV fluids and PIT, and they had to go “digging”… ya…I know…to make sure there weren’t any clots or placental tissue causing the bleeding. In that moment I felt my midwife pull out 4 handful of clots & blood…that is when the nurse brain in me flipped on and started to be concerned. I had another shot of Methergine in my other quad, and another drug given to me elsewhere to help my uterus pull it together and clamp down. At this point, I had lost quite a bit of blood and due to the adrenaline, my body started shaking like I had the shivers. I wasn’t scared, I was concerned, but not super anxious. I felt super cold and I knew my poor husband was quite terrified although he held it together great. My next question was, “At what point do I need to go to the hospital?”At that point I had lost about 1300-1500 mL of blood.
My amazing midwives explained to me that we weren’t to that point yet. The clots that were removed seemed to do the trick. My uterus hadn’t efficiently contracted to get all the clots out and it was causing excess bleeding, but once they were removed, my body finally cooperated. Thankfully I had an incredible birthing team who knew exactly what to do to keep me safe.
The rest of the evening consisted of resting, EATING!, drinking beet juice, drinking BB Hydrate to restore my electrolytes, and soaking up our new little love. You were worth the wait baby Liam!
Many mama’s ask me what my “secrets” are to having a natural childbirth and getting through the pain. Here are some of the lessons I learned and tools that worked for me:
- Fear=Pain and a longer labor. Do whatever you need to in order to feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed. Know that your body was created to give birth. Yes, it will hurt, but only for a short period of time.
- Take each contraction as it comes. Get through one at a time and try not to think too far ahead into the future. Definitely don’t watch the clock. You need to be as relaxed as possible.
- A doula is really great support for both mom and dad. They can be there to hold pressure points, get heat packs, massage, anything needed to get you through labor.
- EAT something healthy & nutrition as soon as labor starts. You don’t want to end up with a fatigued uterus like I did! Or a fatigued mind & body for that matter! Shakeology was CLUTCH for me through labor!
- Music is SO powerful to help keep your mind off the pain and in the zone. I listened to Lauren Daigle Pandora channel throughout our entire labor and it was incredibly helpful!
- Do the best you can to minimize the people in the room. This is about YOU feeling as relaxed and comfortable as possible as you bring a tiny human earth side. Don’t feel bad if you need to ask family to stay in the waiting room.
- HYDRATE yourself throughout labor. This is also very important to keep labor progressing. I chose to drink Hydrate from the Beachbody Performance Line throughout labor and that really helped me! It also gave me a great jump start on my milk supply! I will drink it all through nursing my baby.
- Stay as active as possible throughout labor. It will really help you progress faster and it helps mentally to change strategies often unless you find something that is really working for you.
- Heat packs helped me SO much with both of my labors. Use them on your belly or back, whatever provides more relief.
- If you can relax in a tub during labor, it’s really awesome! It’s been known to be referred to as “nature’s epidural”.
- Your MIND is the biggest obstacle in labor. Keep your eyes focused on holding your sweet baby in just a short amount of time. Talk to them through contractions. You and baby are a team to bring them earth side. <3
- The one book I took the most from even though I didn’t necessarily follow everything in it was “Hypnobirthing” by Marie Mongan. I highly recommend the read!
Thank you for reading our story! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions on natural labor. <3