My mom had two weeks that she could take to spend with us when it came time to have Evanna. She was originally going to come when I went into labor and then stay to help me with the baby but as the time came closer and closer I could not stand the anticipation and needed someone to come keep me company while Zach was at work. I also was somewhat scared to go into labor while at home all on my own, so I was very happy when my mom decided to come the week before I was due. We had so much fun going to the beach, walking/shopping Miracle Mile, and more walking at the mall along with some pedicures. She came on Sunday September 16th and according to the ultrasound I was due the next Sunday on September 23rd. On Thursday I woke up after a rough night VERY "hormonal" as Zach likes to call it when he is really trying to say "irrationally upset and feeling every emotion all at once" or "just plain mean." I had finally reached that point that everyone talks about where you are so done being pregnant you don't care what it takes you just want to get the baby out! That night I decided it was time to try more than just walking and eating eggplant Parmesan, it was time to try the Castor Oil Root Beer Float a friend of mine had told me about. I will spare you the details but just know a little Castor Oil goes a LONNNNGG way. Needless to say I spent the whole night making mad dashes to the bathroom but along with all this I experienced my first real contraction and by 6am I was having them every 8mins for 30-40 secs.
|My puffy feet after our pedicures|
I laugh at myself now because during all of this, which is what they call Prelabor, I thought I must be about 4cm dilated I mean I had been at this all day and most of the night by now and the contractions seemed to be pretty intense but I had no clue of what laid ahead. The Midwife and her student arrived at our house around 4:30 am and checked me right away to find that I was only 2 and 1/2 cm dilated. To say it bluntly I was seriously bummed but I rallied my spirits and tried to determine myself for a long road ahead. No one can ever prepare you for what labor actually feels like, looking back there were definitely some good glimpses people gave me but experiencing it for yourself is a whole different level. I tried to take my Midwife's advice and lay down to rest but apparently my water had broken during this time and the contractions grew more intense and I seriously could not stay laying down. I wanted to chew my midwife out for even suggesting it but I couldn't really talk because I was just a little busy. This is how I spent the majority of the time:
On the side of the bed swaying back and forth during contractions and then laying my head down on the pillows to rest in between. Evanna's head was so far down that she was putting a lot of pressure on my cervix causing me to dilate very slowly. I really had to start focusing on my breathing and riding the contractions like a wave letting it gradually hit me and then tapering off so that my body would open like it needed to. This is a picture of me using my hand to keep rhythm with my breathing and visualizing the pain coming in and going out like the tide.
I didn't reach this point of surrender until I had been checked sometime in the afternoon to find I was only 5cm dilated. I have no idea what time it was exactly because at this point I had no concept of it. I was in this place that was so far inside myself yet almost like an out of body experience. All I can say is you reach this point where its just you and your baby and, well, the contractions. I didn't start this until after hearing I was only 5cm and I was sure I couldn't continue. I thought to myself "I'm only half way there, there is no way I make it that long. They are just going to have to cut this baby out of me." I even said it out loud that I didn't think I could do this and the student Midwife thought I meant I couldn't continue laying down like I was so she got me up and I tried being in the bath tub where I started praying.
This is how I finally surrendered and believe it or not the rest of labor, although it got even more intense, felt somehow easier in a way. When I hit transition which is somewhere between 7-10cm it was like non-stop and then my Midwife tells me when I'm at 9cm that I need to start whisper breathing because the harder breathing was using some of my abs and pushing Evanna even further down causing me not to open. I want to say this lasted about 30-60mins and was seriously one of the hardest things I have done other than trying not to bear down because of all the pressure I was feeling (which sitting on the toilet helped a lot. I actually was able to sleep between contractions while sitting on my now very cherished porcelain throne), and then finally pushing her out. At one point I felt my body open and I got this adrenaline rush just knowing that I was getting closer to seeing my baby and that the majority of it was over. My first urge to push was like nothing I had ever expected. Out of nowhere my body just pushed and I found myself holding onto the side of the bed squatting and yelling out the most primal sound I've ever heard myself make.
I spent the first 30mins of pushing squatting on the side of the bed. It was around 8:30pm so I had already been in labor for over 30hrs and was seriously exhausted so I couldn't do the whole squatting thing anymore and moved up onto the bed.
|Both Zach and my sister Joy helping me while pushing|
It took 30 more mins but after everyone encouraging me "just one more push" I got her head out and the rest of her just came right on out as well. There I was with my little girl in my arms watching her just stare up at me. It was the most surreal moment and the most beautiful. Through all the time I waited for her to grow inside me and then through all the pain came this beautiful little treasure and I couldn't help but feel that I would do it all over again if I had to just to have her in my life. There is nothing I wouldn't do for her. She is worth every minute of the 36 exhausting hours it took me to bring her into this world.
Having a home birth was amazing. I can't compare it to anything else since this was my first but I loved having the freedom to do practically whatever I wanted. I was able to eat and drink through the whole thing to keep up my energy although I found it hard to do so even though I was starving. I got in and out of the bath twice. I was also able to feel for Evanna's head as she was crowning and I actually, without realizing it, reached my hand down when I felt her coming out and pulled her up onto my chest. The whole birthing experience is beautiful and I'm so glad I got to do it in the comfort of my own home surrounded by those I love. I will cherish these memories forever and I am so excited to do it again when that time comes :)
|Zach cutting the cord|