At 37 weeks my husband, JJ and I had just returned from a beach day. The July heat and my VERY pregnant state further developed my love of cold treats! I “plopped” myself onto the couch to devour some ice-cream when I felt wetness down below. Aaahhh, man, I peed my pants! Incontinence be damned, I needed my ice-cream!
I begrudgingly headed to the bathroom to change. I changed and was ready for that cold, creamy heaven when it happened again. I remembered the words of our childbirth educator, Nancy Irvine, “If you’ve changed once and you’re still leaking you may be in labor!” I was in disbelief, as the “accident” became a constant trickle down my leg. I got in the shower when I saw my mucus plug floating down the drain…it was really happening!!!
JJ called our doula, Kadi Mourningstar, and she confirmed what we had already suspected. After showering I had the worst diarrhea of my life (thankfully I did NOT poop during labor!) and JJ started packing. We had pictured a natural home birth, but decided we felt more comfortable at the hospital so, we went for a “home style” birth at the hospital.
When we arrived at Maui Memorial Medical Center I had my first strong contraction. I actually found it exciting. My inner athlete was like, “Let’s do this!!!” The doctor told us I was only 2cm dilated, but 80% effaced. JJ and I walked the halls of the hospital pausing to breathe through contractions. Kadi, arrived to coach, my parents showed up to fill my room with flowers and pink sarongs, and my friend Stephanie came to wish me luck. I felt so supported and loved.
However, I wasn’t progressing very quickly. My doctor recommended Pitocin and my stubborn side said, NO WAY, but with Kadi’s reassurance I agreed. I never pictured an IV pole as part of my labor, but I took it in stride and made it my walking, breathing, bending, dancing, showering partner…you’d be AMAZED what you can do with a pole!
After 16 hours of contractions, hospital shift changes and zero modesty left, I hit “the wall.” I thought, “I don’t think I can do this.” I surrendered and let Kadi and JJ move my body to allow the doctor one last check. As they moved me I had an incredibly spiritual “out of body” experience. Moments later I was thrust back into reality as everyone in the room was telling me, “It’s time to push!” After forty-five minutes out came Emily! The doctor placed her on my chest and our eyes met for the first time. We just looked at each other as if we’d known one another forever…pure love, pure joy, pure happiness, utter peace.
My first lesson of motherhood was one I’ve carried with me ever since: your moments of greatest “weakness” will often reveal your greatest strengths and lead to incredible blessings.
Image Credit: Kristen Stafford