It was 3pm in the afternoon on August 26th when my midwife came to the house. When we spoke on the phone a few hours earlier she asked me, “Are you sure you’re ready to have this baby today?” With confidence I replied, “Yes, absolutely!” I was over 2 weeks past my ‘estimated due date’ so I was beyond ready to birth and meet my baby. By that time, I had tried every all-natural and homeopathic ‘remedy’ available to prompt my labor. I climbed my very steep inclined driveway, wiggling my way up the 35 min ‘climb’ and waddling all the way back down, daily. Nothing. I ate spicy foods that only seemed to give me and baby the hiccups. Still nothing. I made love to my husband. No comment – and nothing still!
About a week past my ‘due date’ my midwife checked my cervix to discover I was about 2cm dilated; but still no “show” and no contractions. I tried a couple of enemas over the course of the next few days. Nothing was ‘working!’ At about 2 weeks past my ‘due date’ I started using herbs and even drank castor oil. Ugghh! The worst. I can still see the swirl of oil floating atop my smoothie. I was at 3-4cm dilation at this point, but still no steady contractions. Even though I was completely ‘empty’ (thanks to the castor oil smoothie and multiple enemas) there was still something keeping my baby from coming. ‘He’ simply wasn’t ready to be born, yet.
I went to the Doctor’s office to get a Stress Test (suggested by my midwife), to ensure the safety of my baby and adequate amniotic fluid. They saw on the monitor that I was having irregular contractions. I trusted that since my baby was doing just fine in there that I just had to be patient, but my patience only lasted a few more days…
It was after that phone call on the 26th that my midwife came over and broke my water bag (at my request) so that I could birth my baby and meet my beautiful baby boy. The moment my bag burst, I went into full active labor. It was like a freight train came roaring though the house. It came on strong and didn’t let up until 6 hours later when my son was born. I had this whole ‘idea’ of my birth, slowly working through the early stages of labor on a birth ball and/or in a warm shower; but none of that was a part of my ‘story’. I imagined music playing, incense burning, and candles glowing; but it was much more raw than that.
I never left my bed (the last place I ever imagined birthing my baby). I tried a few different positions, but was mainly most ‘comfortable’ on all fours or on my side. I tried to stand (with the support of my husband behind me) but I felt like I was using all my strength to ‘survive’ much less stand up (even while supported). I had back-to-back contractions with no breaks. It felt like an out-of-body experience. I was very present, ‘watching’ everything happen around me; but I was very quiet. I went deep inside and didn’t say much of anything during the whole experience, except those few fateful words, “Oh God, I don’t think I can do this any longer.” Now I know I was just about to transition.
I remember vividly my midwife asking her assistant to check my dilation and me dreading her response. I was so sure I had a long ways to go; but to my surprise she exclaimed I was at 10 cm and that I could start pushing when I felt the urge. I felt the urge strongly! I finally felt ‘in control’ of my labor and the birth of my baby. I found a rhythm (that at the time felt endless) but one that worked. After 2 hours of pushing my son was born with no interventions, no tearing, and no complications. It was the most magical moment of my life. I cannot imagine not having my midwife, her assistant, and my husband there, in my home while I delivered my baby boy. I will forever be so thankful for them as well as for the life-changing experience I had that day.
Image Credit: Maggie Bijl