My birth went exactly the way I hoped it would, and I feel so very lucky because how often does that happen?! I tried to stay focused on what I wanted, but aware that it was out of my control. I knew it would be OK no matter what. My water broke around 7:30 pm while I was sitting down to eat dinner, about to relax after a long day! Contractions started about an hour and half after my water broke, and were immediately coming every 3-5 minutes.
I was able to labor by walking around my house with a heating pad on my back, listening to good music, for about 2.5 hours before they got intense enough that I wanted to get into the birthing tub. Shar and Sorayya (doula) came around 1:30 am, and at that point I was in the tub and the contractions were very, very strong. At one point when Shar took the baby’s heart rate and it was faster than she’d liked, so I had to get out of the tub for a minute and drink some water. Man, that was rough! The water didn’t take the edge off as much as I’d hoped it would, but it made enough of a difference that I was definitely not interested in getting out of the tub again after that. Sorayya suggested coming out of the tub at one point to try other positions and I was like ‘absolutely not’, and how wonderful to just be able to do what I wanted to! Shortly after that, the heart rate went back down to a normal range, which I was relieved about because I really wanted to stay at home for the birth.
After that, everything was a blur! It all went by so quickly. I had the tub set up in our living room, with just candles and a small light on, so it was very dim, quiet and peaceful. About an hour after Shar got in, she wanted to check my dilation, and said I could push whenever I wanted to! I was so thankful that it all happened so quickly. I didn’t feel like I wanted to push at all, but the contractions were getting so painful that I thought to myself, ‘Well, you either push into the next contraction or you feel like this forever!’, so I started pushing. It took a few tries before I figured out how to do it, and I pushed for about 20 minutes, maybe 6 or 7 big pushes before she came out. The pushing didn’t feel good to me at all but I knew she was really close to coming out. At one point I asked Shar if she could see her head, and she said she could when I pushed, and that was really all I needed to hear- that I was this close to being done. I pushed with every ounce of energy I had, which was incredibly painful but truly an other-worldly experience. When she came out, it was really the most amazing moment in my life. I tear up when I think of that moment, I was just in complete shock and awe, and the relief I felt was instant and amazing. She was pink and cute with her eyes open as soon as she came out and I couldn’t believe it! Aurora was born at 4:22 am, in the birthing tub in my living room, with my husband by my side.
My placenta came out easily a few minutes later, I got out of the tub, took a shower, and went into my bedroom with her, and I was just over the moon. I needed a few stitches and Shar needed to check out the baby, which was fun to watch. I don’t think I’ve ever in my life felt better than the hours after she was born. I was so, so happy, excited and just consumed with awe and love. My husband was completely in love with her too, and it was so sweet to watch the two of them.
Everyone left about 2 hours after she was born, and James and I just slept with her between us. It was really, truly awesome. It was only 7 hours from the time my contractions started until she was born, so the whole experience was incredibly intense, but perfect. I was exhausted for about 3 days afterwards, and had a hard time walking because of the tear, but by day 4 I was feeling pretty good and going for walks around the block, and then within about a week I was going on long walks with her through my neighborhood and to the park. I couldn’t believe how quickly I started feeling like myself again. I just paid attention to how I was feeling, and honored it. If I was tired, I would sleep; sore, I would take a bath, etc. I was fortunate to have both my husband and mom home with me to help out with Aurora, who has been such a wonderful, calm and sweet little baby. My mom is convinced that the peaceful way she came into this world has contributed to her sweet little personality, and I am compelled to agree. She was so alert and aware of her surroundings right away. The time with a new baby is so precious and fleeting; I’m trying to be so present with her because this time goes by so quickly and it’s so sweet.
With Shar and Carol, I got by far the best health care I’ve ever gotten. We interviewed several other midwives but it was clear to us that they were the best fit for what we wanted. Throughout my entire pregnancy and labor they were both incredibly caring, attentive, professional, warm and always very easy to reach and quick to respond to everything, even if it was a simple question. They completely respected my wishes every step of the way. You can tell that they truly love babies and being part of your care and birth. They’re also just very nice people! Natural childbirth was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, but in the end I felt like ‘If I can do that, I can do ANYTHING!’ Now, having had such a wonderful experience, I can’t imagine doing it any other way.