Awens Birth Story
Five days after my beautiful daughter’s birth, I am going to write our story, with her quietly nursing in my arms. Sitting here, holding her perfect little body in my arms, I am amazed at the process and events that unfolded to bring us to this moment in time.
My little angel was “due” on October 17th, and around a week before I had prodromal labor, strong contractions getting my body ready to give birth. It made me think I would be meeting her very soon and I was so excited and ready to not be pregnant anymore. I don’t think I was very good at being pregnant. As excited as I was about becoming a mother, I disliked not having my body be my own anymore, and the inevitable discomfort that comes with growing another human inside your abdomen. And as the days went by, and my due date came and went, I grew increasingly anxious, ready to begin the next phase. Such was not to be on my timetable, and I went through days where I had a hard time coming to terms with my lack of patience. To make matters worse on the waiting front, my mother had come to stay with us, arriving on the 21st and staying until the morning of November 2nd. I was planning a homebirth and finally realized my body had stopped labor because my mind was not ready, as I didn’t want anyone else except my husband with me during birth and after for our babymoon. I came to this conclusion and all of my anxiety vanished. I became happy and excited and much more patient. All was well with my baby and my midwives were amazing about letting us be as long as we were healthy, and encouraging me. I went in to my last prenatal appointment on Halloween and was amazingly happy and calm and my midwives were so supportive and we knew it was almost time. Everything was healthy as usual and we made no other appointments as I was sure I would give birth by the weekend.
Thursday evening I began having irregular but much more convincing contractions. All through the night they would wake me up and then let me go back to sleep. I was sure my body was getting ready and it would be soon. Friday, during the day, I was still having contractions but they were letting me rest and I told my husband that I thought it would be soon but I was going to nap and rest as much as my body would allow. He got home from work in the evening and the contractions started to come with more intensity and greater frequency. I had the certain feeling that this was “it”. About 10 pm I was in active labor. At 10:30 I called the midwife to give her a heads up that I was in labor so that when it was time for her to come to the house she would be more prepared and awake. It also allowed me to relax knowing my support was contacted and would be here soon after I decided I needed them. I laid down to try to sleep and rest for the upcoming night and day but contractions would rouse me every 6 minutes as I was just drifting off, like clockwork. I got back up and called my midwife and she and her intern arrived at about 2:45am. By this time the contractions were making me lean over with the intensity (they felt like a belt tightening around my waist and back) and hands and knees or leaning over the birth ball was the most comfortable. I was also nauseous and threw up which was fun. I was vocalizing through each surge as this made it easier to cope and visualize opening up for my baby. I asked to be checked when they 1st arrived and was at 6-7 cm. Also, when we checked her heart rate it was in the lower left of my abdomen, which meant that during early labor she had flipped from posterior to anterior, which meant yea! No more back labor, and I noticed all the back intensity I had earlier was gone. (She was a very stubborn baby during pregnancy always hanging out on the right side and posterior) Over the next few hours I allowed the surges to come and tried to stay as relaxed as possible. I was in my own space and would talk to my husband or the midwives, who checked the baby and I periodically. It was the most awesome thing to be in my own space with people I trusted and who loved the baby and I .
I walked around the house, up and down the stairs. It was so neat to me that during the contraction it would be so intense and then when it let up there was nothing, letting me rest in between. I asked to be checked again around 7:30 or so, as I wanted to start pushing. I was about 8-9 cm and my bag of water was bulging, but had not broken yet, and I had a bit of a lip to the cervix still. The midwife said I could walk the stairs some more or we could try breaking the bag of water. I wanted to have her break my bag of water because I had the feeling it needed to be or I would progress slowly. The intern tried twice and it wouldn’t break, so the midwife finally got it on the third try. They said wow tough bag of waters, and it was just like I knew it would be. After it broke fluid came gushing out and I had several VERY intense surges. We checked again and she wanted me to push past the slight lip as I was fully dilated. I did that, then it was time to push her out. I was comfortable on the bed so that is where I stayed, and my husband sat behind me and helped me to semi sit up. I pushed for an hour and 5 minutes, pushing whenever I felt like it, and just bearing down, using all my strength to get her out into the world. The pressure was intense but not unbearable, and my husband was speaking into my ear reminding me to slow my breathing when I started to lose control of my breath, telling me how well I was doing. They told me to reach down and touch her head and I was amazed to feel her squishy head. Then I got her face out and they suctioned her and I was amazed and encouraged that she was almost out. I never felt the infamous ring of fire, only intense pressure. I got her head delivered and then one more push and the midwife caught my baby girl and placed her on my chest. She was born at 9:47 a.m. on Saturday November 4, 2006. I was AMAZED. The first words I said were “Oh my God she is beautiful!” And I was amazed to know she was in fact a girl because through the whole pregnancy I never once thought that she was a boy, she always felt like my little girl. I bled a lot after she was delivered and the midwives were concerned and delivered my placenta with my help right away and gave me a shot of pitocin to help stop the bleeding (the only drugs used during the whole birthing process). The midwife told me later after she examined the placenta that the bleeding was most likely the cord and placenta separating a bit as she was born, as it was a short cord, and not from me, but we didn’t know that at the time and there was so much bleeding they weren’t taking any chances. She was covered in warm receiving blankets and never left me as they cleaned us both up. I had a slight tear that wasn’t even worth a stitch and the midwife said everything was looking great. My husband and I marveled at our new daughter. She barely cried once or twice and was content to look around. She nursed before she was an hour old, and took to it like a natural. I was finally ready to get up and clean all the blood off so they ran me a bath and my husband held Awen. I felt much better after I cleaned off and got back to the bed they had cleaned up and put fresh sheets on. I watched as they midwives did her first exam and weighed her right on the bed and before me. She weighed in at 8 lbs even and was 19.5 inches. We spent the rest of her first day of life lying in bed with her daddy taking care of us and cuddling with us. I was tired and felt like I had run a marathon, exhausted but exhilarated and higher on all the natural endorphins and hormones than I ever thought to be. I felt great except for my sore throat, from vocalizing through each contraction, but as that was my pain management, I think it was totally worth it. Having Awen was the most intense and awesome thing that I have ever done in my life. I am proud to be her mother.