We do what we can to prepare for our dream births, and hopefully along the way, breathe deeply and practice letting go. It isn’t always easy. Here on the Blooma blog, we love to post all kinds of birth stories, and we do: whether unmedicated, with epidural, in the water, on land, or C-section. These are your stories and we hold them close to our hearts. We share what you send us so that other mamas-to-be can find inspiration, comfort and community.
We believe in the positive birth story, but that doesn’t always mean labor goes 100% as planned. It means that a birthing mom finds a way to surrender to her experience, to be truly present for it. It may mean grieving the loss of an idea or plan, then summoning up all your goddess strength and breathing into a new reality.
We recently heard from a new mom who bravely, honestly shares the story of her labor, which was challenging in multiple ways, so that other moms know they’re not alone. Feel free to discuss here if you had a similar experience — and lean on our community of other mamas!
Mamas, Blooma is here for you both during prenatal yoga and postnatally so you can be with other new moms, whether at Bring Your Own Baby Yoga, a breastfeeding class or during a New Mama Group. If you desire additional one-on-one support, please ask and we are happy to provide references within our wonderful community.
Alisa, Sarah & the women of Blooma
For months, about seven-and-a-half to be exact, whenever I see a new post about an inspirational birth from Blooma on my newsfeed, I scroll fast so I don’t have to see it.
I could not be more in love with our Everett, born on August 8, 2011. He is truly the apple of my eye. But, whenever I see a post about an amazing natural birth, I am envious and sad. I am annoyed by my reaction because I was able to vaginally give birth to my sweet boy and we both came out happy and healthy.
But, Everett’s birth did not go as planned. I know, there is no possible way to expect something like childbirth to actually play out how I want. But, aside from a beautiful bouncing baby boy at the end, my labor journey was tough.
My water broke around 2 p.m. in the afternoon on Sunday, August 7. I was lucky that I was on the toilet, no movie style flood of my water in aisle 6 at the grocery store.
I called my husband into the bathroom. We looked in the toilet and the water was tinged greenish, brown. We knew there was meconium in my water and we knew we had to call the hospital. I was 4 days overdue, so I was thrilled to be in labor, but I was already grieving the loss of a water birth because of the meconium in my water.
We told the hospital about the greenish, brown water. As we feared, they said we had to come in right away. We wanted to labor at home as long as possible, but we knew going to the hospital was the right thing to do.
During our drive to HCMC, my contractions started. We called our doula to let her know I was in labor; she let me know my lower belly cramps were the real thing! My contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart, but not too strong on the pain scale.
When we arrived at HCMC we were escorted to the beautiful midwifery wing of the Birth Center and Maggie the midwife greeted us with a warm smile. She confirmed it was meconium in my water and said I had to be monitored to check the baby’s heart rate. She also confirmed that a water birth was not possible. I accepted the news and set a new goal of natural birth on land!
My contractions continued every 4-5 minutes, they started to increase with intensity, but it was fairly easy to breath through them at that point. All of that breathing during prenatal yoga made it feel so natural to breath through them. Soon I was hooked up to the monitors and little baby’s heartbeat was just fine, great; actually!
Our doula asked if they could find wireless monitors so I could move around and not be confined to such a small space. Yay for doulas! That made me very happy because I felt the best walking around.
Walking kept my contractions consistent. My husband, our doula and I walked the hallways to keep my labor going. When I felt a contraction coming, I grabbed the bar on the wall and squatted to increase the intensity so I could speed up labor. Yet another great thing from all of that yoga – squatting! My husband stood behind me during contractions to support me literally and figuratively.
During my contractions I felt like I temporarily left the earth. After it subsided, I was completely lucid and could carry on the same conversation I was having before the contraction! It was painful, but exhilarating too.
I was dilated to 1 ½ centimeters. My heart sank. I thought I was hallucinating. Did she just say 1 ½ centimeters? How could that be? My contractions had been 2-3 minutes apart for the last few hours.Finally around 11 p.m., about 9 hours after my labor started, my midwife came in for an internal exam. We avoided the internal exam for a long as possible because we knew I only had 24 hours to deliver our baby after bacteria was introduced.
My midwife and doula suggested I lay down to labor and rest because I had a long road ahead of me. I did just that, labored in bed, as my contractions continued to increase in intensity and pain. Finally around 2 a.m. (now Monday, August 8 and almost 12 hours after my labor started), my midwife performed another internal exam. 3 centimeters. Progress!
I was encouraged by the progress and wanted to get up, walk around and squat to get this show on the road! Also at that time, it was recommended that I get an IV because I could not keep anything down and they were concerned I was dehydrated.
Around 3 a.m. my contractions were almost unbearable, so my doula suggested the bathtub. It was in the tub was when I started thinking “I can’t do this”; I just didn’t know how I could keep going. The water helped, but I am tall and the tub was small, it was not the most comfortable. I almost fell asleep in the tub in between contractions because I was so tired.
Finally around 6 a.m. my doula suggested another internal exam. I was dilated to 3 ½ and my cervix still wasn’t lined up. I started to cry. How on earth am I only 3 ½ centimeters after 15 hours or labor? I felt so defeated. I went to prenatal yoga once a week from the very beginning of my pregnancy. I walked almost every single day. I ate well. I did not allow myself to get stressed out.
At that point my contractions were so intense that I couldn’t breathe through them and I couldn’t talk. I did the math, I knew I had to have that baby by 11 p.m. that night, but I was only dilated to 3 ½. All I thought was, I cannot have a c-section…I cannot have a c-section.
My husband asked how long it could take for me to dilate to a 10. Of course our midwife didn’t know, but she said I should focus on having the strength to push when the time comes. Our midwife knew our birth plan — I didn’t want any medication or interventions — I wanted a natural birth.
She acknowledged our birth plan but said I should think about an epidural because it is the only medication that would relieve the pain enough for me to sleep so that I could push when it came time.
We turned to our doula. She said she never suggests an epidural but thought it might help me progress to 10 centimeters and rest at the same time. I cried again. I felt like I failed. But, the new goal was no c-section and of course, a healthy baby. I had to move on.
As we waited for the anesthesiologist, my contractions grew closer and closer together and increased in intensity. When it came time to administer the epidural, the anesthesiologist had a hard time because I couldn’t sit still. My contractions started to couple! Coupling contractions and still no dilation!
The epidural was administered (along with a billion other monitors and tubes) and it was immediate pain relief, it was strange. To feel that much pain and to have it immediately stop was eerie. I felt like I was cheating labor, I didn’t like it. But I knew I had to sleep. There was only one problem: I started to itch profusely and could not sleep. Apparently excessive itching is a side effect and I couldn’t stop scratching – especially my face.
Around 8:30 a.m., my midwife came in to tell us that the epidural had virtually stopped my contractions. So, she suggested pitocin. Ugh. My greatest fear, one intervention leading to another and having to endure the gamut of interventions. But, again, we had to reassess our goal – healthy baby and no c-section. We agreed to the pitocin and waited for it to take effect.
Finally around 12 p.m., the new midwife on duty, performed an internal exam. I was nervous to hear her answer. When she said, “you couldn’t be more dilated than that,” I almost screamed. Woo hoo! I might actually have this baby.
Whoa. I never thought about the pushing. I had an hour to labor down before the pushing would start. Our midwife asked if I wanted to feel the contractions and I said…YES! The nurse turned off the epidural and slowly I felt my body come back to life.
Finally around 1:30 p.m. I started to push. It was so liberating to push through the contractions, to not have to just grin and bear it. My husband, our doula and our amazing nurse Tami helped me with each push. They said “you are doing so well, yes, that was a good one, do that one again.” I asked “what am I doing that is good? I have no idea what I’m doing!” But I just kept pushing.
I pushed for three hours and finally, I could feel his head. I reached down to touch his head, it was so soft, I didn’t expect it to be so soft. My contractions intensified and pushing felt so good. I could feel his head come out and with one more push, his little shoulders came out. Our midwife told my husband to pull him out, it was 4:24 p.m. on Monday, August 8. My husband put his fingers under his little armpits and pulled him out! Crying, my husband yelled, “It’s a boy!” I yelled, “It’s a boy?!”
When my husband put him on my chest I said, “He’s Everett, what do you think?” My husband smiled and agreed.
After I saw another Blooma post (of an unmedicated birth story), I decided to read it. I still felt a little envious, but I no longer felt sad. It was a beautiful story. I realized that there were so many amazing and special moments during my labor and delivery and that I am really fortunate to have a healthy baby.
It’s important to focus on all of the wonderful moments because there were so many! And, at the end of the day, we created an amazing boy who lights up our lives every day. I really couldn’t ask for more.
I apologize for writing a novel, but in the event there is even one other Momma who had a similar experience, I want her to know she is not alone!
One happy Momma signing off,