My Birth Story: Fast, Furious and Magical
Guys, I wasn’t pregnant forever! Just days after writing this post and feeling like I would, in fact, break a Guinness World Record for longest pregnancy ever, my little girl made her debut into the world on 8:49 a.m. Thursday, March 5, 2015.
Little Gwendolyn was 8 pounds, 7 ounces, 21 inches long and full of personality from the get-go. See the arm that’s raised in the photo below? Yeah, she came out with that arm up. Defiant, fist-pumping or like a perfect pupil, I’m not quite sure, but it made for a memorable (and slightly more painful) delivery.
After trying EVERYTHING to naturally induce with no luck, we ended up changing our birth plan from at the birth center to at a hospital, as I was technically considered “late term” at 42 weeks and no longer able to give birth in the totally hippie way I had intended. Believe me, I mourned this change of plans. I LOVE New Birth Company and was really hoping for a totally natural birth. But they got us in good hands at a local hospital that ended up being darn amazing. And although it wasn’t exactly as I pictured it, it turned out pretty much as I wanted: as natural as possible (no pain meds!) and truly life-changing. (Also, yes, the most intense WOD of my life.)
It all began the night of Wednesday, March 4 when my husband and I checked into the hospital at 8 p.m. (waiting around that day to go in … that was torture!). We had already had an appointment with our doctor the previous day and she was totally on board with our birth plan. I was still only dilated 1 centimeter at this point and effaced 70 to 80 percent with minimal contractions on my own, so we decided to give Cervidil a try.
And man, oh, man did it work.
After the Cervidil went in around 9 p.m., we slept some that night with some mildish contractions kicking in after midnight. Then around 4 a.m. things began —- like whoa. I had more and more intense contractions coming closer and closer together. By 5 a.m. I was in true active labor and the longest rest I ever got between contractions after that point was 3 minutes — and most of them were more like 1 minute to a minute and a half. By 5:30 a.m. our awesome doula Becky (highly recommend her for doula services and photography!) arrived and things continued to progress. By 6:30 a.m. or so (time becomes more of a concept than a reality at this point … ), I was at 90 percent effaced and 4 centimeters. I labored mostly sitting on a birth ball with my head on the hospital bed and Ryan giving me encouragement while Becky rubbed my back. Any time I changed positions — which I did or attempted to do about every 30 minutes — I’d get a massive contraction. Each getting more and more intense, and fast.
By the time it was 8 a.m., I didn’t need to be checked. I was feeling the urge to push, and I could feel that baby was down waaay low. (Funny side note: We had my birth playlist on from about 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. and then all of a sudden it went off, and no one ever noticed or thought to turn it back on! I did enjoy it during early labor though.) For the next 49 minutes, I laid on my side with a peanut-shaped ball between my knees and focused on breathing my baby down. The contractions ramped up to a level I didn’t think really was humanly possible (hello, transition), but with the amazing coaching of my doula (whom was now the amazing Vanessa, as poor Becky had a could-not-miss appointment) and Ryan, I focused on relaxing and just getting through them. It was kind of torture and definitely the most pain I’d ever felt in my life — but it was in the best way possible because I knew I was getting close.
Just before I felt the strong urge to push, my water broke. Or more like shot out of me, literally popping and bursting on its way out. To be honest, it felt a little like a scene out of a sci-fi movie with the craziness of it. And also totally awesome because, um, MY WATER JUST BROKE. I remember thinking to myself, between contractions, I’ve waited three years, 42 weeks and a day for this very moment …
After that, the doctor and nurses rushed in, my body began to really take over and I got to push. I pushed through just a handful of contractions and would have had her out in three, but she came out into the world with that rogue arm up. With the doc’s help with her positioning, my doula’s encouragement and a few more pushes, she was out into the world at 8:49 a.m. (Another fun side note: I went through active labor to birth faster than it took me to run a marathon!)
My birth story was three-plus years in the making, and so, totally, absolutely worth every stumble, bump and break along the way. Love at first sight doesn’t even begin to cover it. —Jenn