January 28th - It’s 2:10am - I’m wide awake.. you’re coming soon! 39 + 6!
At 1:30am I woke up feeling a bit different than usual, this wasn’t my normal midnight bathroom break. As I moved around in bed for a minute I immediately realized that we had sprung a leak! This wasn’t the astonishing gush that I experienced when labor started with Cyan this was more of a trickle. I was having some mild contractions but nothing really time-able. I woke up Bret, let him know that labor was beginning and decided to get back in bed for some more rest. I knew I’d need it later.
The day started as usual with the morning school routine of 8:00 am out the door. Bret brought Cy to school since I pretty much was a ticking time bomb.. I had no idea when contractions would start, as they hadn’t really started yet. I reached out to René (doula extraordinaire) and Cyd my photographer (www.bayourosephoto.com) to let them know what was going on.
8:00am - 2:00pm - I spent my time resting and fueling my body for labor. Still no real timeable contractions, and no other signs of labor. René and I had chatted throughout the day planning the next move. Dr. Dickerson (best doctor on the planet in case you didn’t know) had been notified and at this point we all were just waiting. After a few rounds of pumping to get some stimulation, some walking, a concentrated aroma of clary sage (to improve the effectiveness of contractions), and myrrh (for a stalled labor).. still no labor. After talking again with doc we decided to go into the office for a visit to make sure in fact my membranes were ruptured and devise a plan of action.
*fun fact* - It is said that the mythical Phoenix, carrying his father encased in myrrh, comes from Arabia to the Temple of the Sun in Heliopolis, where he buries him. In order to do this, the Phoenix first moulds an egg of the bitter tasting but aromatic plant called myrrh, and then hollows it out, putting his father into it. Having done this, he plasters over with more myrrh the hollow of the egg, and carries it to Egypt.
3:30pm - Bret and I picked up Cy then headed to Yogurtland for a quick treat. Bret and I laugh about if someone were to ask me when I was due. I’d have to say oh in about 6 hours. Haha!
4:30pm - I hopped up on the table in the doctors office and let’s just say there was no denying that my waters were flowing. So now we plan.. It’s been 15 hours since the first trickle at 1am, and it was time to take some action. I trust Dr. D and René both very much, and the consensus was that Pitocin would be the tool to help. Dun dun dun.. This was what I wanted to avoid. Pitocin has a reputation of not being so friendly at times.. especially to a natural birthing mama.
5:00pm - 9:00pm - These 4 hours were probably the most challenging of my entire labor. We headed home from the doctors office to grab the bags and some dinner before we headed back to the hospital to have this baby. I was a mess. This was not the way I envisioned labor starting, I was angry. Angry at myself for working too hard the day before. Did I force labor and it wasn’t quite time yet? I was angry at my uterus for not contracting properly, was I too old? I blamed my husband for my oxytocin levels obviously being too low. I WAS A MESS. I attempted another couple of rounds of pumping while I cried and hoped contractions would start on their own.. Nope. No contractions. I surrendered. I gave in to letting go. This was practice for the night ahead, I see that now looking back.
9:30pm - We checked into the hospital to start the journey. By the time we got into our room in labor and delivery, filled out forms, answered questions and got all situated it was 11:30pm. Doctor’s orders were to slowly start Pitocin and gradually increase every 30 minutes or every hour depending on how it was going. I saw 2, 4, and 6 over the next couple of hours,. moving about and changing positions frequently.
1:30am - Here we go! This is when contractions started to get “real”, and my body was progressing. There were signs that dilation was happening, and I could no longer talk when the waves came. One step closer to the prize. I was only checked once when I arrived at the hospital and I was 3cm 60% station -2. Throughout labor we had no idea of my actual dilation/effacement etc. I was bumped up to 8 mU/min. This is when I moved into the bathtub. Hubby lodged the peanut ball on the built in seat in the tub so I could rest on it between contractions. We used the shower head to run warm water on my hips and lower back. Back labor was getting more intense, and water definitely was my friend!
2:20 - René had been in contact with Dr. D and Bret contacted Cyd to come up to the hospital since baby boy was getting closer. This is when I entered into my birth cave. It was just me, my body and my baby.. we were well prepared for this event. I didn’t hear anything around me from this moment until Phoenix was born. I felt more connected to my body and my thoughts than ever before, and with each contraction I could feel my body transforming and opening. My baby was moving lower and closer to being in my arms.
2:50am - René called Doc who was waiting in the wings for his time to come. He was heading our way. This last hour I had been very vocal, much more than my first birth.. I was much too embarrassed to be vocal the first time around. Interesting how much I’ve grown into who I am today over these last 8 years. In this moment it wasn’t about what anyone else thought it, was about me releasing control, listening to my soul and respecting my sacred space to move as freely as I wished. There was some serious pressure and a definite urge to begin to push.
2:55am - First push.
3:02am - My body melted with these final few contractions and I began to speak to my baby. I knew exactly where his head was. I could feel him.. “I’m ready, come on baby. Come my baby.” Bret described this part to me and his experience was that it appeared that I was in another place. I couldn’t agree more.. I was having an out of body experience. This experience was the most powerful experience probably in my life. I wasn’t in woman’s hospital in the bathtub anymore. There was no logic, just pure instinct.
3:07am - I felt a huge release in my body almost like a popping sensation, and I immediately said, “Something happened.” “I feel something.” René asked if I felt the baby’s head. I reached my hand down below the water, and there he was! Not only did I feel his head, his head was born! Not a doctor or nurse in sight.. My sweet and amazing husband, alongside the best birth coach ever, guided our baby into this world beneath the water. The first two hands to touch our sweet Phoenix were those of his loving parents. I will never forget this.
At this point the chaos was rising in rushed our nurse, Kayla, who helped Bret catch the rest of baby as he was entering the world and then several other nurses came shuffling in. It was like the swat team! I maneuvered about to get to a position where I was able to sit to hold my sweet angel. As Bret and the nurse were handing me Phoenix, Dr. Dickerson hustled in. This called for a good chuckle.. as I was SOOO adamant about him being there for the birth. He laughed and said, “Great job guys!.” We were all still very shocked that it happened so fast! Literally 3 pushes and he was earth-side! I guess that’s what happens when you relinquish all control and let birth happen in all of its surprising splendor.