I love sharing birth stories with you guys. This story is special to me as she is also one of our first students in Loving Your Labor Academy
On June 1st I began having contractions at 6 am. I began having frequent BMs and felt like this was different than Braxton Hicks contractions I had encountered prior.
They felt like first day period cramps, but more importantly, I had that gut feeling I was in Early Labor.
I walked around the house doing some last-minute chores, double-checked my hospital bags, ate some peanut butter toast for breakfast, and finally fell asleep again for a 2-hour nap.
Around noon my contractions were 30 sec long but still only 6-7 minutes in frequency. My husband, Drew, decided to come home from work at 1:30 pm so we could go into the doctor’s office to get checked.
At 2:30 pm I was checked by midwife Ryanne who said I was only a fingertip dilated (0.5cm) and 20% effaced. Our Niblet’s heart rate was great in the 150s and he had the hiccups. So they assured me this could still be days at this point and to take it easy and rest.
We had Panera for a late lunch and Drew cooked us steaks for dinner so I’d have some high protein in me in case things progressed quickly. We went to bed and I was able to sleep some until I felt a gush of hot liquid that woke me up at 11:10 am.
I thought maybe my water had broken but it was my bloody show. I never did notice the loss of my mucus plug separately so I think it was lost at the same time.
I labored in the shower until the contractions became 4-1-1 at 12:23 am. When we called the on-call physician, they advised we continue to labor at home until I couldn’t cope anymore.
I continued to labor in the shower until I had a large amount of blood and stringy tissue come out. As this was my first labor I didn’t know if this was normal and I felt like I wanted to be checked out so we proceeded to call the on-call physician to notify them that we were on our way into the hospital.
They triaged me and I got registration done in this time which I was so thankful for later as I wasn’t in horrible pain yet and was still coping pretty well with the contractions.
They told me at that point I was only 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced so they allowed us to go home to continue our labor thereafter consulting with my midwife. We got back home around 4 am and I tried laboring in bed with my husband placing counter pressure on my back but the pain began to be too much so I moved into the tub.
My mantra through every contraction was “I release, I surrender, I open” and I would breathe in and out with each phrase repeating it over and over until it passed.
This was super comforting to me.
I was able to sleep in between contractions while in the tub until 8:04 am and then I knew it was time to head in at that point as the intensity had changed and I was having difficulty coping. We live 8 minutes from the hospital and I was so glad we left when we did.
In triage the second time, we got to skip through the long registration as we had done it earlier and I just had to sign a few quick things. I was in a lot of pain at this point and was only able to get through contractions with Drew pushing on my lower back each time as I breathed deeply or me holding onto him like we were dancing and swaying my hips in circles or figure 8’s.
They told me I had made it to 4cm dilated but I was 100% effaced and the baby was in -1 station. They were cleaning the room I wanted with the birthing tub so I continued to labor in the triage room for a little bit until that was ready.
Then our labor nurse (whose name was Heather ) got us into room 15 at DuPont Hospital and I immediately got into the tub with Drew sitting behind me so I could lean against him.
I was struggling to cope and every time a contraction came I had to squeeze his hands and we would breathe in and out together until it passed.
I wasn’t in the tub all that long..maybe 45min-1hr when I couldn’t feel my arms anymore… so they asked me to get out of the tub thinking I was overheated. As soon as I got out they checked me and I had already progressed from 4 at triage to 7. The feeling in my arms returned after that. I stood gripping the arm railing of a chair while Drew continued counter pressure on my back.
By this point the contractions were so intense I could only cope by blowing air out my lips like a horse over and over again as loud as I could through each contraction. They were back to back at this point so I didn’t get any time to rest between them so it was a constant blowing of raspberries.
This was a technique I learned from Ina May Gaskin and I swear I wouldn’t have been able to get through these contractions naturally without this technique or without my husband applying constant counter pressure on my back.
At one point Heather asked if I wanted to try a labor ball so I said I would and got down on hands and knees to lean against it and it was horrible for me.
I could barely get through that contraction so as soon as I could, I stood back up and went back to standing where I had been, swaying my hips back and forth, blowing raspberries, and Drew applying counter pressure.
Then my midwife, Lindsay, wanted to check me because I started saying I felt like I needed to push. I was at 9 and so they got me in a position with my arms holding my legs back and wide.
I had to have Drew press down and upwards on my legs to keep that pressure to help me through the contractions until they told me I could start pushing.
I began pushing around 11:34 am and continued to push for an hour and a half long… my water didn’t break until I pushed it out about halfway through my pushing stage. Pushing was the most intense feeling I’ve ever experienced.
My care team and Drew held my legs and had to keep reminding me to catch my breath and breathe deep and slow as I would start to lose my focus and my breathing would become super fast and shallow.
They would tell me to get air to the baby and I would immediately change my breathing patterns. Thinking about him needing air helped me push through that hurdle. Drew also would encourage me to make my noises if he saw I was struggling.
There were definite moments where I felt I couldn’t do it anymore and would say so but my team kept assuring me I could and how strong I was and how amazing I was doing and how close I was to see my son. It was the motivation I needed to keep going.
My baby boy made me work for every millimeter of his head. Every time I thought this is it.. this is the push I will finally get his head out…but the crown of his head was VERY slow going.
At one point they asked me if I wanted to feel him crowning and when I had enough energy to take my hand away from my legs I did and felt a whole bunch of hair!
I had some fear that I would run out of energy to be able to push him the whole way out but I was determined and had extreme encouragement from my birth team.
My doctor did come in to assess at one point in case I needed any interventions and they did bring a local in case I would need it but hearing them talk about interventions made me that much more determined to do this naturally.
I remember them telling me I was SO CLOSE and I commented they’d been telling me that for the past 2 hours and my midwife responded I hadn’t even been pushing 2 hours yet and I could do this! Finally, his ears came out and at that point, he slid right out the rest of the way.
I didn’t even realize what was happening because suddenly the feeling changed and became a different type of intensity and I was about to get panicky but then they told me HE’S OUT…HE’S COMING OUT.. and I realized that I was THERE!
I looked down and my boy was being pulled over my legs and there was a splash of amniotic fluid that got all the way up to Drew lol! He kept saying YOU DID IT and HE’S HERE! We both were just in complete awe and very emotional!
They put him on me for skin to skin and after the cord stopped pulsing they asked if Drew wanted to cut the cord but he didn’t think he could so I said I wanted to!
By that point, the placenta had detached the whole way and I delivered that with just a little push which felt intense and then a sudden relief of pressure leaving my body.
It felt so good to have it out. I was also evaluated at this point and I didn’t tear at all, just what she said would compare to a rug burn! I think because of how slow his head was coming out it actually gave my body time to stretch and accommodate his head.
My midwife also was working my body around his head and helping me stretch to avoid tearing. They did all of the baby’s assessments on my tummy and didn’t take him away from me to be weighed or any other checks at all until after our Golden Hour was over.
They asked me his name and Drew said what we were thinking fit him perfectly especially after how my birth experience went. We welcomed Thorne Martin Keesbury at 12:59 pm on June 2, 2020, weighing 8lbs 1oz, 20.5in length, and 13.75in head circumference.
I feel so incredibly blessed to have been able to have my birth plan work out exactly how I wanted and hoped for. For the next 24 hours, I kept reliving my birth experience and just couldn’t believe what I was capable of.
Yes…it was the most painful and intense moment of my life but also the most rewarding and the proudest I have ever been of myself. Our bodies are so incredible! I know that this birth course helped me to let go of my fears and to cope through every single stage of my labor! It was truly beautiful!