My husband, Demian, and I met 10 years ago and he quickly became the love of my life. When we found out we were pregnant, I knew our love would only grow for our little one. Many mothers told me to get prepared to meet true love upon meeting your child, a sentiment that brought me close to tears while pregnant as I dreamed of our little girl. I didn’t realize then that our birth journey would not only introduce our daughter into our lives but intensify the true love I felt for my husband.
I knew that I wanted to give natural child birth a long time ago and also knew I couldn’t do it alone. After taking prenatal yoga classes with Liza and reading about the Bradley method, her Bradley class seemed perfect! Demian and I would gain information on natural childbirth and become our own advocates while not feeling pressure or blame if it didn’t go that way. Also, Demian really wanted to be “my person”, the one who would help me through the birth of our child.
From prenatal yoga, I was able to better center myself during pregnancy. Liza’s classes helped me wipe away the worry that I found to accompany the medical model’s view of pregnancy. Weekly classes helped me focus on taking care of myself, listening to my inner voice and calmed me throughout the week. I was very ready to start the Bradley classes as we approached 32 weeks of pregnancy and they were great. At times we struggled to keep up with the reading J and I worried about being ready, while Demian reassured me that “we’ve got this”. Looking back, man did they prepare us.
On the eve of my 38th week of pregnancy (with two Bradley classes left to go), I started having contractions at 12:30 am. I rested and watched the clock and for the first hour I had one every ten minutes. I let Demian sleep (I’m glad they specifically told us to do this in class otherwise I would have woken him up!) and I went to walk the house and get something to eat/drink to see if they would continue. The second hour the contractions were one every six minutes. As my labor progressed, I felt a sense of calm and that my body knew what to do and our little girl did too. At 3:00 am I could no longer time the contractions myself. I woke Demian up, he quickly sat up and said, “What do I do?” to which I responded, “Take a minute, breath and wake up,” and then he was ready! He started to time my contractions, they were about 5 minutes apart. I was still very talkative, upgrading my Pandora (highly recommend Spa Radio without commercials), reading about different relaxation positions we could try, etc. Demian ran back and forth between pushing on my hips and timing my contractions to packing the bag, printing the birth plan, making the bed (a great idea for when we came home), etc. At around 5:30 am my contractions were between 4 and 5 minutes apart so I decided I wanted to take a shower before we left for the hospital. I never really hit the serious emotional marker we were waiting for and we really didn’t want to be turned away at the hospital. The shower is where it really picked up. I was able to stand for one contraction and then immediately went to my hands and knees and my low moans turned into guttural screams. Realizing it was time to go, Demian threw everything in the car amidst my proclamations of not wanting to leave and we could just have the baby at home (oops – probably should have left by now). I had a brief moment of clarity in which I said, “We REALLY need to go!” To which Demian responded, “I know babe, let’s go.” Working between contractions (which were now about 2-3 minutes apart), he got me out of the shower, dressed and leaning over the front passenger seat – no way was I sitting upright.
We drove from Oceanside to Sharp Mary Birch, felt like a long ride but Demian kept talking me through one contraction at a time and reassuring me along the way. We arrived to the hospital around 7:30 am and left the car in the emergency round about (it would stay there until our friend moved it two hours later). The nurse in triage examined me and said, “You are at 10 centimeters, wait let me check again, yes 10 centimeters,” and I asked, “ Can I push?!” and she said, “No, no, let us get you a room.” It was at that moment when they started to wheel us up to labor and delivery that I recognized my intense connection to Demian. It was the first time I felt like I couldn’t touch him easily enough so of course I yelled for him to be at my side (a little squished in the elevator) and he took my hand the whole way. It was then that I knew I couldn’t be without this man, in this moment, in this place. Having always been in control and independent, I knew it would be difficult to not feel in control during labor. But what I found was that I could now wholeheartedly trust Demian to take care of me and advocate for the three of us – he knew what to do and was doing it even before I recognized it.
Our labor and delivery nurse was awesome, we told her we wanted an unmedicated birth and she supported us 100% (of course we left everything in the car so the birth plan was not with us J). My water hadn’t broken and when the OB wanted to break it to help things progress, I said no. I just knew I didn’t need to progress any faster and didn’t want any intervention. The nurse reassured me that this was a good decision as even though the pushing would take longer (as it was creating a balloon type effect), it would help me tear less as the baby eased down and out. As each contraction came on, I was cheek to cheek with my arms around the shoulders of Demian on one side and the nurse on the other. After about 2 hours and a good 10 sets of pushes (I had about 6 minutes in between to rest and occasionally drift off to sleep), Rowen, our little girl, was born at 10:16 am. She was placed immediately on my chest. As I reveled in her beauty, I was overcome with love as I looked from her to Demian.
I was so proud of us, we did it and we were on the same page the whole time, I never felt a sliver of doubt or fear or anxiety. I can honestly say that the “pain” I felt was not as bad as I thought it would be and I attribute this to our learning how to relax and having both Demian and I in tune with what I needed during each contraction. The other thing I was impressed by was the different sensations I felt throughout labor, the beginning contractions were different than those in transition which were completely different from the urges and power I felt during second stage.
But most of all, I was grateful for the birthing preparation we had gone through in Liza’s classes. We were so well prepared that we both knew what to do when the contractions started. It helped us be on the same page and as Dr. Bradley said, only intensified the relationship I have with Demian. I can’t imagine not looking into Demian’s eyes after Rowen was born and feeling the gratitude, love and appreciation of the man I married. It is a beautiful thing to be able to rely on your husband so entirely that he becomes the one and only in the wondrous moments of having the child you share together. I can’t think of a better way to start the journey of parenthood, falling even deeper in love with your partner and starting a new beautiful shared love of your child. Labor and Birth Advice from Mom & Dad: