First Lesson Learned – Better Not Hurry Off To The Hospital
Twenty-one months ago I experienced labor and birth for the first time. It was 10 days past my due date and I woke to leaking amniotic fluid. Because I was past 40 weeks, my amniotic fluid levels had been monitored over the previous week and they had dropped drastically in the last two days. So, when the amniotic fluid started leaking, “This is it!” I thought and we hurried off to the hospital. I know now that I rushed things by hurrying off to the hospital that morning. But, being a first time mom, I was so excited about experiencing labor, and meeting my baby, that in the moment, it felt right.
7 cm and Transition Got The Best Of Me
When arriving in triage at the hospital, I was checked and my cervix had absolutely no progress. They weren’t comfortable sending me home with low amniotic fluid, so the induction process began. After one dose of Cervidil, contractions started and I was in labor. I managed the contractions and progressed quickly but when I reached 7cm my mind and fear got the best of me and the thought of delivery was terrifying to me. So I got an epidural. Not long after that it was time to push. The nurse excitedly proclaimed, “This baby is right here! You’ll have a baby in your arms in 30 minutes!” After 4 hours of pushing I still didn’t have a baby in my arms. My son was sunny-side up (meaning face-up or posterior) and unable to turn, so he couldn’t move any lower with each push.
My Heart Melted With The Warmth And Feel Of My Son
When it was decided a C-section was needed I was devastated. My eyes filled with tears, my heart sank, and everything I had envisioned for my child’s birth came crashing down. The C-section ended with a healthy, sweet baby boy being placed touching my face where I could feel his warmth for the first time, and for that I will forever be grateful.
Determined To Have A VBAC
Thirteen months later when we found out we were expecting our 2nd baby. I was determined to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section). Immediately I started researching things that would help me achieve this. This is when I decided to try Liza’s yoga class. After my first class, I was hooked! It not only relieved the aches that come along with pregnancy, but it helped me to relax and feel empowered that I was working really hard to get my baby in the optimal birth position. I truly looked forward to class.
Open Those Hips And Bring That Baby Down And Out
The day after my due date I attended the Saturday morning class. I had been doing this through most of my pregnancy, but this time my body felt slightly different. My baby felt very low with every movement, but being as far along as I was in pregnancy, I figured that was to be expected. That specific class was a hip opening class and it must have really opened my pelvis because a few hours after class ended I started feeling my very first early contractions.
It was A Joy To Feel The Contractions!
As the day (and night!) went on it was a joy to feel those contractions getting stronger and closer- this was the moment I had been waiting for! By midnight I wasn’t able to sleep through the contractions anymore (looking back that was more because of excitement than anything) and I began to ready myself for the hard work I knew was coming. All night, my husband and I rested, walked, side climbed our stairs, swayed, and waited as our baby made her way lower. It wasn’t a very quick process and my contractions stayed around 40 seconds in length for a very, very long time. Never getting longer or more intense, I was beginning to worry labor was stalling. I text my good friend, Kelly Pappas, who also happens to be an incredible doula, and she suggested going through the miles circuit with the gentle warning that this might increase the intensity of things as baby engages more deeply.
Boy was she right! After 2 rounds of the circuit, my contractions were requiring my full attention and lots of counter pressure from my husband. Around noon on Sunday my husband began to pack up the car to leave for the hospital. I didn’t feel like it was time yet because my contractions were still only about 45 seconds in length but they were coming every 4 minutes. So, we decided to head to the hospital and walk around there until I felt birth was closer. After 30 minutes of walking I wasn’t convinced that I was far enough along to go get checked-in but the heat was unbearable and we needed to escape it so we headed to labor and delivery.
Relief, Joy, Gratitude!
In triage we learned that I was dilated to 9cm! The relief, the joy, and the gratitude I felt in that moment was overwhelming. The midwives on staff were suggesting I get an epidural just in case a C-section was needed again once I began pushing. But I had worked so hard over the last hours to get this far in labor, that I was determined to make it through the labor and birth without one. Thankfully, I had a great hospital staff that respected that and encouraged me until the very end. After a few more, long, intense contractions I suddenly had the urge to push. Pushing and delivery were the parts of labor that I feared the most. All I could think about were the dozens of portrayals of women screaming uncontrollably as they delivered their babies. This fear is what overtook me in my last labor and ultimately led me to get an epidural. This time though, when that urge to push came, my fears immediately disappeared and complete relief came over my body. It was such a natural feeling to help push my baby lower and lower. The feelings of waiting in between contractions are intense but the second you are able to push again, determination and relief take over! After 35 minutes of pushing our sweet little girl was placed on my chest. We did it!
I am so grateful that I was blessed with experiencing the VBAC I so desperately wanted. I am also thankful for the surgical birth that taught me that you can be completely in love and happy with your baby, but at the same time it’s okay to mourn the loss of the labor experience you had hoped for. I will forever cherish each of these birth experiences because they brought my beautiful babies into this world.
Written by Mallory Palmer
Edited by Liza Janda