This has taken me a long time to write. I think I was slightly traumatized from Evelyn’s birth and there is a lot of shame that comes with that. Now, I have come to terms with the experience and would gladly do it over and over just to have my babe at my side.
I had a plan of having an all natural labor and birth. We had midwives, I used the oils, listening to hypnobirthing videos, and made a music playlist. A few days prior to going into labor, the midwife discussed how to encourage labor-after all, I was past my due date and was rather uncomfortable. However, I was okay with letting the baby take her time. I decided a nice, long walk would be beneficial, so I put boots on (a snow storm had just passed), strapped on Yaktrax and headed out with the dog. I didn’t move very fast, but must have walked at least three miles. I remember after this, I sent B a message saying, “You might not get to go to the gym tonight. Sorry.” (Really, Moira? Apologizing for going into labor?)
I tried to rest and take it easy because contractions were starting to get fairly steady. At 2 o’clock they were ten minutes apart. I drank raspberry leaf tea, took a nap and paced a lot. Around dinner time I felt a rush and sprinted to the bathroom. Streaks of red and a LOT of liquid came out, so we thought it best to call and make sure all was okay. Silly us assumed labor was right around the corner, so we called B’s parents, who promptly came to pick up the dog so we could meet the midwife. We were both very giddy and I told B to drive the bumpy way to the birth center to keep things moving. After being checked, my water was still intact and we were sent back home. I think I cried the whole way. Sick after two days of contractions, I felt I had well earned meeting my baby now. No dishes were piled, the carpets were freshly cleaned… I was over waiting.
Right as we got home, the contractions became significantly more painful. I suggested to B that he go to bed early (around 8 pm) because this baby was definitely coming soon. I rocked on a birthing ball for a while, tried to sleep as well, and drank more tea. I became very out of breath and shaky, so I hopped in a warm shower. I don’t think it’s ever been that difficult to wash my body before, but I did it. I felt the stream of water hit my back and my belly, trying to relieve some of the pain. I squatted (yes, in the shower) and felt her move lower and lower. I stayed there for at least an hour… My sense of time was blurry. This was a big turning point for me where I think labor really began. NOTE: contractions were then around 5-7 minutes at about midnight. After showering, I was physically unable to get back into bed and had the instinct to rock and lean a lot. I diffused oils and let B sleep a bit longer, but I got to a point where I couldn’t speak and felt really unsafe being alone. He woke up, made a coffee and called the midwife again at about 3 AM. I couldn’t finish a sentence without tearing up a little bit so at 4, we made our way to the car. In a very puffy speech, I told B to avoid bumps at all costs and to “drive the speed limit, damn it.”
I was still handling the pain fairly well and was able to get inside the building between contractions without wincing too much. At arrival time, I was seven centimeters dilated and had a very very tender cervix. I labored leaning against a person for a while but found myself finding relief in the tub for a few hours. I got VERY uncomfortable and couldn’t stay leaned against the tub side so I moved to the bathroom for a good while. It’s a very optimal position, sitting on the toilet, and that’s where I was most comfortable. However, something just didn’t feel right and I was trying really hard to communicate that. Upon checking, my cervix was only dilating on one side and was stuck around her head on the other. So half of it was at a ten and ready to let the baby out, but the other part was still at a seven. I was probably eight hours into labor at this point and felt very defeated. We made the decision to try to let it resolve itself and continued for several hours, but very little changed. I cried for an epidural, for someone to rip the baby out, and told them that it felt very very wrong.
So, while squatting on the toilet, the midwife pushed my cervix back over her head and I immediately felt the urge to push. I reached down and felt her head, and started sobbing… “Hi, my baby!” After about fifteen minutes of pushing, at 3:48 pm on February 1st, Evelyn Avery came into the world screaming with eyes wide open. Friends… The love I felt in that moment was overwhelming. Coated in vernix with wild and sticky hair, no one has ever looked so beautiful to me.
Looking back, I can think of a few things I would have done differently:
For one, I would have so benefited from CONFIDENCE. Our bodies are designed to grow and birth babies with little assistance. Of course, there are exceptions and some people really do need help. But had I really instilled confidence in myself throughout my pregnancy instead of sort of being hesitant and scared of labor, I would have handled my bumps better.
Second, some pictures and mantras posted around the room would also have been a nice distraction for the beginning of labor. I felt so silly wanting them hung around me that I ended up not having anything and I regret that 100%.
I am so grateful to have been able to grow my baby and bring her into the world. We are so lucky to have you, Evie girl.