My husband is a Chef and works long late hours.
He got home around 10, and about 20 minutes later I started feeling period like cramps. I thought, this could be it. But it could just be something else. Being a new mom I had no idea what to expect. Well, sure enough they just got worse and worse and were around 30-45 seconds apart. Its almost as if my body knew my husband was home and felt “safe” with him there. For the amount of hours he works, it’s amazing that it started 30 minutes after he got home.
Around 11:30-12 we called our amazing midwife, Paula and I talked to her for about 10 minutes. I still wasn’t sure. She told me to get some rest, that if this was it, that I would need my strength. Have a beer or take a bath, do whatever I needed to do to get to sleep. Well, I tried. I really did try my hardest to sleep but I couldn’t, the pain just got worse and worse.
Then I started getting a little panicked that I hadn’t slept and I was scared I would run out of energy and have to go to the hospital. I proved myself wrong though.
By 7am Paula sent over my other midwife, Laura to check me. Sure enough I was 4 cm and my husband and I were officially excited. I called my mom and other friends and family that were to be in our home and let them know. My cousins, Kristina and Selin were flying up from San Diego and took the 12pm flight.
Around 2pm is when it really started amping up.
My husband and mom set up the birthing tub. For me it wasn’t a drastic pain reliever, but more a “soothing” sensation. The contractions were still as intense but being in the water was calming. My husband never left my side. I remember at one point I looked into his eyes and just started sobbing uncontrollably. I had never done this with him. I have cried to him, yes. But this was different. It was as if I let myself be completely vulnerable and just…let go. I grabbed on to him and sobbed and he just held me. He didn’t try to count, or breath with me or talk to me. He just held me. And that’s exactly what I wanted and needed from him. He wiped my tears, he wiped my snot, I had no makeup on, I was completely vulnerable and let myself go which is VERY difficult for me. I’m always done up and always want to look perfect. But that night was a transformation for me in more ways than one.
Kristina takes beautiful photos, and I asked that she come into the bedroom while I was in the tub to take some pictures of myself and Frank while I was laboring. To really capture the energy and beauty of it. I had my music on, the candles were lit. It was raining outside (which I really wanted- i love rain) and the windows were slightly open so you could hear the pitter patter. It was just incredible. As horrible as the pain was, there was something so incredibly romantic and sensual about it. It was beautiful but in such an animalistic and raw way. Feeling him on my skin, carresing my belly, just looking into eachothers eyes…I will never forget that feeling or that moment. I have to say having a baby totally trumps the wedding.
Labor really starting getting hard as the sun was setting and my screams were getting louder, longer and more intense as was the pain.
My midwives took me out of the tub a couple of times to see if I was ready to push. Physically I was, but mentally and emotionally I wasn’t there yet. So I got back into the tub. I can not describe how labor felt to me, there are no words. But NOTHING on earth can compare to that pain. I had NO idea that pain could actually even get THAT bad and a living creature could LIVE through it. I thought death would come before pain like that. In fact I literally thought I WAS dying. I did not think I was going to survive that night. My screams were so horrible, in fact my mother could not handle it and left. (That is another story entirely, but lets just say I went through this without 100% support from my mother).
At some point my husband started breaking down. I could see it in his face, and I believe he even cried at one point. I am sure seeing the person you love in that much pain and not being able to do anything about it is a horrible feeling to itself.
So, finally the time came to push. I was about 23 hours into at this point. I was on our bed, my husband right by my side. Paula kept telling me to grab my legs but I was so worn out by then that I did not have the strength. The only thing I had strength for was the pushing. I was so exhausted I turned to Frank and said “I do not understand what Paula is saying. It doesn’t make sense”. She was instructing me on something and the words seemed like another language, they were jumbled up and I could not process what she was saying.
Frank and Laura held my legs up and I pushed.
Many women have felt relief during pushing. Not me. I don’t know what was worse, the contractions or the pushing. I literally felt like my body was going to rip in half. Or like my insides were going to shoot out of my vagina and butt. I also don’t know what hurt more. The contractions during pushing, my vagina during pushing, or my butt during pushing. I told Paula to “get it out!!”. I was close to giving up, and something inside of me clicked. This baby is not coming out ANY OTHER WAY but through there. So I might as well get it over with then let it drag on and on and be in pain forever. So I really got to work. I pushed harder than I had ever pushed in my life I thought my eye balls were going to pop out of my head. I pushed til I was about to pass out.
Meanwhile Laura was spoon feeding me honey. To keep my energy up I suppose. I think she fed me the whole jar within the 37 minutes of pushing. My cousin (but more like my sister) Selin was there and had the task of holding the flash light. Paula asked if I wanted to see. I said NO. But she held the mirror up anyways and I saw the begining of a head. With TONS of hair! I couldn’t believe it. And I touched my baby for the first time. I felt his head while he was still inside of me.
With a few more pushes out popped his head and even though I was in excrusiating pain she showed me again with the mirror and I saw his whole face and head! I will NEVER forget this image as long as I live, his little (or big, rather) head was out and the rest of him was still inside. Amazing. I am crying as I think about it.
Feeling his slippery skin on my skin was incredible. I was screaming “MY BABY, MY BABY, MY BABY…” I think the whole street could have heard me. Even though I was crying, I had no more bodily fluids left, there were no tears. My husband was in awe. I got to feel the ambilical cord beating and they did not cut it until it stopped. My husband cut the cord about 5-10 minutes later and I just held him, both of us naked.
It’s amazing how the pain goes away so quickly. It’s like nothing else matters in the world but you and that baby, and the new love that has formed. In fact apparently I had hemorraged right afterwards, a couple of shots of pitocin took care of it. But I didn’t even know!
They let me hold him for as long as I wanted, they did not even weigh him until probably an hour and a half later. I was able to breastfeed him immediately which didn’t last very long…I was so exhausted I nearly passed out. My husband actually held the baby up to my breast and did it for me.
My baby was born on February 12th, 2010 at 10:52pm and he weighed 8.10 oz.
I just can’t say it enough how amazing this experience was for me.
And this is exactly what I was craving. As much as I wanted to meet my baby, I wasn’t interested in just the end result. I wanted something deeper. I wanted the experience of giving birth to my baby. I LOVE that I can just reminise about it and cry. I love that I was in OUR bed and when I look at that bed I can see the image. I love that I had who I wanted there. I love that I STILL call Paula two times a week at least and that we are so close. I love that I didn’t need to leave my home for check ups, my midwife came to me. I love that I had freedom to move around. I love that I had peace and quite with my husband to bond with him like that. That no one was in and out, that no machines were beeping and ruining our moment. It was incredibly intense and hard but soooooooooooooooooo worth it and God knows the next baby will come the saaame way.
Part of me is sad that it’s over. Part of me is amazed. Part of me is thankful that I was able to bring my baby into this world just how I wanted. Part of me is proud. I did it. I went somewhere inside myself that night that sadly, not many women get to go. I can’t believe what an amazing experience it was for Frank and I as well. It was the most intimate, romantic, emotional, DEEP experience we went through together. I always knew he was my rock, but that night he just proved it on an entirely different level. I would pay a million dollars to do it THAT way.
My birthing team knew exactly what I needed. Space. Space to be with my husband, to connect with him, to find myself, to feel my body and to let me go through the transformation the way I needed to. THAT is the way it is meant to be. I feel sad for women that don’t get to experience it fully. I feel like they are robbed. Robbed of knowing what an incredible amazing body they have, robbed of being able to say, yea I did that! It really is a woman’s war story. And I feel sad for their babies too. I feel like I gave my son a gift. A gift that not many babies get these days.
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