So I had a baby on Saturday. And he is this amazingly perfect little boy that I am madly in love with. I may never accomplish anything ever again for all the staring.
This post is incredibly long. But I want to share this birth story (and I want to share it now while it’s fresh in my memory) because it seems that most of the birth stories you hear are the awful ones. The marathon-length labors that end in c-sections anyway, the emergencies that always involve lots of blood, etc. This is what people like to tell you when you’re pregnant. It isn’t helpful and I did not appreciate it.
My story isn’t like that. Sure, there are some less-than-pleasant details (not here – I will spare you), but they pale in comparison to the story as a whole. Evan came into this world in an amazingly calm and controlled way. I couldn’t really have planned it better if these were the sorts of things you could plan.
So here it is.
I woke up at 2am on Saturday morning. I’d been crampy the last day and a half, which, looking back, was definitely early labor and contractions, but it wasn’t until 2am that I realized that this was definitely happening. The contractions were about a minute long but still 10-15 minutes apart. I got up, went downstairs so Ben could sleep, and read my book in between them. During each contraction, I just took deep breaths until it passed. Around 7am, they started coming more frequently (5-8 minutes apart). I stayed on the couch just watching tv (16 and Pregnant actually), and continued breathing through each contraction. They were uncomfortable, but I could talk through them.
I’d been told not to come to the hospital until they were 4 minutes apart for at least an hour. So I stayed home.
I continued this all morning.
At 12:30, my water broke. I wasn’t really expecting the gush of fluid that I heard only a small percentage of women experience, but that’s what I got (and thank goodness this didn’t happen anywhere but at my house). So we grabbed our things (which we had packed earlier that morning) and headed to the hospital.
I got to the hospital (despite all of the beach traffic trying to keep us away) and had to wait for a few other people to be admitted first. No one seemed to be in too great a rush, so I patiently waited. When the nurse finally checked me, I was 9cm! She actually didn’t believe it – she said I was way too calm – and had someone else check before calling the midwife. But I was almost ready to have him and they told me to let them know when I was ready to push.
[Meanwhile, my mom was trying to get here in time for his birth. She left Detroit at 8:30 that morning, flew through Charlotte, and landed in Tampa at 2:30. My friend, Colleen, picked her up and drove her to the hospital.]
My favorite midwife was on call, which I am so very thankful for. She was fantastic.
I was kind of waiting for my mom, so I continued to just hang out, but at some point I felt like I was ready to push. And, with timing that could have been scripted, by mom walked in during my first push. I tried to use the Hypnobirthing “breathing down” method rather than actually pushing, but after a few attempts I gave in to the pressure (both physical and peer) and really started pushing. Although I tried to breathe during it rather than holding my breath like they instructed me to.
I pushed for an hour. And this was the most frustrating part of the process. They kept telling me the next one was it, so when it wasn’t, I was disappointed. But my midwife let me control the process. I pushed when I wanted to, and I even sat out a few contractions when I felt I didn’t have the energy. Ben was amazing. He just kept talking to me and encouraging me and I was able to focus on him when I was frustrated by the others.
And at 4:34 pm, with all of the strength I had left, Evan Michael was born.
And he is just perfect.
Everyone says I did amazing and genuinely seemed impressed with me. I have nothing to compare it to and it didn’t make sense to me to go in with anything but calm and control. It’s really as simple as that. I knew I didn’t want drugs so I never even considered asking for them. I do credit my Hypnobirthing classes for giving me the knowledge and confidence that I could do this naturally and without fear. I didn’t really end up utilizing the techniques during my labor or delivery other than the breathing, but the preparation I got from the course was incredibly helpful. I highly recommend it as a natural childbirth method.
So that’s my story. I know I’ve been plenty vocal about my pregnancy complaints (and I’m sure you’re all ready for those complaints to stop), but there is very little I would change about Evan’s birth. And I think I’d choose an “easy” birth over an “easy” pregnancy. Evan is so calm and perfect and I like to think that the way we brought him into the world has something to do with it.
Thank you everyone who left me a kind message on twitter and facebook. All three of us are doing well and we appreciate all of the support – even the virtual kind.