Like most things now days, I’ve put off writing this. When I do get a chance to finally sit down it has often been in little spurts because baby girl seems to know when I’m working and then demand the sweetest of snuggles.
I’m very excited to share our story with you! Thinking back on this day brings back so many memories that flashed too quickly so it is such a blessing to spend time reminiscing on those quick hours that changed our lives.
Before I jump into it I want to say that each birth is unique, special, and good! There is no wrong way to bring life into this world. As long as baby and mama are happy and healthy, then I am all for it!
Here we go!
At 41 weeks pregnant I was mentally and physically done. I was feeling the weight, exhausted constantly and just overall ready to meet the life that I had been growing for almost a year. Typically first time moms are pregnant for 41 +1 weeks (meaning 41 weeks and 1 day) so I knew I was on target for a first timer but still not ecstatic that baby wasn’t here quite yet. At my 41 week check up on Wednesday morning with my OB she said all was well and that I was 3cm dilated and 50% effaced (how soft your cervix is) with baby’s head low in my pelvis. I recall she even said she could feel baby’s head! However, due to timing she suggested that we set a date for an induction. So we settled on Friday evening.
From the beginning I knew I did NOT want an induction. My birth plan consisted of laboring at home with my husband and doula, Sarah, until just about ready to push. I also wanted a drug free, low intervention birth.
That Wednesday after coming home from the doctor’s appointment I carried on with my day as usual. Nothing really out of the ordinary. When Aidan returned home from school we ate a great meal and went to bed around 9pm. After a quick 2 hours of rest, I woke in pain…lots of pain… like contractions every 3-4 minutes. I was shocked to have progressed this quickly! At this point, I’m texting Sarah about the contractions and level of pain. With things progressing quickly, it was decided to head straight to the hospital and meet Sarah there. I remember fighting Aidan on this because I didn’t believe how quickly the contractions were coming. I was prepared to labor at home for HOURS not a mere 45-60 minutes.
Upon arrival into the delivery room at VCU Hospital our doula, Sarah, set up twinkle lights and created an atmosphere of peace and relaxation (thank you Sarah!). Promptly a nurse came in and checked my progress to get a baseline for the next few hours. I was 5cm dilated with 80% effacement. So I was well on my way!
As contractions came and went, our doula guided me into multiple laboring positions and taught Aidan how to be a support both physically and emotionally during the rise and fall of each contraction. Most notably, I labored while sitting on the toilet backwards with Aidan right behind me.
Once contractions grew stronger I threw up indicating that a new hormonal change was occurring and that I was entering into the next stage of labor. Sarah suggested that I change positions and guided me into the shower so that I could have the warm water run over me while sitting on a birthing ball. It felt so good as the warm water ran over me. Again, Aidan was right behind me supporting me in every way. I remember feeling so much peace during this whole process. I barely opened my eyes and just let my mind go blank as I listened to my body.
After some time laboring in the shower, I moved back to the toilet position until I felt a lot more pressure in my pelvis and the desire to start pushing. With that, I moved to the laboring bed. I climbed up facing the back of the bed and labored on my knees as I draped over the back of the bed. For some reason that felt the most comfortable to me at the time.
Quickly my body went into a mode I never knew existed. All of a sudden my body started pushing without me even trying. I knew it was time. I am still in awe of how amazing my body was during this time. It knew exactly what to do and I just tried to listen. This is honestly the biggest reason why I wanted a drug free labor. I wanted to feel what my body was telling me to do, fully trusting my natural instincts.
As I started pushing I remember a stinging pain! I even told Aidan that I wanted to stop (haha!) but he kindly reminded me that I was almost done and that I could do it! For a quick 15 minutes I pushed and pushed with each contraction. I trusted my body and tuned everyone out (and yes there were like a million people in the room but I didn’t care).
Then the most amazing thing in the world happened….
Líle came out and was quickly placed in my arms for her first snuggles. I was in awe. She was perfectly little and squishy. She was 7lbs 12oz at 21.5in long and all mine.
Each mother will have her own story to tell and all will be perfectly yours. I share mine simply to share and to relive the miraculous day when Líle entered the world. I feel so blessed to have had such a positive birth experience. I know not everyone can say that but I wish only the best to expectant mamas!
If I were to offer any advice, it would be to hire a doula! Sarah was our saving grace during everything. I honestly can’t put into words just how critical her presence was for both Aidan and myself. She was our advocate, our teacher, our coach, our friend. She will always hold a special place in our hearts as the woman who helped bring Líle into our lives. She was even kind enough to take photos during the whole experience. To learn more about Sarah and doulas in general click here. And for to see what birthing class Aidan and I took click here.