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If you haven’t already, check out part one of Monkey Boy’s story here.
As we had a 2 hour drive to the birthing center, I was made comfortable in the backseat, to continue trying to rest between contractions. I remember announcing suddenly that I needed to use the bathroom. We stopped for that and our doula helped me into the store and through the process. I remember finding a man annoying as he commented that we weren’t going to make it to the hospital. After settling in the backseat again, I dozed the rest of the ride. I don’t recall the contractions being as strong, which we were warned could happen, but they were still happening.
Once we arrived at Carolina Community Maternity Center, around 4:30p on Saturday, we were greeted by our midwife, her assistant/midwife-in-training, and another midwife. I was given hugs and many positive words were uttered. I was helped out of the car, up the few steps and to our birthing suite. Though I don’t recall all of the words that happened, I know they all came from a place of support, encouragement, strength, and positivity.
I remember Hun and our doula both thinking I hadn’t had many contractions for the last hour or so. I also remember wanting to argue this point, but I had also developed a strange pain in my side, in addition to my back pain/labor.
I wanted in the tub, and fast! I also wanted a cervical check. Our midwife gave me some arnica for the pain in my side.
(Interestingly enough, our midwife had another birth at the center when we arrived. Later, yet another mother was in labor and at the birthing center. After Baby was born, another mother was on her way. In all, our midwife assisted women in 5 births over three days. Needless to say, she didn’t get much sleep in all that time.)
The tub was so awesome! Once I stepped into it, I instantly felt better. Contractions were more manageable when I was in the tub. The warmth of the water and weightless feeling definitely helped me remain calm and relaxed, while reducing the pain sensation of contractions and my back pain. As the tub was filling, it was determined I was 7cm dilated and fully effaced!
I was surprised that I hadn’t been in more pain. I was also surprised I’d progressed that far in labor already. Apparently, I was near transition and it had all been quite manageable to me. At this point, I vaguely recall thinking that I might be delivering our Baby sometime in the middle of the night.
After being in the tub for a bit, it was time to get out and move around. More squats, ball, and a bit of walking in the room happened.
At some point, I was being encouraged to eat or drink something other than water. I adamantly refused food. Nothing tasted good to me and though I knew better, I couldn’t bring myself to eat.
It was actually upsetting me to hear people say, no matter how kindly, that I needed to eat something, that I’d be better if I ate something, anything. I actually ended up telling everyone except Hun to leave. I didn’t want to hear any voices.
Hun hung in there with me and we did a bit of showering and walking around.
Naturally, without food to fuel my body during this difficult work, my labor stalled. I was still having contractions, but they weren’t as strong as they had been. All I’d had was a bit of trail mix and plenty of water.
At some point I wanted labor to be over, I wanted to be giving birth. It wasn’t the pain, it was just the going on and on with contractions that was bothering me. Frankly, it was almost boring to continue having contractions and working through them (body, spirit, and mind) yet also feeling as if there was no progress. I was also getting very tired.
In all actuality, I was making progress. It was my first birth after all. I’d never thought the birth of Baby would be short, though I also didn’t anticipate it lasting 38 hours!
At some point, I did try to eat some white rice, which my body promptly rejected. While puking, there were liquid gushes. We all thought my water had finally broken.
It still hadn’t!
At times, I was disappointed that our midwife had so many other births going on. I wasn’t neglected, she just wasn’t able to be with me as much as I’d expected. Turns out though, I didn’t really need a ton of help.
I’d prepared for labor mentally and spiritually through all my readings and research on how the body births. I’d also read a great many birth stories. I had the confidence in my body, Hun, and my support persons.
Not only that, inherently I knew I could do it, long before I was pregnant and faced labor.
Eventually, being 10cm dilated, fully effaced and various tricks and moving around not working, I agreed with our midwife, she would break my bag of water.
Then came the biggest strongest gush. My forewaters were broken. My forewaters were hanging down, keeping Baby from descending further.
I don’t recall my contractions becoming more painful after my waters were broken.
After my waters were broken, we all though Baby would start to arrive. As I told our midwife I didn’t know how to push, she told me to bear down as if I were pooping. We tried a birthing stool, squatting, and the toilet. Baby still wasn’t showing up. Baby’s heart rate continued to be strong and steady during contractions and between, so there were no worries.
I did start silently worrying that I may not be able to get Baby out and we’d have to transfer to the hospital. I remember thinking to myself, Baby, and any Higher Power that might listen: “come on”, “I want to meet you and hold you Baby”, “come on out Baby”. Still no Baby.
Not once did anyone ever mention even the possibility of transfer, nor was there any doubt about my ability to birth Baby. For this I am immensely grateful!
Eventually, sometime in the wee hours of Sunday morning, while Hun napped, I agreed to drink a chocolate birthing shake and was also given a coffee enema to keep things going. My body was getting tired too. Besides, I’d been refusing to eat, remember!
The shake and coffee enema worked wonders, as it wasn’t much longer before I actually started pushing. I remember it being dark. I remember feeling some annoyance that Hun was napping off and on, at first.
But then, I remember Hun would take a peek as I was pushing, before going saying soft and encouraging words of excitement and support to me.
Baby was on the way! Everyone stayed with me as I kept pushing. I’d hear encouraging words every so often and there’d be flashlights and people looking on as Baby progressed.
Eventually, Baby was right there!
All I remember is a pain like no other and being told that Baby was coming!
I pushed and pushed, determined to get Baby out.
I wanted to meet Baby.
Everyone else wanted to meet Baby. And there was a small part of me that just wanted it all to be over!
Right near the end, I was helped onto hands and knees position as Baby’s head came out. Next, my leg was lifted and the next thing I knew Baby was born!
There he was, our Monkey Boy!
Immediately I noticed the tears. Hun had tears streaming down his face. Our doula had tears, too.
Everyone was exhausted and joyous!!
Baby Boy got a little help in starting to breathe on his own. I was handed Baby and helped to turn and lie down. There we were – a family of three!
We’d done it! All three of us endured labor and delivery without a hitch. My body had done exactly what it was intended to do, Baby latched on to feed and we rested for a bit, the three of us there on that bed.
Turns out, Baby wasn’t born until 9:38a on Sunday, April 21, 2013! I was in labor a full 38 hours!! Honestly, it really wasn’t so bad. I’m not considering doing it again quite yet, but I know I can and one day I will.
I’ll be ever grateful for our midwife, Damaris, and her helpers, fellow midwife, Christine, and midwife in training, Lori! I’ll be ever grateful that Carolina Community Maternity Center existed, providing a safe, open, and inviting space for women and families to greet their babies. Our doula, ShLanda, is also owed gratitude in sticking with us throughout our pregnancy, labor, and birth. She provided help and support to both myself and Hun.
I truly don’t know that I could have asked for a better birthing experience. I am also grateful to the state of South Carolina in continuing to allow Licensed Professional Midwives and Certified Professional Midwives to practice their profession, thus enabling women and families to make their own best informed choices regarding pregnancy and birth.
Hun handled everything except the labor/delivery part. Hun was so incredibly awesome, supportive, helpful, and attentive throughout the whole process. I couldn’t be more grateful and in love with him for all that he is and all that he’s given me.