A |HBA3C| Birth Story
Told by the mama 🤱🏼
Around 2 am I woke up to on and off contractions and adrenaline that made it so I couldn’t sleep at all. This is when I started wiping lightly pink tinted. No real timeable contractions, but wondered if it’s simply the start of dilation. Very tired and took a long nap.
The remainder of the day, nothing eventful.
Made it to 39 weeks! I made it as far as my sons gestation. At this point it’s quickly becoming the longest i’ve ever been pregnant.
Overnight I woke up several times and noticed it was much more pink. Throughout the day I have some cramps here and there. My husband and I decide that we are going to take the kids to see a movie at the movie theatre. I have a lot of contractions during the movie, and afterwards some period like cramping but nothing really worth timing. It felt nice to get out and spend this day as a family of 6 before baby arrives.
At 1 am, I woke up to use the restroom, I feel extremely crampy and nauseous and can’t sleep well at all. I think these are contractions but i’m in denial, struggling to time them. Force myself to try to sleep as best as I can but I was waking up every hour on the hour feeling very frequent period like cramps. I feel so very crampy to the point I can’t sleep and at this point started to even question if this was possibly labor. Thoughts start up about calling the midwife and doula because I got so uncomfortable but decided I didn’t want to disrupt anyone’s sleep if I was wrong. I figure if it’s early labor, I can try to get through some of it first and call when it gets more intense. Even though they felt increasingly uncomfortable, I continue to decide to close my eyes through them and call if it doesn’t get any better. I eventually do get more sleep though. And by 10 am most of it fizzled totally out. I was so confused! I decide to spend the day resting with naps and when awake, doing fig 8s on my yoga ball, the occasional sideways stair walk a few times, I took the kids outside and enjoy the warm sun and oxytocin. We also take the kids to a couple parks where I walked 6 laps by the school. It felt really nice and easy, not forced, I just took in the warm weather and felt air on my skin. It was relaxing. After the walk we decided to go for veggie sushi which was really delicious. I notice some tightenings here and there in the car ride home. I thought to myself how they seemed timeable, maybe 10 mins apart but eventually lost sight of timing them as they weren’t nearly as intense as the ones overnight. I started to feel more exhausted by the end of the night so we called it an early night to bed.
Saturday 5/6/23 - BIRTH
I woke up a few times early on fairly uncomfortable, once before midnight hit and again around 1. But at 2 am I woke up to an extremely painful contraction, it felt like one extremely long contraction that lasted like 5 minutes. I tried to empty my bladder and found myself clutching the counter in pain in the bathroom to get through how intense it felt. The intensity took me off guard! I then tried to lay back down and go back to bed, but the pain quickly became so unbearable I found myself rolling around a little and moaning through it in bed. I could tell something felt a little different about these contractions. Even then, I still felt in denial that it would just fizzle out like it had the night before. I woke up my husband and told him I didn’t think I could sleep and felt I needed to go downstairs and maybe soak in the tub for some relief but that he didn’t have to follow me. He nearly shot out of bed and replied “no, i’m coming with you”. I noticed the intensity as I got downstairs and tried to take a comfortable bath. It was not doing anything for the pain. For the next hour, it started as painful period-like cramps with tightenings that happened every 2-3 minutes, progressing to an intensity that took my breath away and dropped me to my knees. I told myself it felt different but still I questioned if it truly was going to be another night of painful contractions that ended up fizzling out to nothing. I was in total denial. I told my husband i’d try to make it an hour before calling the midwife and doula both for support and uncertainty. I was fearful that I would call everyone out here just for it to be a false alarm. But by 45 minutes later, they were more like every 1-2 mins apart and intense. I sent a text to them both stating I would probably be calling them soon. And barely before 3 am, only 10 mins later, I called both my midwife and doula and told them how I was feeling and that I may need their support. Both said it sounded like the real thing and that they’d be on their way, my midwife mentioning she’d let my doula come first so that everyone didn’t just descend upon me at once and to give us time to make sure it was the real deal. My doula arrived first, a little before 4 am, immediately helping me find relief without even needing words. She would jump into hip squeezes during awful contractions, encouraged us to make choices when it felt impossible to, such as encouraging my husband to set up the birth pool and follow her lead to do so. She got me cool rags for my neck and kept offering me reassuring statements that I was doing great. My husband began to fill the birth pool and we realized pretty quickly that it wasn’t filling up fast enough. She encouraged me to get in my own tub so I could get relief while we waited for the birth pool to fill. I was a little nervous that I would waste all of my warm water this way, given we have an older home, but I was desperate for the warm of water and loved this suggestion so I quickly agreed in got in my own tub. I moaned through painful contractions in my tub, really realizing that they were intense and even the water at this point barely offered me as much relief as I had anticipated it would. As planned, the doula also began to take many photos of the process here and there so I could have the memory of this journey forever. She did it in such a way that you could barely tell and it didn’t pull me from my concentration at all. She lowered the lights and my husband lit candles. She noticed i’d splash water over my stomach for comfort and quickly took over pouring warm water from a cup over my rock hard stomach instead. Eventually, the doula suggested to I make my way to the birth pool because it had began to fill enough, had lot more space and was a little bit warmer than my own tub water at this point. She had the smart idea of not draining the water in my tub though, just in case we needed to use some to fill the birth pool even quicker. At one point I remembered I hadn’t replied to my midwife and I asked if she was on the way and the doula said yes. She and my husband both helped me work my way to the pool as I continued to moan through many incredibly painful contractions. I noticed they were picking up in intensity fast, I can’t say this enough, I thought i’d be able to internalize the pain a bit more when it finally became the real deal. I was making such intense noises at times that I at times felt I barely recognized myself in this state. Many moments I said and truly felt that “I cant do this anymore. It’s too much, too intense”. My husband and doula reminding me that I WAS doing it and I was doing well/okay and that I can do it. So I held on as strong as I could with their words reminding me that I was doing it. I would glance briefly at my affirmations, all I needed to remember what most of them said, a lot of the words floating in my mind. “My contractions aren’t stronger than me because they are me.” My doula and husband made sure the lights were right, she reminded me of my birth playlist and my husband helped to adjust the sound level so it wasn’t too distracting or too silent. I soaked and rocked my way through contractions in the pool. My midwife arrived around ~4:45 or so with her team soon after, she came in so quietly I barely noticed she had made it until I opened my eyes and saw her sitting by my side near the pool. She started to offer me the same affirmations, telling me I was doing great and that I could do this. She began to periodically check the baby’s heart rate while within the birth tub and kept mentioning she was sounding strong. I noticed with each periodic check that it felt the doppler would move lower on my belly. I continued to work through the pain and intensity of the contractions with deep noises and moans, moving my body in different positions to help alleviate some of the discomfort. There came a point where I started to feel so exhausted that when a break came in between the contractions, I felt I could truly fall asleep even if for a moment. I think this must have been the rest and recover phase because I mentioned the contractions feeling more spaced apart. The entire team of people, my midwife, her assistants, my doula and my husband all sat so quietly and patiently just awaiting for the next big stage to begin. Each time a contraction would hit, it would feel more intense, almost like the baby inside was pushing her way lower into my body. Then what I think was FER kicked in (fetal ejection reflex) and I knew I was pushing at this point. I mentioned I felt “pushy”. I think I surprised myself when I heard this come out my mouth- a part of me still in denial. I started to push slightly in response of my contractions, in a squat, on my back, and then eventually the midwife encouraged me to stand. I was surprised it was taking more concentration than expected. I agreed and stood up, wrapped my arms around my husbands neck and hung and swayed my belly and almost immediately felt a new intensity of the baby descending down lower into my pelvis. Standing felt like the biggest game changer and the pushing became more intense. I realized at this point that she was going to come any time. I moaned and groaned and began to yell my way through pushing baby down with each contraction. My noises got intense, I couldn’t prevent myself from practically screaming the baby out with each push. Everyone reminded me to keep my yells low in pitch and to slow and deepen my breaths. I tried my best to do so although it was easy to get distracted by the pain. I kept making adjustments, like when my legs felt weak I would squat back into the pool, sat back onto my bottom, my mind trying to anticipate the best way baby would be born into the world. I remember I asked if I should stand up again and they said “do whatever you feel is working best”, encouraging me to think on what felt right. I remembered how different pushing while standing felt so I stood back up. I began coaxing baby “come on baby, come on baby, come out”. I could feel her descending and pushing her way lower into my birth canal with each contraction. I would squeeze my husbands arms so hard at times, roaring deeply as I pushed, leaning into his shoulders, I worried I was hurting him, but he kept reassuring me with affirmations. He’d say, “you’re doing so great. You are so close. We’re about to meet our baby.” Hearing him speak to me was so reassuring. I squatted down in my standing position slightly while standing to encourage her to drop more and felt her head slowly start to come out along with that ring of fire feeling. I kept trying to get her past that point and at one point felt nervous that she would get stuck. I remember having to push that fear out of my mind and just keep working towards the goal of her birth. The midwife and her team at some point must have noticed how weak I was feeling as I mentioned it felt like I could just collapse, my knees and legs shaking from the intensity. They encouraged me to leave the birth pool as they pulled out their birthing stool to use. I sat onto it and this helped incredibly get my body into a position to help her head come out better. I was able to crunch down slightly and I grunted and pushed with all I had during each contraction. I finally saw her head emerge and I could see the top of her head full of hair. On one of the next contractions, I pushed her head out. And on another contraction after that, her shoulders emerged and body quickly followed along with the remainder of my water and blood. It was hard to focus and my midwife helped retrieve her and handed her right to me- Baby girl born at 7:02 am. She cried immediately a loud, strong and beautiful cry without any hesitation. I felt in awe- in belief that I did it. I did it. We did it. The fact I managed to have a HBA3C and proving that my body is in fact not broken. That all I truly needed was someone to believe in it, and me, my body, to show a willingness and lack of fear in what could be accomplished. A few minutes later I birthed the placenta with baby girl still in my arms. It quickly became the most rewarding and healing birth experience after what was many failed TOLACS.
After birth my midwife and her team helped me and baby get up and tucked into bed and we sat up for awhile just in admiration skin to skin. I coaxed baby to breast for while and eventually we found our first latch. It was such a beautiful and calming time coming back to the reality of what had just transpired. My older kiddos had woken up towards the very end of my labor and baby’s birth, they had all been tucked away asleep in their beds and had eventually came downstairs, one here and there, meeting baby as they felt ready to. They were in awe of her and called her “cute and little”. My oldest daughter was in awe of her newness and stated the placenta looked like “a tree”, this made me laugh that she’d never heard this or seen one and I agreed. After too long, we did baby’s measurements and weighed her and found out she was 8 lb 10 oz and 21” long. We took pictures of baby next to her large placenta. My midwife’s assistants help to take down the birth pool and clean up around the area, start laundry like towels and even made me a postpartum tea and sat it by my bedside. My husband had put cinnamon rolls in for us and the kids and eventually brought me one to eat while easing into another stage of new motherhood as they took final blood pressures and notes. It felt like the best breakfast of cinnamon roll and warm tea of my life. It all felt so calm, caring and comforting to have a group of individuals so patiently and tenderly care for me and baby in our mere minutes to hours after birth. The team shared their congratulations, offered hugs and goodbyes as they finished packing up their birth kit supplies and soon after left.
Baby’s first day of life was spent tenderly and slowly learning our moves together as a family of 7. The kids warmed up slowly to her, easing into feeling her soft body and hair. I remained in bed with baby, only getting up to clean myself and refresh ever so often. Daddy put on a comforting freezer meal soup we’d prepared of potatoes, white beans and kale into the crockpot that we later shared all together surrounding the bed to have our first family dinner together. Oldest sister helped dad bake a birthday cake for the new baby and after our dinner, everyone sang to her and enjoyed cake. It was a truly beautiful experience of easing into our lives together with an additional human being after what was a truly beautiful and unique birth experience. One I will never forget or ever take for granted, ever.
We spent the next couple days thinking over her name as I had never truly decided during pregnancy. I truthfully had a few different blankets and signs because I kept changing my mind so much! By her 4th day of life, we felt solidly sure on her name: Maeve Diana. I’m still so in awe of this experience and so very much in love with this little girl.