Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Birth Story- Part 2

This was it- I was justified. No false labor, in fact this was active labor- what I had been preparing for for months. I was ready, calm and safe. There were kind, smiling women at every turn and I felt complete peace. As I entered my labor room- it felt like it belonged to me...like I was coming home. Lights were dim, the air was cool and there were no hospital smells or sounds like I had feared. The bed wasn't the focal point- there was a couch, a rocking chair, a birthing ball, a jacuzzi tub and perhaps what stood out most- the baby bassinet ready to welcome a new life. It was surreal- a reminder of what all the classes, reading, preparing was for.

Marie my nurse welcomed with like an old friend. It didn't feel like our first time meeting- it didn't feel like I was in a room that belonged to someone else. This was our room. She just so happened to specialize in natural, un-medicated birth and only made mention of my hopes for such a birth once- "natural right? We can do this. I'll help you every step of the way."

It was never a question,never an outlandish request or silly naive dream - it was just the way it was going to be (unless intervention was medically necessary). I wasn't expecting this from a hospital where birth is primarily seen as medical event rather than a natural process. So from the start, I felt empowered. Marie showed us pressure points to alleviate pain, a labor dance to help move with contractions and how to use the birthing ball to help progress labor. She told me funny stories about her kids and husband and gave me the freedom to do whatever naturally needed to be done. I was entrusted with my own experience- I was allowed to experience my own power.

Thankfully soon after arriving our amazing doula Jamie arrived which was a miracle since we realized as I was contracting in the shower hours earlier that we didn't even have her phone number (since we still had yet to meet for our final consult and still had weeks before our due date). She joined us with ease and grace- her spirit was calming and encouraging. She knew my hopes, dreams and fears and strengths and was there to navigate us through it all.

As contractions got stronger so did I.
They were uncomfortable but not impossible- because I wasn't afraid of them. The best advice I held onto was to ride each wave...to let my body relax into the discomfort because it wasn't pain in the normal sense - it was progress.

As contractions got stronger so did I.
They were uncomfortable but not impossible- because I wasn't afraid of them. The best advice I held onto was to ride each wave...to let my body relax into the discomfort because it wasn't pain in the normal sense - it was progress. it is amazing what you can put your mind to. 

I stayed away from the bed and allowed gravity to move us along. Each wave would rise and I would look into Mike's eyes and it surprised me how much strength I found there in his resolve, his unwavering gaze; the pride reflecting back at me. It is something I've never experienced in my life- to literally pull strength from someone else. He and Jamie reminded me to use deep breathing and to push my feet into the ground for strength. 

I felt no fear in this phase of labor- just peace and progress. There was very little talking, no hospital sounds or lights. Conversation was saved for moments I wasn't contracting *except for the empowering words from my amazing team.

*I have to take a moment and say how glad I am that I worked hard and gifted myself with a doula- it was the best investment I could have made. The team we built - rallied around, taking on my struggle, anticipating my needs, purposefully facing my fears and building me up in the most important moment of my life was priceless. 

I continued on my feet and on the ball throughout the night and in the early morning when contractions were stronger I climbed into the labor tub. The lights off--only the glow of the lights in the tub creating a dreamy blue haze- I focused on the feeling of the water surging against my feet. It was incredibly relaxing, Not long after, it was time to be monitored and I begrudgingly left the tub and laid on the bed. After being checked the midwife found that I was 9cm and ready to go- only my water was holding back the baby. She encouraged me to break the water and this is when fear kicked in- I hadn't studied this yet- I wasn't sure if it was safe or what the next phase would be like. We all talked about it and I decided to go for it. 

The contractions came in full force now- they felt different, and the intensity scared me. I was no longer managing waves- my body was in control and I was along for the ride now. Pushing was the hardest part- it felt so wrong and yet natural. Mentally, I wasn't ready for labor to be over...for me to be a mother. Releasing this last bit of control was hardest- I looked around the circle of people holding me and begged for help. Jamie reminded me I was powerful,  I was helping myself and meeting this new life was what I had prepared so long and hard for. 

It wasn't until Mike said he could see the baby and his full head of hair that I found the motivation I needed to truly let go and push myself beyond all limits, I was ready to meet my son. The midwife yelled for me to grab him and so I reached down and felt his arms and pulled him to my chest. 

The pride and elation I felt in that moment cannot be described. It was perfect and wonderful all 10 hours of it. My proudest accomplishment - the birth of a new little man and a new me.

This is Ezra's birth story; mine and Mike's too. For me its like I got to be born again- facing down lifelong fears and finding my strength and power- my connection to the Creator and my new purpose. 

Birth is miraculous, fascinating, spiritual, historical and powerful and I already miss it. Each birth is a unique experience no matter where it happens or how and for me there couldn't have been a more perfect way (or a more perfect little boy). 


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