I *somehow* have a few minutes to myself in between nursing sessions, so I figured I would start the post I promised would happen after the birth of our second daughter, Piper.
A little background: I had our first daughter, Harmony, in a hospital after I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. It was a situation that made me feel powerless to begin with, and the hospital I was at did not make things better. They only made me feel more powerless. After that, I vowed to seek something different my next child and have a delivery that would make me feel empowered and in control of my body and surroundings. I wanted to be in control of my labor and delivery from the beginning. So, I made the decision after we found out I was pregnant to start going to see the midwives at Lisa Ross. Of course, I was made aware that I could have issues again and not be able to deliver there, but I wanted to give it a try.
For my entire pregnancy I made sure to keep myself as healthy as possible. I listened to my body and ate a high protein diet and took fish oil to keep my blood pressure in check. I was determined to have the birth of my dreams, which was a natural and no medicated birth, preferably a water birth.
On the morning of June 20th 2014 I woke up to a toddler in my bed like I always did. When I got up to use the restroom I noticed that I had lost the last bit of my mucous plug. I didn’t think too much of it because I had been losing it for days, and it’s not a sure indication of labor. I was 38 weeks, so I figured it could still be days or even weeks before anything happened considering I had an appointment earlier that week and I was still at 2 cms dilated and 75% effaced.
I was also having what I assumed was annoying Braxton Hicks contractions. I had become so accustomed to it that I simply ignored them. I am very terrible about timing things, and sitting around and timing things is pretty much impossible with a toddler. So, I went on about my day. I did my normal chores and all seemed normal (normal enough for an insanely pregnant woman). At about 1 pm I felt very tired and decided to take a nap with my toddler. When we woke up at 4 I started to feel a bit of a different pain in my lower back. I figured it was either fake contractions still or that I just laid funny. I finally started to time the contractions at about 4:30 and noticed they were consistently 8 minutes apart. I still wasn’t very concerned.
At about 5:30 pm I decided to head over to my parents house. It was a very uncomfortable drive there as the pain was starting to intensify. Not breath taking yet, but painful enough to make my breathing change a bit. When I arrived I told my mom about the contractions and we agreed to keep an eye on it. The contractions stayed the same for a few minutes and went to 7 mins apart. I was really starting to feel them now. I was trying to eat pizza at one point and had to stop right in the middle of a bite to concentrate on a contraction. Anyone that knows me well knows that for me to put pizza down that I must be hurting. This was about the point that I figured I was probably in labor or going into it, but the contractions were still not far enough apart for me to really feel like I needed to call anyone and tell them. Then I had a contraction at 6 mins apart and figured it would stay there for a bit. Nope. I went straight from 6 mins apart to 3 mins apart.
This was when my body went into game mode. I made my mom make me a bath to try and soothe myself and calm down a bit, but the pain was intense. I’m not going to lie. I can’t sugar coat the pain of feeling your pelvis move apart and your stomach tightening up so tight that you feel like you may pop. I had to have my mom call Lisa Ross for me to let them know. I knew at that point that I was in labor. My mom was a total saint and helped me get dressed and get into the car. She even put a towel under me in case my water broke, because it hadn’t yet. We arrived at Lisa Ross safely, and I’m pretty sure I scared the shit out the people that live behind there because at that point I was howling. My contractions had went from every 3 mins to every 2 mins on the drive there. I had no time to catch my breath at that point and it felt like my insides were going to fall out.
Dana, one of the midwives (my favorite one), let us in and checked me. I was at 5 cm and my waters were bulging. I had convinced myself at that point that I was going to be an unfortunate soul that labored intensely for way too long, and I started to ponder on whether or not I could do it. My blood pressure was still fine at that point, so I told the Dana that I wanted a shower while she got the water tub ready for me. Oh god, the shower was glorious. I was still in pain, but the feeling of hot water hitting my back actually calmed me down enough to slow my breathing down. Then, I felt something drop and the worst pain ever hit me like a truck. I told my mom at that point that I just couldn’t do it.
Jeremy finally arrived at Lisa Ross right after I got out of the shower. I laid down on the bed so Dana could check my vitals and cervix again. My mom told me that for a few minutes at that point, I was weirdly calm. Calm enough to worry her. Before she could check me, my water broke. Feeling your water break has to be the weirdest feeling ever. Some people told me it was like peeing on yourself…I’m calling bullshit. I guess some people have violent pees because that was not like peeing. Anyway, at that point I had convinced myself I was dying. I do not know every detail of the next few minutes, but I remember hearing Dana say that the baby was coming. Seriously, directly after my water broke…Piper was coming. There was no water in the tub. I was going to have to do this like in the olden days. Quick and dirty. I have no idea why, but I started to panic. My legs were spasming and I felt like I had lost control of myself. My body ws pushing for me like, “Okay girl, you’re not handling this well I got this.” Finally, I grasped what was going on and pushed extremely hard the next contraction. I asked my mom if they could see her, and Dana actually told me put my hand directly inside of my vagina to feel Piper’s head. It was such a cool feeling. Something that most hospitals would never allow to happen. I calmed down a bit more and decided to just surrender myself over to my body and push Piper out the rest of the way. She came a few pushes later and it seriously felt like so much pressure was just gone and the contractions immediately stopped. I had done it. I had pushed out another daughter on my own and with no medical interventions.
Now, take everything that happened starting from when we arrived at Lisa Ross to when I met Piper and put that into 45 mins. Yep, that was how quick my labor was. Jeremy almost didn’t make it to the birth because he was at work. I guess Piper decided to be nice and wait until right after he arrived to make an appearance. Piper Luna Marie Morgan arrived at 9:25 pm. Our little Moon Piper was finally in my arms and it felt like nothing else mattered. The pain didn’t matter. The world didn’t matter. She was all there was at that moment.
Second weirdest feeling in the world: delivering the after birth. However, I will say that if you ever get a chance to see your placenta…do it. It’s seriously so cool. It actually looks like a tree of life. I can’t believe that’s what nourishes the babies before they are earth side.
I didn’t have to have stitches with Harmony. I ended up needing stitches with Piper because her shoulders were turned a bit funny and the midwife had to help her out. The stitches scared me worse than the actual birth. There’s just something about having shots of medicine placed in various places around your vagina that doesn’t sound like it’s pleasant at all. I got through it though. Piper looked wonderful after the delivery. Great temperature, great color, great vitals. She latched on immediately and I heard that sweet sound of her swallowing colostrum. That kid is a fighter. She has attitude. Soon after her arrival it started to storm. I’m still thinking it’s a sign of things to come with her.
I wish I could say more about the after part. The nurse that never made it to the birth checked our vitals, but for the most part left us alone. I was up and walking about 1 hour after delivery. We were all bonding and admiring Piper. It was the setting I had imagined in my head. Dimmed lights and spending vital time with my baby after delivery instead of having her whisked away from me for fuck knows how long. Laying in a bed naked and nursing a fresh newborn while she stays naked and up against my skin. It was the most natural feeling in the world. It was overwhelmingly natural. It was natural and peaceful and the exact opposite of what I had experienced before.
I would experience that pain a million times over for that experience. I know now that I truly made the right decision to be at Lisa Ross. Their staff was so caring and fantastic my entire pregnancy and delivery.It was amazing to have a nurse check our vitals every hour in the room and not come in to ask me if I wanted to have my newborn taken to the nursery or have her taken away for tests or whatever else.