Welcome to my birth story, 2.75 years in the making. Thanks for tuning in. Quick note before we get started: As mothers, we find ourselves apologizing for feeling good about/being proud of our birth experiences, because of those sanctiBirthers that have gone before us, rubbing their natural birth experiences in others faces and being generally gross about it. Ain’t nobody got time for that BS. I’m sharing because I want others to know that I’m not a hero (we don’t need another hero), and I’m not “brave”. And unlike most, I feel very comfortable in hospitals. In fact, I was raised in them :-). This was just a choice that worked well for me, and I was very lucky to have people who supported me on this journey.
Sunday, May 27th 2012. The day before Memorial Day and the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. My un-due date was May 31st ish, and I’m funny about numbers. Having a baby on a Thursday seemed weird to me. Plus it had been hot that week, and if I’m being honest, I was kind of over it. This was going to be my first time actually experiencing “labor” due to the botched 4-day-induction sans epidural that was my first birth… D.r.a.m.a. that it was, it taught me that even I – world’s biggest whiner – could handle a homebirth avec OB/GYN + inflatable tub. We were all set. My mom (aforementioned OB) had flown in from Ohio about two weeks prior to aid in and facilitate this blessed event, and she was getting impatient. There were talks of breaking my water if it didn’t happen in the coming week because she had to get back to work, etc. I told her to back off and give me a couple more days, which she kindly agreed to… Provided that she and her uncle Tom the Preist could leave to watch the GGB festivites/fireworks.
I’d been meditating + evening primrose oiling and finally decided I felt something like irregular contractions that day, so naturally I downloaded “iContraction” & started live-tweeting/timing the waves. She checked me and I was about 3cm. I also was craving Zachray’s Pizza, so we sent out for it, and about 90min later, it was in my tummy. The day carried on without incedent, however my poor mom saw her GGB Anniversary window waning, and I could see the disappointment in her eyes as I told her that the dream may have to die. Alas, babies happen all the time in her line of work, and this was a once in a life time event. I plied her with the promise of making me miso soup and helping me rearrange the livingroom. by 9pm, we’d all felt a little cheated, so we sent the older one to bed, and promised to wake him up if anything got exciting… Also, I was still 3cm.
Note to those of you who’ve not yet had children and are wondering what early labor feels like: if you’ve grown up having painful periods, you’re halfway there. At midnight, I felt the overwhelming need to both vomit and diarreah at the same time. And because throwing up is the worst thing EVER, the only silver-lining here was that when this happens to your body, it means you’re really in labor. (p.s, I couldn’t eat Zachary’s Pizza for a good 6 months after this).
I drew a bath in a desperate attempt to self-soothe. At this point, I had not woken anyone else up, and because I was still thinking of others, I knew it wasn’t really time yet. As I began to drain the bathtub, mom whisper-shouts “shhhhhhh, don’t wake everyone up” from the living room. Rude. About an hour later, I could give a shit about anyone else’s comfort, and took up steady residence on the toilet… rocking myself as the waves came and went and came again… As I made my way to the kitchen, my then-husband whispered to me “let me know when things really get started, and let me know when you want me to do some of that stuff that we worked on”. Ummm… So like in the HypnoBirthing 2hr refresher session, I’m preeeeetty sure I was clear on the fact that when you’re in proper labor, you’re unable to communicate with those around you. My attempt to glare at him scathingly was likely perceived as indifference, and then I promptly fell to my hands and knees. If I could have rolled my eyes, I would have. Mom takes a look at this, and calmly says, “OK! Fill the tub!”… I flew into the thing, seeing this giant kiddy pool as my only saving grace. Turns out, I was fully in transition and my adreneline surge had already begun, thus making me feel like I was freezing cold. I demanded ex-husband make the water “hotter!”, however as I surfaced from my swandive, mom admonished all of us saying that babies cannot come out in scalding hot water. It was 4am. My girlfriend Lynne was eagerly awaiting her call-to-action, so when she asked if she should “come now or in an hour”, it was all I could do to muster a breathy, “now”. 6 minutes later, she was there, in my kitchen, supporting my entire body weight as mom began feeling for the baby’s head. We woke up Kyle, and he could barely contain his excitement. We got the in-laws set up with a live Skype feed so they could be a part of it all too. Uncle Tom the Preist was so peacefully observent, I often forget he was even there, negotiating with Jesus and whatnot. Contractions were on top of each other… And then. They just stopped. The tiny break was exactly what I needed (thank you, water). Side note, I only said “shit” and “this is hard” once. Which, if you know me personally, is huge.
Cue Video… there is very minimal editing done here (iMovie hates me), so we can go ahead and call this real-time. So, without further ado, I give you the last 5+ minutes of labor:
Thanks so much for watching and reading along, y’all. I’m so grateful for the support of my team, and even more grateful for having this second baby during the iPhone generation. I listened to that HypnoBirthing app every. single. night. and felt truly prepared in a way that never happened the first time. I suppose the moral of the story here is that I’m not special for having gone through this. And while I do wish it was a thing, NO, “birthing” is not my Superpower… You too can do this! If you’re interested in learning more about how the HypnoBirthing techniques can help you through labor, stay tuned. We’re gonna be doing a Q&A on the subject over at Ask the OB/GYN in the next couple days. NEXT UP: Placenta Encapsulation! (Eww… but yes. do it.) Stay tuned for post/video…