Let’s talk about fears: I had so many when I found out I was expecting my first child. I was afraid of pain, afraid of damage I could cause to my child, and I was afraid of never being the same again. I have always firmly believed that you control your future by controlling your mindset and your emotions. With this in mind we took the Curtis Method hypnobirthing class where I learned techniques to keep my mind and body calm, and how to recognize the waves as pressure, and not pain.
I made a deal with my baby that he could come any time after Thanksgiving, and I promised to never get mad about the footprints on the ceiling that will be inevitable with a monkey for a father! True to our bargain, he decided to come right after the holiday, I went into labor at 1 am the day after Thanksgiving. My hips were hurting so badly that sleeping laying down was not an option, so I chose to sleep on the couch in a recliner. My husband didn’t want to leave me alone, so he slept on the couch next to me.
My waves were strong but not painful. I knew I was in labor because I was using the bathroom every hour or so and I was having bloody show with each visit. At 7 I called my midwife, told her what was going on, and she confirmed that I was, indeed, in labor. At that point I woke my husband and said we were going to need to go to the hospital soon, as my waves were consistently 5 minutes apart and a minute long. I sent my husband to the store for some fruit and yogurt so I wouldn’t go to the hospital with a completely empty stomach. By the time he got back I was having waves 4 minutes apart, and I was ready to leave. We got in the car and drove to the hospital at 9 am. I called my mother to tell her to meet us there and I called and canceled a massage I had scheduled for later that day.
We arrived at the hospital and they checked us in immediately. Although I was still able to talk and joke and laugh, my nurse confirmed I was dilated to a 5 and the waves were very strong. She remarked that I must be very strong to not be bothered by them. This bolstered my confidence a lot. I remember thinking at that point, “OK I can do this.” My Mom arrived, she and my husband did some counter pressure to get me through my waves which were getting significantly stronger.
I asked if I could get into the tub soon (I was planning for a water birth). The nurse explained that they wanted me to labor in the bathroom tub for awhile to decide if I was comfortable with delivering in the water. I got in the tub, and since there wasn’t a lot of room, my husband pulled up a chair and activated the pressure points in my feet with each wave. I put on my earphones and my relaxation tracks and just went inside my head. My mom told me later that she was really shocked at how quiet I was all the way through the birth. I would almost fall asleep between waves. Each wave manifested as pressure and I chose to ride each wave by vocalizing a single note and trying to sustain it as long as possible. By listening to the music I was making, I was able to completely tune out any discomfort I was feeling.
After about an hour my water broke. My midwife checked me again, and confirmed that I was progressing quickly. About 30 minutes later I got the urge to push. No one was there besides my husband to confirm whether I could push, so I held it back. I think that was probably the hardest part of the labor. After holding back for 3 waves, my Mom asked the midwife to check me again, because I didn’t think I could hold back anymore. The midwife confirmed that I was complete and ready to push. Everyone helped me into the birthing pool and I immediately started to push. My husband sat behind me and supported my weight over his arms and held my hands through each wave. My mother and my midwife held my legs and encouraged me through each push.
I was again able to go completely internal, staying completely relaxed between waves, and focusing completely through each push. My husband whispered in my ear “You are so strong, you can do this. Our baby is almost here” The midwife kept telling me how powerful and strong I was. And I did feel powerful! I did feel strong. After 30 minutes I felt my little boy’s head push through, and just one little push later, my perfect little Riley was here!
He arrived at 3:23 pm, after only 14 hours of labor, and only 6 of those active labor. 7 lbs 10 oz, and 20 inches long. I can honestly say that I felt no pain, and I had the birth that I had been envisioning for months. Completely peaceful and joyful.