Washington Da Costa Briggs came very quickly and unexpectedly early in the morning on April 9. I was still two weeks away from my due date and, having been induced with my three prior pregnancies, I didn’t expect that going into labor naturally would be an easy thing to accomplish. I was fully prepared to reach my due date and probably beyond.
I started having very strong and consistent Braxton-Hicks contractions on Sunday night. I took a warm bath and got in bed, but the contractions were keeping me from relaxing and falling asleep. At 1:00am, the contractions became stronger and more consistent and I decided I needed my hypnobirthing scripts prepare me for the long haul, but my iPod battery was dead. I dug around for the charging cord and woke my husband up in the process. I told him I was sorry for the noise, but “I think I’m in labor”. I listened to a script for a little while as my contractions became more pronounced. By 2:00am, my husband started to time my contractions and kept a log. I took the earphones out and moved around a little, then decided to get in the bathtub in my master bathroom. My midwife had dropped off a big birthing tub the week before, but I hadn’t gotten a hose to fill it. I had a long to-do list to take care of that week in preparation for the baby. It was looking as though none of it would get done.
By 3:00am, I had had an hour of contractions every 2-3 minutes, lasting a minute to a minute and a half each. My husband called my midwife, Emilie Ashby, and gave her the run down and asked her to come to the house. I had my husband set up my laptop with my birthing affirmations playing. I was being reminded of everything I had learned and everything I believed about childbirth. I breathed deeply through each contraction, just as I learned in the hypnobirthing classes. The next half hour was difficult and I wouldn’t let my husband leave my side. He rubbed my back and hips through each contraction and helped me stay calm as I sat in the bathtub. I started to lose focus as I went through transition and reminded myself that the point of giving up means I’m almost done! Emilie and her partner, Janee, and a student, Mollee, all arrived at 3:40am. Emilie checked me at 3:50am. I was fully dilated and effaced and the baby was ready.
It was time to push. I looked at Emilie and told her I didn’t know how to do this part. She reminded me that I did and I’d had three kids before. She told me to release my bottom and it was then I realized how tense I was holding my body. I relaxed and the baby started to move. It happened so quickly and seemed like only a couple of pushes, even to the point that Emilie told me to slow down so I wouldn’t tear. I held off on the last push for a few seconds, but the baby was coming. One last push and he was out at 4:08am.
I’m so grateful for my birth experience and for the things I learned in the hypnobirthing classes. I didn’t really get to use the scripts because everything happened so fast, but the affirmations played in the background as I labored and reminded me of everything I learned and believed. The most important part was that I knew how to breathe calmly.
I remember laughing and crying as the oxytocin flooded my body. I did it! I couldn’t believe how incredibly fast the labor was, but it was done and I did it exactly as I planned: naturally and in my own home.