“I’m also very happy to share the news that our baby girl, Laila was born on Monday, November 14th at 2:13 a.m. She was 6 lbs. 11 oz. and 18.5 inches long.
Our birth story is definitely one I will enjoy sharing for the rest of my life. I cannot express in words how blessed I feel to have had such a positive experience.
My original due date was November 4th. When that day came and went, we had the non-stress test with the ultrasound and fetal monitoring on the following Thursday, November 10th. I never got a cervical check, but our midwife’s review of the earlier ultrasounds I had at another practice revealed that my due date actually could have been the 10th instead of the 4th. So that made me feel slightly better, even though it was crazy feeling like our lives were on hold while receiving a barrage of calls and texts asking, “Where’s the baby?!” …We were optimistic about the weekend, and Laila did not disappoint us.
I started feeling minor contractions about 30 minutes a part late Saturday night. I slept through them just fine. Sunday morning I woke up to more contractions between 15 and 20 minutes a part. The morning contractions were a little stronger, so I got in the bathtub. I immediately noticed that the warm water had a soothing effect that definitely relieved some of the intensity. Ismail and I hung around the house until about 7:30 that night to make sure I was in active labor before we went to the hospital. Unfortunately I threw up the food I had eaten earlier, and I totally forgot to have a sugary snack or to bring some honey sticks to get the baby moving… so our first unexpected challenge was fetal monitoring. All this time I was told it would only take like 20-30 minutes max. But that is if, and only if they can get a good read of the baby’s movement and heart rate along with your contractions…I was on the fetal monitor for at least two hours….Even though it was more difficult to cope with the contractions in that position, we didn’t fight it or become discouraged. We just used whatever we could use in that position. We held hands, locked eyes and focused on breathing. I chanted everything from “Ahhh” between breaths to “Yes” “Love” and “Thank you God.” There were a few times when the sensations shocked me in their growing intensity. The moment I began to flail my arms, Ismail would call me back to focus and we would breathe together.
…I focused on each contraction, one at a time, and I kept reminding myself, “What you’re doing is working, just keep doing it.” When I finally was off the monitor and the IV, I got in the shower. I STAYED in the shower. I didn’t want to come out. I got into every position you could think of. I rocked back and forth, I got on all fours, I even tried taking the birthing ball in the shower (that didn’t really work). But I remembered what Gwynne said about using a position or a technique until it doesn’t work for you anymore, then using something else. There was so much water on the bathroom floor from the shower, and I’m sure I looked like a wild banchee in there lol, but it helped. When I asked if I could get into the birthing tub, they said I needed to be 7 cm dialated. I had no idea if I was at that point (I was only 4 cm when we first arrived), but I made a deal with the midwife. I said if I get in the tub and my labor slows down, I’ll get out of the tub, but PLEASE let me get in now. So they dried me off, and I got in bed on all fours. The double hip squeeze and counter pressure techniques really helped there. It must have sounded hilarious because I would call out “SQUEEZE! SQUEEZE PLEASE!” to Ismail.
Our music playlist was really helpful too. All my favorite songs were playing. We moved to the beat of the music. I ended up not even using any of the hypnobirth/relaxation tracks. We had some on the playlist, but I don’t even remember hearing them. When I got into the birthing pool, I began vocalizing deeply, moaning and humming. My water didn’t break until right before Laila came out. The pushing seemed like it took less than an hour, but I don’t know exactly how long it was. When she came out, she was still in the amniotic sac. The midwife said that’s good luck.
I thought I would cry when I first saw my baby, but I didn’t cry at all, not even during all the intense sensations, and I think it’s because I was so focused. I usually cry very easily, but all I felt was joy. I was so happy to see her. She was alert with the brightest open eyes. I had been waiting almost 9 and a half months for that moment, and when it came, it was pure gold. I felt like I had just won the Olympics or a triathlon or something. I felt exhausted and victorious…Gwynne, thank you for the work you do and for being the beautiful, loving spirit that you are. You truly helped me to have a confident child birth.