I have been so excited to share my birth story with you all. After some thought, I realized I never really shared the birth story of my firstborn-20 months ago. To understand why this time was so different, I want to give a little insight into my first birth experience. To make a long story short, I was induced with my first baby because he was measuring "big" and in a suboptimal posterior position for labor, also known as "sunny side up" (head down, but the spine aligns with the mother’s spine which makes it “harder" for the baby to descend into the pelvis). It wasn’t my preference to be induced, however, my overall preference was to have a healthy vaginal delivery, which I ultimately did have, and for this I am very grateful. My son was born after 36 hours of labor including 3 hours of pushing. As someone who is naturally inclined, having both Pitocin, and an epidural was not my first choice -especially since my epidural didn’t work - but that is a story for another day. Recovery was hard, and less than ideal, to say the least. At the end of the day, nothing "bad" or overly dramatic happened, everyone was healthy, and I got my ultimate wish of a vaginal delivery. Was it my ideal birth experience? No. Didn't end happily and safely? Yes.
When I started thinking about the birth of my daughter, I knew I wanted something different. As a realist, I know that birth happens when and how it's going to ultimately happen. In my opinion, you can plan and plan and plan, and at the end of the day, the baby will come when and how they want to. I didn’t spend too much time over thinking an actual “plan” for this birth.
Again, my overall preference was the same as with my first - I wanted a safe and healthy vaginal delivery. Although I didn’t plan much outside of that, I did do A LOT to prepare my body differently this time in hopes of a more positive birth experience. I kept up with all of my nutritional based daily gentle detox routines, and extensive supplement list - most of which were the same as with my first pregnancy. I built a solid support team that included adoula, a midwife/doula, an OB, an osteopath, and maybe the most important addition-an acupuncturist.
Once I found out that this baby was also "measuring big" and in the posterior position (again!), I knew that I would have to be more proactive in getting my body ready for labor. As I approached the 39th week of my pregnancy, I met with my OB, and she recommended an induction. I am not anti-induction when they are medically necessary, but in this case - I did not believe that it was - so I turned it down. She called me two more times that week, offering me more induction times - both of which I turned down. Walking away from 3 induction recommendations was not easy. It was stressful and I had to trust my gut, intuition, and body-emphatically. I wanted to go into labor naturally, and believed it was possible. To restate, I do not believe that those who choose inductions are wrong, I just personally wanted this experience to be different, naturally inclined, and on both the baby’s and my body's timeline.
At 40 weeks + 2 days, I went into labor. After weeks of labor prep including spinning babies, cervical ripening via acupuncture, lots of evening primrose oil (not medical advice - just sharing), fear release via hypnobirthing techniques and a few other special items, my body and mind were ready.
On 11/29/23, my first day of real maternity leave, I went to lunch with my Dad at one of my favorite NYC neighborhood restaurants. I had a glass of wine (gasp!), and gluten free pasta. I walked home 12 blocks, sat on my couch, and played with my son. At 6pm, my son playfully poked my belly and -boom - my water broke. Having never had my water break before, I was surprised that this was something that was only supposed to happen in movies-right? I called my OB to check in, told her I wasn’t having any contractions, and she advised that I come into the hospital to confirm that my water had in fact broken. I wasn’t in any rush, as I was very comfortable and not having contractions - yet. I took a shower, said good night to my son, finished packing my bag, and headed out the door at 7pm.
My husband and I got in an Uber, and as we were pulling up to the hospital, I had my first contraction. By the time we checked in it was about 730pm, and at 745pm, I was admitted into a triage room at 4cm dilated. Labor and Delivery was full, and I was "early on" in my labor so there was no rush to get us into a delivery room. By 815pm, my contractions were coming in a unique pattern lasting 30-45 seconds, every 2 minutes. I was starting to get a little bit more uncomfortable as the contractions intensified, but it was manageable. By 845pm (an hour after I was admitted), I was starting to feel the surges away that made me feel like the baby was coming very soon. I was checked, and was 6cm dilated. My doctor was not present yet, and I was still in triage, on a gurney, and being told that I’d have a delivery room in an hour..
I knew that we wouldn’t make it to the labor and delivery floor. The surges started coming every 30-45 seconds and the intensity was really building. There was one nurse checking on me, and I told her that I felt like the baby was coming - imminently. At 9pm she checked me again, and I was 8cm dilatada. My doctor was still not there. I was still on the gurney, in triage. At this point, I was feeling a lot of intensity and pressure. I remember this feeling from right before my son was born. Only this time, I was completely unmedicated and mobile, and able to get onto all-fours which helped relieve some pressure from my back. I knew my daughter was about to make her grand entrance into the world. I told the nurse that I was feeling an intense amount of pressure and was ready to push the baby out. She told me that there was no way this was possible. I told her I had to push and the baby was coming - with or without the appropriate medical team there. The baby was NOT going to wait. She reluctantly checked me again, and I was 10 cm dilated, and the baby was in fact- coming at warp speed. The nurse immediately hit a red button signaling analarm to anyone and everyone nearby to come and assist. About 12 nurses rushed over, which didn’t really feel necessary considering the baby was already well on her way out, though it makes for some good story telling. Following my intuition and cues from my body - I pushed twice, and at 9:10pm, my daughter was born. No doctor, no epidural, no labor and delivery room, no IVs or interventions.I was “in labor” for about 75 minutes, with the last 30 minutes being the most primal, and intense moments of my life so far. I had no expectations for the birth, but this experience exceeded my wildest dreams. It was my dream birth -natural, instinctual, empowering, safe, and healthy. I am so grateful for the gift of this experience, and to have learned more about myself, my body, and my womanhood in those 75 minutes than in my entire life.
Our baby girl was born weighing 8 lbs 0 oz, and measuring just shy of 22 inches long. She came into the world with much enthusiasm, and didn’twant to wait to join our family. We are so happy that she’s here. She has already taught me so much about life, courage, staying true to myself, the immeasurable strength of my body and mind, and unconditional love. To say that I am grateful is an understatement.