February 18, 2o11
I wake up at 1 a.m. It’s snowing like crazy and I’m still feeling contractions. I lay in bed for a bit and then decide that it’s time to start tracking the contractions. I quietly make my way out to the living room and lay down on the floor. I have my birthing ball handy and my iPhone at the ready. I’ve downloaded the Contraction Master app.
The contractions are about 4-5 minutes apart. Sometimes closer. Sometimes longer. I try to relax as much as possible and listen to my Hypnobirthing meditations and affirmations. After about an hour I decide it’s time to get Travis. I go back to our bedroom and tell him that I’m having regular contractions and I think it’s time to call the midwife. He says something about am I sure and maybe we should wait awhile longer. I say ok. Then 5 minutes later I tell him that we need to call the midwife. This time he gets it.
We are having a baby today.
He grabs my phone and calls our midwife. She says that she will be over shortly.
I decide to take a shower. It is the best shower of my life. For whatever reason the feeling of hot water flowing over my back is amazing.
After the shower I get dressed in my birth outfit: swimsuit top, my favorite yoga pants and a beachy like cover up. I’m comfy and when the midwife shows up she meets me in our bedroom to check my cervix. I’m 5-6 cm dilated and 100% effaced. Woo-hoo! Let’s get this party going.
It’s been two months since Henry was born and I’m struggling to remember what contractions felt like during this time. I guess that should give you an inclination of the pain level at this point. I believe they felt like menstrual cramps. They came and went. During this time I continued listening to the hypnobirthing tracks and met each contraction with a really deep breath that I let out slowly until the contraction ended. I don’t remember being in any pain during this time. I wasn’t even uncomfortable.
The apprentice midwives show up and one starts tracking my contractions. This is a really relaxed time. The house is quiet and I freely move about. I labor on the birthing ball, on my feet, on the floor. I sway through each contraction, breathing deeply and mostly staying to myself. In between contractions I chat with Travis and the midwives.
At some point the midwives begin setting up the birthing tub. I’ve decided that I want to try and give birth in the water. Filling the tub takes a long time. At one point I go into the kitchen and realize that they are heating up water on the stove. I make a joke about how this is all starting to feel like Little House on the Prairie.
Around 6 or 7 a.m. the tub is full and the midwife says I can get in anytime. I’m still cracking jokes between contractions and I decide that I want to see what this whole birth tub is about.
Into the tub I go and I feel an instant lightness. If I was hardly noticing land contractions, then water contractions are nothing. I boisterously comment that I don’t know why every woman doesn’t have a water birth. After all, I’m hardly feeling anything.
I continue to crack jokes and chit chat away.
Labor slows down a bit and I hang out in the tub. I continue with my breathing. My hypnobirthing instructor (who is also one of the apprentice midwives) tells me that I am handling labor so well that I should be on YouTube. She says she has a feeling that Henry will be here before I know it.
Then shit gets real. And I mean R-E-A-L.
Part 3 of the birth story is coming up next and this is where things get a little hazy. That amnesia thing that women talk about? It’s true.