Why vaginal birth? Many articles casually suggested getting a c-section, but I knew I was too healthy for such a thing. Plus, vaginal made the most sense because it’s natural though I had many ignorant fears sold to me by the media. Once I was educated, it was still a little scary to imagine the greatness of my vagina (to open), but I felt absolutely sure I wanted a vaginal birth.
Why unmedicated? Though a few people hinted I wouldn’t be able to handle the pain, I knew I didn’t want to take any drugs unless I had to. I hadn’t taken a big pharma pill for anything in years. I was terrified of the foretold pain, but I didn’t want to give up without trying. How else would I know how strong I am? (That’s not to say the opposite is weakness because having given birth, I completely understand why anyone would get assisted with drugs.) The breath was all the drugs I needed. Women had done it without drugs since before time.
Why homebirth? I knew I didn’t want to give birth in the hospital even though I vaguely knew another option. With a little research, I knew a healthy gal such as myself could do it successfully at home. Women were mainly giving birth at home up to the 1900s before being usurped by the male dominant medical system. I wanted female energy in the comfort of my home because it felt right.
I woke up around 11pm after barely 2 hours of sleep feeling something about my contractions was different. Maybe it was the sleepiness, but I was momentarily convinced I was never going to give birth so there was no way this was the onset. I gave myself a few minutes to make sure I was not imagining the incoming regularity of my contractions before I stood up and again made sure they didn’t feel like my usual Braxton Hicks.
Suddenly my stomach began churning. I knew this feeling. I very much absolutely needed to take a shxt right away. I’d read diarrhea proceeded labor sometime ago. I figured the runs was related to labor because I’ve never in life gotten up mid sleep to take a dump.
I woke my partner Cheeno because I didn’t want him to wake up and start panicking upon seeing I was gone. I explained I needed to poop and felt level ten embarrassed about it though we’re both cool with each others bowel situation. It was a very soft stool, but it wasn’t the watery consistency of any diarrhea I’ve ever had. I felt better after about my bowels.
My contractions became more frequent, but pain level tolerable. I’ve had worst periods. I told Cheeno, he suggested calling the midwife Tara and I declined. Throughout my pregnancy I practiced giving things a little more time before crying for help. 30 minutes later the contractions were so intense I had to stop talking while they happened. It was like my worst period cramps on repeat, but it was manageable because they’d end for awhile.
Labor For Love
We called Tara. She lived 1.5 hours away so we attempted somewhat successfully to get some z’s in the meantime. By the time she and our second midwife Smilie arrived, the contractions were unlike any pain I’ve ever felt, but I could handle it because they were on and off. I tried to keep things light between to keep from becoming overwhelmed that I’M GOING TO HAVE A CHILD and also the pain.
I labored in bed, squeezing the heck out of the toy elephant sent for our baby’s comfort during contractions. After awhile it became clear I wasn’t progressing. I was told to walk and I was up for it until a few contractions made me regret even having feet. I began to slip into some other world between this reality and somewhere I could take the pain of the contractions. I heard the three of them mention how glossed over I looked. I didn’t care about anything except staying strong through the pain.
Cheeno offered encouraging words, but I felt I couldn’t keep walking. I begged to rest, hoping the pain would end or at least pause. Tara said I could rest, plus they almost had the birth pool ready. (I wanted a water birth because I heard it helped with the pain, but when I was ready to push, I 100% forgot about it.) I was told to try to work with the energy of the contractions to move things along. I tried. I banged on the door, grunted, cursed, and shouted, but it felt off. Once the water was warm enough, I got in and it felt better to an extent. I somehow fell asleep in the tub and that felt great, but when I woke up, I remembered I WAS GONNA HAVE A BABY! Somehow.
My energy was low despite the warm tub nap. I asked Cheeno to play some upbeat drum music. He sat in front of me and shook my body, which felt surprisingly amazing. It recharged me to stand and resume taking out my grrs on the door a few times. The midwives came inside and we decided to check my progress.
I felt defeated when I learned after over 12 hours, I was a mere 2/3cm dilated. I wanted to cry. I had barely any energy as it was and all I did was for hardly anything. When they checked baby, it added more defeat. It seemed the baby changed positions to the left having spent almost my entire pregnancy on the right. The midwives were a little concerned and so the hell was I.
(We didn’t know it then, but my super intelligent uterus was working hard to protect the baby because his umbilical cord was short, which was why things moved so slow. Baby hadn’t changed sides but was moving slowly into descent position because of the short cord.)
I was running out of steam. Tara brought up the possibility of going to the hospital because they could use ultrasound to make absolute sure of the baby’s position. She ran me through what would happen if we went. I resisted thinking about it at first, but then I told myself a healthy baby came first. I imagined the entire thing and made peace with the possibility of a hospital birth and even a possible c-section. Plus I was tired of being in pain yo.
I sat in the between place for awhile. I wanted to go somewhere peaceful to process what to do. I wanted a homebirth for a reason. I still felt a homebirth was an incredible possibility for me. It felt like the only truth in the world and I didn’t want to give up just yet though I had no idea where I’d find strength to keep going. My mouth began talking before my brain processed it: I wanted to rest and then try again for a few hours.
I had only eaten about half a cup of oatmeal the entire labor. I wanted pizza and the midwives picked it up while I tried to nap with Cheeno. It felt good to snuggle up to him and forget for awhile. I hated the pizza though I also wanted it. I barely ate one slice and lost interest. My contractions were heightening again, but there was also this new ache in my left leg. Tara gave me a lomilomi, a Hawaiian massage, between contractions and it felt superb and got me relaxed enough to dose off.
Life Starts Now
Sometime in the dosing I felt a popping sensation and water gushing out from I don’t even know where: my water broke. I told Tara and she helped me dry up. For whatever reason, my water breaking triggered a new level of energy and instincts I didn’t know I had kicked in.
I kneeled on my bed and hung over the edge as contractions came. It was the first time I ever had somewhere to send the pain of the contraction which didn’t feel like the same kind of painful anymore after I send it down to push. I had no idea what I was doing – my body just knew. I didn’t need the between world anymore because I somehow knew it was time and that I could do it. I followed my body.
The bed didn’t feel right, so I got on the floor and stayed up on my elbows by the bed. Cheeno and Smilie were on either side (and boy did I throw my weight on them!) while Tara was behind me. I totally pooped a few times fyi. Labor and defecation muscles are the same after all. It felt as if I was having one of those hard to release poops but it was trying to come out of the wrong place.
I felt a new indescribable pain from pushing. It made me hesitant to push, but it was also a good thing I didn’t all the way. I was slowly creating the opening for the baby and unknowingly setting myself up for no tears from birth (I only ended up with one hemorrhoid). Then I felt a burning. I knew the baby was crowning before being told. Tara said she saw hair and I thought again, OH MY GOD THERE REALLY IS A BABY IN THERE AND IT’S GONNA COME OUT WTF IS REAL LIFE?!
I pushed for almost 1.5 hours but it felt like 30 minutes. I didn’t know it was my final push but after it happened, my belly felt emptied out. It didn’t hurt, but it was surprisingly quick. The baby cried and I stared blindly ahead thinking OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE?! A REAL LIFE BABY JUST FELL OUT OF ME. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!
Baby Boy Joy
I didn’t see him right away. The umbilical cord was too short for me to hold him. (I wanted to do a lotus birth but I totally forgot and the short cord would have made it hard to.) The trio carefully passed him under me and when I first saw him, I said, “It’s a boy?! I knew it! He’s beautiful”. Though I carried him for 41 weeks and just spent hours laboring, it was still surreal. He was this tiny very light brown skinned asian eyed boy with straight jet black hair who looked nothing like me, but he knew me right away; he was reaching for milk.
After my final push to get the placenta out, I put on my big girl diapers and sat on the edge of the bed to hold my baby boy. He immediately found my nipple and latched. That shxt hurt and I wondered how the hell I’d breastfeed. Actually, HOW DO I MOM?! For a moment I wanted to cry and beg the midwives to stay and teach me all the mom things, but when I looked at him, I felt deeper than the fear of not knowing was the beautiful awe striking realization that I’d know what to do.