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The days leading up to my daughter’s birth were pretty calm. My grandmother from Japan had flown in so we spent the few days before Elena was born catching up with her. Tuesday we even went to TopGolf for a few rounds! I was convinced that I wasn’t anywhere close to being in labor. My husband, Ryan, will tell people I was in denial for a long time when I was in early labor.
I don’t think that I was in denial because I was scared, but because I couldn’t believe that this moment that we had waited for almost 10 months was finally here.
I went in for my regularly rescheduled prenatal visit with my midwife on Wednesday morning. I had been having contractions for a few days, but they were inconsistent and very mild. She was amazing and reassuring and I went home feeling pretty good about how my last moments were going.
Throughout the day the contractions kept getting stronger and closer together. I moved around the living room, shuffling around piles of pillows, got into a hot shower, trying to get as comfortable as I could even if it was only for a few minutes. I even ended up in my pile of pillows underneath my dining room table. That’s just where I needed to be.
The contractions stayed consistent into the night, which led to me getting very little sleep. I was running on two hours of sleep by morning. This is when I accepted that I was in labor, it was finally here.
I texted my chiropractor early on Thursday morning and asked if it was a good idea for me to come in and get an adjustment while in labor. She said yes, of course! Once Ryan was awake, we headed towards the office. The contractions I had in the car were some of the worst I had had thus far. Not being able to move freely or stand was hard on my body.
The rest of the day was a blur of contractions and walks around the block to move things along. I was nervous by this point. When would the hard part start? How long is this going to last? I’m a pretty anxious person in general, but these unknowns were a little scary. I noticed on one of our walks that my breathing had become shallow and erratic. The fear of these unknowns began physically manifesting. As we walked, I brought my attention back to my breath. Concentrating on slow, deep, mindful breaths. By the time we reached home, I was much calmer physically and mentally.
Around 10 pm I knew I needed to get some sleep if I was going to make it through the hardest part of labor. I took a Tylenol PM and was finally able to get a few hours of decent sleep.
I texted my midwife early Friday morning letting her know that labor had slowed down overnight, but I quickly got back in touch with her by 10 am because things started to move FAST. She suggested I go for a walk, but I only got to the neighbor’s house before I couldn’t move anymore. We came back to the house and I retreated to the bathroom to labor on the toilet because it relieved so much pressure off of my hips!
I started to feel a big shift happen. My field of vision closed in and I turned inward. I asked Ryan to fill the birth tub so I could get some pain relief and maybe even meditate a little. The tub was barely halfway full when I couldn’t wait any more. I got in and tried to relax as Ryan ran back and forth between contractions from the tub to the kitchen to boil water to fill the tub faster. I didn’t even notice that he had put Gilmore Girls on the TV to try and help me relax until much later.
While in the tub, my contractions were so intense I was moaning pretty loudly. I was sure the neighbors could hear me! Ryan was getting more and more anxious and worried so he called the midwife around 12 pm. She listened to a contraction over the phone and said, “I’ll be there soon.”
At this point I looked Ryan dead in the eyes and said, “I don’t think I can do this. What if I can’t do this?” Tears began to fill my eyes at the thought of this pain never ending. (Transition, anyone?) Ryan was an amazing cheerleader through this, reminding me that I CAN do this.
My midwife got to our house at just about 1 pm and I had already made my way back to the bathroom for some more sweet pressure relief. We moved to the bedroom so that she could see how far along I was. As I was laying there, all I could think was, “Oh god, I’m only 5 cm along. I’m going to have to keep doing this for a few more days!”
My midwife asked me if my water had broken. I told her that I didn’t think so (turns out it broke while I was in the tub so that’s why I didn’t notice!). She said, “Are you sure? Because I feel hair. You’re 10 cm dilated and she’s only about an inch away from being here!”
I started crying right then.
A huge wave of relief washed over my body and relaxed me. I couldn’t believe how close we were. I got my game face on, knowing each contraction was bringing my baby closer to me.
While she went to grab the rest of her supplies, Ryan started calling our families to let them know we had a baby coming! I tried to make my way back to the living room where we had the tub set up. I only made it to the end of the bed.
I pushed with each contraction while Ryan supported me and did some deep belly breaths between them. I wasn’t paying attention at all to what was going on around me. My best friend showed up at one point and everyone was making small talk. I stared at the floor and breathed. That’s all I could do.
So there, kneeling over on our bedroom floor, after two hours of conscious pushing, our baby girl came out in a hurry. She didn’t stop at the shoulders; she was so ready to be here! I grabbed her off of the floor and brought her up to my chest and she let out the sweetest cry I have ever heard.
Elena May was born at 2:59 pm, 8 lbs 3 oz, 20.5 in.
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