Updated: Mar 26, 2020
3 weeks before I was due I began having some contractions that were more intense than the braxton hicks I had been having for months. I thought I would be going into labor soon. Weeks went by until my due date sadly passed while I continued having prodromal labor. Then I developed a horrible pregnancy rash called PUPPP. It covered my entire body except for my face. Nothing I did would make it better. I was miserable. At my 41 week midwife appointment my birth assistant put me on a diet to try to minimize the itchiness and it helped tremendously! But I was still very pregnant and ready for my baby to come! We started using black and blue cohosh tinctures to help stimulate my contractions.
March 19, Chris and I went to our midwife's (Renee) house for her to put primrose oil directly on my cervix. While doing so she checked me and I was 6 cm and 100% effaced! We were very shocked that my uterus had done that much work and I wasn't even in labor yet. So we went home and tried to go to sleep. Almost immediately after laying down contractions began and they were good ones. I tried sleeping but eventually they became so painful that I had to move through them and obviously couldn't do that in bed. So we got up at about midnight and started working through my contractions. Renee came around 2:30 and then Rebekah and Kim (student midwife and birth assistant) came around 3:00. My favorite way of working through the contractions was to stand and put my arms around Chris' shoulders and moan. It was like we were dancing. I felt so close to him and I soaked up his strength! My contractions were strong but they would speed up then slow way down. Hours went by and the midwives decided to go home to rest and give us a chance to rest as well. I tried finding a good spot in bed to lie down in between contractions but everything hurt my back. The position I finally could find minutes of rest on was on my knees leaning on the birth ball with my bum up against the wall. My sense of time was completely gone! I was shocked when the sun began to rise because it had only felt like a couple of hours since labor had begun.
Chris and I got up, ate breakfast and tried going for a walk. I could only make it down our alley because it was so cold and I didn't feel comfortable moaning outside. The midwives returned and I kept on laboring. I felt good and was enjoying labor. I joked between contractions and then focused when they would come. But they were still pretty irregular. They would get down to 2 minutes or less apart and then would space back out to 10-20 minutes apart.The midwives went for a walk and let us labor alone. When they returned we were all determined to get this labor going. I was about 8 cm and my bag of waters was bulging. We wanted them to break so I would get into different positions during contractions and try popping it with my breaths. It wasn't working. The bag kept bulging further but still wouldn't break so they had me lie down and push during contractions. That's when things began to get intense.
I somewhat liked the pushing then because it felt different than the contractions but it also wore me out pretty quickly. Finally it broke! I was checked again and I was 9cm with a tiny lip of cervix still in the way. My contractions were so very intense after that. I couldn't find any position that felt good. And my back was killing me! Sometimes it felt good if Chris pushed on it and others it was horrible. I felt like a deer in the headlights sometimes. When the contractions would begin all I knew was that what I was doing hurt and I had to move but I had no idea where to move to. I asked to get into the bath tub thinking that would help my back but it didn't.
This is when I hit my wall. Because I wanted to be a midwife I have read tons of birth stories and almost every woman describes a point in their labor where they have to decide to let their bodies go and give into the pain. I tried preparing myself mentally for this moment, knowing that the quicker I could give in the better. I was trying so hard to give in to the pain but it was so difficult. In the bath I started crying and telling Chris about what I was feeling about giving in. He was so helpful the entire time! He was there at every moment encouraging me and supporting me in whatever way I needed him to. My midwives came in to offer some additional support and I asked if I was in transition.When they said yes I was very encouraged because that meant birth wasn't too far away. They had me change my breathing to blow the pain away instead of moaning which helped tremendously and they had me squeeze the pain into their hands.
Then it was time to get things moving. We decided to go ahead and let them try to hold the cervix out of the way to let the baby's head come down. They had my lie on the bed again and push during contractions while one of them would try to move my cervix. This part is a little blurry to me and all the moments run together. It went by so fast to me. I was pushing which at this point felt amazing. It still hurt but it was a different pain. It was an active pain from the stretching instead of the contraction. I remember in between contractions being so relaxed and almost in another world. Then the contraction would come and I would push with everything inside me.
I wanted to change positions because I didn't like the idea of being on my back but Renee wanted the baby to come down to a certain point before moving. At one point Renee had me open my eyes and focus on her which was actually really hard to do. I was in such a different place that trying to focus on the outside was near impossible. It was like trying to stay awake when you are exhausted and your eyes just won't stay open. Then she had me tell my baby that everything was okay. Later, she told me that the reason she did this was because Samantha's heart rate was low and she wanted me to breathe and calm the baby.
She started having me breathe through every other contraction to help her get more oxygen but then my body started pushing for me and there was no stopping. That was probably my favorite feeling of the whole experience. Feeling my body take over in pushing her out without any help from me was exciting! I still didn't think that she would be out soon. In my head I kept wondering when I would be able to get up and change positions. Then all of a sudden everyone was yelling (remember I was so deep into my head that I didn't hear a lot of what was going on around me.) I didn't know why everyone was yelling but I kept pushing with everything I had in me! Everything burned like crazy! At first I hesitated because I wanted the burning to stop but I remembered that I had to push through it to make it stop. There is no turning back. Then they placed Sammy on my chest!
I thought I was dreaming for a second! I thought I still had hours to go! I was so excited that my baby was finally here! I can't remember if she cried right away or not. I just remember her wet slimy body on me. I loved it! She was born at 6:20 pm on March 20 after 18 hours of labor! I literally thought it felt like 4 hours! It went by so fast to me! I tore in two places but there weren't very deep. Only one needed stitches. Getting stitched was not fun at all! I could feel them stitching me because the medicine wasn't working. So I sang to Samantha to try to keep my mind off the pain. She loved it! Then we snuggled into bed as a family.
They cleaned everything up and Kim made us dinner. Samantha weighed in at 8 pounds 9 ounces and was 20 1/2 inches long. She was so beautiful to me! She nursed within her first hour. Her grandmas came over for a quick visit then we nestled in to our bed together. I barely slept that first night! I was way too high to sleep! Chris put her in his arm so I could sleep for a couple of hours. She caressed his beard the whole time and he fell in love!
Justine is a birth videographer and photographer serving the Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado County. areas. Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln, Granite Bay, Folsom, Sacramento, Orangevale, Placerville, Antelope, etc