If you haven’t read part one, start here. If you are afraid of birth stories or tastefully chosen pictures of birth, flee now!
I know what you’re thinking… how in the world could Alyssa NOT think she was in labor? You have to understand, however, my first two births I had time to wrap my mind around having a baby. My water broke and a couple hours later contractions started, plenty of time to get excited about birth. Seriously, forget the title of this post and let me remind you that I STARTED contracting with only three minutes break in between. I didn’t have time to think about labor any more than I had time to make it up the stairs in my house.
Once I made it in our minivan, Haus took off and I positioned myself on my hands and knees behind our driver’s console and the middle row of seats. Haus asked me if I wanted to call my mom as she was prepped to jump on a flight when I went into labor. I told him no because I didn’t want her to tease me when we went home in a few hours because of indigestion. We made it to the birth center by 10p.m. and as I entered the front door, I was relieved to explain things to my favorite midwife, Aubre, who happened to be on call. “Aubre,” I moaned as I laid my head and forearms on the front counter, “My water hasn’t broken and this all started with diarrhea. It’s just not labor.” She calmly explained to me that labor can be very different every birth as I nodded before dropping onto my knees and laid my head in the arm chair of the lobby for another contraction. After the contraction was complete, Aubre and her counterparts, Tiffany and Kate, moved me into the “Log Room”, a master bedroom suite with a king log bed and furniture plus a birth pool. I knelt next to the bed with my head on the mattress while my nurse, Kate, started an I.V. of antibiotics as I was diagnosed GBS positive earlier in the pregnancy.
Dehydrated from my massage, the I.V. took more than one attempt and during the second pass, I turned to Aubre whining, “Wait, you haven’t even checked my dilation yet. How do you even know I’m in labor?” This comment set the entire room into giggles as Haus shook his head next to me, “Ummm, Alyssa,” Aubre replied, “I think you are the only one in this room that DOESN’T think you’re in labor.” Around 10:15p.m., two hours into the entire ordeal, Aubre and Tiffany did check my dilation. “Seven centimeters, 90 percent effaced,” Tiffany announced. Seven centimeters… SEVEN CENTIMETERS??? Suddenly my entire world changed. I was having a baby! Something about hearing seven centimeters made me believe that this was more than diarrhea.
From that point forward, I let go of any control I thought I had with “indigestion” and concentrated on relaxing my entire body in between and during contractions. Aubre asked me if I wanted to get into the birth pool and I responded with, “Ummm, uuaahhhh, ummmm,” waiting for the next contraction until she told me that instead of thinking about it I should just get in. I stepped into the birth pool, leaned my upper body over the edge, and thanked God for birth pools. The water temperature was perfect and for the first time in hours, I let out a huge sigh of relief… then I felt a huge drop during the next contraction as baby moved onto, as Haus calls it, the baby slide. My moaning during contractions immediately dropped into a lower tone and I knew that I was going to have to push.
During the next few contractions, Haus changed into swim trunks and I tried to relax as the “push” feeling grew stronger and stronger. Annoyed that my arms kept falling asleep as they hung over the edge of the birth pool, Haus got into the pool, and held up my upper body for me. The midwives gave him a stool to sit on in the pool and I started to freak out a bit. My other births I mentally checked out once I made it to the hospital. It was too stressful for me to hear nurses trying to move me, check me constantly, or tell me when I could push AND concentrate on relaxing through contractions. This birth, however, as pushing neared, I realized that I was in charge and it kind of scared me.
Sure, Aubre and Tiffany and Kate were there in case something went wrong, but for the most part, they encouraged me in between contractions and just let me do my thing. As the pushing became unbearable, I turned to Aubre and rushed through my fears, “Aubre, you haven’t checked me, I can’t push until you check me, what if I’m not dilated enough, I need you to check me.” Aubre laid her hand on my back and firmly told me, “Alyssa, you are safe, your baby is safe. You are supported here and you can do it.” Haus told me later, they had been checking me with a mirror in the birth pool, but unlike the hospital that directs when you can push, they were letting me and my body decide.
I tried to remember what Aubre told me and pushed. They tell me that the actually pushing was only about 15 minutes, but it felt like YEARS. It was so painful and hard and exhausting all at the same time. At one point after a contraction, I felt a pop like a balloon of fluid burst between my knees and announced to everyone that I thought my water broke. A few contractions later, ready to give up, I pushed with all my might, squeezed Haus’ legs with my hands and then, believe it or not, took a big bite of Haus’ bicep just as I pushed our sweet baby into the world. Yep, that’s right. I bit my poor husband at the exact moment our kiddo was born.
On October 4th at 11:07p.m., our baby was born. The moment the baby was on my chest, I turned to Haus asking, “What is it? What is it?” He picked up our baby for a second, laid it back on my chest and announced, “It’s a girl, Alyssa. It’s a baby girl.” Thank goodness, my photographer genius doula friend, Misty, caught that moment in this photo:
Three total hours of labor and we had a baby girl. We sat in the birth pool for a few minutes in shock, before moving our way to the log bed… well, before Haus literally lifted me and baby girl out of the birth pool and set us on the bed. After the placenta was out, our birth team left us alone as Haus and I admired our sweet little girlie. She nursed and stared around the room as we counted toes and laughed about her cleft chin and long black hair. I only realized a half an hour later that we still hadn’t cut the cord! Tiffany came back in and helped Haus cut the cord then baby was off to be weighed and receive her final checks with her daddy while I sat in a warm herbal tub that Kate prepared for me. Back from the tub and done with the checks, the three of us rested for an hour or two on the bed. The birth center released us home about four hours after the birth, but not before reviewing a long list of requirements we would do at home before returning two days later.
Then the best part… home! We arrived home around 3am after leaving at 9:30pm. We introduced our very shocked friend, Allison, to our baby girl, and after she went home, snuggled in our bed waiting for our boys to wake up and meet their baby sister. Sooo, there you have it. Baby Girl’s birth story. Fast and furious, it was by far my hardest birth, but also my most rewarding thanks to Mountain Midwifery Birth Center and their incredibly professional birth team.