We became pregnant right away and were thrilled when we learned we’d be having a daughter, due September 1st. We contemplated doing a homebirth, but finally choose a local midwife practice and planned to do an unmedicated water birth.
Apart from morning (or all day long) sickness in my first trimester, my pregnancy was mostly easy and enjoyable until my third trimester which was right in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave. Being huge in high 90-degree weather was no fun. I was POSITIVE that my baby would come early and even started my maternity leave a week before my due date. As if my plans and intense need to feel prepared meant anything! My due date came and went. The relentless calls, texts and emails of “Is the baby here yet?” began to drive me crazy. Random strangers approached me in the store, offering their keen observations that I was gigantic and their unsolicited advice about how to induce labor and why I should abandon my birth plan. After the third stranger touched my belly without asking in one day, I stayed home, refusing to go to the store for fear that I would attack the next well-intentioned inappropriate stranger to comment on my size, plan or due date.
My patience was running thin and I began having fantasies of an induction—I was so ready to meet my baby and so over being pregnant! So I meditated, listened to my hypnobirthing CDs and tried to remind myself that my daughter would come when she was ready. Somehow it helped me to remind myself that no one had ever been pregnant for forever. Another six days went by and my discomfort grew. And since the calls and texts wondering when the baby would be born kept coming, I sent an email to friends and family reminding them we’d happily let them all know as soon as our little girl had joined us and that we still planned to allow her to decide when that would be. Then I turned my phone off and stopped checking emails. My poor husband was such a good sport. We saw the midwife who scheduled an ultrasound two days later to make sure that our baby and her placenta were still thriving.
At 2 a.m. a full week past my due date, I woke up with what I thought were contractions. At 2:30 a.m. I was sure that they were contractions and excitedly woke my husband up. I felt calm and comfortable. I took a bath, listened to my hypnobirthing CDs, snuggled with our dogs, and chatted with my husband. At 4 a.m., the surges were four minutes apart and, being the good patients we were, we called the midwife. I still felt good, and since we only lived five minutes from the hospital, we agreed to call around 8 a.m. to check in with the midwife again. Around 4:45 a.m., my back labor began and my contractions became about two minutes apart. The intensity of the back labor was shocking! I had never considered I would have back labor so knew nothing about it. It felt like a sledgehammer was coming down on my lower back and the pain started before and lasted longer than my uterine contractions, so there was no break in between contractions. By 5 a.m. I was insisting we head to the hospital. Rob called the midwife, and after she heard me in the background, she agreed to meet us at the hospital right away.
By 6 a.m. we were admitted into a room and since I had tested positive for Group B Strep, they started me on IV antibiotics. My amazing midwife, Anjli, arrived and let me know I was 6 cm dilated and 100% effaced. As soon as the antibiotics were finished I wanted to get in the shower and feel the warm water on my back. My sweet husband kept trying to repeat the hynobirthing affirmations to me and, thankfully, he quickly adapted when I let him know (very calmly and nicely, of course) that I was not finding them to be very helpful. As I was getting in the shower, it malfunctioned and I accidentally flooded the bathroom. The nurses responded right away and started setting up the birth pool instead. Rob was rubbing my back when I heard and felt a large “pop” and my water broke—all over his shoes! At 8 a.m., I was climbing into the birth pool with my husband running the warm water on my back while filling the pool. The pain, and my volume, were pretty intense and, just as I was crowning, I begged for an epidural—and I mean begged. I actually said I wouldn’t have the baby without it. Anjli told me to look down and touch my baby’s head. It was unbelievable! I could touch my daughter’s head and see her hair! Less than 10 minutes later, my sweet Lyla was received lovingly into her father’s hands. Having the love of my life place our gorgeous daughter onto my chest was the most incredible and special moment of my life. The pain instantly went away and I was giggling with joy.
Everything happened so quickly and I was so consumed by the pain of the back labor that I didn’t even see the two nurses’ faces until after my daughter was born. One reached for our camera and took our first family portraits. It was only later when I was looking at the pictures that I saw the tears in my husband’s eyes. We were able to spend the first two hours snuggling and nursing, before she was measured. Rob had the nurse reweigh her, thinking it must surely be an error. But it wasn’t. Our beautiful newborn was the size of a 2 month old—10 pounds, 8 ounces and 22 inches long! And though she made us wait an extra week to meet her, when she decided she was ready, she came quickly—less than 7 hours from first contraction to being in my arms. I was instantly so in love with her and found a new depth of love for the amazing man who gave her to me. I love the story of how our family began.