On August 10, we were 41 weeks and a day pregnant. We had seen the midwife earlier that week and planned to break my water if things looked favorable to start an induction.
I spent the morning feeling anxious about this decision, worrying that I may be pushing things too soon, but I also worried that if I let things go too long, I may not be recovered enough for our travel plans the following week.
The midwife arrived at my house, and we had a good discussion about our plan. She checked me at 2 centimeters dilated, and the babe’s head was nice and low. We decided to start the induction. She easily broke my water. There was meconium present, but the baby’s heart rate was perfect.
The midwife left after checking all our vitals and giving me an intravenous dose of antibiotics. She was going to return at 5:30 p.m. to check me and do another round of antibiotics.
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I got on FaceTime with Sam and Jean to let them know what was happening. I told them to nap and take it easy—and I gave them my order for spicy curry for dinner. They took off to finish their last-minute prep for their wedding next week, and I spent the next four hours pumping, taking homeopathy, bouncing on my birthing ball and of course, watching Netflix.
Confronting Childbirth—Physically and Mentally
Contractions started coming in waves as I pumped. It was such hard work to get my body started, but it was doing it. I felt empowered and ready to achieve this birth. This was it. Today was the day we were bringing this babe into the world.
The midwife, my husband and the daddies all arrived around 5:30 p.m. Contractions were steady, but I had to continue to pump to bring them on. We did another round of antibiotics, and the midwife checked me. I was about 3 to 4 centimeters.
My doula, Kelly, arrived around 7 p.m., and Sam and Jean brought me my curry. I ate quickly; the babe gave me a little rest while I ate. Active labor officially started after my spicy meal! My contractions were bringing me to my knees. Kelly was beyond amazing at reassuring me, rubbing my back and making sure I felt empowered.
The guys were so respectful of my space and allowed me to labor freely and with ease. They hung around the house watching Netflix, chatting and enjoying the atmosphere as I labored.
Contractions started getting really hard, and I decided to get in the birthing pool. It was a great relief. Keeping my body in labor was a challenge. We were in and out of the tub, pumping, sitting on the toilet, bouncing on the ball. So much work … so much pain. The guys were right by my side and encouraged me each step of the way. It was magical.
Around 11 p.m. the midwife checked me, and I was around 6 centimeters, with a hard lip left. She had me push through it to 7 to 8 centimeters when her hand was there to stretch it. It beyond exhausted me. I felt done at that point and wanted to sleep—then contractions stopped. It was so intense. I had minor contractions on and off while I laid on the couch feeling defeated.
In the Throes of Labor
The midwife came and had a talk with me. She felt that if things didn’t pick up, we should transfer to the hospital to get some drugs to bring on stronger contractions. This is where I broke down. I knew that a transfer to the hospital and medications meant for sure I would get an epidural—and then what next?! I cried and felt defeated. But I got up, got on the pump and kept trying.
The midwife checked me again, and I was still around the same. I was exhausted. But we pushed forward. I drank some ginger-ale, had a popsicle. This seemed to give me a burst of energy.
We decided a walk was a good plan to get things moving. With the guys by my side, we wandered outside to the silence of the night under the beautiful moonlight. They showered me with praise and told me how strong I was. I shared my fears with them, and they held me up as the walk brought on very strong contractions. My back was killing me at this point. Jean had a brilliant idea and brought me a heating pad. It was the exact thing I needed.
We then had to come back in for another round of antibiotics. I sat quietly through this round and slept for 20 minutes sitting up. It was crazy how tired I truly was.
Kelly suggested we sit on the toilet for a while at this point. The contractions were so intense—so much pressure. But I knew this was the best bet to get baby to come down.
The midwife wanted to check me now as I was making some pushing sounds with each contraction. I made my way to the couch. She checked me, and to great surprise I was about 8 or 9 centimeters with a small lip. She had me push, and I was at 10!
Finally Meeting Baby Valentin
The room erupted with excitement. I cried and hugged Jean and Sam. So much relief and joy overcame me. I did it … I was crying as I was so happy that we did it. And the exhaustion seemed to melt away.
I wanted to move from the couch to the pool to birth. My doula was getting my top ready to switch into, and then all of the sudden, I had a big contraction and had to push immediately! The midwife was searching frantically for her gloves, and with one push his head was out. After one more push, he was fully out!
This whole pregnancy I was sure this baby was a girl. And as he came out of me I saw his testicles and laughed. I looked at Sam and told him he was right this whole time!
Sam and Jean were by my head. Sam was bawling and saying, “It’s my baby,” as tears flowed down his face. Both dads surrounded me with love and hugs. The baby was on my chest, and I told him, “You are so loved.”
This moment was pure magic. I can’t even put it into words. After the delivery of the placenta and laughing about my now ruined couch, we headed upstairs to all cuddle together in my bed. We spent the next three hours nursing the baby, sitting in awe and just enjoying these early moments together.
I never knew how much I needed this journey. These men are truly family now. They have surrounded us with such love, trust and kindness. My heart and soul are full.
I am forever changed.
Welcome, sweet Valentin.