These are the things I heard my whole life about labor and delivery. It’s enough to make anyone scared. I was determined to have a different experience.
When I watched unmedicated births and instead of being afraid I embraced that us women are strong as hell.
My thoughts of labor would only be surrounded with positivity.
Harsh words like contraction and dilation to surge and open were no longer in my dialogue.
I never let myself doubt that I would be able to bring my child into the world unmedicated.
The way people train for marathons, I spent everyday training my brain to be ready to bring my baby into the world.
I trained by doing my hypnobirthing breathing in the bathtub every night, I trained by meditating every day, by doing yoga for flexibility and strength, and taking spin classes for endurance. I did not passively walk into an unmedicated labor, I marched towards it with purpose.
When I woke up at 11:30pm on April 7th and knew I was in labor, I couldn’t stop smiling. I went back to sleep to get as much rest as I could. When I woke up again at 1:30am, I wrapped Jake’s arm around me and spent hours laying in bed breathing through each surge.
I woke Jake up and shortly after we headed to the birth center. I put in my headphones and turned on my labor playlist and tuned out the pain the best I could. The drive was difficult for me because sitting was not a natural position for me to work through each surge, but I was able to get through the 45 minutes by focusing solely on relaxing every muscle each time they would begin to tense.
Once inside they said they would check me, but they assumed I was at 3-4cm dilated and in early labor because of how calm I was; I was chatting and laughing with them through the whole intake. The midwife actually shouted “WOW” once she checked me – I was almost 8 centimeters open already! This gave me a huge burst of energy and confidence that I was going to be able to do this!
Shortly after, my water broke and things became much more intense. I let my body take control, and told my mind to get out of the way. It felt so raw and animalistic in the best way. I had so much trust that my body was taking care of what it needed to do. I knew I did my training, now it was time to have faith in the process.
Then, my body was pushing. And for the first time, I was scared. I had never experienced a sensation similar, and I couldn’t have prepared for it. Thankfully, I was able to use my breathing techniques and meditation practice to calm down rather quickly and then I realized.. she’s actually coming!
I spent the rest of the timing pushing and being so supported by my husband, best friend, and the most amazing birth team I could have asked for.
Then she was there in my arms and I was laughing and crying and holding her and kissing her and I haven’t stopped since.
So yes, labor hurt. It was the most intense experience of my life. But is pain the word that I would use to describe that day? No.
Those are the words of my labor. The words of Harriet’s birth, and I hope her life as well.