Many people say movement can get a baby out.
I now believe that, 100%. The week of my little entering the world I was busy packing my classroom, moving boxes, and cleaning. I remember my mom warning me that I was going to put myself into labor if I didn’t relax. However, I had too much to do to get ready for my leave from work, so I chose not to listen. First babies rarely came early, right? I didn’t think mine would be any different.
My last day of work I had a dance party with my students. Dancing at the end of class was one of our favorite things to do and I knew this was going to be my last chance to be silly with my kiddos. That night my water broke at 12:30 am. I was not prepared for this. I was planning on enjoying my few weeks at home before she came. I had it in my mind that she wasn’t coming until 41-42 weeks. I had a vision of how my birthing space would look and was going to get it set up that following week. I made affirmation signs with glitter and was going to hang them up along with white Christmas lights around my room. I had a playlist in my head that I needed to put together. None of it mattered, because my baby girl had plans of her own, and she was coming whether I was ready or not.
I woke my husband up and let him know it was almost time, my water had broken. He quickly grabbed the book he hadn’t finished, The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin, and flipped to the part about what to do when this happened. It was sweet that he wanted to make sure he did the right thing, but I already knew we had time and what we really needed was more sleep. I called my midwife to let her know, while he got some of the supplies ready. After speaking with her I told him to stop setting up and get some sleep, we needed to be well rested for what was coming.
Around 5 am I awoke to stronger contractions. They were coming every two minutes so I called our midwife, Pam. She said she would be right over. I laid in my bed as the contractions grew stronger. Kevin got busy setting up the birthing tub. I can say at that moment I didn’t care that the space wasn’t set up the way that I had envisioned. This was it and all I could do was be one with the pain so that I could control it.
When the midwife came, she checked me and by the tone of her voice I could tell it was going to be awhile. She didn’t share with me how much I had dilated but I knew it wasn’t much. She left the room and didn’t return for some time. As the pain started to really increase my best friend and photographer, Laura, showed up. She gently laid next to me and hugged me. It was the perfect moment before the storm. Within minutes the pain became very intense. Our midwife, Pam, suggested that I get in the shower to help ease the feelings. I got on my knees and leaned over a yoga ball with the hot water hitting my back, it was glorious. While I was in there, Kevin (my husband) and Laura shared stories with me that helped me laugh and focus on something other than what was happening.
I don’t know why I decided to get out of the shower but I do know I went back to my bed. The rest of the labor was a very out of body experience, as everything was quickly picking up pace. I eventually got into the birthing tub and Kevin got in with me so I could lean on him. The tub is where I had planned to birth my baby but I did not like the heat of the water after awhile. Kevin and Pam helped me out of the tub. I held onto Pam for a few moments and enjoyed the cool air on my body. I then laid down right onto the ground. That’s when it happened, the moment I said, “I can’t do this”. I screamed out in pain and felt the need to push. Again I said, “I can’t do this.” Then I remembered one of my affirmations; when you feel like giving up you are usually in transition and the baby is almost here. I continued to push with each contraction.
During a down moment, Pam talked me into getting onto my bed to finish the labor. Once on my bed, I cannot tell you much of my story, as the feeling of pushing and of my baby coming out took over me. I do know that I started with my head at the top of the bed and that by the time she was born I had done a complete 180. I also know, because she told me, that I had Laura in a headlock so she didn’t get any photos of the baby coming out. Kevin and Pam held my legs while I pushed her out. I felt everything – it was like I was being torn in half. At one point Pam had me reach down to touch her head, she wanted me to feel her coming out so I could better control it. I couldn’t, it was all too much, I just needed her out. Kevin kept his hands near and caught her as she came out. At 12:36 pm he placed her on my chest and the pain was gone. My perfect beautiful baby girl, Ellie Minka, was there and none of the last 12 hours mattered.