This past weekend Little E turned TWO!
I can’t believe it, it’s just going way to fast, I heard another mom comment that its long days and short years, and reflecting on everything that has happened in such a short amount of time that statement rings loud and clear.
It’s funny, but I have never really written about his birth, nor have I shared it with many people aside from close friends and when the conversation required that I talk about it. Truthfully, I was ashamed, sad and disheartened about how Little E came into this world.
That was then, and when I remember how I used to view it, it makes me cry and want to hug that new mama that tried to do her best and tell her that it’s okay.And now, I appreciate my Birth Story, and Little E Birth Journey. It has forever changed the way I practice and work with my mama’s -to-be, and being that we are at the anniversary of my mama-hood, this feels like the perfect time to make it public (plus I get to re-look at Little E’s pictures from when he was 2 weeks old.
I had the perfect plan, probably my first mistake. I was warned by my midwives when I first started working with them, but I had an arrogance “I’m an acupuncturist, I’m the expert, I do this for a living helping others, If anyone can do this perfectly it’s going to be me” Well, that didn’t happen.
At 41 weeks, I was discouraged. All of the possible days that I thought my labour would start came and went. The acupuncture and moxa, evening primose, red leaf raspberry tea, EZ-Birth, walking all of it, you name it I tried it and it did nothing.I kept thinking what is wrong with me, why is none of this working.
Sheldon came with me to my midwife appointment and we talked about what came next. I still had lots of time for my labour to be everything that I wanted so she gave me the direction to take the day off. Do absolutely nothing that involves trying to get my labour started. Only activities that I would give me pleasure and that I wanted to do. This is now advice that I pass on to all of my mama-to-be’s, these are the last few moments that you will every just be a couple and you will only accountable to yourself. Enjoy them, Savour them.
So at 41 and 2 I woke up, kissed Sheldon as he left for work as I do every day and breathed into what I wanted to do. I wanted to putter around the house and then go for a massage. When I talked to the masseuse I was really clear with them, I did not want to focus on the labour induction points, I only wanted something relaxing. Afterwards, I took myself out for a yummy lunch and then went back home to put my feet up.That evening, we had a really amazing dinner and decided to watch some TV. At about 8:00 my back started to hurt.
I went to bed shortly after and then the sensation started to increase and I tried to get some sleep. At about midnight, The sensation in my back was really intense. I wanted to let Sheldon continue to sleep so I decided to have a shower and see if the hot water helped soothe the muscles.
I want to also include, that my back is a really weak spot for me. Back labour was the main thing that I was scared of and I really hadn’t prepared for it.I’ve had issues in my lower back including a compressed disc since I was 12, so the fact that every contraction created an electricity like nerve feeling kicked me into major fear mode.
“Shit, I’m having back labour”
I did my best to follow my early labour direction tried to go back to sleep and the pain would knock me out for about 45 minutes or so and then I would go back into the shower.At 4 AM, I went and got Sheldon and had him start timing and rub my back. At first the contractions were every 5 mins and then they started getting longer.
I had an ultrasound booked for that morning so we called our midwife to see if we should go. By the time we got there my contractions had slowed to every 20 minutes. Baby was good.
We headed home to see what would happen next. Sheldon needled me while I listened to my hypno-birthing, and took care of me making sure I ate and encouraged me rest. I had a bath and tried to sleep though it didn’t really work. The contractions bounced all around getting faster for an hour and then slowed down. All of the pain remained in my back and into my butt. I didn’t manage to sleep much, other than 20 minutes here and there, and our midwife called every so often.
At 6:00 we decided to go into the clinic and get assessed. They hooked me up, the contractions were about every 10 minutes but still bouncing around, Baby’s hear rate was still okay and I was 4 cm dilated. At this point, our midwife gave us a choice. Each contraction was still in my back, I felt absolutely nothing in my abdomen, and she was worried that I would have another night of no sleep and then be too tired to push when it came time.
She told us, if I think I can sleep then she was okay with me going back home and in the morning trying some castor oil and verbena, but if I didn’t think that would happen she said we should go the hospital now have my water broken and more than likely be put on an epidural. Sheldon could tell I was exhausted, and he helped me see past my pride that heading to the hospital was the best option.
So we went, now we had always planned a hospital birth, just with no intervention but heading to the hospital just felt like defeat. I had failed, before anything even got started. In a moment when most women talk about being the time when they’re their most powerful, I felt like I was giving up.
We arrived and got admitted. Because of the rules at our particular hospital I had to have a transfer of care to an OB, our midwifes were allowed to be in the room but only as support system. I basically had 2 really incredibly knowledgable doulas. The minute we got to the hospital my labour finally started, contractions (still in my back) were building and FINALLY regular. Talking with my midwife afterwards, I asked about why this happened, and while we will never know, she felt me that maybe I finally felt safe.
The staff got me straight into a delivery room, they hooked me up to the epidural and got me settled. I could still feel the contractions but the nerve pain had lessened. My water was broken after a little while and then about an hour and a half later I was ready to push.
I had lessened the release of my epidural so that I could feel the ebb and flow of each contraction and have some sense of power over what was going to happen next. The OB came in and we were good to go. Sheldon and my midwives encouraged and the ability to push felt so good. The OB was terrible, with each push she would threaten that if I didn’t push better or faster that she would use the vacuum.
She started to count to 10 with each push, and it made me so mad. I wanted to tell her Fuck Off but I didn’t. Now That’s one of my biggest regrets. Thankfully Sheldon could tell that her presence was making me mad so he interjected on my behalf with a stern “I don’t think you’re helping anything”
She stayed quiet for a little while until Little E’s heartbeat was starting to get erratic. I remember looking at the clock and thinking to myself, I am only pushing for 15 more minutes and that is it. This little guy better come out. No word of a lie, we were circling the 15 minute mark and I was told to stop pushing. He was ready now I was supposed to wait for the OB had to get ready. This made me so mad. At the very least you could be ready for this moment.
I told her I’m pushing, and my midwife who had to stand back were yelling “Um somebody better turn around and catch this baby.”
The OB’s reaction was delayed and so Little E got a good amount of fluid into his lungs. Due to his heart rate, a ped’s team was already there and waiting. So they took him immediately to check him out and syringe his lungs. It took him a little while to cry out, I kept waiting for it, but it finally happened and his first action was to suckle on Sheldon’s pinkie finger and for the next 6 weeks this action was the most calming thing for him.
His poor little head incredibly bruised and swollen from the his journey but healthy, and beautiful, which was what mattered throughout all of this. We were discharged back to our midwives, which made me relieved though we stayed in the hospital until the evening of the following day to ensure Little E was okay.
So there you have it, my Labour Story, and my ability to adapt to what occurred led largely to my Postpartum Depression, but not in it’s entirety, I had other stuff going on, you can read about it here.
The truth is, with lots of soul work, I’ve come to the place where I understand how my labour happened just as it was supposed to. Exactly This Way! I was also left humbled, my ideas of what labour is and what happens to a women were blew wide open.
Too many reading this, it may seem like this was a great labour, why was I complaining. For a large percentage of women I had a completely “Normal labour” and I should have just got over it
But I needed this lesson, Little E was my teacher, as he has been every single moment since, and I am left in awe to this experience, where I can be truly thankful that it happened just as it did.
There are a million lessons from my experience but here are My Top 5
– There really is no such thing as a due date. It’s a birth estimate. Several studies have shown this and more OB’s are getting on board. Every women will experience their own variation of the onset of labour between 38 and 42 weeks. My advice to all my patients is to add 10 days to their due date and tell everyone that day. Any day before that is a pleasant surprise.
Your baby know’s their birthday, trust them and allow them to choose their moment. A baby when allowed begins the process of labour and then the body responds. It’s not the other way around.
This lesson also applies to anyone struggling to get pregnant. Your baby knows the moment when they are meant to join you on this earth. Respect their judgement and focus on creating the invitation so that you are ready when they say its time.
– Your baby has their own karma and kismet, a labour really cannot be planned, again just as much as its your labour it’s also your baby’s birth journey. They have a way that they are meant to come into this world, Naturally on a kitchen floor, in a vaginally with an epidural, and even a c-section. What’s paramount is healthy safe baby and healthy safe mama.
– By me judging myself and my labour I was also judging and undermining every single women and their labour experience. Never Again!
– There is no defeat, only adjustment and adaptability. Traits that every mother learns as they must go with the flow throughout their child’s lifetime. Nothing stays the same, there is no such thing as perfection, nor should there be. When we learn this, life just gets better.
– Preparation is key, there is nothing wrong about setting an intention for what your ideal birth scenario is, but also allow for the flexibility of the unexpected. If this is your first child, you can’t expect or anticipate every single thing that is going to happen. You’ve never done this before so cut yourself some slack.
And remember, Every Birth of a Child is Miraculous, No Matter How They Came Through! We forget this in modern life with so much support, but at a fundamental level, it is no less true.
In the comments below I would love to hear about your labours, what happened. Do you have any lessons that you want to add to my list to help support mama’s to be as they prepare for their labour?
Photo Credit: Tracy Griffiths @ Agape Studios