I am just about two weeks away from my “guess date” for baby #3. As I prepare myself for yet another birth, I would like to share about my first two childbirth experiences of my daughter and son. I wanted to share my daughter’s first, and then I will share my son’s when I get around to actually writing it down. It’s only taken me two years to do his and it took me two years til I actually sat down and wrote my daughter’s out too.
If you are uncomfortable with birth and or birth details, please do not read this story.
Mrs. Sayuri was born right on her due date, October 14, 2006, on a Sabbath no less and during the Biblical fall festival of Sukkot.
Friday morning, October 13, 2006, I noticed that when I went to the bathroom my mucous plug was in the toilet. Because of this, I commented to Hubby that I felt the birth would probably be soon (meaning within days). I proceeded to go to work that day, but started feeling very fatigued, so I decided to leave early. Hubby came and picked me up.
When we got home, I took a relaxing hot shower. I felt better just being home.
That evening when I went to bed I was having a hard time falling asleep. I could not get comfortable. I felt that what I might be experiencing were contractions, but this being my first birth, I wasn’t sure. I searched the internet for the difference between a contraction and what are known as Braxton-hicks contractions or false labor. I soon found out I was in fact experiencing true contractions. It was around 10:30 pm when I roused Hubby and said that I thought maybe I should call our midwife, Nati. I told her I thought that my labor had started. I said I couldn’t sleep but that my water hadn’t broken yet. I thought that always had to happen for labor to officially have started, although I have since learned differently.
Nati told me to monitor my contractions and call her when they got closer together since they weren’t that strong but enough to keep me from sleeping. I managed to sleep a little in and out. Then it seemed like before I knew it I was calling our midwife in the wee hours of the morning because my contractions had picked up. At this time Matthew and I were still upstairs in our bedroom. I remember lying on the bed and Matthew holding his stop watch to time my contractions.
After calling Nati and hearing that she would be on her way, we moved ourselves downstairs. There we had a recliner rocking chair that I sat in and tried to handle each “wave” (contraction). The birthing tub sat in the same area, but we hadn’t filled it yet.
Midwife and Doula Arrive
Hours later, Nati and Ansu, our doula and her assistant, arrived. Just having them there helped me handle the process better. Ansu’s hands knew right where to massage to relax my body and she was excellent at encouraging and coaching me in how to breath and what noises helped. I remember her telling me to use my diaphragm for the hums and not to let it come from my throat, to make it come from deep within. This helped me to center and to feel more in control of myself and the huge force of birth that was taking hold of me.
After the midwife and doula got there, it was decided that the birthing tub should be filled. We ended up having to call Marie, the midwife from whom we’d rented the tub from, for a little help because we had used it once to test it out and now the pump/heating unit wasn’t working correctly. We soon got this fixed and began filling. This seemed to take a while.
I remember using a birthing ball and hanging on Nati for support through the contractions. I recall Ansu’s warm, soothing hands on my hips/lower back. At one point my family came over to drop something off, and I distinctly remember my father trying to ask my questions while I was having contractions. I was so focused on my labor, I could not even attempt to answer him. They left soon after.
Birthing in Water
I got into the tub at one point, but got out for a while, before finally getting in for good.The tub felt great. Nati only checked my progress in the water. I remember her level of respect for me – she told me when she was going to check and asked me if it was ok at that moment to do so. Another thing I appreciated was she always told me I was doing great – progressing wonderfully – but never any specifics in numbers, e.g. you’re five cm, etc. I believe that this helped me personally. I was not focused on numbers of centimeters dilated or on the clock. I truly lost track of time and never once felt the need to know or ask about these details.
The experience was just so intense and all absorbing that I really was in another world – my own little world.
While in the tub with Matthew supporting me the whole time, I felt peaceful. I remember just us two and the midwife and doula giving us that intimacy. Matthew was constantly telling me in my ear how great I was doing, how amazing I was and how proud he was of me. His loving words filled me with such power and love.
At The Homestretch
Once I had gotten through transition or the “tsunamis” as Ansu termed those strong contractions, I soon felt the urge to push. I asked if I should and they said “Yes!” After a while of pushing, Nati checked me and told me that only one of the sacs had broken -that there was another one and it was holding the baby’s head back. If I wanted to wait another hour or so, it would naturally break, or I could have her break it. I opted for her to break it. It was a split second decision and one I hadn’t thought about beforehand – I wanted some relief and said to do it. After her breaking it, the contractions increased in intensity and I knew it wouldn’t be long.
At one point I had to stand up and lift one leg at a time in an attempt to open up my pelvis more. This proved very hard to do at this point, but somehow I was able to do it. I tried hands and knees position, but felt uncomfortable. In the end, Matthew became my human birthing stool. I sat in front of and leaned back on him for support as I pushed our baby out. When she was crowning, her head burned like the sun, but this didn’t last too long before the rest of her slid out with the help of the midwife. She was born underwater.
We had opted not to have any ultrasounds done this pregnancy so we didn’t know what were having. As soon as she was born, we looked at her face and instantly knew she was a girl. From the start she had a powerful set of lungs. I held her immediately to my chest and felt overcome with love.
The midwife put a towel on her and helped me about ten minutes thereafter to get out of the tub with her still attached by the cord. I got out and sat down on the mattress we had on the floor next to the tub and baby girl was put back in my arms. She latched onto my breast right away and then a while later I pushed the placenta out. Hubby cut the cord once it had stopped pulsing.
Nati applied some local anesthetic while she stitched up a second degree tear that I had sustained.
The birth had lasted 13 hours from start to finish.
Intense and Empowering
My first childbirth experience left me feeling so empowered! – Like I had just gone through a sacred womanly rite of passage. I will always remember the intensity of it. It was hard work and I was exhausted when it was through.
I know that my hubby’s presence and assistance were completely integral to my whole experience. It would not have been the same without him there – he helped me tremendously. And having the support and care of the midwife and doula was priceless. They were so supportive and non-invasive. I felt so much love, respect and admiration from them.
Our daughter, Mrs. Sayuri, was born at 11:36 am, October 14, 2006. She was 7 lbs 15 oz and 18.9 inches long at birth.