It happened y'all! On Friday, July 3rd I gave birth to the most radiant being I have ever met, our son Ryder. Throughout this entire journey of pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum period there has been a steady wave of change and transformation. A woman's body is truly amazing in that it can produce, deliver and then sustain another human life! I would love to take this time to briefly share with you my birth experience and some tips to support any expecting moms out there.
Our birthing time began on Monday June 29th when rhythmic contractions started. They came in waves peaking in intensity then dropping off. We were elated that we would finally be meeting our son in the very near future!!! But by early afternoon labor wasn't escalating. We went to the Birth Center for them to look things over and were so saddened when they announced that I wasn't dilating at all. They sent me home with recommendations to have a glass of wine and a sleep aid. The contractions faded away for about 8 hours and I was able to rest briefly.
On Tuesday around 2am in the morning the contractions came back, this time much stronger. Waiting for your baby to come is one of the hardest things and I just couldn't sit at home after the epic disappointment that Monday was. After Monday's experience I felt hesitant about letting myself believe that active labor was truly starting. So to pass the time I went out to meet some girlfriends for tea and was having trouble holding a conversation due to the frequency and strength of the contractions.
That afternoon I went to see one of the midwives at the Birth Center. It was decided that I was most likely experiencing Prodromal Labor. Which is basically early first stage labor. Your body is trying to birth the baby, but the baby is not in position and your cervix isn't opening. For most people it stops and starts but for me it was a steady wave of contractions without break from Tuesday morning - Thursday evening. I wasn't able to sleep, barely able to eat and just had to ride the waves one at a time.
Wednesday was a complete blur of ever stronger contractions. I spent most of that day on all fours moaning my way through each one and swaying. My mother was constantly giving me massage and applying pressure to my low back which helped tremendously. On Thursday morning we went to the Birth Center and I was given IV fluids along with a narcotic to try to help me sleep with no avail.
By Thursday evening my hubby and I were exhausted. The midwives were concerned about how much longer Prodromal Labor could continue (it can last weeks). Together we made the heart wrenching decision to go to the hospital and try a therapeutic rest period. I had to face the fact that if I was admitted I would have to birth my baby there. I was crushed at the thought of not giving birth at the Birth Center which felt like home at that point. We went back to our house to clean up and prepare for the hospital. I stood in the shower with the warm water washing down on me, cried and surrendered to the process. Getting our baby into this world safely was all that mattered.
By the grace of God I suddenly went into ACTIVE LABOR!!! Funny how shift happens when you just let go! ;-) We settled in at home and experienced the most intense of the pressure waves until around 3:30am. During late stage birthing time I walked around, leaned against walls and swayed my body. Sitting, squatting and hands and knees were way to uncomfortable. I did a Hypnobabies birth which is basically a deeply meditative experience. I was very inwardly focused during the thick of things and used my mind to direct relaxation into areas of my body. It was hard for my midwife to know how far along I had come because of how calm and quiet I was during late stage labor. But we insisted it was time to come in!
We finally arrived at the Birth Center by 4am. I was fully dilated and it was time to push! They prepared the bath tub and room while I labored in the shower. Our little water baby was born naturally just after 5am. After giving birth my hubby and I observed the Golden Hour. Where the three of us simply sat together in bed skin-to-skin with our baby for an hour with as little interruption as possible. It was beautiful. My family came into the room afterwards and as they were admiring Ryder they asked about my birth experience. Truth be told - I said, "You know that really wasn't all that bad." They laughed and looked at me like an insane person. But honest to goodness it really wasn't!
I attribute my positive feelings about giving birth to:
After giving birth I found that allowing myself some time to reflect on the experience was so useful. Talking with friends about my journey was also really helpful! You can't predict what will happen when you give birth or be attached to how it looks. No matter how you bring your baby into the world it is beautiful and inevitably unpredictable. I've never heard a birth story that didn't come with surprises!
Some things I did postpartum that I found helpful and you might too were:
Life with our son is overflowing with love and simple moments of joy. It's messy, exhausting and everything we could ever hope for. :-)
Keri Marino is an internationally Registered Yoga Teacher, Yoga Therapist and Propmaker. She owns and operates Yoga Unique offering Yoga Therapy, Classes, Workshops and Yoga products. It is her mission to empower others to have improved quality of life through the practice of Yoga!
I'm a Yoga Therapist, Yoga Teacher & Mama Bear who is all in on mindful authentic living. This blog is a collection of my passion for all things yoga, nutrition, health and cooking. Subscribe to the blog for monthly goodies delivered right to your email!