I went to sleep on the night of April 8 feeling like I would be pregnant for ever. Ryan, my husband, was working that night and while I had an urge to call him to come home I resisted for fear of another false alarm. So I went to sleep alone hoping that things would get started that night. I woke up the next morning disappointed, but happy to have some time to lie in and enjoy the sight of our apple tree blossoming outside of my window. My doula Liz texted me asking how things were going and I lamented the absence of all signs of impending labor. She reassured me that baby knows when to come and to rest in that thought. Funny enough though, I began to notice during our conversation that my low back ache was becoming somewhat rhythmic and spreading around to my belly. This was about ten in the morning and I called her and then my good friend Ryan ( not husband but girl Ryan) to let them both know I thought this was it. I decided to wait to call my husband since he was off at a story time with our daughter Lilly and I didn't want to rush them home. I paced around for a while, taking my time getting ready waiting for them to come home. (I remember now how important it seemed to find just the right comfy outfit to labor in and the perfect color top too-an earthy green.) I made sure to tuck the little piece of citrine girl Ryan had given me into the little pocket in my pants to keep it close by.
When it got closer to noon, I began to worry that husband Ryan had decided to take Lilly to school and save me the hard car ride. They walked in the door though and I asked him if he was ready to have a baby today. Poor guy was tired from a long night of work and no sleep, but he rallied right away and we sprung into action to complete the few errands we had to do. At this point my surges ( contractions) were still only mildly intense and I easily ignored them for the most part. We took Lilly to preschool and then went to our local co-op for a last minute stock up. I was feeling pretty high on labor excitement and Ryan was quite silly from lack of sleep. We were in there for a long time and I'm sure looked really strange especially since I was now stopping now and then to lean on the cart and breathe long and low. After our shopping spree we went back home where girl Ryan was waiting to help out and husband Ryan went up to try and get a bit of rest. Girl Ryan and I took Ari ( my dog) to the doggy hotel place where things got much more intense when the idea of leaving Ari there made me very emotional. Back at home again I started to eat a bit and then wandered off on my own to labor on the birth ball for a bit. Girl Ryan came to sit with me as everything revved up very suddenly and I entered active labor. She called both Liz and my Midwife Kate. Husband Ryan got up and set up the birth pool and Liz, Kate, and Melanie ( midwife assistant) all arrived within minutes of each other right around four.
I think around five or five thirty I went into this total stage of relaxation. I'm not sure what it looked like on the outside, but I felt so connected to my body and completely separate from it at the same time. I was in some in between space where nothing and everything reached me. I was lying on my side with my face on the edge of the tub staring out the window. Tibetan chants came on in the background, long low beautiful tones that matched mine so well. Right at that moment the sun came through the window at the most beautiful angle and shined right on my face. I felt such a divine and perfect love. I remembered in that moment a message I had received early that week. I had been visited by my Great Grandmother's spirit. She had felt my frustration in waiting for my baby to arrive and she just shook her head and smiled. 'Oh honey. This is going to be so hard.' Her words had been frightening to me at first but I knew she only meant the work I had to do would be tough. I felt her right then and could tell transition was coming soon.
At six my water broke. Liz got right down real close to me and let me know that things can sometimes get very intense very fast after this happens. I was SO glad for her words. I was able to prepare for this and not be pulled under by the intensity the surges now gained. Kate said the water had meconium, but that it was old. Baby's heartbeat still sounded great though. She was so calm and reassuring that no one in the room worried.
I had been feeling pushy for quite a while but after my water broke this feeling intensified. I think this is the point I really turned inward and stopped letting everyone around me know how I was feeling. There were offers of water and food, which I think I refused most of. I know I kept saying I was done. I kept saying this because some part of me thought I needed someone else to tell me when I could be done, not realizing that in this birth the power was all mine. My surges stated to slow down a bit, I believe in response to my resistance and needing a bit of a break from the intensity. Suggestions were made to try other positions and get out of the tub. At the time I thought everyone was crazy for even suggesting I get up but eventually I agreed to go sit on the toilet for a while to try and help open things up.
I really want to try and explain how pushing was feeling at this time. I had always heard of orgasmic birth or blissful birth and thought it was a little over exaggerated. Now, I'm not saying that I didn't feel pain, because I did, but when I really started to involve my whole body in pushing my baby out the feeling was amazing. There was this spot right above my belly around where the solar plexus chakra is that felt so pleasureful every time I pushed that I didn't even want to stop pushing! The only way I could describe it is that it was similar to the feeling of having a very tight and sore muscle massaged to the point of curling your toes it feels so good.
My pushes while on the toilet started to get big and I could feel baby moving down. Husband Ryan started helping told hold me up. My thoughts went to the baby, but at the same time I was still resisting. I still had a feeling like I couldn't do this without someone telling me I could. I wish I could remember what my doula Liz said in this moment. She got close to me again and could tell I needed to let something go. I told her I couldn't do this anymore and wanted drugs. I think just voicing this to her helped because shortly after baby started to crown! I don't think anyone else knew, but I sort of tilted my pelvis up and showed everyone what was going on. I had to be persuaded to move again, but Kate stating that she didn't think I really wanted to have my baby on the toilet did the trick. Husband Ryan helped me up and onto a birthing stool where just a few pushes later Wulfric was born into his and Kate's hands at 7:28. I like to say that at this time my voice came right back too and I didn't really stop babbling for the rest of the night. The rush of hormones after birth just carried me off with them!
Third stage was wonderful! I got back into bed with some assistance. Wulfric never left my arms until I was ready for him to. Girl Ryan and Lilly came back from the store ( perfect timing) and Lilly got to help cut the umbilical cord after it stopped pulsing. I got to see the very healthy placenta that was encapsulated that night by husband Ryan. I had two tears that required a few stitches. I was expecting this as I felt them happening while he was crowning but didn't really care at the time. Girl Ryan really helped me through being stitched up. You know you've got a good friend when they'll distract you while your genitals are being sewed back up! Wulfric managed a good latch, with help from Liz, and got his first drops of colostrum. We did the newborn exam right there on the bed, 7lbs 14 oz, just a little bit smaller then his sister. After he was all checked out and I was fed we got tucked into bed to get some rest.
I'm sure I left some pieces out. That's what happens when you wait to long to write it all down. I am glad that I will always remember how perfect and healing this birth was for me. I had an amazing support team and an experience that has brought me so much strength that it radiates out into the rest of my life.