My husband got home and I told him that I had been having consistent cramps, and they weren’t showing signs of slowing down, and only getting stronger. I had a feeling, that this was it, and my entire mood completely changed. I was trying not to get ahead of myself, but I couldn’t help but feel excited, and couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. We put our 2 year old to bed, and the cramps were now mild contractions. I was giddy and anxious at the same time. I called my midwife and told her what I was experiencing. She said it sounded like it could be labor, but to call back if they got stronger. My husband and I started tidying up quickly, and we blew up the birth pool and put it into position. The contractions continued getting stronger. I rang my doula/birth photographer and asked her to come over. I knew her drive was at least 45 mins, and I didn’t want to take any chances at her not being there. I called my midwife again and asked if she could come over.
She arrived within half an hour, and my contractions were definitely progressing nicely. She checked me, at my request – at 9:30pm – and I was 3cm dilated. She stretched me to 4cm and gave me a little sweep, to help things along. My doula/birth photographer arrived, and we were all laughing and getting excited, in between my contractions. I couldn’t relax. I was SO ready to go through the birth process, and to meet her. By now it was midnight, and my midwife had been resting on the couch in the lounge room. Hubby, my doula and I were in our room, chatting between contractions, and she was snapping photos. I was wired. My midwife got up and suggested I try to get some rest, but I couldn’t. I so wanted to keep progressing, so I had a fabulous idea and decided I wanted to do stair runs in my street. So at 1am (or there abouts), my husband, doula (with camera in hand) and I, bundled up and went outside for a walk. My neighborhood was hilly, and there were steep staircases across the road. I ran up and down them over and over, stopping only during contractions. Then we walked up and down my street, and I lunged off the sidewalk. We eventually went home, as things weren’t really speeding up.
At around 2:30am, my midwife said we should really try to get some sleep. I didn’t want to give in. I didn’t want it to slow down, for fear it would stop. But I agreed, and I lay in bed and rested my eyes. My contractions slowed enough for me to sleep between them. I woke and softly moaned through each of them. I awoke properly at around 6am, and as soon as I stood up, my contractions jumped back into gear and I was breathing deeply and moaning through them, leaning over something; anything. My friend Bekah arrived, to pick up my toddler for the day. She stayed for a little while, and we chatted between contractions. Then another good friend arrived, on her way to work, and helped out for a while. By now, I was experiencing real lower back pain, and needed someone to do counter pressure. I said goodbye to my beautiful first born, emotional that it was the last time I’d see her as an only child, but so very excited to hold my second.
At 9:15am, I asked my midwife to check me, again, and to all of our surprise, I was 9cm!! I was in total shock that I had got to 9cm, and hadn’t really felt like I was truly in active labor yet. The contractions were relatively easy, though still “painful”, and I was still chatting in between each of them. This is where the work really began though. I had intense front and back labor. I labored in many different positions, and spent a bit of time in the birthing tub. The serenity of the water, helped me completely relax and breathe through each contraction. I found, the more I focused on my silent breathing and not so much moaning, the easier I got through the contraction. I remember sitting on my knees in the tub, eyes closed, and feeling so badass, as I contracted, in complete silence. Completely releasing the control over to my body, and allowing it to do what it needed to do. What it knew to do. Submitting to the process completely, and knowing that the pain meant my body was doing the right thing.
I got out of the tub after laboring in there for a couple of hours, and my midwife checked me again. I was 9.5cm, and her head was still a little high. At my request, my midwife stretched my cervix around her head, to help bring her down. My water broke. That was it. The contractions from there, intensified 10-fold, and I knew it wasn’t long before she was coming. I went and labored on the toilet. She was baring down and the pain was intense. I knew it was the best position to bring her down, but I couldn’t handle the pain. I started tensing my body and my amazing support team all reminded me to relax. I got through 3 contractions on the toilet, and I couldn’t take the pain any longer. I moved back to the pool, and leaned up against it, outside of it. I felt like I was overheating, I wanted to vomit, and things were super intense. I had the midwives fanning me with their chart folders and a cool wash cloth on the back of my neck.
The urge to push hit me so hard, and I could literally feel her coming down my vagina, a feeling I never had with my first. Continuous contractions, turned into an unbelievably strong urge to push. She was coming down fast and hard, through every contraction, so I quickly jumped back in the pool. I didn’t push at all. I breathed her out. The contractions were so intense and I could feel her making her way out to meet me. She crowned and then her head popped out. She was sunny side up! Under the water, and looking straight up at me. I kept touching her head, and peering around my belly to look at her face. I knew I wanted to catch her myself, but in that moment, I freaked out and asked what to do. They guided me and told me to control my push so that she’d come out slowly. I contracted again, and I breathed her out slowly, and grabbed her and pulled her up, out of the water, and onto my chest.
I was silent. I couldn’t believe she was here; I couldn’t believe how easy her birth was, and I couldn’t believe that I’d pulled her out myself. I was awe-struck. She let out a little cry and then nuzzled into my chest. She was perfect; my birth was perfect and I soaked up every single second of that oxytocin high. We all gazed at her in awe. She was alert and bright-eyed from the moment her head was out. She had a full head of thick dark hair, beautiful big eyes, big lips and a tiny little button nose. Every inch of her was perfection. I let her latch, and it was perfect. I birthed my placenta, and we continued talking about the birth, her face, how incredible the entire experience was, and gazing at her, while we waited for that vital blood to stop pumping. My husband cut the cord, and we moved from the tub to the bedroom. It was almost too good to be true. I almost couldn’t believe it, but my perfect little 8lb 1oz Haven Wynter, was really, truly, finally here.