Alyssa and Daniel delivered their sweet baby at Brookhaven late last year. A few months ago Alyssa sent us her birth story & we are so glad to finally be sharing it. Enjoy!
I was in denial when my baby started coming.
It started with contractions Wednesday morning. These felt much different than the Braxton Hicks I’d been feeling. I was on a walk with my dog and the contractions were coming in short tight waves. They weren’t anything to be too concerned about, but I decided to cut my walk short so I could get home to be comfortable.
I spent most of my day reading a birth book. I wanted to be super prepared for when baby was ready, and I wanted to know exactly what stage was what, and what to expect with each. Mostly, I was trying to tell if this was the real thing about to happen, or if it was a week’s notice.
Wednesday evening I went to church with my family. I sat, squirming, in the back pew at church, trying to stay comfortable. The contractions were tight, and I would stiffen in my seat until it passed. I couldn’t wait to get home. I was still convinced, however, that I was alright, and that these were just preliminary contractions. I wasn’t in early labor. So I ignored them.
They got more intense through the evening into the night. After laying in bed for an hour and a half being so uncomfortable I couldn’t sleep, I woke up my husband and texted the midwife at 11:25pm. The contractions weren’t consistent enough yet to come in, so I tried going back to sleep. Still no luck. I decided around 2 a.m. to take a warm bath to see if that would help. The contractions were pretty intense, and my mom started to suspect I was moving into active labor.
I wasn’t ready to admit the possibility of being in actual labor. I thought for sure I needed to wait til the next day. At 2:34am my husband called Emily and told her that my contractions were coming more frequently and were lasting a while. At that point, we agreed to meet at the birth center at 4 a.m.
I was worried we would be sent back home, but Emily and Marinda agreed that my dilation— which at that point was between 1–3 cm—was enough for me to stay. I laid on the bed and tried to relax my body so the contractions could do what they needed to do. It was painful. When they started lasting for longer than a minute, the midwives were concerned and had me stand and walk around.
A few minutes later, I passed the lovely little thing they call the mucus plug. That meant that my cervix was opening up and clearing a way for my baby. It was a good sign that my body was moving along in the labor process. We enjoyed a small moment, celebrating the progress. I didn’t know how to get comfortable, and I was having trouble finding a rhythm with the contractions. The tub invited me in—warm, soothing, wooonnnderful. I spent the rest of my labor in that glorious tub. My mom, an excellent doula, helped me find my rhythm in breathing through each contraction.
If there is one thing I learned in my research of natural births, it is about the importance of finding your rhythm. Once I had that down, I was able to work through each contraction smoothly. I rocked back and forth in the tub, holding tightly to my husband’s hands, while my mom helped me focus my breathing. At the end of each contraction, they would reward me with words of encouragement. It helped me to know I was doing a good job, and that I could keep going. I was very thankful to the midwives. For this part of the labor, they allowed us some privacy, and would come in periodically to check the baby’s heart rate. It was reassuring to me, a first-time mother, to know that my baby was fine through all this ordeal.
At one point, still in the early morning, as I was sitting, enjoying a break from the contractions, I suddenly heard a pop and felt the weirdest gush of water surround me. Then I realized that gush of water had come out of me. My husband Daniel said he heard the pop. My water broke. The midwives came in and mentioned they were pleased with how my labor was progressing steadily. I was pleased too! After that, the contractions were much more intense. And they were changing. It was like I could feel my insides opening up. I don’t know exactly how, but I could sense that my cervix was being pulled open farther and farther with each contraction.
They say the transition phase is possibly the most painful part of labor. I would have to agree. It doesn’t last terribly long, but it is quite uncomfortable. At that point, I just let myself float in the water. It was all I could do to stay relaxed enough for each one to pass. I know I was moaning pretty loudly. I just wanted this part to be over. I remember feeling nervous. I had gotten into a rhythm with my contractions. As I realized that I was transitioning into the pushing stage, I was afraid that I would have no idea how to manage this one.
The midwife helped me out of the tub to check my dilation. She said I had reached 10 cm and was ready to push. I was relieved to finally be fully open and ready to go, but nervous because I had no idea what to expect.
I rocked on the bed on all fours through the new contractions. I honestly don’t remember these hurting at all. It was more like having to take a big poop (sorry). I was so nervous at the reality that I was about to push my little human out of me and into the world. So nervous.
This position wasn’t helping the progress at all really, except for emptying my bowels (yes, it does happen and it’s totally normal), so they suggested I try the birthing stool. Yep, that definitely helped. I felt the baby’s pressure on my lower region with each contraction urging me to push. Apparently there’s a forward motion and a backward motion as the baby is moving down the canal. It feels as though you’re not making progress… but you are.
She was close to poking the top of her little head out. I wasn’t exactly anticipating that sensation. It was a stunning burning feeling at first, but once I realized that that was a good thing, I was able push through it. I tried not to think about where her little body was. I was focused to finish. Then, I felt this strange little… wiggle. Inside of me. What was that!? I asked!
The midwife replied with a smile, “That was your baby.”
All this work and I had temporarily forgotten that I was, in fact, evicting a little human out of her 9-month lease in my uterus.
Not long after, I gave one final push and felt the strain give way to so much relief as her little body slid out of mine. The midwife instantly lifted her and placed the slimy little bundle in my arms. I held her tight to my chest, in complete disbelief. She was perfect, beautiful, and so content.
~ Rynne Elise, born 9:58 a.m. Thursday, November 9, 2017 ~
I did it, I whispered to my husband as he wrapped his arms around us and smiled.
Thank you so much to Brookhaven and the wonderful ladies there for the incredible memories I have of Rynne’s birth! I will forever cherish the memories I have of bringing my beautiful daughter into the world.