Please give a brief description of yourself, and what number baby/birth you’re sharing with us.
My name is Sara, and I am writing about my first and only birth to my beautiful baby girl, Ava.
What was your due date, and what was your baby’s birth date?
My due date was Feb 5th, and I gave birth on Feb 8th, naturally with no interference with nature.
What was your baby’s name, weight and length?
Ava Sky Marie, she was 10lb 2oz. and 23 inches long (one big girl).
Please give a brief synopsis of your birth.
After my studies, I had decided a home birth was for me. Being a bit of a feisty, stubborn, earth momma I knew I wanted to do something some disapproved of and some thought was crazy.
On Feb 7th, my water began a hind leak around 3 am. Throughout the day i had mild irregular contractions, i thought i had at least a day or two, so i was scrubbing floors and preparing for her. That night after dinner, i thought if i lay down for bed and went to sleep this “false labor” would stop. No, no, the contractions got stronger.
The midwives came to our home around midnight. We set up the birth tub, and i got in as quick as i could. It provided so much relief, i dozed off a few times.
At 6am i was 7cm. At 9 am i began to feel an urgent need to push. Mind you i spent 85% of my whole labor on my hands and knees, my wrists hurt for almost 2 weeks after the birth. I pushed from 9am until 1:55pm.
At the time i did not pick up on the worry of the midwives i thought it all was standard procedure. Turns out they thought after 3 hours the baby was in the canal too long, and began to take the heart rate at every contraction, in addition they made me get out of the tub to use gravity.
They tried many different positions, Ava’s hand was up near her face and she was crowning for another 2 hours (5 hours of pushing). The midwife asked if i was scared? I thought, yes, maybe a bit. I think it’s going to hurt, and i don’t know how she’ll fit. She looked at me and said, “Sara, we are going to get this baby out, you can do it. You need to push this baby out now.” I did just that.
My goodness she was a chunky baby, just crying and screaming. She latched on right away. We weighed her and she was 10lbs! Two days later she was almost 11lbs! I did tear a second degree because of her size. They used lube and stretching the perineum to help. I didn’t feel any pain when i pushed her out, surprisingly, i thought that would be the worst part.
What did you do to prepare for your labor and birth? Did it help?
I spent a year studying birth for an honors program and i talked with over 50 women. I also read many books and periodicals. Yes it helped mentally. But, you know when i was giving birth i actually thought i didn’t need to read anything. My body already knew how to do this. Very primal.
What did you like about your birth experience, if anything?
Everything, i loved the water the most. I wish i could have stayed in there the whole time. It provided me the most pain relief.
What did you not like about your birth experience, if anything?
Being on land … it was cold, and gravity really made the contractions much more intense.
What surprised you about your contractions/labor?
I was surprised at how long it took. How present i was. Also how much i enjoyed the pushing stage, it really felt relieving to push more so than dilation did.
In reflection, would you do anything differently, either before the birth, during or after?
No, i wouldn’t. I would do it again.
What do you remember the most about your birth?
Crying with joy when i held my baby for the first time. I remember how hard labor was, how proud i was of myself. And at one point i thought i am crazy for doing this, where are those drugs and give me some sleep.
How was your birth experience different from what you imagined it to be?
It was more intuitive than i thought. I had all these candles i didn’t think to light a single one. But i did listen to Bob Dylan, the chorus sticks out “Any day now, any day now, I shall be released.”
What were your immediate emotions about yourself and or your birth experience after the birth?
Love, joy, and pain. Man, I really was shocked at how horribly painful everything below my waist was. My genitals were swollen from pushing so long not to mention torn. My hemorrhoids were incredibly painful from the pushing. And i thought my intestines were going to fall out. No body wrote about or prepared me for the aftermath. Oh, and the weight didn’t melt off, i will never tell a breastfeeding mom that her pregnancy weight will melt away.
How would you describe your recovery?
Same as above, it took time for sure. I went to a physical therapist to help repair stomach muscles. It took 3 months before i could have sex. I did start to notice weight loss when my baby was 6 months and i was much more active.
How has your perspective of your birth experience changed since the first week of having your baby?
I have a deep found appreciation for all women. I think we have a power so strong and men don’t even know it. I also totally and fully respect a women’s choice to give birth where ever she feels safe, if that is a hospital i respect that. To each their own. I think i removed my judgments about women who gave into modernity because birth is hard and it is different for each women. So i respect and individuals right to choose.
Did you learn anything about yourself through this experience?
Yes, i am physically and mentally stronger than i could have imagined.
If you could recommend a certain type of childbirth experience, based on your own experiences, what would you recommend to other women and why?
I would recommend using critical thinking in every aspect of life, especially when giving birth. I would say it’s pretty nuanced and one women may not want to do what i did or others. That’s ok. For me, i felt with what i had learned and what my gut told me. This was my first act of motherhood. I was going to put my carnal needs aside not be a paddy-ass, give this all i got, and birth this baby naturally. So i felt i was giving her the best first start and that i was putting her first. I wanted to be present, and i wanted her to be present.
Any further thoughts, comments or advice you would like to share?
I think i said a lot my fingers hurt, and i am too tired to proof read. So i apologize for all of my spelling and grammatical errors.