Birth Story: Florence
3/9/2023, 12am: I started having mild contractions, but I was able to somewhat sleep through them. Around 3am they started picking back up and around 8am they were mild and sporadic. Around noon they had nearly stopped.
I figured this was prodromal labor and I may be in this for a few days. I was so excited at the thought of meeting our baby so soon that I was disappointed when the contractions stopped. I wanted to keep the momentum going and got moving- I did curb walking, walked the hills in our neighborhood, walked up stairs, got on the yoga ball and tried different exercises and stretched to get my pelvis more open and baby in a better position. I started having mild and sporadic contractions through the various movements. I decided that if this was going to lead into active labor I should try to rest. Meanwhile, my husband Christian got our hospital bags ready, just in case.
After getting a few hours of sleep, I began more deep stretching and movement. Again, contractions began, but with slightly more intensity from earlier in the day; but still not in a consistent pattern or timing. I remembered from the course we took with our doula, Ashley, that sex can help induce labor and figured it was worth a shot. Not more than 10 min after sex, my contractions picked up in intensity (this was around 10pm on 3/9). I could not sleep and laying in bed was not an option because I was was having a lot of discomfort with each contraction.
I got up and moved to our living room and let Christian know that things were picking up, but I needed to time the contractions. I labored over the ottoman and I started timing the contractions and they were about every 2-3 min, but they were only lasting 40-50 seconds. I had to use the bathroom multiple times and lost my mucus plug. I had several more contractions over the toilet before I moved back to the ottoman. Timing was still consistent 2-3 min, but still not lasting a min long! I was so stuck on the 3-1-1 rule that I really dismissed just how intense the surges were getting and how difficult it was becoming for me to breathe through. I decided to shower thinking that I had a lot more time. The shower helped with some of the pain and intensity, but the contractions were still consistent and not slowing down. After getting out of the shower, I had a contraction I couldn’t stand through. And then several more that made me fall to my knees. I started bleeding at this point and my water was gushing out with every contractions.
Suddenly, the next contraction I had the urge to push. And I called to Christian that I am pushing and we needed to get the hospital ASAP. At this point, Christian called Ashley and told her that things were pretty intense and that I was pushing. Ashley told us to get to the hospital immediately and she would meet us there. It was about 1:30am at this point so only 3 hours had passed. The point of active labor to transition happened much quicker than I expected. Christian tried to get me dressed and into the car, but the contractions were requiring my full attention and I definitely pushing with each one and I could not be reasoned with. I wanted to stay put. Christian told me that either I got in the car or he had to choice but to call 911 and deliver this baby at home. That was the only thing that got my attention.
I eventually made it to the car and I was sure baby girl was going to be delivered in the front seat. I was so nervous about delivering in the car that I had to focus incredibly hard on breathing through and fight the urge to push until we got to the hospital. The hospital was about 15 min away, but we made it! No car baby! Yay.
I had multiple contractions on the way to triage and was once assessed I heard that my cervix was already dilated to 8cm and I was told to breathe through the contractions and resist the urge to push until they got a doctor in the room. I was moved to the delivery room and the OB on call told me I was okay to start pushing when I felt the urge. Ashley arrived shortly after and was encouraging through each of the contractions. My OB showed up 15 min later and was there through delivery. I first started pushing from a side laying position, but Ashley thought it may not be the best and most effective position for me since I had mentioned in our classes I thought a hands and knee position would be beneficial. She grabbed the CUB where I was able to lay over it and have much more effective and powerful contractions.
After several pushes, our baby girl, Florence made her appearance at 3:46am on 3/10- her due date! I grabbed her through my legs and held her while we waited for to clamp the cord until it stopped pulsing. It was the most incredible feeling finally having baby girl in my arms after such a quick but very intense labor. Christian cut the cord and then I opted to not have Pitocin for the placenta delivery. I gave one big push and it flew out!
The birth was incredible. I felt so confident and empowered after such a positive birth.
Thinking back on my birth experience I am overwhelmed with happiness and am so proud of myself for fulfilling my goal of an unmedicated birth. I had wanted an unmedicated birth long before I knew I was pregnant. There were simply too many benefits for me and baby to not choose that route. During pregnancy, I maintained my fitness, watched my nutrition, I stretched daily, went to acupuncture weekly in the 3rd trimester, and the chiropractor that last 3 weeks of my pregnancy. Plus, with Ashley as our Doula, she gave me the confidence I desired prior to going into labor and delivery as a first time mom. She was truly such a great resource and advocate for me during the birthing process. I feel all of these things combined set me up to have such a beautiful, quick, complication free birth.