He Took My Breath Away... My Birth Story

His heartbeat was my favorite song long before we met face to face. I knew who he was before I even saw him. I dreamed about the day I would meet him long before he arrived and although they were my favorite dreams, nothing truly compared to my dream come true. 

It's April 25... 8 days before my due date, but I could not be more anxious! I literally tried just about anything to naturally induce my labor. I had been on maternity leave for about 10 days and I was growing even more anxious and now bored. All of my celebrity friends  had their babies...where's my son?!? I was kind of jealous. I was ready... or I thought I was ready.

I spent that day looking for flights for my family. They were 522 miles away in Detroit. His dad and I were in DC. I sent screenshots of cheap flights I found to our group chat. They weren't eager to buy them though. At this point they were convinced that Baby A was coming after Mother's Day...much after my due date. 

I was determined. I bounced on my birthing ball and sipped red raspberry leaf tea while looking for flights and watching Kitchen Nightmares. I guess you can say I was working on my multi-tasking skills. I bounced on that ball for hours. I drank multiple cups of the tea. Nothing...not even a Braxton Hicks. I gave up on the bouncing and decided to lay in bed and finish the season of Kitchen Nightmares that I was watching on Netflix.

I'm not sure how many episodes I watched that night, but something told me that I needed to turn it off and try to get some sleep. So around 2:30 AM, I finally turned it off and tried to get some sleep. Some time passed, but not much. About 15 minutes later I feel a feeling that I had never felt before.  

I then texted the group chat that I thought I was having a contraction. My mom was so sure it was a Braxton Hicks. I knew that it was not. Wow... it's really time. Today's the day. Maybe? I wasn't sure because it could have been pre-labor that I was feeling. 

About 13 minutes passed by and I felt another one... then another... and another. Wow!!!!! I was not prepared for this. The pain was something I had never felt before. I was so tired. At this moment I was wishing that I would have taken the advice of my midwives and my birth class instructors...try to get some sleep. In the moment I was unsure of how I would, or anyone, would ever be able to sleep through such an intense feeling. 

It's now 5 AM and the contractions grew closer and stronger. I had to wake his dad up. I could no longer endure the pain alone. I was in labor. I definitely underestimated the pain that came with contractions. I have a low tolerance for pain already, and the contractions were pretty intense.

I contacted my midwife. She asked two questions... how far apart are the contractions and if my water had broke. I didn't think my water broke...and it didn't. I guesstimated how far apart my contractions were because honestly, I wasn't paying enough attention to really say for certain. Her response was to call back when my contractions were 5 minutes apart. WOWWWWWWWW... At the time you couldn't have told me that I wasn't going to die. I really thought I was dying. (laughs) It's easy to laugh about it now because I made it through, but at the time I definitely thought I was going to die from the pain.

We prepared the house. We put the waterproof mattress cover around the bed, double made the bed, blew up an air mattress in the 2nd bedroom for the birth team to rest on if needed, and he cleaned the kitchen. I took a bath while he cleaned the kitchen. It was as the only time period during the labor that I actually felt somewhat ok and not in pain....at least until a contraction came. The contractions were definitely getting closer together. I could not accurately gauge how close because I could not focus on the time.

I do recall eating some yogurt, and throwing it up. I drank some water as well. My midwife and birth assistant called to check on me. I didn't think my contractions were 5 minutes apart yet, but I was still in a lot of pain and he could not help me manage the pain much. My birth assistant, Claudia, then offered to send someone to help... This was such a turning point in the labor because at this point I truly felt defeated and like I could not and would not be able to go through with a natural home birth. Claudia sent us JuJu, the doula.

JuJu is truly amazing... I still don't know what I would have done without her. She came to my rescue...literally...and quickly! I had never met her before, but she was exactly what I needed. She was AMAZING! She rubbed my back while I had contractions, helped me move between rooms (bathroom and bedroom), helped me into different positions, and was so attentive to my needs. I began to think that maybe I could actually do this. When JuJu arrived, she actually timed my contractions. They were actually about 3-4 minutes apart. Tae contacted Claudia and the midwives to let them know and they too were on their way.

Next, I lost my mucus plug. JuJu called them again because they had not yet arrived and HE WAS DEFINITELY COMING SOON. The midwives and Claudia arrived just in time. Claudia ran right in and set up the table to prepare for the arrival of Baby A. Kelli, one of my midwives came in and checked my cervix. I let it be known that if I was not fully dilated that I was going to need drugs (laughs). I was just delusional. However, when Kelly checked my cervix, I was fully dilated!!! YESSSSSSSSS It's about to go down. Less than 5 minutes later my water broke...right there on my bed. It was much more fluid than I expected. 

I labored in the bathroom. I labored on the toilet. YES THE TOILET. I spent what felt like a good amount of time on the toilet. I felt the best on the toilet. It was more comfortable than anything and anywhere else for some reason. I don't know if I pooped on myself... I probably did, but it was definitely one of the last things on my mind. 

Claudia and JuJu helped me to the bed. They wanted me to squat, but my legs felt like complete noodles. (Seriously ladies, get your squats in before going into labor or you will be in the same boat.) I was on all-4's being supported by Tae and JuJu. The pressure on my rectum area was beginning to be unbearable. I guess it was getting unbearable for everyone because Tae was telling me how he was uncomfortable...well I didn't care because I was having a baby and he was just holding me up (laughs)...get over it! I also recall hearing a phone going off and yelling at Tae for texting back.. apparently it was my phone and my people he was keeping informed, but I didn't care.  

Then Claudia said exactly what I was dying to hear... "I SEE A HEAD!" WOWWWWWWWW... it was really getting real. I  begged and pleaded for Claudia and Kelly to not let me tear! In the moment I felt like I was more afraid of tearing than anything else. That was until the burning started... Ring of fire... that's exactly how I would describe it. It burned like a rope burn. Now think rope burn and vagina.... OUCH! 

It seemed like I was trying to push his head out for an eternity!! And suddenly, there it was, his head on the outside of my vagina! Everyone wanted me to look but I didn't want to!...but they made sure I did. I'm so happy I did. It made me so anxious to hold him! Moments later his shoulder was out and a few moments after that he was lying on my chest at 2:49 PM on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. He was covered in vernix, but I didn't mind because he was finally here in my arms where he belonged. 

I really did it. I had a baby. I finally had him... and he took my breath away! 

In that moment I felt invincible. I brought life into this world...and felt every bit of it. It was amazing. It was definitely my most prized memory and was by far the best day of my life. 

Baby A, his parents, & birth team

Disclaimer: Yes, this is how I looked after being in labor for 12 hours. Judge your mother.