41 weeks and 2 days, it was a Monday. My spirits were shot and my mental health was struggling as I walked into Willow Birth Center still pregnant. My son had come at 38 weeks and 2 days, so this was the LONGEST I had been pregnant and I hurt all over. I was getting discouraged and really wanted to avoid transferring my care to the hospital. I had to get a non-stress test and opted for a vaginal exam that day. My mental health needed a boost and a cervix check was just what I needed. As the midwives talked to me they could tell I was feeling less than optimistic, so one of them placed their hand on me and the tears started flowing. I needed that. I needed that physical touch and reassurance that I could do this.
My cervix check gave me hope, I was 3cm dilated and 75% effaced. Things were certainly progressing, my body was doing work. I opted for a membrane sweep since things looked favorable. The hope was that it would jumpstart labor that night and I would no longer be pregnant. Well, Elowyn had different plans and there I was walking into Willow again on Thursday for another non-stress test and cervix check. I was 4 cm now and almost completely effaced. I opted for yet another membrane sweep.
My husband and I were kid free that day because we asked my mom to take our son, Josiah. When we got home, we just relaxed. I felt some contractions here and there while we watched TV, but nothing too out of the ordinary or that screamed YOU ARE IN LABOR! I decided to take a shower before bed because if the contractions weren’t real it should have helped stop them (this is something I tell clients to do all of the time if labor hits at night).
I woke up at 11:30 p.m. to contractions in my back, they were getting more intense and I couldn’t sleep through them anymore. I laid in bed for about a half hour before sitting up in bed. My husband woke up and we decided to go downstairs after contractions seemed like they weren’t letting up.
I was on all fours on the exercise ball in front of our fireplace as I worked through contractions. At 1:30 a.m. contractions were getting to about 5 minutes or less apart and my husband called our doula and the birth center to alert them we were coming. We had a 30 minute drive to Willow. I grabbed a massage ball and put it between my back and the car seat to help apply counter pressure for the drive. I kept my eyes closed the entire drive. I was starting to worry that Elowyn was going to come in the car because of the pressure I was feeling and how fast contractions were coming.
The midwife brought out a wheelchair to help me get up to the birthing suite. I rode on in backwards… on my knees. Once in the room, they took my vitals and asked if I wanted to have an exam, I declined. My doula arrived and based on my back pain we decided to do some Spinning Babies techniques to help move baby. It was uncomfortable, and then I tried to use the bathroom which was even worse. The tub had been filling and was ready for me to get in, so that was my next request, to get in the tub.
As I labored in the tub, my husband sprayed water along my back in-between contractions and then applied pressure to my back with his hands during contractions. This was our rhythm. He sat not the edge of the tub for 2 hours helping me cope through contractions. In my head I was focusing on my breath, as a contraction came on I would take a deep breath in and blow out, I’d continue a rhythm the best I could through the peak and then blow it all away and relax into the tub when it was over.
Around 5 a.m., I started to feel ready to push. I wanted to push with my body, I did not want to be coached or directed to hold my breath, like I had done with my first birth. It was so much harder and so much more painful (and no tears needing repairs after this birth); however, I was able to listen to my body and allow it to stretch as baby moved down and out.
She was born at 5:11 a.m. My midwife told me to reach down and grab my baby out of the water. It was over. I wasn’t pregnant anymore. The relief poured over me. 6 hours from start to finish. 41 weeks, 6 days.
Time has flown by now because she is already 4 months old. Honestly, the time has flown by faster than my last 6 weeks of pregnancy. That’s the most solid piece of parenting advice anyone will ever give you, “Time is fast, cherish these moments!” but don’t say that to anyone who is 41+ weeks pregnant, they just don’t want to be pregnant anymore.