I share my story to encourage all the future mamas that will come after me, so they can feel inspired and have the childbirth they desire.
It all started at 11 p.m. on November 8th. I began having some mild contractions 20-30 minutes apart. I woke up Adrian, my husband, and told him that the time had finally arrived.
For context, let me backtrack a little bit. I was “due” on November 3rd so my grandma, mom and sister had arrived from Mexico for the big day since the end of October. My sister had her ticket back to Mexico on the afternoon of November 8th since she had important commitments on the 9th. So, when I went over my “due” date, we really wanted this baby boy to show up.
A couple of days before the day my boy was born, we got excited because I thought I had started labor since I had a couple of contractions, but they turned out to be Braxton Hicks. If you have never been pregnant and have no idea what this is, they are “practice” contractions that your body generates during the last trimester to prepare for the actual labor contractions.
Back to the story, my sister did leave on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 8th. After she left my mom and I decided to go for a walk to see if this might get things going, I had started to get really anxious because I was afraid of going over my due date since I had heard stories about this becoming an issue for the placenta. (Reflecting on this, I realized that due dates are just an estimate and that we need to trust nature to do its work).
After our nice long walk with both my dogs we got home, had some dinner and went to bed at 10:30 pm. My husband and I were talking about our days and when the contractions began we decided to watch our favorite TV series to ignore the contractions as much as we could. We both were half asleep, half awake, tracking the contractions and trying to rest as much as we could since we knew the time was coming and we needed to save some energy.
At 5 a.m. in the morning, I went to the bathroom and went I pulled my pants down a lot of blood came fell to the floor. I showed my husband and we both got really scared, woke up my mom and ran to the hospital. From that moment I started going through what seemed the slowest 15-30 minutes of my life, I was so nervous and just wanted to hear the baby’s heart. When we got to the hospital and up to the Labor and Delivery department, there was another woman whose water had just broken so it took a bit for them to bring us into our room. For me it seemed liked hours, but it was just a matter of minutes.
Finally, I was placed in a bed in triage (the room where they initially admit women who are in labor to check how far along are they in labor). They wrapped a monitor around my belly to check the baby’s heart and everything sounded perfect. I had never felt such relief. The midwife on call then came to see us and checked my cervix (since she noticed I was not in a lot of pain) to see how much I was dilated to see whether I should stay or leave for home.
To her surprise I was already 5 cm dilated, so she asked the nurse to transfer me to the labor and delivery room. At exactly this moment we called Casey, our doula, and told her it was time. She arrived at the hospital about an hour later, which gave us time to settle in our room, take a shower and grab a small bite.
Once Casey arrived, we started doing some exercises to keep the baby in a good position to make it easier for him and for me. My childbirth plan had always been to have this baby naturally, meaning no epidural, pitocin or any type of drug. This is why during labor it is super important to balance rest with exercise, and to keep very well hydrated.
The hours passed and the contractions didn’t seem to come closer together. They were a little bit more intense but still manageable and 10-15 min apart.
Around 1 p.m. Jesse, my midwife came to check up on me. (The midwives’ philosophy at GW is to allow nature to take its course. So, it doesn’t matter if the contractions are not progressing every hour they let the body do what it needs to do.) Even though the contractions were not close together I was already 8cm dilated, so she suggested administering the lowest dose of Pitocin possible to help the process along (for those of you who don’t know, Pitocin is the man-made oxytocin-the hormone that generates the contractions). The reasoning behind this was that I already had been in labor for 14 hours and she did not want me or the baby to get exhausted and create complications.
My main concern regarding the Pitocin was that the contractions that it produces are much stronger than the ones your body generates naturally. Stronger contractions mean more intense pain. To be honest I was scared because I still didn’t want the epidural but I didn’t know if I was going to be able to handle the pain. I told Jesse I was not sure but she said I could try and if I decided it was too much I could always get the epidural. I talked with Adrian and he encouraged me to try at first with no medicine and see how it went.
Once the Pitocin kicked in, the contractions began to come a lot closer together and with more intensity. As a bonus, there was almost no time to rest in between. We are talking about 1-minute contractions followed by 1-2 minutes of rest. Even in this pain, I knew I had to continue moving if I wanted to make this an easy birth and avoid any tears; Casey, my doula, was of great help with this. Neither she or Adrian left my side for a minute and even though I couldn’t see Adrian some of the times, I always felt his presence and knew he was there holding me.
I don’t remember quite well how many hours passed since I got the Pitocin until I started pushing (probably about 1-2 hours). I always had this doubt about how to know when to push, but trust me, you know. My body started pushing without me realizing I was pushing. Casey called Jesse who was in and out of the room to let her know I was ready to push and that the baby was coming.
I don’t quite remember the pain, feelings or thoughts that were going through my mind at that moment. The only thing I remember is being in some sort of a trance where I could feel the pain but from the outside, like I was not in my body; but at the same time I had never been so present in one moment.
I tried pushing in different positions. We tried squats, lying on one side, knees bent, but none of them worked. I became really tired and all I wanted to do was to get some rest. So, the midwife, Casey and the nurse had me lay on my back and try pushing. At this point it was already 7pm, which meant the shift change for both the midwives and nurses. Of course, I didn’t want Jesse to leave! she had been with me all the way and I wanted her to stay till the very end. She said she was going to try to stay as long as she could and had Michelle the other midwife come in in case she had to leave.
So there I was, lying in bed surrounded by all this women (Jesse, Michelle, Casey, and the nurse) and felt all this power from the circle they had created for me. So, I said “this is it” and made one final push and yes, finally, my beautiful baby boy came out.
That day was the happiest day of my life no doubt, I wouldn’t change one thing. I loved every part of it, including the pain! It helped me realize how powerful we are as women and how much a mother is willing to do for her child. As soon as he was born they placed little Adrian on my chest so we could have skin to skin contact. During the pushing I had some minor tears so they were stitching me while I was holding my baby, you won’t believe if I told you I didn’t felt a thing, nothing, and without anesthesia. All I knew was that I was finally holding my little boy and that from that moment I was never going to let go.