TW (!) there’s some natural bodily functions and photos of a live birth included in this post 🥰
Sunday August 1st at three AM I woke up with a contraction and went to the bathroom where I noticed that I had lost my mucus plug! I tried to go back to bed but I woke up again at 5:30 and then for a third time at 7:30 AM and just decided to wake up for good at that point because I was unable to sleep through the contractions. I texted Brandy, my midwife from Willow Birth Services, to let her know our status.
The contractions continued throughout the morning. I don’t have much memory of what it felt like at that point but me and Ben were watching TV (love 🏝 island) and kind of just going about our day as normal. I remember I took the photo below as ‘evidence’ that I was in labor 😅 there was about to be A LOT more evidence.
After a couple of hours Ben started getting a little anxious and we decided to download a contraction timer app. My contractions were still very random and varied in frequency and length so it didn’t really help us with anything. I also messaged my doula Anna, from Nature’s Blossom Doulas, that my contractions were still a little sporadic but strong and that we were alternating between resting and being active/upright. Told her that Ben was right by my side, and him helping with the counter pressure was 👌🏼
At 5pm we got back in touch with Brandy but she told me to stop timing my contractions, “just live life as normal as you can”. She said between rest, food, and activity just to chill out and try my best to labor at home because they would change their pattern eventually. I ended up taking a bath because the pain was starting to get a little bit more intense. I made sure to stay hydrated and eat while I could because I knew I was not going to have any sort of appetite during active labor. (Grapes and coconut water for the win!)
I used my labor ball intermittently and when I got on the ground and Tex came to soothe me, which was heartwarming. We really don’t deserve dogs. I think I tried taking a nap at some point but just was unable to sleep at all because of the contractions. I even had Ben rub my back with some Oklahoma Medicine 1:1 salve to help with the pain.
Towards the evening my contractions started to feel like a constant tightness around my waist with some back pain. At one point, I think it was around 9:30PM, I looked at Ben and said to him to go to bed “because if you want to nap or need a nap before she’s born now is the time to do so.” I remember thinking later on in labor how jealous I was of his nap because I was so tired. I mean I still am to this day.
While Ben took a long nap I checked with my doula and she recommended I get into the bath again …which didn’t help the contractions at all… I also tried multiple multiple different positions all around the house. I even tried laying down for a nap with Ben in the bed and it was too uncomfortable, plus every time I was about to fall asleep I felt another contraction. I ended up getting on the floor and laying down with two pillows, one between my legs and one under my head on the ground because it felt better, but when the contractions came I immediately had to stand up. I think that was the biggest upset in my mind when I went into labor. I had thought that I was going to be able to either sit or lay and kind of like feel it out but for me it was so uncomfortable being seated or laying down while having contractions that it was just impossible almost.
Throughout the evening I mostly stood in the kitchen or bathroom leaning over the counters. I paced around the living room and kitchen- back and forth. Waddle waddle, moan. I tried heating up a heating pad and putting that on my back, which helped a little bit but I also got really hot and uncomfortable so it was like a catch 22. Then at one point I remember bending over the arm of the sofa with a heating pad on my back and just kind of like swaying back-and-forth to ride out the contractions and I must’ve fallen asleep because my knees buckled under me and I woke back up.
Then around 12-2 I threw up pretty much all of my stomach contents. I remember thinking “why did I decide to do this? I can’t do this” and immediately caught myself and said out loud “I can do this” and it helped. Mindset was my biggest tool going into labor. Not breathing but mindset! For those of you that didn’t know this, throwing up while pregnant is very difficult. You can’t bend down over the toilet so I had to stand over the kitchen sink. Laboring at home is oh so glamorous.
Shortly after, when the contractions got so intense that I had to get so loud with my moans that I was worried about the neighbors hearing me, was when I woke Ben up and told him it was time to call our midwife again. When he tried to hand me the phone I sternly told him I didn’t want to talk to her and I think at that point they realized it was time for us to go to the birthing center. Ben got pretty much everything packed and in the car and then he walked Tex real quick before we put him into his cage. We didn’t know how long it was going to take or if or he was going to react when we brought her home, so the cage was the safest place for Tex to be.
Having contractions in the car was the worst part of my labor experience. I could not find a comfortable and safe position, everything was so much louder in the car and I felt like I was stressing Ben (the driver) out. I would just never want to have to give birth in a car because it was so uncomfortable. Luckily it’s a short drive from our place to the birth center and we got there shortly before 3 AM. Brandy was waiting for me in the doorway, I don’t even think I said anything to her. I just got out of the car and walked inside because I was so entranced. Fairly sure I was in the transition phase of labor now that I look back on it.
We had decided which room we wanted to labor in ahead of time. There are two options, the Hygge Suite or the Jewel Room. I liked the natural light better in the Hygge Suite but the Swedish bars in the Jewel Room paired with a bigger tub are what sold me. So we went on into the Jewel Room and made ourselves at home. I asked Ben to get the bags along with the camera and affirmation board out of the car. The camera never made it inside so we actually didn’t take any photos of the birth with our camera; which I’m super bummed about. That being said… my doula is freaking awesome and she got some really good photos of us together during and when Tove was actually born so I’m super grateful for that!
When we got into the room and I was evaluated by the midwife & her assistant. I had decided to do a water birth so they asked if i wanted them to start the water for the tub and I said yes immediately. While I was waiting for the water to fill up and for the thermometer to read the right temperature I was hanging on the Swedish bars. Just kind of working through my contractions, one by one. My doula was really good about applying counter pressure. I was so in the zone so I don’t remember much of what was going on at the time, but I remember them telling me the tub was ready and so I got in! Ben was so excited in this moment.
At first I tried to lean with my back towards the tub and work through the contractions. However like I mentioned earlier I just found it so much more uncomfortable being on my butt essentially or being seated/lying down. I’ve always kind of been a squirmer when it comes to pain so every time a contraction came through my legs would kind of start to flail and that’s not conducive to getting through contractions and dealing with the pain really. So I switched positions in the tub! I ended up in a very unsexy position if you ask me. I was on all fours. Basically I sounded like a cow and I was mooing like a cow, while I also looked somewhat like a cow and she came out of me that way.
After a while I got so hot and there was a small fan next to Ben which helped cool down my face. The towels on the back of my neck with cold water were also really comforting. I think Ben found some random hypnobirthing playlist on Spotify that was playing but I stopped hearing anything really. Ben was sat with a chair pulled up to the tub and I had my hands in his and I was pulling his arms towards me during the contractions and it really helped subdue the pain.
Like I mentioned I was in a trance so I didn’t really have time to read my board or think of anything in between the contractions at this point. I was kind of just focusing on breathing and preparing for the next one because they were so close together. The one thing I noticed that helped though was keeping to the low guttural moans. When I was starting to go towards screaming that’s when my midwife and Ben both were doing the like lower sounds “uuuuuuuuuuugh” and I just repeated what noise they were making and that was so much more helpful when I actually had to push. I truly believe I tore because during one of the pushes I screamed a high pitch scream instead of staying with the lower register. I will say I also felt the exact moment when I tore because it just was such a quick painful feeling. It kind of went over immediately and then it was onto the next contraction and pushing again. I didn’t have time to stop and think over what had happened because we were still going through it.
Brandy said for me to reach down and “touch your baby” and that’s when I found her head was crowning under the water and it made it so much easier to push after that because I was like “Oh my God she’s here. She’s so close to being born.” Then a few pushes later, I can’t even remember how long, it didn’t feel long at all, Brandy my midwife yelled at me “My pick up your baby! My pick up your baby!” and so I did. She came out of the water, screamed immediately, and I looked at Ben and we both cried immediately. I was so happy and overcome with emotions.
I had a natural unmedicated birth and birthed a beautiful baby girl who is healthy.
They asked if I wanted to stay in the tub but at this point I was immediately over it. I don’t know why but I wanted out of the water.
We got into bed with her and did some skin to skin as well as tried to latch but she had a really bad tongue tie and lip tie. Brandy asked if we wanted her to cut it and I said yes. The sooner the better because she needed to learn how to engage her tongue in order to feed. After trying to feed we got some alone time as a family and Ben did some skin to skin contact.
I ordered some food from Hatch and had it delivered to the birthing center! Ben and I had our first meal in bed with baby girl and she pooped on Ben, which felt like a very welcoming dad moment. So grateful for the birthing team for recommending we got something to eat while still at the center.
When we were done eating and resting a bit we did her weight, height, and foot prints before we got released to go home. We also got her information for the birth certificate squared away. Ben got to do the delayed cord clamping on the placenta, which then got transferred over to Taryn, who did my encapsulation. I was also stitched up quickly before we headed on our way.
We had arrived at the birth center shortly before 3AM on August 2nd, 2021. Tove was born at 4:31 AM and we were at home before noon.
I would highly recommended everyone that we worked with as well as the birthing center. Never thought I’d want to give birth but honestly 2.5 weeks later and I already said that I’d do it again.