Rowan’s Birth Story

I was a week and a half past my first due date and I kind-of had a feeling the baby was coming because I’d just felt tired and nauseous all day. I’d spent the time I usually use to walk and do my yoga napping, and I was still pretty sleepy. Juan got home from work at 11 and I went to bed around 1 am and woke up feeling some contractions at about 3. I was trying to stay relaxed and get some sleep between contractions and that was working out alright. They started coming on really strong after a few hours and I threw up a couple of times. I knew this was it and I started having to wake Juan up when I was having a contraction so he could press on my back, it really helped with the pain, and it helped knowing he was experiencing it with me.

He got up around 7 and started filling the birth tub. I was in heavy labor, my contractions were about 7 minutes apart. I stayed in bed for a little while and tried to ride them out. I ended up getting up around 9 and calling my mom and Susanna, my midwife. Contractions were really intense at this point and I lost track of time. I was sitting on a pillow on the couch and when I had a contraction I would push up with my arms so the tension was in my shoulders instead of my bottom, this helped. Another position that was working for me was standing up in the hall and bracing myself with my arms out. Juan was trying to time my contractions but I kept yelling at him to push on my back so we were struggling to get the times right I think they were about 5 minutes apart. My mom arrived before my midwife to pick up the dogs, and she was helping me breathe through the contractions.

Susanna arrived and checked me and we were delighted to find that I was 9 cm dilated and it was almost time to push! She said to my mom “you’re going to be here for the birth” my mom asked if I wanted her to stay and I said yes, I needed her. I got in the tub and the water was still pretty cold but not so bad considering it was July and it was heating up outside.

Juan was busy boiling water to warm up the tub and Susanna was gathering things together for the birth. My mom was riding out transition with me, she was incredible, it was like she could feel what I was feeling it was amazing. I started getting the urge to push as Juan and Claudette heated water on the stove to warm up the tub. Susanna and Claudette showed me how to push and I kept my eyes on my mom as she pushed along with me. I was in there trying for about an hour and Juan suggested he get in the tub to help support me from behind and that helped for a little bit but overall I could tell I wasn’t progressing much.

After a couple of hours of trying to push in the tub, the midwives suggested I get out and try to pee because it was possible my bladder was full and keeping me from getting her head out. I sat on the toilet and my contractions kept coming fast and hard, I don’t know if I succeeded in peeing because everything was just on fire down there, but I do think the gravity from being upright might have helped me get things going.

The midwives asked if I’d like to try pushing on the bed for a while and I was ready for a change so they got me into position on my side with Juan behind supporting me and my mom helping me hold my leg up over her shoulder. It took about an hour of pushing on the bed before her head finally popped out and a couple more good pushes for the rest of her.

Susanna placed her on my chest and I remember crying out in joy and relief as I heard her voice for the first time. She asked Juan if he wanted to cut the cord and he did. He did such a good job of staying calm and supporting me. I was exhausted and exhilarated and hungry and full of love. I’m so glad I chose to take my birth experience into my own hands and had Susanna to encourage my self-care all through my pregnancy, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.