I’ve given birth to 4 kids over the past 8 years; all in different ways. It’s been a journey, and I’ve become a passionate advocate for expecting mothers. My first pregnancy ended with an emergency cesarean. My last pregnancy was an all natural home water birth.
I read all the books and took all the classes. “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” became my bible. None of this prepared me for my first birth.
I was in labor for 72 hours. My tidy birthing plan was thrown out the window. My neatly packed birthing bag irrelevant. I was taking too long. I had an epidural in my spine for 3 days. Over the course of 3 days, I was bombarded with requests to have a c-section. I was pressured. I was intimidated. I felt like a failure. I felt like a victim. Ultimately, my cervix began to swell, and I could no longer push. My body was convulsing and rejecting the epidural. More drugs were flushed into my system. My body was restrained to the operating table. I cried. I saw my baby girl. I couldn’t even hold her.
For my next pregnancy, I found the best doctor who specialized in VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) and hired a very experienced doula. This amazing team helped me through every step and made it all possible.
Even with my second, my labor was equally long (3 days). I almost gave up. I wanted no epidural. I wanted no drugs. I wanted no c-section. F-bombs were exploding. I thought I was going to die of exhaustion. In between the agony, I thought of all the women who died giving birth long ago. Then, it happened. I saw my baby boy. I cried. I held him.
The guilt and bitterness I had for the last 3 years evaporated.
For my third pregnancy, I was emboldened. My doula and I planned for a home birth. I believe in science. I like math. I don’t like hospitals. I knew my body could do it. I was super excited to do it at home. In addition to the same team, I added a certified nurse midwife, a photographer, and a postpartum nurse. It was an amazing experience. My journey was complete.
Uh-oh, not so fast. Accidents happen – especially when your alma mater wins a national championship. For my (hopefully) last one, I was so relaxed and in control. My husband was snoring, out like a log. I turned up Jason Mraz play list. It was physically intense yet emotionally relaxing as I was embracing and welcoming the contractions. My active labor was about 10 hours long and I started pushing around 9am. I woke up my husband, who jumped out of the bed as if he heard a gunshot. My wonderful mother in law who was taking care of the other 3 came back with the kids at the perfect time. After an hour of pushing, we met Emeline.
My photographer was able to capture all the beautiful moments of the kids meeting their new baby sister. It’s amazing to see how kids accept birth as a natural process and even with their mama screaming with so much pain.
Maybe I kept having more babies to experience this: a perfectly empowering birthing experience that set me free from all the trauma in the past. I felt like I was born again. I am a wonder woman.