One week after my son’s second birthday, my daughter made her appearance into this world. After the experiences I had in the hospital with TJ, I knew that if I were to have more children in the future it wouldn’t be in the hospital.
When I found out I was pregnant for the second time, I knew things would be different. I contacted Charleston Birth Place and after the initial orientation, was completely sold. While I plan to share more on my experiences at the birth center during pregnancy, this post is about my labor and delivery experience.
Leading up to Labor
At my 38 week appointment, my midwife told me that I was 3cm dilated. She told me that she doubted I would make it to my April 1 due date and that made me excited and nervous at the same time. The rest of the week, I began to have Braxton Hicks contractions several times during the day that grew stronger and more consistent in the evenings.
Thursday evening I was surprised by one of my dance moms with eggplant parmesan. She’s an amazing cook and every so often she sends me home with homemade Italian food. Eggplant parmesan is said to help induce labor and I had mentioned it to her before. I ate some that night (so good!) and went to bed around 11pm having contractions that were about 12-15 minutes apart. Little did I know this was the start of my labor! I woke up early the next morning having consistent contractions 10 minutes apart.
Spending early labor at home with my husband and son was one of my favorite parts of my birth experience. I was able to sleep and rest in between contraction and cherish our last moments as a family of three.
It’s Go Time!
My contractions stayed around 10 minutes apart for the majority of the day. Around 1 pm, they got to be 7 minutes apart. At this point, the pain made it hard to lay down anymore and I decided to take a shower to see if that helped the pain. While in the shower, I had 3-4 back to back contractions. At this point, I had my husband call the birth center. In your prenatal appointments, the midwives say to call when contractions are between 3-5 minutes apart. If you aren’t dilated far enough, they won’t have you stay.
When I called, my favorite midwife Laurie answered and asked how things had been going. I was so excited that she was on call. I had seen her the most during my pregnancy and loved her personality. She told me that if I felt like I could wait longer that I could but if I felt like I needed to come in that was fine as well. I opted to go in and at least be checked. As we drove to the birth center, I was nervous that we may have jumped the gun because my contractions started to slow down.
Picking Up the Pace
After arriving at the birth center, Laurie checked me and to my surprise I was already 8cm dilated! I texted my friend and birth photographer, Tamara, to let her know my progress and was quickly whisked into the birthing tub.
Heaven on Earth!!! The feeling of weightlessness I experienced while in the water helped me to endure the pain of the contractions.
30 minutes after arriving at the birth center, I felt the urge to push. My midwife then checked me and found that I had a cervical lip (fully dilated but a very tiny section that was preventing the pushing to be effective). They gave me the option to labor down and try and let my body naturally get rid of the cervical lip. I loved that they didn’t rush anything and let things happen on its own time.
After laboring in the tub for about an hour, the midwives broke my water to see if it that would help get things going. Boy oh boy! Within 30-45 minutes, it was go time!
Happy BIRTHday Ella!
Ella was born at 6:12 pm weighing 7 lbs, 7.5 oz and measuring 21 1/4 inches long. Her birth was one of the most invigorating and fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had. To be able to accomplish the type of birth that I’ve dreamed of was an amazing experience. Did it hurt? Sure, it did. But the end result of a beautiful and happy baby made the pain worth it.