Around 9:30pm my husband and I decided we should probably try to go to sleep, because we had no idea of knowing what was to come. He was able to fall asleep quickly (lucky him) but as soon as i laid down the contractions got a lot stronger. They were still quite far apart, but I wasn’t able to just lay through them, I had to get up and move each time one came. I tried to lay down and close my eyes in between them, but baby girl had another idea. She was very excited to meet us, and was having a continuous dance party in between contractions, keeping me from resting at all. I continued to labor in and out of bed, on my stability ball, leaning over the side of the bed, swaying my hips. I felt the most comfortable in hands and knees or leaning over the side of the bed with my hips moving. My body was telling me the best position to be in to allow baby the smoothest passage out.
Around midnight things really ramped up. The contractions started coming faster, about every 3-5 minutes, and after about 30 minutes of that I knew I should start letting people know what was going on. I woke my husband up, and called the midwife team to let them know to head over. My primary midwife arrived about 30 minutes later and there was no question, I was in full on active labor. She checked me, and I was already 7-8cm dilated and 80% effaced. She said she was surprised because I didn’t seem to be that far along! I decided to get in the tub because water feels so good on a laboring belly, and my midwife student arrived shortly after. I heard my midwife phoning frantically trying to get a 2nd midwife to come attend the birth, because she knew things were happening fast. I wasn’t so sure, I was convinced we were going to be in it for the long haul and we still had hours to go.
Even at this point, I wouldn’t necessarily describe labor as painful. It felt really intense, and required all my attention each time a contraction hit, but it also felt extremely powerful. I remembered my labor with Nugget, and also reading One Tough Mama’s birth story where she mentioned she focussed on relaxing through contractions, and I tried to emulate that. I focused on allowing my pelvic floor to relax and release, allowing my sits bones to open and blossom, and also repeated ‘i’m going to get huge‘, a mantra inspired my Ina May Gaskin.
It wasn’t long after my body just took over. I almost felt like it was an out of body experience because my body just did it’s thing and all I had to do was focus on allowing it to do so. I started pushing without even thinking. I could feel my transverse abs contract with each contraction and I vocalized in ways I never thought I would. There was no breath holding. There was no purple pushing. There was just my body, doing what a body does. It was magical. Though, I could feel my mind wanting to resist. I was fearful of how vulnerable it felt to allow myself to open like that. The amount of stretching needed to allow a baby to pass is so much more than you ever imagine it’s scary when it happens! Especially for someone who has experienced the after effects of a long labour.
I tried to get out of my head, and focused on relaxing rather than restraining. I knew the only way this baby was going to come out was for everything to relax and lengthen, so that’s what I allowed it to do. I didn’t even have to think about pushing at all, it just happened. It was all very animalistic and instinctual. This made me think back to Nugget’s birth and realize that I started pushing WAY too early with him, which is probably why I pushed for 3 hours!
It didn’t take long, and before I knew it her head was out, and on the next contraction, she was here! She was born at 2:04am, after a crazy six minutes of pushing over 4 contractions! She was 8lbs even, 20.5 inches long and had a head full of fluffy brown hair, though you couldn’t really tell because she was absolutely coated in the thickest layer of vernix I have ever seen!
After all was said and done, I looked up at my husband and said “oh my god! That was so easy!”. He laughed and replied “Well, I mean, I wasn’t going to say it, but…” We agreed that compared to Nugget’s birth, this one was amazing! Two hours of active labour and 6 minutes of pushing was miles better than 12+ hours and 3 hours of pushing!
And after all of that, the midwife’s second attendant didn’t even make it in time. I was already cleaned up and in bed when she arrived! I could not have asked for a single thing to have gone smoother than it did for me that night.