I just gave birth to my 4th baby, a little girl! Each of my children are so unique and special, and they have all made their entrance into this world in a unique way as well. My previous births were in the hospital, so during my pregnancy, I was really looking forward to this birth, as we were planning an out of hospital birth at a birthing center.
My labor started on my youngest son's birthday, I woke up around 2:30am with some contractions, that were strong enough to wake me up, yet not too uncomfortable either. I was thinking to myself that we might have two children with the same birthday. I continued to have contractions throughout the day, they came every 20-30 minutes, and again, were strong enough that I knew they were labor contractions, but I was still able to go for a walk, do some last minute cleaning around the house, and rest.
In the evening, after our older children went to bed my contractions started to get a little bit closer together, 10-20 minutes between them. I went to bed early because I was starting to get uncomfortable, and had to actively try to relax with them. I was able to sleep a little bit, but every contraction woke me up. Rather than get closer together my contractions just seemed to get longer, lasting from 1.5-2.5 minutes each. Around 1am I was starting to get very uncomfortable (we turned the clocks back that night, so I'm a little confused about what time it really was), my contractions were variable from 7-10 minutes apart, but long and hard. They started to double peak or come 2 in a row without any break in between them. I was starting to feel more pressure in my pelvis, so we called our midwife and left for the birthing center.
On our way to the birthing center (about a 20 minute drive) I only had one contraction. I was a little afraid that we would get there and I would only be 3cm dilated, but something just told me it was time to go.
Once we arrived, I was able to relax knowing that I was in the place where I would give birth. The lights were low and it was quiet. My midwife told me that I was 9cm dilated!! I just couldn't believe it. I got into the birthing pool and the warm water felt amazing. I was wishing that we had come sooner so that I could have relaxed in the water with some of the hard contractions I was having at home. My body was able to just float in the water, and that made relaxing all my muscles to just let my uterus work, much easier. My contractions however, were still very intense. Soon after getting in the water I felt like I needed to bear down. I started slowly with some small pushes, grunting through the contractions, however that "urge to push" just took over. I had to push much harder to relieve the intensity of the contraction. It wasn't very long before I could feel my baby moving down the birth canal, I remembered this feeling from my other births and knew that it wouldn't be long before she was here.
My husband, midwife and nurse were present in the room. I pushed hard with my contractions and suddenly felt my baby's head crowning. I had a moment of fear, I just wanted to stop because everything was so intense, but I knew I had to do it, I had to give that final push and birth my baby. I reached down into the water and felt the baby's head about to emerge and my body pushed again and her head was born. There was one more push and my baby was here at 2:38am (the day after contractions had started). I don't remember my midwife saying much to me during this time, but I knew that she was there and had confidence in me. She didn't tell me what to do or how to do it, but instead let me push the way my body needed to in order to birth my precious baby.
We are so happy to have had a birth in an environment that supported us, gave us confidence, and allowed us to go home that same morning. We were able to have breakfast as a family with our older children, and then get some rest in our own bed. This experience was everything that I had been wanting with my hospital births, I was just looking in the wrong place. The births of my older children are precious memories that I will never forget, but this birth was just the icing on the cake.
Our birth center: www.mountainmidwifery.com