So we all have an idea of how we want our labor & delivery to go. Some of us may also write out a very detailed birth plan describing everything we want and don’t want. Let’s just start by saying birth is a beautiful experience regardless the route you took to bring your baby earth side. It is a very unique experience, where no two stories are alike. There’s nothing more magical than meeting your baby for the first time.
While I was pregnant I attended prenatal yoga and a Fit4mom class and each time a mom would deliver her baby the instructors would read her birth story for the rest of the class to listen to. This was always my favorite part of the class as I would feel like a child at story time, so excited to hear what happened next. I was always so intrigued by the stories I heard and awaited the chance to write mine.
So let’s get into my birth story...
It was March 4, 2020 around 3:30 A.M. when I got up and went to the bathroom but couldn’t lay back down because I felt my stomach cramping. Hearing all of the horror stories of the pain of contractions, I just knew that this couldn’t be what I was feeling. I said to myself “hmm, this feels more like a light menstrual cramp”. Still, I couldn’t lay back down. I texted my mom and friends inquiring about contractions and going into labor. March 4th was a week before my due date or “guess date” if you will, and I had a plan of all the things I was going to do for a week to naturally induce my labor. Red raspberry leaf tea, walking, sex, black cohosh and a long list I received my midwives, doula, and Google, LOL. But at 3:30 that morning, the main thing that was on my mind was that my hair was NOT done. I was deep conditioning my hair and had plans of recording every part of my labor and my birthing experience. See, here we go with the plans again, LOL. Fast forward to about 5:30 A.M., my friend came up to my apartment, my husband was awake and called the midwives and I was in labor-labor, but STILL didn’t realize it. Every 5 minutes or so something would take over my body (later diagnosed as contractions) and then I would relax again. My friend said “Girl, you’re having contractions!” Then my water broke! Legit like how it breaks in the movie - I was thinking I peed on myself and at that moment I was all over the place. Hours went by and I finally arrived at the hospital around 9:00 A.M. Everything that could have gone wrong on the road did! Crazy traffic, detours, closed lanes, you name it. I was sitting in the back with my doula and we both knew the baby was near. She checked and felt that I was already crowning. All I was thinking was “I need to keep this baby in; I don’t want to deliver in the car.”
I’m really a person of routine so instead of getting to know multiple midwives (as the practice suggested) I kept going back to the same one my entire pregnancy. I knew that it was a chance she may not be at my birth but as soon as I got to the hospital she was clocking into her shift. She was going to deliver my baby and I was beyond ecstatic! She checked to see how far I was dilated and I was 9.5 centimeters. This was my FIRST time getting checked for dilation by the way. Other moms told me it was uncomfortable and painful but I was so ready that I didn’t feel a thing. My entire pregnancy I committed to an unmedicated birth and at this moment that’s the only option I had. I chose a hospital in DC that had a natural birthing center within the hospital and it was really the ideal situation for me. The midwives were excited because they felt like I came in at the perfect time. I just remember feeling so much pain, a pain I never felt before. It was the kind of pain when people asked me, “How did it feel?” I just really couldn’t describe it or compare it to anything I’d felt before. TWO HOURS later of pushing and laboring on my knees, in the shower and on the toilet, I gave birth to the love of my life at 11:15 A.M. while literally sitting on that toilet. People asked me how I felt and I responded, “like The Hulk,” LOL. I immediately felt strong, like I could do anything and I mean ANYTHING. Yet while I was feeling strong mentally, physically I was very weak. I could not get to the bathroom without feeling faint. I ended up having a postpartum hemorrhage; I bled 1300 ML (about 5.5 cups) of blood when the average woman bleeds 500 ml after delivering a baby. While the midwives tried to assure me that everything was fine, my mom and my sister insisted that I was bleeding too much (if you can, please have support to advocate for you). I am really thankful for my village that was present while I was laboring and giving birth. My doula was so necessary. She helped me stay focused and calm. I remember her loving-on-me and making me feel confident and safe. While at the hospital, I ended up having to get two blood transfusions due to my postpartum hemorrhage and this was when I started to freak out. My beautiful baby was here and the wait was over, but I heard so many stories about the black maternal mortality rate... I can’t lie, I was very scared.
All in all, the birth of my son didn’t go exactly as planned, but what really ever does LOL. Labor and delivery is still simultaneously the most traumatic and beautiful experience I ever had. For all my pregnant mamas-to-be out there just know YOU GOT THIS. Our bodies were designed for this! I know now to plan for postpartum recovery as much as I did for labor and delivery because the fourth trimester isn’t a joke! The fourth trimester deserves its own blog post because mamas I really wasn’t ready LOL.