I thought it would be fun to share my birth story to celebrate
Hazel's first birthday! Enjoy!
My sweet Hazel is a week old, so I thought now would be a good time to sit down and write out our story.
I'd been having mild contractions every now and then for a few weeks, nothing that I was able to keep good track of, but enough to get me excited. I had called my midwife twice in the past week, just to let her know things were starting up, and to keep me in her thoughts. I had some painful contractions at Target one night, and I had to get down and squat in the candy aisle!
During the last few months of my pregnancy, I thought Hazel would be born on Tuesday, the 7th. I never told anyone but my husband that I thought that, because I thought it sounded crazy! Turns out I wasn't crazy, she was born on the 6th! I knew she would be early, I knew she wouldn't make it to our "due date" of February 17th. I should have trusted my intuition and taken time off of work at the salon instead of booking people when I knew better!
On Sunday, February 5th I sat through church and had contractions every 5 minutes, on the dot. They didn't hurt yet, but they were definitely there! I just closed my eyes during them, and tried to imagine how close baby was to coming. I was so excited that I wanted to jump and scream, but I didn't want to tell anyone, because I didn't want everyone watching me and waiting for baby. The contractions were weak, so I figured they were just because I worked the day before- I had no idea that this was early labor! Olivia was induced, so I'd never experienced natural labor. I talked to the guy who did the message on Sunday, and told him "Sorry my eyes were closed during your message, I was in labor!" He told me all that he noticed about me was how alert I was. I thought that was funny, because I didn't feel very alert!
After church, my brother and sister in law treated us to breakfast, and then I ran home and changed clothes for the baby shower! Yep, my baby shower was the day before Hazel's birthday! The shower was so much fun, and we got blessed with lots of sweet gifts. It was a last minute shower, I hadn't even expected to have one. I didn't notice any contractions during the shower, but I was pretty uncomfortable sitting there for 3 hours. My cousin drove 5 hours just to come to my shower, and she told me that I should have the baby tonight so she can see her before she leaves town. I said "I'll see what I can do" and hugged her goodbye, not expecting to see her again for awhile! My husband had been teasing me all weekend, saying he didn't want to go to work on Monday, and that I should get to it! We had fun joking around about that - I seriously didn't think it would happen!
Liv and I came home from the baby shower, and my husband helped me unload the gifts. I showed him everything we got, and we started putting stuff away. I am SO glad that I put stuff away right away! We'd been trying to keep the house really tidy for the last few weeks. We cuddled Liv for awhile, then got her down to bed. My husband and I headed down to rest on the couch for a bit before we went to bed. I was feeling pretty uncomfortable, but was just watching TV and doing stuff online. I couldn't sit on the couch anymore, but I wasn't ready for bed, so I got on my knees, and propped the laptop on the couch so I could rest my back.
We finally decided to go to bed around 12:15. I crawled into bed. Contraction. Wait. Contraction. What ? Contraction. I was thinking, there is NO way this is happening right now! Could it be ? I started timing them. 2 minutes. Every time. I stayed there for about 30 minutes, timing the contractions. They were consistently 2 minutes apart, so I got up to take a shower. I read that if you're in "real" labor, a hot shower will not stop the contractions. I was in the shower for about 20 minutes, and they kept coming 2 minutes apart. So I ran a bath. I just couldn't believe it! I was in the bath for about 30 minutes. They were still 2 minutes apart! They weren't painful, but they were there! I woke Bryan up and told him that I *think* this might be it. I felt bad waking him up, because he was supposed to work the next morning, and if this wasn't it, I was just taking sleep away from him. I followed my body, and told him he better come help me time these for a bit and see what happens.
We went downstairs and turned on Seinfeld. Trying to keep things as normal as possible! I tried to distract myself by throwing our new baby things from the baby shower into the washer, but it was hard when my contractions were only 2 minutes apart. After awhile the contractions were getting more intense, and I couldn't STAND George anymore! We turned off Seinfeld and decided to call our midwife around 2 AM. I felt SO bad for waking her up. Bryan assured me I wasn't the first laboring woman to interrupt her sleep! I told her contractions were 2 minutes apart, and that they had been for 2 hours. I told her I showered, bathed, and nothing was stopping them. She told me to go rest on my left side for awhile, and call her in 1/2 hour to an hour if they were still coming. I laid down for awhile, and we called her again at 3AM and told her they weren't letting up! We were giddy with excitement! She is about 3.5 hours away from us, so I didn't want to waste any time. She said she'd be on her way, and call us when she was close.
Bryan had been asking to fill the birth pool for a few hours, and I finally gave him the go-ahead. This was really happening! The water felt SO good. The next few hours got a little more intense. Contractions were still at 2 minutes apart. I went from the pool, to the potty (my body was clearing itself out), to the shower, to my bed, to the couch, then back though over and over again. I would find a relaxing spot and be comfortable for 20 minutes or so before I had to move. I had such a wonderful time with my husband. We were laughing and talking between contractions, and it was just so special and surreal to have this time alone together in the middle of a winter night. During contractions, I would just close my eyes, and try to let go of my whole body and let it do it's thing. I kept thinking of a picture in my Bradley Method book of the cervix opening way up and thinning out, like a turtleneck sweater. Knowing what was going on in my body made the pain tolerable. Bryan and I prayed that my contractions would let up a bit, because every 2 minutes was getting to be a lot! I spent more time in the pool, praying and thanking God for his design and for this baby.
Around 6AM, I was laying in bed shaking from adrenaline, and I felt like I was going to throw up. I told Bryan something about feeling pushy, and in my head I realized this was transition! At about 6:30AM our midwife got here! I met her in the kitchen and Bryan told her I was saying pushy things! I was still having the 2 minute contractions, and they were getting pretty strong. She tied up her long, white hair and led me to my bedroom to check me. I was at 8 centimeters! I COULD not believe I was that far, but I should have known! She said my waters were bulging, and we were close.
We went out to the living room and I got back in the pool. I really, really wanted a water birth. We warmed up the water, I got naked, (did NOT see that one coming! I swore up and down that I wouldn't be naked, but I just felt so free, and didn't have a chance to think about finding the bra I had on earlier. I remember saying something silly to my midwife, assuring myself that I wasn't the first naked person she has seen) The pool felt amazing again. This was it. The contractions slowed down, but got WAY more intense. WAY, way more intense. I was able to get some good mental rest between them for the first time that night. We weren't timing them at this point, but they were longer than 2 minutes. During contractions, I was making low noises to help myself breathe, and keep my focus. My midwife kept saying "good girl" and telling me I was doing a great job. When my legs would shake, she would gently grasp them to help me relax them. Between contractions, she would just rest her chin on the edge of the pool, and watch me. She came at THE perfect time. Any earlier would have interrupted the sweet time I had with Bryan, and any later would have started to get scary for me! We had a wonderful time between contractions, talking and laughing. Our midwife is such a gem. I am SO blessed to have her. Of all the midwives in the world, SHE is the one that I have access to, and I am just so thankful for her. I was in charge of this birth, my body did what it needed to, and she was there for support, and to catch my baby.
At this point, my water was really bulging, and it eventually broke. It felt like a big pop. My midwife had told me, "once your water breaks, this baby is going to be right behind it!" I jokingly told her to go get a fork! A few minutes later, my body started pushing. There was SO much pressure, I felt like I was going to explode. I kept saying "I can't do this!", then our midwife would tell me "Yes you can!" Then I would say "I CAN do this!" This pushing stage seemed like it lasted for hours, but Bryan said it was only about 10-15 minutes. I couldn't find contractions to push with, because there was so much pressure, so I just tried to let my body do it. I got her head out, then our midwife had me try to stop for a second, because the cord was around Hazel's neck. She got it off, then told me I could push again, so I did. I was saying/screaming lots of hilarious things. We were laughing so hard. The main thing I remember yelling is "I'M HAVING A BABY!!! IN MY LIVING ROOM!!!"
I was having trouble getting comfortable, and staying still in the pool. I couldn't find a good place to put my feet for leverage, and the handles in the pool were a little too far away. The pool was an oval shape, and I was in it the long way. I was getting really tired, and like I said, these few minutes seemed like hours! Right at the end, Bryan grabbed me by the arms, and spun me in the pool the short way, and I got so much strength off of him that I was able to push Hazel the rest of the way out, in one big push. I will never forget how firmly he grabbed me. He was right there at the perfect moment to silently help me push out our baby.
At 8:14AM, Hazel Jubilee was born into the water. I reached down and pulled her up and just kept saying "My baby, my baby, oh, my baby!" I hugged her tight and couldn't stop kissing her! Our midwife had to give her a few breaths to help get her going. I later learned this is common in water born babies, since the birth is so gentle. We just kept praying and telling her to breathe, and she did! She was perfect! She felt tiny, so I was shocked to find out she was 8 pounds, 7 ounces! She has lots of fuzzy black hair, and the sweetest little face. She looks so much like Olivia did when she was born. Bryan went and got Olivia out of her bed. He told her that Hazel was here, and she smiled in her sleep, then popped right out of bed! She loved her sister right away. She was kissing her and saying "aww, my sister!"
We couldn't get Hazel to nurse right away, which is what I was expecting. I had trouble breastfeeding Olivia too, but she eventually got the hang of it. I am still working with Hazel to get her to latch well. My babies have tiny little mouths. We left the cord alone until it stopped pulsing, then Bryan cut it, and our midwife handed him the baby for a few minutes and she took me to the bathroom to deliver the placenta and take a quick shower.
What a surprise to call our families with a baby crying in the background! They had just been with me hours before at the shower, and they suspected nothing!
This whole birth experience was invigorating and empowering. Our bodies were truly made to this! I feel great physically and emotionally. I feel like a rockstar. My cousin ended up getting to see the new baby before she left town. Bryan also got out of work on Monday! A few hours after the birth, I was just sitting on the couch, eating a sandwich, talking to my family. It was so wonderful to be home, in my own clothes, in my own space.
And now, a year later, breastfeeding is going great. We got the hang of it about 2 weeks after she was born and are still going strong. I think of my birth often and how amazing it was. I'm looking forward to the next one, whenever that ends up being. My Hazie is such a sweet, funny little girl. We are having a wonderful time with her.
Baby's First Cupcake <3>3>