I was 40+4 but had had contractions on and off for several days, so when contractions started about 2:00pm I didn’t think much of it. I went for a hike and tried to stay active as they seemed to stick around while I was moving. By 4:00pm I noticed they were getting closer together and more intense, I bounced on my ball and began to time them. I noticed the bloody show around 4:30, which made me think maybe things were progressing. By 6:00pm I knew for sure that my baby girl was going to make her grand entrance. I labored at home until my contractions were about 3 minutes apart (my water never broke), and made it to the hospital at about 11:30pm.
As a first time mom, the most challenging aspect was overcoming the fear of the unknown. When our body experiences pain, we fear it as typically that means that something is wrong. In childbirth, the pain is natural and normal, so I worked hard to embrace the pain and not fear it. Affirmations helped to keep me positive and make me feel safe.
Learning about the stages of labor helped me immensely. I wanted to have an unmedicated, hospital birth so the knowledge I gained was invaluable. I used the idea of a “birth philosophy” rather than a “birth plan” and was able to embrace any obstacles that came my way. The knowledge I gained and the positions I learned gave me the tools to have the unmedicated hospital birth that I wanted.
A lot surprised me about my birth. First, I was expecting the bloody show to be like the red wedding! Had I not been looking, I would have missed it completely. I was also surprised at how quickly it went. We made it to the hospital at about 11:30 pm and my daughter, Frances, was born at 4:27am. I was also shocked that my water never broke, my OB broke my water once I was complete as it was time to start pushing around 4:10/4:15.
Indescribable. I read a book recently that described it the best I have heard. I felt like I was split in half and doubled simultaneously. It was instantly like I had been found a piece of my heart that had been missing and I never even knew it.
Whatever way you birth your baby is the way you were meant to. Trust your body, trust your baby and know that every contraction brings you closer to the most incredible moment of your life.