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On wednesday, July 6th was my last pre-natal appointment. I was 39 weeks exactley. My midwife had checked my cervix, and was rather shocked to find that I was 4cm dilated, “very very thin”, and had a bulging bag of waters. She also noted that Harper was super low and engaged in my pelvis. She could not believe that I was still walking around pregnant without contractions or any kind of labor pains. She advised me that unless I wanted to have a baby on the side of the road, that we should probably start heading to the birth center if I noticed contractions even just 10 minutes apart, lol.
On friday, July 8th I woke up, and as usual, headed straight to the bathroom to empty my bladder. I noticed some clear discharge on my PJs... went to wipe and sure enough there was more of it, and it had a pink tinge to it. Throughout the day it was there everytime I had gone to the bathroom and wiped. This seemed like a good sign to me, but I did not want to get excited about it since I had so many “good signs” a couple weeks ago that lead to nothing. I had very random contractions throughout the day, but they were not consistant enough to time, and although some of them were mildly painful, they were not painful enough to cause me to suspect they were labor contractions. They were nothing more than what I had been experiencing for the past couple weeks on a daily basis. Despite not wanting to get my hopes up, I had a “feeling” in the back of my mind that I was well on my way to starting labor. I texted my mom and let her know about the “bloody show” I had, and she told me that I was not going to make it through the weekend... deep down I had a feeling that she was right, but I still had my doubts! Later on that night I was still experiencing the “bloody show”. I was anxiously waiting for contractions to start, and by the time 11pm rolled around I finally decided that tonight was not going to be “the night” and told Steve that we should just go to bed. At this point I was feeling like I just wanted to go to sleep and get the next day of being pregnancy over with, lol.
As Steve and I settled in to bed, he of course fell asleep immediatley as I tossed and turned making a nest of pillows, desperatley trying to find a comfortable position to sleep in. Finally around 11:45pm-12:00am, I fell asleep.
At 12:30am (now saturday morning, July 9th) as I was halfway awake, halfway dreaming, I was having a pretty strong contraction that was putting lots of pressure on my cervix, finally when the contraction peaked is when I fully woke up thinking “wow, this actually kinda hurts”, then as I began to turn to my other side (hoping that by moving the pain would stop) I felt a pop, and a warm trickle. I quickly got out of bed to see if it was what I thought it was... and indeed... it was! I felt water running down my legs. I started heading toward the bathroom and on my way I shook Steve awake and told him my water had broke and we needed to start getting ready to go! Steve called my parents and they headed over immediatley to come watch Haydon for us.
On our way to the birth center I had a couple contractions in the car that had me breathing through them, but they weren’t entirely aweful either. When we got there we had to sit in the car as I breathed through another contraction. Upon entering the emergency room, go figure I was not registered at the hospital so I breathed though a contraction I was filling out forms and giving my information.
When we got to the birth center, we followed the nurse to our birthing room. She hooked me up to the monitor, and checked me. I was dilated to 6cm already and 100% effaced. She went over my birth plan with me, and said everything was excellent and her job was to make sure I get the birth experience that I wanted. She was so awesome! I was telling her that I was not sure I could do this all natural, and she assured me that I could totally do it, and she knew it would be over fast since I was already 6cm. A few minutes later my midwife had arrived, and started filing the birth tub for me. Since she was a newer midwife, she informed me that one of the more seasoned midwives was on her way to help assist her in giving me my water birth. My contractions were getting closer together at this point. About 3 to 4 minutes apart, and they were becoming very painful.
Steve was such an awesome birth partner, I could not have gotten through the contractions without him! I just leaned on him and we rocked and swayed together as I squeezed the blood out of his hands, lol. Anytime he could feel my breathing getting fast he would remind me to breath deeper, and to relax. That helped immensley. When I would focus on breathing deeper, I would sort of convince myself that the pain was not that bad, and it would almost be over. It was awesome, and I felt like had it all under control. Finally the birth tub was full. I got un-dressed and hopped right in. It felt SO good to feel weightless. As the next contraction started I leaned on the side of the tub and started breathing through it. This contraction literally took my breath away, and I felt like I had to poop. I told the midwife that I wanted to get out of tub and go sit on the toilet because I had to poop, LOL. She told me that I did not have to poop and it was probably just the baby pushing down into the birth canal. I thought to myself, “omg I’m going to poop right here in the water and everyone is going to see it!” LOL! Well, the next contraction was right on top of the last one. I screamed, and yelled that the baby was right there. She checked me and sure enough her head was right there. She asked me to try to relax and just breath through it as the other midwife had not arrived yet. As the next contraction started immediatley after that one, I felt an uncontrollable urge to push. I heard my midwife yell into the hallway “WE ARE HAVING A WATER BIRTH RIGHT NOW!” ... as I started to push I could feel her head crowning, and the unforgettable feeling of the “the ring of fire”. At this point I could not even stop pushing, it just felt GOOD to push. My midwife asked me to stand up, and I was like “No way, I can’t stand right now!” and then she frantically told me that I needed to move somehow so that she could catch the baby. . So I got up and moved into a position with my back leaning against the corner of the tub, and all the while I was doing this I was STILL bearing down and as soon as I had gotten into position, Harper’s head popped out, and then her body followed immediatley. I watched her glide out into the water, and she had her cord wrapped around her body once, so my midwife had to un-twist her before letting me lift her out into the air. As I lifted her onto my chest I was in so much shock at what just happened, and how quickley it happened. I just sat there and cried happy tears as I admired how beautiful and perfect she was. She was so quiet and just blinked her little eyes. About 30 seconds later she let out a tiny, sweet, little cry, and everyone in the room was just in awe at the moment she took her first peaceful breath of air! A few minutes later her cord stopped pulsing, and Steve did the honors of cutting it. I got out of the water to deliver the placenta, and me and Harper had skin to skin while she breast fed. She latched on immediatley, and nursed like a pro for a good 20 minutes on each side. After she was done nursing we weighed her, and measured her. She weighed 7lbs 11oz. and was 19 inches long. We then transferred to our post partum room where Steve and I just sat admiring her perfectness for hours.
At 2:06am, Harper Jane was born gently into the world, from her warm womb, to the warm familiar water, and then into my warm loving arms. From the time my water broke to the time she was born was a whopping one and a half hours! From the time we got checked in at the hospital to the time she was born was a massive 30 minutes, lol! She came out gracefully with one giant push! It was an incredible experience, and I am so happy and proud of myself that I did it without drugs, and was able to give my daughter the best birth experience possible! I would do it a million times over again if I could!
Unfortunatley we did not get ANY pictures of the birth! It all happened so quickley that it just never even crossed our minds to grab the camera and start clicking. I’m really sad about this, but the memory of her birth will be something I will never ever forget, and I hope that by writing her birth story with such detail it will help to keep the images and memories of her birth fresh in my mind forever.