Birth Story:  Aislee Grace

I started feeling contractions on the 26th, nothing consistent but it felt like it was coming soon. I woke up on the 27th and was having more regular, small contractions and figured we were starting the process. We went a movie and then ran a few errands.  By the end I was definitely feeling ready to be home.  I labored at home the rest of the day and they slowly became more intense.

Around 6:00PM or so I was having contractions that I was having trouble walking/talking through, so we called the midwife to see if she thought I should come in. She said to walk for another hour or so and then come in. We went to the hospital around 7:30PM and I was only dilated to 2cm so they had me walk for an hour. About a half hour in the contractions got super strong and started making me feel sick (all in my back), but when they checked again there was no change. They offered to let me labor in their tub or to go home, we opted to go home.

At this point I had my breakdown (which I wasn't expecting). I felt like if I was having contractions this intense and it wasn't real labor that there was no way I could get through the real thing. I felt like that pretty much until they admitted me to the hospital.  Once we were home I was having really strong back labor (not sure how close together they were cause I couldn't talk let alone time them). I was also sick the whole time. Dave, my husband was a trooper, I think I threw his back out with all the counter pressure I asked for. I couldn't get any rest cause they were so close together and strong.

Around 1:30AM on the 28th, I decided I wouldn't be able to do the trip to the hospital if we waited any longer. So we went back in, luckily they admitted me immediately. We got set up in the bathtub which didn't so much help with the pain but helped cause I was so cold. Our midwife got there around 3:30AM and I can honestly say I don't think we would have made it through without her! My labor wasn't particularly long but it was slow moving and she talked me through every contraction and helped push me to change positions to move baby along. I labored until about 4:30AM I think at which point our midwife asked if I felt like pushing? I said I wasn't sure and she said to just go ahead and start when I felt ready.

So I started pushing soon afterwards and it felt so much better to push! I had been really struggling with getting through the contractions and this made me feel like there was progress being made. She had me move into the bathroom and labor on the toilet and that's where my water broke (in dramatic fashion spraying all the way into the hall--surprised me so much it stopped my contraction haha).

I kept pushing until probably 6:00 or 6:30AM and then Amber, our midwife, realized that baby was caught up on the lip of my cervix. She helped baby move past that and we kept going. I pushed for another hour and baby wouldn't move past my pubic bone, no matter what position we tried. So finally she presented us with some options. We could keep going, she could give me an epidural so I could rest (I was exhausted) or we could use the vacuum to help her past the pubic bone. At this point I really didn't feel like I had the energy to keep going, so we decided to use the vacuum as it seemed like the least invasive/long lasting option. They called the doctor, she checked me out and they started getting things ready. During this time I was still pushing (singing didn't help, my body wouldn't let me not push). Somehow I got in a random position and baby's head moved passed my pubic bone! I was so happy to start making progress again!

I pushed for another half hour or 45 minutes and baby’s head just wasn't coming. Again, because I was so tired she said she could do an episiotomy and that would help baby come out. I really didn't want to do that, so I asked her if I could go back to laboring on the toilet.  I had been able to push the hardest and make the most progress there.  Amber put a towel down on the seat and I continued to push. Baby's head started to come out and it was pretty amazing!  I could see everything, but from a nicer vantage point than using a mirror. It gave me so much more energy to push when I knew she was right there! She finally made her appearance at 9:18am on the 28th.

I have to say that overall it was a very intense experience. I had not planned on pushing for 4+ hours and did not think I had that kind of stamina.  I impressed myself with my ability to get through it. Plus, I was able to walk back to bed, baby in arms after she came, which made me feel pretty proud of myself! I can honestly say that during the whole thing I never even thought to ask for drugs (which is something I was worried about), the worst part was the last few contractions before I started pushing and then when her head came out. But I think if I had drugs there would have been no way she could have been born without interventions. Being able to feel where she was and what was happening with my body was invaluable, even though there were times I was discouraged by it.

I'm so glad we took Amanda’s Bradley Method class, where we learned to listen to our bodies and know our options. I felt able to make informed decisions and I also felt like I understood where my body was at! Even though Amber coached me through a lot of the contractions at the hospital, Dave knew things to try at home and was able to calm me down when I was panicked.

We are so happy to have our girl home with us now!

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