Posted in Blog, Mother

Yi-Chun

With our due date being two weeks away and the arrival of Labor Day weekend, I tied up loose ends at the office and eagerly began my maternity leave. A few days into the leave, we began to notice minor and occasional contractions that occur during the evenings but I felt great during the day and was making progress on my to-do list and thrilled by the fact that my linen closet had never looked that organized.

As Wednesday evening/early Thursday morning rolled around, I was woken up around 3AM by contractions that felt uncomfortable enough that I could not fall back to sleep. I began to walk around the house, kept myself hydrated and relaxed. At the same time, J started to record an on average 2 minutes long and every 10 minute frequency contractions to provide a point of reference for the Midwife and Doula.

As Thursday progressed, the contractions did not increase too drastically but we kept in contact with our Midwife and Doula by phone to keep them posted of the contraction length, frequency and how I was feeling. We spoke at length to make sure that things were progressing at a pace that both J and I felt comfortable with mentally and physically, and they wanted us to phone when intensity changes. We hung out around the house, gathered items ready for an overnight bag and combed through Penny Simkin’s birth class materials to anticipate signs and determine where we were on the Simkin’s child birth map.

On Thursday evening, I had my first bloody show and the contractions were progressing to 7-8 minutes intervals lasting 2+ minutes long. I was once again unable to find a comfortable position to fall asleep so I walked the stairs several times and focused on the rhythm of breathing when the contractions came.

On Friday morning, we touched base with the Doula and the Midwife to let them know how the night went and we all decided that it might be helpful for them to come to our home for an in-person assessment of the progress. Upon the exam, I was three centimeter dilated and began to efface, the baby’s heart rate and my vitals were great. The baby’s position, however, had shifted a bit so the Midwife asked that I tried to do a number of wide stair lunges to see if we can get the little one to change the position. The main concern that the Midwife and Doula had at this point was that I had not been sleeping since Wednesday night and they did not want me to be exhausted by the time active labor came.

With the Doula’s help, I got a bath, massage and listened to the hypno birth CD while managing to take a three-hour nap in the afternoon. With the Doula keeping me company, J went to the store, stocked up the fridge and packed snacks for the birth center. Once I woke up from the nap, the contractions became more intense (6 minutes apart with 3-4 minute in length) so J and I walked around the block, while his phone was ringing constantly with excited family members and friends who wanted to know how things were progressing. With the Doula’s help, we tried a number of positions and breathing exercises to help ease the pressure and made me more comfortable.

As the evening progressed, the contractions remained at 5-6 minute intervals but they were lasting 5-6 minutes long which with the lack of sleep was beginning to wear on me visibly. Around midnight on Friday, the Doula phoned the Midwife and arranged for us to start moving towards the birth center.

Upon arriving at the birth center, I got into the tub and felt immediate relief from the contractions. After some time in the bath tub, we tried to “jump start” the labor again by doing lunges, walking stairs, and taking a stroll around the neighborhood. While I was still in good spirit, I also felt incredibly drained and J said that I would fall sleep in between contractions. Worrying that I was beyond exhausted at that point, the Midwife consulted with us and we decided to break the water to help progress the labor along.

Things began picking up around 10am on Saturday morning when I started to feel the urge to push. I began rotating from sitting in the tub, on the ball, the birth chair and finally found my rhythm with squatting on the floor. The Midwife Student and Doula would help keep me balanced during pushing while J keeping me focused on the rhythm of breathing and the sound of his voice.

After 2.5 hours of pushing and 58 hours of labor, our daughter was born at 12:39pm on Saturday, 12 September, a few days ahead of schedule, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. The entire process was extremely empowering and the incredible support from my husband, Midwives and Doula were so essential that I felt extremely grateful and privileged to have had the experience.

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