The relief I felt walking out the hospital doors with our sweet baby boy made me realize how nervous I'd been about the whole birth experience. Joe carried our baby in the carseat and I waddled behind them, breathing in the fresh air and feeling so thankful for a healthy baby boy and an uncomplicated birth.
Only days before we’d spent our last day as just Meg and Joe. Then, on that Sunday night at 11pm, I started feeling what I thought were contractions but I wasn't really sure. I'd been nervous that I wouldn't know when I was in labor. It sounds silly, I know, but my midwife said it's a super common fear for first-time moms.
But you'll know, she assured me.
For me, labor started as a lot of back pain and pressure in my uterus. I woke up and started timing my contractions. This is something I’d done a few times in the past week but my contractions always stopped after a while. This time though, they continued for an hour. When they started getting closer together, I woke up Joe.
I still wasn't convinced that I was in labor until I saw signs that my membranes had released.
It was only then that I called the nurses at our birth center. The nurse asked what my pain level was. I didn’t know how to answer the question. I was in a lot of pain but I didn’t know how much worse it would get. Without a frame of reference, I settled on 7.
This is just one example of all the unknowns that surround birth for a first-time mama.
With all the unknowns, it was super important for me to find resources that allowed me to prepare as much as I could. One of the best ways I prepared was with an online course called Hypnobabies. This course provided in depth information about the birth process that I would've felt really in the dark without. It’s based on the concept that your mind can control your pain through mediation techniques. And although I didn’t have a “pain free” birth, I was able to have a natural birth without ever wanting medication.
One recommendation from this course was to not rush to the hospital. So in between painful contractions that had me stopping to breathe, I showered, I braided my hair, I packed my hospital bag.
We had a 45 minute drive to the hospital which was something I'd been nervous about. I squeezed into the front of Joe's truck with all of our baby gear in the back. I put in my headphones and started listening to my meditation tracks. I’m so thankful I had those tracks to keep me calm and breathing through my contractions on the way to the hospital.
We pulled into the hospital and I was taken to our delivery room. The nurse asked if she could check to see how dilated I was and I agreed. When she was done, she looked at me, “okay, you’re fully dilated” she said calmly.
Neither of the two midwives I’d been seeing were able to be there on the night of our baby’s birth so the nurse called the on-call doctor who was also trained in water births. The nurse started filling the tub and by the time I was in and ready to start pushing, not only had the doctor arrived so had the mid-wife in training, Ame. It was such a relief to see a familiar face. Ame had been at several of my appointments and I’m so thankful she was able to be there for our baby’s birth. She helped me find comfortable positions, she applied pressure to my back, she helped me know when to push harder and when to rest.
I was in the tub for exactly one hour before our sweet David Joseph Rohs was born at 4:44am on March 2nd.
One of the most special memories I have is when he was placed on my chest just after being born. I saw he was a baby boy and it just felt so perfect. Even though I had a very woman-centric upbringing and had virtually no idea what I would do with a baby boy, it felt like everything was exactly how it was supposed to be.
I still can't believe all that happened. I can't believe that I pushed a tiny human out of my body (without any pain medication)! I can't believe that I've been sustaining him with my breastmilk and the help of close family for the past three and a half weeks. I can't believe that I'm a mama.
I feel so empowered by my birth experience. I feel strong like a warrior mama. I feel so grateful that our little boy had such a peaceful and uncomplicated start to his life. I credit my preparation with Hypnobabies (and good luck) to being relaxed enough to end up at the hospital fully dilated and to proceed to have a quick and uncomplicated birth.
Please comment with any questions about a water birth or using hypnosis for birthing. I’d love to share more about my experience.
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