So, I am finally writing this down… three and a half years after it happened. I feel like I can still remember it exactly as I remember it happening (read: my hormones probably made me forget a lot…) But I don’t want to forget anything from here on out and I thought I would share it with you all. Oh and I've had another baby too... so maybe someday you'll get her birth story...
Juniper was due May 23rd. Well, that day came and went along with the 9 days after it. Everyone says your first baby will come late, and everyone really loves to say that after your due date. Guess what? It’s not helpful. I can laugh about it now, but that was not a fun 9 days. I wasn’t super uncomfortable, just ready to meet this little lady. I tried everything, lots of walking, tea, essential oils, acupressure twice (which I think was partly successful), and pedicures. y midwives weren’t concerned, but I had made the appointments to go to the hospital to be induced. Something I really didn’t want to do. My plan was a beautiful, non-medicated birth at The Birth Center. And that is actually what I got.
Sunday morning, June 1st, I woke up at 4 am with pretty regular light contractions, honestly nothing worse than monthly cramps. They were pretty regular right from the beginning. I was able to lay in bed and count them for a while. Michael later confessed he could hear me breathing through them and figured out something was happening. After a little while, I got up and bounced through them on my exercise ball. Soon they were at that 4-1-1 stage so we called the midwife on call, and because we were 45 minutes away, she told us to come in. It was a pretty quick ride, no traffic at 5 something on a Sunday morning. I don’t remember most of it. I remember being calm and not too much pain for the contractions, but I also remember being totally ready to be out of the car.
We got to the Birth Center, got an initial check- I couldn't tell you how dilated I was or what the contractions were like. I was just happy to be there. I had my binder with all my pregnancy history info and my baby bag filled with things I mostly didn’t need. I was so set. I also had the mindset going in, a little mantra, “I was made for this”. It was something that just kept ringing in my ears throughout pregnancy and was at its loudest this beautiful Sunday morning. I labored in our room for a while, I think Michael went out for some breakfast, as he was hungry- or maybe it was lunch. I took a few walks in the meditation garden. I bounced on the ball, rocked in the chair. When my midwife felt I was far enough along that a bath wouldn't stall things, I hopped in the tub, that was some good stuff, oh and that’s where it got real. Contractions came on harder, like stronger waves, waves that make you not feel your legs. I had some lavender lotion with me that I remember huffing to try and stay calm, I think that worked a little.
I remember the midwife coming in to check heartbeat and contractions and whatever she did, but she said, “soon you’ll start grunting and you might feel the urge to push- have Michael come get us when that starts.” (FYI: these ladies know what they are doing) A few minutes after she left, it started. The noises that came out of me, I didn’t recognize as my own. My body crunching in, ready to push. I remember Michael looking at me wide-eyed, probably thinking “oh- this is happening.” This was around noon- maybe a little after. I didn’t keep track of the time. Soon Michael went out to call the midwife back in, it seemed like it was only minutes after her warning that we needed her back.
They helped me out of the tub, I made it to the side of the bed and dropped to my knees, ready to push. It felt like a few minutes of pushing (really 45) and really only one moment of doubt when I was convinced her head was out and it wasn’t. But with those last few pushes and she was here. In one quick movement the midwife caught her, Michael was holding my hands, telling me how strong I was, the nurse helped me into bed and this squishy little baby was on my chest. At 1:08 in the afternoon our little lady was born.
I felt like a rock star. I was on top of the world. I was indeed made to do this. Ina May was right! We were skin to skin for the first hour or so. I had such beautiful ideas of what this would be like, pure bliss, right? Well, she screamed the whole time. All I could do was laugh at her. She nursed a little, I got to see a little “breast-crawl” (google that- it’s amazing). But mostly she screamed. I delivered my placenta, and the midwife and nurse marveled at it (does it get crunchier?!). I was amazed at how cool they thought it was, and it did look like a tree, just like they said, that I made Michael take a picture of it.
We hung around the birth center for the next 12 hours (policy because I was GBS+). We had family and a few friends come visit. And we feasted on Chipotle for dinner. And around 1 am we left to go home. And just like that, we were parents.
I was truly blessed by Juniper’s birth. I know not every woman gets the birth she dreams of so I feel especially smiled upon.
Oh and I have barely any pictures of labor or after, we were so consumed, taking pictures was the last thing we were thinking about. But Michael did grab this beautiful shot and it is one of my favorites!