Ayla Grace was born at 1:44am Thursday morning weighing 8lb 1oz. Wednesday morning (40 weeks 2 days) we met with our Midwife and opted for her to go ahead and check dilation and placement for the first time. I was only 1cm dilated but I was completely effaced and at +1 position. Ayla had also rotated out of posterior position (I had been doing lots of pelvic tilts)! I had my midwife go ahead and sweep my membrane and she told us she thought there was a good chance we would have her before 42 weeks but she couldn’t promise anything. She did tell us that once I went into labor that I should head to the hospital instead of hanging out at home because she thought my labor would go fast. This was based on how low Ayla already was in the pelvis and because I was completely effaced.
We headed home for the day. I had mild cramping for most of the day like I had been having on and off for a couple weeks but nothing else. At around 9:10pm I had my first contraction and told Josh maybe we should try to get some rest just in case I was going to go into labor the next day. Within 3 minutes I had another contraction and decided to start timing them and try to move around instead of getting in bed. By 9:30pm Josh went ahead and texted Rachel (we were blessed to have her as our doula) because contractions had consistently lasted 30-45 seconds and were 2.5 minutes apart for 20minutes. I was still in denial and hadn’t wanted to text Rachel but Josh had a feeling this was the real deal and was extremely anxious we were about to have an accidental home birth. Rachel suggested we try to sleep for a bit and text her if things intensified. Not long after that contractions got really strong and had become 1.5-2min apart. At 10:00 Josh texted Rachel to go ahead and come over.
Josh hurried to pack up the car and Rachel got there by 10:20. Contractions spaced out when she first got there but not for long. At this point I was still able to talk and laugh in between contractions but during contractions I was moaning, swaying, and having a hard time relaxing. With Josh and Rachel’s urging I deciding to head to the hospital. In the car on the way there contractions started getting pretty unbearable. We got to the ER and I was really moaning during contractions and started to have Josh massage my lower back through them. I quickly lost all concern for who was watching or could hear me.
On the way to L&D I started to feel sick in the elevator and threw up twice in corner of the hallway before the nurse could grab a bag (getting it all over my shoes and Josh’s). I felt horrible for making such a mess but there was no holding it in.
They rushed to get me into triage where I changed into the clothes I had brought to labor and birth in. They hooked me up to the monitors and checked for dilation. I was 6cm and bleeding a good amount. They monitored me for 20 minutes and then quickly got me into the low intervention room. By that time I was in a lot of pain and was asking for an epidural. Rachel and Josh just kept telling me I was doing a great job and reminding me that I had wanted a natural birth and could do this. A nurse came in to try and get my hep lock in but they were having a really hard time (they had to stick me 3 times) and I was having to go to the bathroom between almost every contraction. Once they got the hep lock in I started feeling like I was going to pass out during contractions from the pain so Josh supported me from behind.
Around 11:30/11:45 Jennifer (my midwife) got there and the need to go to the bathroom had thankfully subsided. I immediately asked Jennifer for the epidural and she just laughed at me and said we didn’t even have time for one anyways. I found her casual/joking nature to actually be reassuring. A little after midnight I started feeling the urge to push. It had been hard to distinguish between the need to use the bathroom and the need to actually push at first and I was feeling a lot of fear about pushing. I got into bed and Jennifer let me do light/physiological pushing for an hour on my side but then Ayla started having lates and variables (heart rate issues). At this point they had me get on my back, hold my legs back, and lean against Josh who sat behind me. As soon as they told me they were having trouble with Ayla’s heart rate I knew I had to get over my fears and push. Once I started to actually push I felt so much better and the contraction pain lightened a lot.
My water broke just before crowning and then Ayla quickly came out with her right hand on her face. Her shoulders quickly followed and then her elbow which had be sticking out/up. I made it through crowning without tearing but tore getting her arm out (elbow out with hand on her face is still her favorite position even outside the womb). Ayla seemed almost immediately ready to nurse but we had to wait for Jennifer to deal with some heavy bleeding, stitch me, and to deal with some tissue that had gotten stuck. She nursed as soon as that was taken care of.
Words can not describe how thankful I am for my husband, doula, and midwife. I can’t imagine having had a better support team. Just hearing Rachel’s sweet voice was so calming during the whole process and I felt so safe with her and Jennifer. The Bradley classes definitely paid off because Josh was a perfect coach and knew exactly when it was go time! I also think that doing lots of squats, drinking raspberry leaf tea, eating 6 dates a day, and taking primrose oil played a huge role in my quick labor and quick recovery afterwards. I felt so amazing within 24 hours. I was really blown away! By the time we got home on Friday I felt like there was nothing I couldn’t do!
Honestly, I felt really disappointed and angry with myself for asking for the epidural so much and was really beating myself up over it after Ayla was born. I really let that steal some of my initial joy. Thankfully Jennifer assured me when I saw her that Friday that almost everyone asks and then later that weekend I was able to process everything with Rachel. Being able to talk everything through with Rachel felt amazing and left me feeling excited for my next birth experience!