Wow its been a while. I’ve missed the blog so much! I’ve been soaking in all the newborn yumminess since I birthed a beautiful baby girl last month. Summer June was born in the water on May 24th at 2:02am. And I finally feel ready to write her incredible birth story. It’s taken me a while to process! I can already feel the tears in my eyes. Her birth was so intense. The most intense experience of my life and I thought I was prepared but I don’t think anything could have prepared me for it. I just had to go through the experience and come out on the other side as a new person. Here goes.
Saturday afternoon around 2pm:
On this day I was 40 weeks and 6 days. I had felt crampy and nauseous with mild contractions starting around 38 weeks but those were my only symptoms until this day. I went pee and while wiping felt something strange. Almost jelly-like. I looked at the toilet paper and it was my mucus plug. It was just a clear glob of jelly… that’s the best way I can describe it. I got SO excited and was smiling ear to ear. I thought my labor would start any minute LOL. Shortly after, I did start experiencing more intense contractions so I really thought “this could be it”. I think most pregnant ladies have wishful thinking, especially at almost 41 weeks… so I showered and started preparing all the snacks and coffee for the midwives. Then I talked to my mom while bouncing on my birthing ball and watching Sleeping With the Enemy (so good) but shortly after, the contractions completely stopped. And nothing happened the rest of the night.
Let me back up a bit. Once I hit 40 weeks I wanted to start trying some things to move it along. I don’t necessarily think these things work. Ultimately it is up to the universe when your baby wants to come! But again, pregnant ladies have wishful thinking. Just let them try whatever they want because it’s all they can think about. They’re way too excited to wait any longer, at least I was. So, all week I ate so many dates (I started that around 34 weeks tho), I bounced on my birthing ball for hours a day, did labor inducing Youtube videos, drank red raspberry leaf tea, pumped, went to the chiropractor, had sex, ate spicy food, took evening primrose oil (and stuck it up there too), ate a whole pineapple (and the core which supposedly is the most important part), and probably tried more old wives tales that I’m forgetting at the moment. So… after a whole week of trying these things to then lose my mucus plug, I was so happy! Things were moving along! But then everything halted.
Sunday morning – 11:00am
The next morning I woke up feeling SO off and anxious. Almost like I was getting sick. On this day I was 41 weeks. I was down in the dumps and I know exactly why. Because I was putting pressure on myself. Everyone was texting and calling and asking for updates because they were excited. But I was going crazy!!!! Because nothing was really happening and I was so sick of saying “nothing yet”. I was losing patience. I also did not want to get induced which could happen at the end of the week. My midwives let you go to 42 weeks and then I think you need to be induced (at least in Illinois). Not to mention the fact that I wanted her here so badly. I was SO READY. My belly was exploding. I was in pain and nauseous. I couldn’t sleep anymore. I was wondering what was going to happen??! When would she come? I did NOT want to go to the hospital to be induced. I couldn’t take the suspense. I was losing it. You know how it goes.
All week I had been toying with the idea of drinking a castor oil milkshake. I know what you’re thinking. What! That sounds dangerous and disgusting. It’s really not though… I mean, I know we are all different and could all have different experiences with castor oil but it is known as a “natural induction” in the midwifery world. It’s all I could think about between 9 and 11am that morning. Terry had been out fishing since 6am so I was alone with my wavering thoughts. I had so much anxiety so I just said f it, I’m going to try it. It probably won’t work anyway, you know? I was so negative nancy because I wasn’t feeling good and had lost all hope that she would come naturally. I just had to try something. Maybe next time I will have more patience.
So I made a delicious vegan milkshake with frozen banana, dates, cacao powder, full-fat coconut milk, vegan chocolate protein powder and 2 tablespoons castor oil. It was sweet and chocolate-y and made me happy. No, you do not taste the castor oil. I knew it was important to include protein and fat and make a meal out of it so it wouldn’t go right through me. Too many people drink castor oil plain and then end up on the toilet for the rest of the day but that was not my experience at all! I did not experience vomiting or diarrhea.
Within 2 hours of drinking the milkshake, I knew in my bones that things were happening. I started getting intense contractions that were 2 minutes apart. And then I started to freak out. This was so confusing? It’s almost as if I skipped early labor? Who starts labor with contractions that are 2 minutes apart?! Lol um… me. I had no time to think or gather my thoughts. I also think this is why I was not able to get on top of my breathing because it came on so quick. The castor oil really worked.
By this time it was maybe 2pm and Terry was outside watering our flowers. He said as soon as I opened the door and called his name, he could tell in my voice that it was time. I told him he needed to start filling the birthing pool ASAP, and he needed to call our doula. She was hesitant to come so soon but after listening to me go through a couple contractions on the phone, she was on her way. This made me really emotional for some reason! Like this was really it, my doula was coming to help me birth my baby and I was in shock. She did mention you often skip early labor after taking castor oil… which I was not aware of. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing? Either way, I didn’t have time to think about it because baby girl was coming and this is how it was meant to go.
My doula arrived around this time. I was already in the birthing pool and my water broke because I felt it shoot out of me. Now I really don’t want to scare anyone because we all have different birth experiences but I am going to be completely honest in this blog post. Full transparency. I was not prepared for the excruciating pain. Looking back, I now know why it was so painful, which I will explain later. But if it wasn’t for my doula, I would NOT have made it through. I’m not kidding. She had to remind me to breathe and drop my shoulders for 12 hours straight. I KEPT FORGETTING. Again, I could hardly stay on top of these intense contractions. All the hypnobirthing tracks and meditations and breathing exercises went out the window. I forgot everything. So my doula (Heather) was an angel from heaven. Of course Terry was helpful and right by my side too, but he let our doula lead me through this.
Before I go further, let me set the scene because it most definitely was my dream birth scenario – at home with a birthing tub that had the most perfect temperature, surrounded by fairy lights, a crisp and rainy spring night, a Sunday afternoon into early Monday morning, calm music playing, dim lights… the scene and atmosphere were perfect, couldn’t have been better. But I still find myself jealous of others birth experiences… people who pushed their baby out in 20 minutes. People who had a “painless” birth experience and their baby just “fell” out of them. People who smiled or laughed during birth. Why do I find myself jealous? I think I’m still processing my experience and that’s okay. For whatever reason, I was meant to go through it how I did. And it was beautiful, don’t get me wrong! So I’m not exactly sure where the jealousy comes into play.
Birth is a wild and animalistic experience. All shame goes out the window. By the time the 2 midwives arrived (they come later), I was butt naked and still in the birthing pool. Just getting through each contraction, one by one, my doula holding my hands throughout it all. I had my eyes closed for most of my labor because I needed to focus. I was in excruciating pain, like an out of body experience that I did not expect. The cramping was beyond!!! The contractions would take my breath away!! At this point they checked me and I was 8cm but they didn’t tell me this until after. I really respected my midwives and doula because they gave me direction while letting my body do its thing. They never forced me to push and never told me how far along I was which I appreciate, after the fact.
By this time, I was 10 cm but again, they didn’t tell me. Things had sort of stalled for the next 3 hours. I was stuck at 10 cm for a while because her hand was stuck up by her face which we didn’t know at the time. I think she had a really difficult time rotating down through my pelvis, she was actually born with a lesion on the back of her head which they said was from her head scraping on my pelvis 🙁 this was heartbreaking to hear. But it explains why it was so damn hard. Funny because she often sleeps like this now, with her hand up on her face, so sweet! I was pushing with all my might for hours upon hours and was starting to wonder what I was doing wrong? Why was this so effing hard? Why was it taking so long? How much longer could I be in this much pain? Why do they keep making me drink sugary drinks that I hate? (lol to keep my energy up, I know). But the sugar was making me feel sick. And when was I going to meet my baby girl??? At this point I had already labored in the tub, on our bed, on the kitchen floor, in the hallway, on the toilet… I had tried it all and every position that exists, too. I was open to try anything. ANYTHING to get her out of me and end this pain.
Because things had stalled, my midwife wanted me to do some stairs and walk outside. It was probably 11 or midnight by now. Walking was extremely painful because I could feel her head in between my legs and I had to waddle. Plus, I had to stop every 30 seconds or so to ride the excruciating wave of a contraction. Going down the stairs was the worst part but getting some fresh air outside was a nice change of pace, despite being in agony. There was a chill in the air. It was so foggy and our backyard was pitch black. I was having contractions while clinging onto a huge tree. Talk about grounding! I still had my eyes closed the entire time though. I’m sure it was quite the scene for our neighbors LOL. Me in a robe walking around our backyard late on a Sunday night with my eyes closed, with Terry, our doula, 2 midwives and Taz. But it’s a moment I will never forget. And I will never look at that tree the same.
If i was at the hospital, I’m 100% certain my birth would have ended in a different way because of her hand and how long it was taking… probably c-section or forceps, not that there is anything wrong with those endings, but I really wanted to birth her naturally on my own.
After being outside, we decided it was time to get back in the birthing tub and see if that would offer me some relief. Husband to the rescue. The water temperature in the tub has to be absolutely perfect for baby to be born into. Not too hot and not too cold. So Terry was a rock star dad and was taking enormous buckets of water out of the tub so they could refill it through the hose that was attached to the shower head with the perfect temperature of water. It took him a long while… he probably went back and forth from the tub to the bathroom for an hour honestly. I was in the tub throughout all of this though and I had no idea what was going on behind me. By the way, the midwives check baby’s heart rate every 20 or 30 minutes and it was always perfect!
It was probably 1:30am by now, I was in my own dreamland, falling asleep in between contractions and knowing I was getting close because her head was starting to crown. It definitely started to feel like a burning ring of fire… like your vag is going to split open. Ouch. Sorry but it’s true. After what felt like an eternity, her head popped out with her hand!!! FINALLY. THANK YOU JESUS. I felt so much relief and wanted to cry.
I will never forget what my midwife said next: “On the next push, you are going to meet your baby girl”.
I couldn’t believe it. I had (almost) done it. Everyone went quiet. The room was still. We were all waiting for the next contraction but I had some time to breathe in between. I think nature does this on purpose, gives you a moment to catch your breath before your life changes forever. I went inward and just sat with my thoughts. I was holding Terry’s hands and cuddling into him. I knew everything was about to change and my midwife was right, on the next contraction I experienced the fetal ejection reflex and Summer flew out of me into the water that was the perfect temperature. She was born at 2:02am. This was the easiest “push” I had experienced. I scooped her up and sat back onto the edge of the birthing pool. Terry came over and leaned into us. We cried tears of happiness. A happiness I had never experienced before! I DID IT. I freaking did it. Not going to lie, I felt like such a rebel and a fighter. I can literally do anything and take on anything the world throws at me. I had to prove to myself that I could do this. And I did just that, and then some. This experience was for me and my baby girl, and no one else.
Summer June has my whole heart. She is the sweetest little thing and I can’t get over it! I can’t believe we have a baby girl. Maybe I will do another post talking about my postpartum experience and how that is going but I want her birth story to be on it’s own, as it is. I hope you enjoyed reading!! I will cherish this experience for eternity.
Love you all.