On Thursday, July 20th I sat in my office at work looking around feeling super anxious and ready for Giselle to be here. I was 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I had contractions come and go but they would always subside. I was staying super active. I was taking the stairs to see my patients, walking on my lunch break, squatting, drinking raspberry tea, taking my primrose oil capsules, along with other things to naturally induce labor. I was just ready. My work was caught up. My desk was neat. I called my doctor to see if she could see me cause I just knew that my body was progressing. I went to my appointment excited to hear what she had to say. I was 2 cm dilated and almost fully effaced. I was disappointed at the 2 cm cause I was 2 cm at my last appointment. However, she said that she could feel my water “bulging” and that my water could break at any moment. She said to keep walking and squatting. Now we were talking! I was ecstatic. I got back to work and told my coworker. I remember telling her that I probably shouldn’t even come to work the next day cause it was a Friday and I knew I was going to go into labor that weekend. I remember her laughing and telling me that I was just looking for an excuse not to go to work and that I was still going to be pregnant that Monday! (the nerve of her haha)
After work, I went home and made sure everything was ready for when the time came. My hospital bag was ready and Giselle’s bag was ready. I then went to get my eyebrows done and for some reason, I did my hair and a face mask when I got home. After I was done pampering myself, I must have done everything you could imagine to naturally induce my labor. Later on that evening, I finally started resting while watching tv. I then started feeling small contractions around 10:50 pm. I decided to start timing them. They were lasting about a minute and happening every 5 minutes.
I was so excited because they weren’t subsiding and they were getting more painful. My plan was to labor at home the longest I could. I started bouncing on the ball and drinking water. My mom was working and Giselle’s dad was on his way to work. I decided to get everything ready and not get anybody excited because they weren’t getting more painful but they were becoming more and more frequent. I then started picking out what to wear to the hospital. I hadn’t thought about this! I had everything ready. However, what do I wear to the hospital?! The contractions were getting more frequent but for some reason, I didn’t think they were painful enough just yet. I texted my doula to give her a heads up.
At almost 12 am, my contractions were lasting a little over a minute and occurring about every 3 minutes. I decided because of their frequency I needed to start heading out. I finally got to make the call I had been dying to make. I called my mom to come pick me up and take me to the hospital. My mom was on her way back from work so I had a little more time to labor at home. After midnight, my contractions were about 2 minutes apart and lasting about a minute. I remember texting my best friend and Giselle’s dad to let them know I was on my way to the hospital.
At around 1 am, I got to the hospital and walked to the elevator through the emergency room as I proudly refused to get in a wheelchair. They checked me and told me I was only 3 cm dilated. They told me they wouldn’t admit me unless I was at either 6 cm or progressing quickly. They suggested I go walk around. My contractions were not more than 2 minutes apart. I couldn’t walk. I stepped out of the room into their lobby and kneeled onto a chair. I’d get up and try to walk but with the contractions so close together it seemed impossible. I knew I was in labor. I remember seeing another woman walking nonchalantly making jokes with her boyfriend and thinking to myself, “I have to be in labor, I am in so much pain compared to her.” Sure enough not even 10 minutes in the attempt to walk I called the nurse and requested a birth ball. I went back into the room to use the ball. The nurse came in and saw my face and how distressed I was and she decided to check me. At 2:15 am, I was now 4 cm and needed to be admitted because I was progressing! I was in labor!
I remember telling the nurse about my birth plan and how I didn’t want an epidural and I had requested to not be hooked onto anything. The nurses were completely supportive of all my wishes. I will forever be grateful for that. Not once did they question my wants nor offer me the epidural. I had no iv fluids, just the hemlock. I also had no continuous fetal baby monitoring. They would just monitor the baby for 10 minutes every hour. You can read all about what I had on my birth plan and why here.
By 3:45 am, my amazing doula, Mischa Berg, had arrived and I was already between 5 and 6 cm. I was laboring near the bed. Leaning on the bed and moving my hips from side to side seemed to help with the pain. When the pain became too much, I labored in the shower with hot water. That felt amazing. My doula did pressure points on me as well and that helped a lot with my pain. I remember getting strong pain in my inner thighs. My doula helped me stay grounded and kept assuring me that I was doing a great job. I don’t regret reaching out and getting a doula. I highly recommend it & recommend her! At 7 am my doctor offered to break my water. Remember how it was supposed to break at any moment? Haha….about that. I declined because I wanted no interventions and I felt I was progressing just fine.
By 7:40 am, I was 7-8 cm and baby was at zero station. The contractions were so intense at this point. I was getting anxious. I was squatting and bouncing on the ball. Then 8:35 am came around. I was at 9.5 cm!!!! My water had not broken yet. This is where the pain was crazy. I now wanted nothing. I remember having the urge to run. It’s so odd. I also wanted my mom’s support more than ever. I knew nobody in that room understood what I was going through more than her. I remember reaching out to hold her hand. I started complaining as my contractions weren’t giving me a break and now seemed to be overlapping. I was in constant pain.
At 9:25 am I had a cervical rim only. My water still hadn’t broken!!! I couldn’t believe I was stuck in the most intense part of labor. I, however, refused to panic. I still moved a lot and prayed as well. I was in my zone. I was not speaking to anybody. I was just listening to my body. I remember reading so much about hypnobabies and I then started to imagine myself floating on a pool. Sidenote: I am not this person who’s in one with nature and the universe and has deep thoughts or whatnot. However, this helped me relax so much! I then decided that I wanted my water broken. The doctor came and broke my water and then I continued to labor.
Soon, I started to feel the urge to push. I kept squatting to ease it. I begged the nurse to come check me. I waited for her to check me; I just knew it was almost time. This cervical check was different. After all the other cervical checks she gave me an update along with some affirmations. This time, she finished the cervical check and grabbed the phone and called the doctor to come in. I remember just staring at her in awe. She then told me to get on the bed and started pulling out the squat bar. I was in shock. I remember just thinking to myself, “this is it; you are going to meet your daughter.” It was time to push!
I quickly, got as comfortable as I could in that bed as the nurse told me to push while she counts to 10 whenever I have my next contraction. At 10:10 am I started pushing. I remember feeling the so talked about “ring of fire.” Everyone kept telling me that she was almost out. I then pushed again. The doctor yelled at me to stop pushing and I couldn’t. My body would not stop pushing! With only 14 minutes of pushing, Giselle made her grand entrance. I remember yelling to see if she was okay. I remember hearing her cry for the first time and the first moment they put her on my chest. I couldn’t stop staring at her tiny feet that had kicked me so much the past few months.
At this moment, I felt so happy and so blessed. The “birth high” that people talk about is very real. The pain went away the moment she was born. We waited for the cord to stop pulsing and then her daddy came over and cut it nervously. She spent her first hour on this earth on my chest. I breastfed her for the first time. I was in shock how she just knew what to do. The next couple of hours consisted of pure joy. I had such an easy recovery. Since I didn’t have an epidural I was walking within the first hour. I do remember my legs being super sore after standing up during the labor.
I honestly just felt like superwoman. I will forever be grateful for this smooth labor & birth. I will forever be grateful for both of our health and for the experience overall. I believe this experience taught me a lot regarding faith and about trusting and listening to my body. I believe the reason everything went so smooth for me had to do a lot with my thoughts and with my prayers. I had friends and family who would warn me about things that could happen. They would tell me these things in an educational way; not with intentions of harming me or getting me worried. As cliché as it may sound, I would just cancel them. Somebody would say, “maybe you’ll need to get induced.” My response would be, “No, I’m not going to need to get induced.” I hated when people would tell me that a natural birth would hurt. I remained very positive and would cancel anything negative. I learned from Ina May that, “we are the only species of mammals that can doubt it’s capacity to give birth.” I believe God made my body in a perfect manner to give birth to my princess however it was that he had planned. After all, I was the chosen one to be Giselle’s mommy. His plan was perfect.