That’s how I explained my first birth, too. Not painful, just intense, hard work. This time was too and even though it was similar it wasn’t even close to the same.
7 hours from start to finish, I barely had time to process what was happening. My contractions went from 6 minutes to 5 minutes to 4, 3, 2, in no time. Had my midwives not prepped me for such a fast delivery I am not sure I would have known to call them in time. As it was, they only made it with an hour and a half to spare.
My birth photographer made it first, after a 30 second phone call that had me exclaiming my love for her all over again. “It’s time? I’m on my way.” The birth pool didn’t even have enough water to make a dent and the contractions were about 4 minutes apart. Hub started boiling water on the stove and I couldn’t get the image of the birth tub falling through the floor of our second story apartment out of my head. If I had the spare energy to laugh at that point, I would have. Even the little bit of water we were able to get into the tub was a relief though, and I was grateful for it.
The rest of my labor was pretty typical, contractions got closer together, my midwives came in, and everyone was quiet and calm exactly like I had wanted. When things started to pick up Emi woke up and though I had wanted her to be there for the birth I was worried that it would be too much for her. Emi was amazing. She rubbed my back when her dad did, she stayed calm and quiet and inquisitive. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.
When it came time to push for Emi, I had no choice. My body took over and all I could do was work with them. I was on my feet, I leaned into Ross, and I let my body do its thing. But now the exhaustion was over whelming. Each time I started to feel the urge to push, it’d pass just as fast. I knew instinctively that I was in the wrong position to have this baby, but I couldn’t find the ability to communicate it with anyone or to move myself. After a few pushes my midwife asked to check me and realized I had a small lip of cervix. She asked me to change positions and if I would be ok with them holding back the lip while I pushed. I was so grateful to move, even though I ended up supporting my entire body with just my arms while I pushed her head out. I know I screamed, I know I screamed a lot of obscenities, I just don’t remember what exactly. “Get OUT of me!” definitely came out of my mouth a few times. After a few pushes her head was out (along with a nuchal hand) and I had to flip back to my hands and knees to give her body enough opening to emerge.
I cried. Hub cried. It HURT, but it was so fast and then my midwife was telling me to reach down and grab my baby. I pulled her out of the water and was so relieved that it was all over. When we got settled into a seated position I finally got to check on the one detail I had been so scared over, “Oh thank God, she’s a girl!”
I barely bled. I didn’t tear. I got to spend as much time skin to skin as I wanted and Ella got to stay attached to her placenta and get all of the benefits Emi didn’t get much of thanks to my hemorrhage the first time around. It was a very redeeming experience for me and I am so glad I have these pictures to remember every moment.
(All photos taken by Erika Ray Photography)