COMMUNITY & RESOURCES FOR NEW & EXPECTING MAMAS!
Sarah F. shares her birth story of bringing her baby girl, Ava, into the world! You can read more from Sarah on her blog, Nectar & Hive, and follow her on Instagram @sarahfreeman_. Interested in sharing your birth story or journey to motherhood with our readers? Every birth story is different & we’d love to hear from you! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Thank you, Sarah!
Finally, after almost 9 weeks I have found a quiet moment to sit down and share sweet little Ava Louise’s birth story. Birth was nothing like I had imagined, and yet everything I had hoped it would be at the same time. It was filled with moments of empowerment, anxiety, joy, and bursts of fear all bundled into what I consider to be one of the greatest experiences of my life.
I knew going into pregnancy that I wanted as little intervention during pregnancy and birth as possible. With this desire, I learned quickly that it would require months of physical and mental preparation to ensure mind, body and baby would be ready and able to stick as closely to my birth plan as possible. Like so many pregnant women, I made sure to incorporate a good prenatal vitamin, along with a healthy and clean diet as much as I possibly could (cravings are real people).
I visited a chiropractor that specialized in pregnancy, as well as an acupuncturist and dabbled in the occasional prenatal yoga class. On top of this, I deep dived into so many great books, surrounding myself with positive birth stories, educating myself with different coping mechanisms, and learning how my partner could assist me in different ways during labor. I also strived to have a great birth team, hiring a doula and midwife to support me early in pregnancy, at birth and postpartum.
I woke up on Sunday, January 21st at around 4am, one day before sweet babies estimated arrival date. I had slept pretty well, one of the better nights of sleep that I had had in a few weeks. I felt different. I remember feeling like today was the day. I was experiencing a slight sensation in my lower stomach that was happening every 10-15 minutes. I turned to my husband and said “I think this is it, I think today is the day.”
I drew a bath, and turned on some of my favorite relaxation music which I of course had already saved to a birth playlist on my phone, OCD much? We took our time getting ready that morning, as things stayed pretty steady at 10 minutes for a couple hours. It felt pretty crazy thinking that this could be the last morning we woke up just the two of us.
I rang my midwife at about 8am. At this point, the sensations had shifted from subtle to noticeable. “Lets have a baby today” she said jokingly. We promised to keep each other in the loop and she instructed me to rest as much as possible and stay hydrated. As my overactive brain started to swarm with omg’s and holy shits, I reminded myself to stay as chill as possible and to trust in the process.
Then, things started to move fast. The next time we talked to my midwife I was in and out of the shower. The warm water was the only thing that seemed enjoyable to me at the time. My husband had to answer and let her know that things had gotten more intense. It was about 10am at this point, and I was either showering, on all fours on the bed, or bracing myself against the walls of the hallway, shit was happening and it was intense.
Through all the books I had read, “you can do anything for 1 minute” was etched into my soul at this point. My husband had a timer going and would remind me that I was halfway through each contraction, which really was my saving grace. “I can do anything for 1 minute” I kept repeating to myself over and over. The wave would pass, I would stand upright, take a breath and continue packing our bag of clothes for the birth center.
Around 11:30 we headed to the birthing inn where we met my doula in the parking lot. Being that it was a Sunday, the facility was closed so we labored in the parking lot for a bit, walking around until my midwife arrived shortly after to let us in. Upon our arrival she checked me to let me know I was a little over 7cm dilated. I was elated. I had made it so much further then I had thought. I knew not to get caught up on the number itself and felt empowered to continue.
We spent the next few hours, climbing stairs, walking the courtyard outside and showering. My husband and doula were with me the entire time. Applying pressure to my back, cool washcloths to my forehead and at times supporting my entire body as I became fatigued. The transition phase that so many people reference in their birth stories is definitely real. You reach this moment of “I can’t do it anymore” and I don’t know if it stems from sheer exhaustion your body is experiencing near the end, or fear creeping up that you are about to birth you baby. Regardless, I had gotten back into the birthing tub and felt the sensation to push.
My midwife had broken my water after we decided the benefit of doing so outweighed the risk, and it definitely moved things along. I looked up at everyone surrounding the tub, repeating that I couldn’t do it anymore, I was done, it wasn’t going to happen, only to be reminded by my doula that I already was doing it, I was so close and had made it to the end. It felt like an out of body experience, my mind was just along for the ride as my body did all the work. It knew when to push and for how long and I tried to quiet my mind as much as possible to allow it to do its thing. While I quieted my mind, I certainly wasn’t able to quiet the primal and guttural noises the body chooses to make. I remember a moment where I heard myself and was like holy shit what is happening to me!?!
I spent the next 50 minutes pushing and 12 hours after labor had started that morning, we welcomed Ava Louise Freeman to the world. Weighing a heathy 9.5lbs and 21 inches in length, she arrived right on time and in the exact way I had wished her too.
I have never respected or appreciated my body as much as I do now. It is incredible what a woman’s body is capable of if we trust her and give her all the tools she needs. I was able to deliver Ava without any intervention and give credit to the months I spent preparing and nourishing both my body and my mind for the marathon of childbirth. No matter what your birth “plan” might be, or if you choose to not have a plan in any way, believe in yourself as a woman and how strong and powerful you are, know how willing and able your body is to perform for you and trust in the magic and wonder of bringing your baby into the world, you won’t regret it.