“May 19th, Brandon and I woke up and decided to surrender to the waiting game and set aside the many efforts we were making to encourage baby to come. We decided to take it easy and start by heading to brunch. On the way, I started experiencing nauseousness. By the time we got home, I had a full-blown headache, increased nauseousness, and blurry vision. After having my blood pressure checked and realizing it was sky high we called my midwife who advised us to go to triage to be checked for preeclampsia. I felt nervous and scared but tried to remain hopeful. Unfortunately, I tested positive for preeclampsia and in that moment felt the walls close in and crash around the birth I had envisioned and hoped for at the birthing center. My pregnancy was no longer low-risk and was now high-risk and required being induced by my worse fear- the dreaded Pitocin. I was mad, scared, and disappointed. I’m grateful though that I experienced this emotional rollercoaster before active labor instead of during. Labor and delivery is such a mental game and outside emotions just add to the difficulty to stay focused. Around 5 pm we started Pitocin. Also, this was about the time our incredible doula, Michelle Baur, came. I truly do not know what I would have done without her support and encouragement. We spent the next several hours talking and passing the time.
I was very cautious with how often I increased the Pitocin drip as I wasn’t sure how my body would respond and was still determined to have a natural delivery with no pain medication. At 11 pm pressure waves started. I was excited to finally be feeling consistent waves as it was a reminder we’d have our precious girl in our arms soon.
Unlike Ayelet’s birth, this one took every ounce of me. It was intense, grueling, and emotional. Time melted away while also standing still. Each wave becoming more intense. Each wave feeling as though it was pulling me under until just my mouth was above the water gasping for air and finding relief before being pulled under. My legs felt so incredibly weak as I would squat as low as I could to open up and let baby drop. They would shake and tremble as my hands would grip the wall in front of me. I cried out begging for counter-pressure on my lower back until the pressure would pass.
Around 6 am I was just straight up mad. I felt weak, tired, frustrated and honestly wanted to give up. I told Michelle (my doula) I couldn’t do it. I didn’t care what she thought I could do, I was telling her I was done. At some point, she came into the bathroom with me and looked me in the eyes with so much sincerity and told me it was time to be strong. This moment has been etched in my mind and I’m grateful Melissa got a picture of it!
It truly felt like when the rudder on a boat begins to try and turn the ship. It takes time to change its trajectory but eventually the ship turns and it moves full force ahead in its new direction. I am so thankful she kept pushing me. Once I mentally decided I was all in she and Brandon filled me up with Gatorade and I pushed through the next 4 hours, riding each wave with determination and surrender while questioning my decision to go forward with no intervention. At this point, I knew I was beyond getting any epidural or assistance. It was just me, my body, and what felt like a giant baby that didn’t want to budge!
What I think was 10:20 am came around and I was fully dilated and effaced. I wanted to start pushing. Baby wasn’t ready yet though. I tried but she wasn’t descending as much as I wanted her to and the pressure in my back was still too much to handle sitting down or lying back. My instincts forced me to stand and squat.
Some point soon after I said, “I just want this baby out!” I felt like she was close but I also felt like I needed gravity to do the rest because my legs were so exhausted at this point I literally couldn’t stand. I held on to Brandon’s shoulders and let my legs go, hanging on his frame and gripping his back (he definitely was bruised at the end of it all).
Finally, I felt the “ring of fire” which I would like to rename the “tunnel of fire” phew! I gave a deep push and we heard a pop! My water finally broke. So thankful it stayed intact up until this point! Definitely an incredible blessing to absorb some of the discomforts of those pressure waves! I gave another deep push and her head started to crown. Michelle and Melissa let the nurses know what was happening and I swear in a matter of minutes the room was full with nurses and the midwife.
The nurse told me to get onto the bed and I honestly wasn’t sure if I could. Once on the bed, I was just ready to be done. I was so close. I pushed a few more times and her head came out. Sweet relief!
Another few pushes and out came her body.
It’s in this moment I was reminded why I chose natural. Not because I think it’s the only way but because for me I love the rush once it’s all done. The reward is so sweet and the payoff is unlike any other. I laid down on the bed, giving my legs a much-deserved rest and held my 9lb 1oz 22in long butterball. Every detail about her perfect and unique. All the pain and discomfort worth it. Sweet, sweet victory.
At the beginning of my birthing process, I felt like my body had betrayed me. At the end of my birth, I felt like my body served me and empowered me beyond what I could have imagined. Being induced by Pitocin was my biggest fear. To have conquered that fear while laboring and managing my pain unmedicated the way I deeply desired affirmed in me the strength I often forget about. This baby will forever be a tangible reminder to me that even if things don’t go as planned, I am strong, capable, and brave enough to handle it.”
I got to witness such strength, determination, and love with this family! Thank you, Alexis, for trusting me to capture it all and for sharing your story!
If you are interested in having your little one’s birth day captured, I would love to chat!