It’s time for another birth story from my community. Today we hear from Taylor Boehme, with her story of the birth of her first child. Taylor writes a blog at Boehme Like Poem and you can find her on Instagram and Pinterest.
The day was emotional, unexpected and completely unforgettable.
The day was 9 days overdue.
I was an exhausted, first time mom, waiting for the exciting yet scary moment I thought I had thoroughly prepared for. Birthing classes spent with my mom (aka my doula) and my husband, notes taken, reading countless articles, experiences, you name it I did the research. I was prepared for anything.
My due date came and went… and my expectations of what birth would be like went with it.
I received phone calls and text messages daily to confirm I was still, in fact pregnant. The suspense was killing everyone and their impatience was wearing off on me.
So I danced around the living room for days, stopping only to eat Jalapeño Kettle chips. The talk of being induced was not an option, not for me anyway. I had a no meds attitude and was determined to keep my stance.
And then it happened. All these hot, greasy foods, walking, dancing, bouncing and complaining of discomfort finally brought the most glorious, yet scary day we’d all been waiting for….
This typical Sunday morning I woke up, incredibly uncomfortable and STILL incredibly large and pregnant. My sleep was less than blissful at this stage in the game, so I woke with an ugly attitude. We had plans to go over to my in-laws that early evening for spaghetti, which seemed the only thing I had to look forward to for this day. So I walked my three miles that morning, seriously contemplated taking castor oil, got dressed in the largest clothes the entire household had to offer and we headed out to our Jeep.
I lifted my leg to begin the struggle to get into the tall vehicle when I felt the liquid poor down my legs. I honestly couldn’t tell if I had peed myself or what just happened. This late in the stage, peeing at unexpected moments wasn’t entirely uncommon.
I just stood there waiting for the water to stop, as if I developed yet another unfortunate pregnancy side effect… but the water kept coming, kept streaming down my legs. I looked at my husband and said “I think my water just broke”.
Now with all the research I had done, my water breaking was one things I was sure wouldn’t happen. Not only did I read it makes labor more difficult, causing pressure to be stronger from the get go, but also typically first time moms have their water broken for them or it happens much further along in labor. So I guess I decided in my research that this wouldn’t be me.
Well, wrong again. So here comes the string of unexpected things to occur.
I waddled back into our home to find more, large, stretchy pants… tried to clean myself up and call the doctor at the same time. They told me to come in and they would do a test to confirm my water broke. I got sort of dry, though I felt disgusting, and as I tried to put on clean pants, more water came out and soaked them. This happened over and over again until finally I gave up and waddled back to our Jeep feeling soggy.
My husband brought the hospital bag and a few towels to put on the Jeep’s seat, protecting his other “baby” I suppose.
Every bump, every turn, everything on the road caused more water to come gushing out on our way to the hospital, meaning 20 minutes of taking a bath in my own body fluids. Thank you for those towels!
As we finally pulled into the parking lot, I was drenched, literally dripping and cold from being wet. I refused to sit in the wheel chair they offered simply because I was so gross and felt like they’d need to throw out the chair once I was done with it. The birthing floor we wanted was three floors up (of course) so I had a long, wet waddle ahead of me, leaving a dripping trail of water behind with every step.
Finally we got escorted to our room. They took the test and confirmed this was not just an over active bladder situation and gave me a gown to put on. At this time, I was so overwhelmed. I had brought my own gown from home but didn’t want to wear it because I was already so disgusting.
I quickly realized that the pictures I looked through on Pinterest of these beautiful moms who just birthed naturally and still look incredible, was never going to be me. I already felt raw and animal like through contractions, paying no mind to the fact that my hair was half up in a bun, half fallen out in rats, mascara running down my face from sweat and completely immodest in every way shape and form.
Here’s where being a mom truly begins. Concerned only about the task at hand and your children rather than keeping your own self together.
The nurses soon into my labor explained they would need to put an IV in my arm. I guess my research did me some good as I said no, knowing that if I had an IV then it would be easier for me to give in to pain medications offered anytime during the labor. I didn’t want any temptation.
I wanted a natural birth and an IV was simply not necessary. They explained that it was procedure. They tried to persuade me by saying that “if something when wrong then”… or “if you get dehydrated then we could”… So I said, “If I make you a deal that I promise to drink as much fluids as you ask me to, would I still need to put in an IV?” The nurse went and talked to the doctor while I finished out another contraction.
I’ll never forget the two of them talking in the hall. I was barely coherent during contractions, but I knew enough to see he was willing to let the IV thing go. He said, “I think she’s strong enough to get through this”. And that confidence my doctor had in me gave me even more strength to keep going. Now I was on to drinking my weight in cranberry juice!
My plan was to have a water birth or at least labor the majority of the time in the tub.
All my life I enjoyed taking baths as it would smooth my period cramps. So naturally I felt this would benefit me during labor. I was so very wrong, once again. I hated the tub. They tried filling it up three different times, with varying temperatures, different depths, and each time I lasted a total of two contractions max and then demanded to get out. The water seemed to make my contractions worse, never soothing me the way I had hoped.
The birthing classes talked about natural pain management options, such as swaying or humming through contractions, all of which did not help. What did help? My mom started counting with me through contractions, 1 to 26 every. single. time. This slow count was the only thing that got me through. It kept my brain focused on the fact that it would soon be over, one contraction at a time. If a contraction started and she wasn’t near me, I just started counting on my own, chanting out loud, until my husband or mom found my hand and joined in.
I don’t remember much of these 7 hours of labor. Only the constant feeling like I was about to meet my child for the first time and I was showing her from the very beginning just how incredibly strong a woman can be. We are able to go through pain so intense and yet determination allows us to endure. We are able to face fears without a tear and fight battles we know we’ll win. Birthing naturally isn’t a must in this day and age with so many options available to women. And many women say they don’t need to prove anything to anyone. That’s true. For me, it wasn’t about other people. For me, birthing naturally was about proving to myself that I could. It was about my baby, giving her the best option from the very beginning. For me, it was the only option that felt right, despite the pain. And looking back, I would not have done it any other way.
Next it came time to push. My doctors confidence in me continued as he explained that he sees less than 10% of women get this far without help. He then said I was ready to push and gave me some quick tips, all of which went through one ear and out the other. It was instinct at this point in the game.
I was there pushing for a total of two hours. Two hours of pushing is similar to torture. My doctor said, “we better see a baby soon or we’re all going to have hemorrhoids!”. Everyone laughed but me. But then my baby’s head began to crown.
She was very coherent throughout the birthing process because of my natural approach. She was not in any way drugged or sluggish. And after a large push, I begin to hear my doctor chuckle… “I love this kid! She keeps wiggling her head back and forth during contractions trying to help her mom out!” And at this moment, I was on top of the world. My baby was working with me. My baby girl was aware of her big moment and by instinct she was going to be born. Within two more pushes, that’s exactly what happened. Ironically born on Labor Day, 2016.
She came out as healthy as she could be. She had lungs that let out her first cries while in my arms. And she never stopped telling us how she felt until after her dad got to hold her in his arms. He simply started talking to her and she calmed down. The sound of his voice was comforting, familiar. That moment of quiet I will never forget. The moment when I realized my family had grown and we were a unit, the three of us, better together than apart.
This is such a beautiful story, of a woman empowered by her own research and strength. Thank you Taylor!
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