The night I went into labor…
Rob and I had some nice Greek food and finished up some last minute “baby errands.” When you’re 38 weeks pregnant you know that the baby could come any minute now so you try to use your free time to get things done around the house.
When we got home I decided to wash and blow dry my hair and paint my nails (I rarely do this but I felt the need to pamper myself in case I went into labor.) It was the night before the Supermoon and lunar eclipse and I knew my body was going to feel the affects of the moon. Looking back now the pampering myself should have been my sign that something was bound to happen that night.
Rob and I went to bed around midnight.
For the first time in a long time I drifted into a deep, restful sleep. “Baby is not coming tonight. Let me rest up while I can,” I thought. Boy was I wrong. Exactly an hour later at 1 a.m., I felt a pop in my lower abdomen right under my belly button and a cramp. I sat straight up in bed and felt a gush of water. “Grab the bags,” I said to Rob, “My water just broke.” He asked if I was sure and I said I absolutely knew it was my water. What no one tells you though is its nothing like the movies and my water continued to leak as we made our way to the hospital. In fact it soaked right through my pants and I was drenched by the time we got there.
Once at the hospital I was so desperate to get in our birthing tub…
But unfortunately I had to spend the next 4 hours being monitored and strapped to a hospital bed. The contractions were coming without much rhythm – first every 7 minutes, then 10, then 5. Almost whenever they wanted. The pain was intense and especially since I just had to lay there. I wanted to be in the water or walking about. Thankfully Rob was by my side the entire time, holding my hand and breathing with me. I really couldn’t have found someone who was more supportive. He was exhausted and hungry too but he stayed by my side.
Eventually after hours pain (by the way, my yoga breathing was not helping!) I asked for the drugs. I had wanted to do natural but the pain was just getting to me – my doula didn’t arrive for another 4 hours. So they gave me Stradol, it’s a strong narcotic similar to morphine. But that didn’t help the pain go away I still felt every contraction just not as intensely. I was high as a kite though and completely hallucinating. If I could do it again I would not have taken the drug.
After 4 hours on the drug my doula arrived.
I was finally allowed in the tub. Look at my face! I was in complete ecstasy. The water was warm and it helped lift my uterus every contraction in the water felt less intense than on the bed. In the water I was meditating and singing and just loving it. Even my doctor commented about how relaxed I was and how he was jealous I was in the hot tub. I felt closer to my baby than ever before. I knew he or she would be here soon and I felt myself getting closer to pushing. Susy Foltz, my doula, was such a Godsend. She was rubbing essential oils on me, encouraging me to express myself and sing, and doing Reiki on my back and abdomen. But most of all she taught me how to breathe! In labor you should use a Kundalini yoga breath – four quick inhales in, hold the breath, and then four quick exhales out. This breathing really helped with each contraction. Susy brought my family together. She had me, my mother, and Rob all breathing in unison and holding my hands. I felt so supported and encouraged. Through the pain, I could understand the purpose of labor. As a woman you must push through the pain, rise above it and see the truth of your strength. You are so much stronger than you believe!
So after 13 hours I thought I would be closer to meeting my baby. The problem was my cervix didn’t get the memo! Yes, after 13 hours of labor I was still only 3cm dilated! I had to make a tough decision next because I realized that my contractions were still sporadic and my cervix was dilating very slow. I was exhausted and as much as I wanted a natural birth I didn’t know if I could do this for over 24 hours. The nurse said something beautiful to me. She said “I see girls come in here with birth plans all the time but life doesn’t go according to plan. If you decide to take the epidural, know that you don’t always have to follow a plan and you don’t have to feel guilty about it.” I really needed someone to say that to me. Those last words really hit home: “you don’t have to feel guilty.”
So I decided to take the epidural. I knew that meant giving up my dream of a water birth but at the same time I had to listen to my intuition and my intuition was saying, you need rest! With the epidural I was finally able to sleep. After 13 hours with no sleep, no food, and no water I was completed depleted. Within an hour and a half on the epidural I had dilated from 3 cm to 10 cm. I was ready to push! An hour and a half of pushing and my beautiful daughter Mishka came into the world.
She arrived just 4 hours before the Supermoon and lunar eclipse.When they handed her to me I kissed her and cried tears of joy. I have never felt love like I did when I held her in my arms.
She’s such an absolute angel…
I wouldn’t trade any of those 17 hours for the world because they showed me just how strong I am and brought me into the realm of motherhood. And to see Rob hold Mishka in his arms was just the most amazing thing. I have never seen Rob so happy in my life.
Now as I lay here with her in my arms, I am so in awe of the power of women- that power we all possess to labor and deliver and breast feed and nurture. We are complete goddesses! Life truly is miraculous. And to all the mothers and mothers to be out there. You can do it!
Thank you to Susy Foltz for all the photography and for being an amazing Doula. And thank you to my mother and husband for their on going support.