On October 9th, I awoke to what was a seemingly normal Monday. Got my 2 year old off to daycare and had plans to do some things around the house with my husband (we both had off for Columbus Day) since I was 5 days overdue with zero pending signs of labor. I was trying to remain positive that my body would naturally go into labor, but after my induction with my son I won’t lie, it was getting tough with each passing day. The doubt started to creep in.
Let’s rewind to 2015 for a second… I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes and the clear vision of a calm, natural birth was suddenly not as easily attainable. My son was born via a Cytotech induction after an 18 hour labor. I delivered med-free but I did have Stadol during my labor because the surges were so intense for so long. While I still remain proud of that delivery; It wasn’t ideal because I lost control of myself and my plan. I was left wanting a different experience with my daughter. But I had hesitations and fear that I couldn’t quite get rid of.
Back to 2017: I wanted to get the house cleaned up so I started off making my bed when all of a sudden a gush of fluid came out of me. Did I pee myself? (Wouldn’t surprise me – I was a small baby condo). So I moved to the bathroom, stood there and didn’t move when another gush came out.
“Hey honey? I think my water just broke!” Richie comes running into the bathroom with the biggest smile on his face. “Really? You’re having the baby?” “I mean, not right now…”
Truthfully? I was nervous. Water breaking was a definite good thing but I wasn’t sure that meant labor was imminent because I know for some women it doesn’t actually trigger surges so there’s a chance I’d need an induction to get things going. But even more than that? I was worried that my body WAS doing the right things and I wouldn’t be able to handle it like last time.
I called our Doula Vonda to let her know my water broke and that I wasn’t feeling anything just yet. So we were going to wait to see if any surges picked up over the next few hours. I am GBS + this pregnancy so we did need to head to the hospital sooner rather than later for antibiotics but I really wanted to progress some before laboring in the hospital since I knew I wasn’t allowed to leave once I got there. I needed to clean my floors so I figured that would be a good activity to get some surges going if it was going to happen naturally.
Richie and I also needed to get to Publix for some last minute groceries for our son since we would be at the hospital for the next few days. While walking around I noticed I was definitely starting to feel a pattern and that surges were happening. Still early in the game but things were picking up. Giddy is probably the best word to describe how I felt. I let Vonda know. Also, it was fun to see the reaction from the cashier and bag boy when Richie told them my water broke and I was in labor. I labored at home for a few hours at this point. I was updating Vonda about every 45 mins with my progress. Surges were steadily 3 mins apart but only about 45 seconds long so I didn’t know what that meant for us as far as progress. Since my birth with Gavin was induced I was used to close surges but it didn’t know if experiencing spontaneous labor would be different. They were definitely getting stronger but I didn’t feel like it was necessary to leave yet. Richie felt like things were progressing quickly though so he wanted to get us to at least the area around the hospital if necessary (#nervousnancy) I still wasn’t so sure but I eventually agreed. He basically tricked me into thinking we’d drive to the beach and walk until I was ready. Vonda also agreed and had already started heading our way. When your first labor is 18
solid hours in a hospital, you’ll do anything to labor at home for as long as possible but as it turns out Richie and Vonda were right and I was wrong. (Something you won’t hear me say often – if ever)
We pulled into the parking lot of the hospital at 2:15. I listened to my Hypnobirthing affirmations the entire way and felt very calm. I was consistently reminding myself to stay limp and breathe through every single one. I used my fear as my strength and focused on the end result: our baby girl. Oddly enough? Some of them even felt “good” this time as I visualized our daughter moving down. We met Vonda, checked into the hospital, got situated and I was checked. This was 2:30 pm.
3.5 cm and baby was “low.” When I asked for clarification, she said station -2 or -1. Eh, okay. Mind you I was 1.5 cm and -2 station for two weeks. So that’s SOME progress but I was really hoping for 5+ cm’s. I know what needed to happen. Active walking and side laying with the peanut ball when I needed a rest.
At this point, things moved rapidly and time gets lost. I was either walking or literally hanging off of Richie during surges in my attempt to stay loose and let my body do the work. This wasn’t a position we practiced but the less I fought each surge, I knew the more productive it would be and in turn, easier to manage. I probably looked insane to some nurses because I would literally go limp at the drop of a hat. When I felt tired, I laid on my side with the peanut ball. In this position I felt like my surges double or triple peaked sometimes. I was managing them but I definitely felt a change and I started to feel some pressure and let the nurse know. My inward breathing turned to deep groans. She checked me.
Mind you, that only took about 2 hours because it had to be around 4:30 pm at this point. In my head though, I still had work to do and transition was coming. Little did I know, I had just gone through transition.
All off a sudden, that natural expulsive reflex happened. I remembered that feeling all too well with Gavin. I looked at Vonda with the same wild eyes I did then and told
her it’s happening. She motioned to the nurse that I felt it and I believe the nurse frantically mumbled “Yeah, I bet she does.”
She checks me. I’m complete. 100% Effaced. Ready to go minus a tiny little lip of my cervix. That was no more than 5 minutes after she said I was around 7 cm.
I wanted the same birth bar I used for Gavin. I was ready. Surges slowed just as they did last time. “Can I push?” “Not yet. Your doctor isn’t here”
Inner sarcastic Amanda is thinking: “Hmmmmm okie doke. Not really in control here but alrighty…”
I had two more surges and with those came the entirely instinctive urge to push. Only catch is that I wasn’t pushing – my body was. My doctor still was nowhere to be found so they wanted me to hold off. They wanted me to try to labor instead of pushing. Basically that’s like asking someone to stop a sneeze during their sneeze. It was NOT happening and I explained that as calmly as I could.
I looked at Vonda and knew I needed to listen to my body. I was able to breathe through one surge without the reflex but the remainder of time my body was in control. Everyone was telling me to hold off but sorry folks, I just breathed this baby down – she’s not waiting for anyone. And birth is happening whether there’s a doctor in the room or not.
They ended up calling in another doctor from another practice that was in the L&D ward to help deliver since our doctor wasn’t going to make it (Turns out he wasn’t paged – miscommunication within the L & D ward and his office) The other doctor arrived when Hayden’s head was already out. She delivered her shoulders and body. The cord was wrapped around Hayden twice so they had to cut the cord quickly which somewhat sucks but she was fine. Miss Hayden Foley
Hanahoe came into this world with a vengeance. Born at 5:05 pm and weighing 8 lbs 4 oz and 21.5” long with a beautiful head of brunette hair.
After my induced birth with my son, all I ever wanted was to experience a spontaneous labor and I feel so fortunate that it’s exactly what I experienced. It was quick but hard and I proved to myself that when I let my body do its own thing, it’s capable of so much more than I ever realized. Women are truly amazing and the unrelenting power we hold while birthing is unmatched. I’ve never felt more in control, feminine and strong than when I am birthing my children. My biggest lesson learned with this birth is that giving into each surge instead of fighting it helped my body open up so much quicker. And breathe, breathe, breathe. The surges aren’t easy – I won’t lie. But when you go deep within yourself to find focus, it becomes so much easier. And when doubt starts to creep in, I am reminded of this message that Vonda sent me before my first birth:
Fate whispers to the warrior, “You can not withstand the storm” And the warrior whispers back, “I AM the storm.”
Its important to note that none of this would even be possible without the backbone of the entire process – our Doula Vonda that has now been with us since 2015. I met with her a few weeks prior to discuss some of my fears and to talk through my birth plan. She reassured me then that this birth would be different than Gavins and to stay positive since I have a tendency to overthink and go to a negative place. I’ve often had people ask me what her role in the whole process is. She’s a partner, a coach, a mentor, a teacher, a guide, and an encourager. During labor, she’s the gentle voice you need to remind you to stay focused and to breath slower. She helps Richie and recognizes my cues when things aren’t working. She provides physical support in the form of counter-pressure massage and light touch massage but more than anything she’s the mental/emotional support that you don’t know you need until you need it. She’s your advocate and voice when she feels you’re not being heard. And most of all, she’s a friend.
Thank you to my husband for being my rock both physically and mentally. I couldn’t have done it without you holding me up in both ways. I love you and love experiencing the birth of our children with you. Your emotion makes it so real and raw in the moment when surreal things happen. I’ll never forget your face either time upon seeing their little faces. Awe, disbelief, and pure love. I hope I always remember that look. And lastly, thank you to someone who wasn’t in the room physically but whose presence was there in another way on October 9th. My Mother. Your strength during your final battle was something I admired and wished you didn’t have to endure. But as I brought my daughter into the world, I reached deep within myself and talked to you to help. Something tells me you were there the entire time just as I know you are with me every day. I love you and I miss you and I thank you for continuing to be a Mom even though you aren’t here anymore. I hope I’m half the Mom you were to me.