Remember that “Expert Pusher” that Crescen told us about a few weeks ago? Well her name is Alyssa, and she is here with us today to share her baby, Iris’, birth story. Iris was born at the Women’s Birth and Wellness Birth Center via unmedicated waterbirth. Alyssa put together a video of photos and clips of her daughter’s birth that she narrates, but if you are at work or somewhere that you can’t watch a video, she has written a summary of Iris’ birth story as well.
Throughout the video and summary, Alyssa uses many birth terms that are not commonly used in everyday conversation. I have tried to link each of these terms to pages that provide a description or definition. If you are unfamiliar with any of the terminology, feel free to click the links for more information. If there are any terms that are unfamiliar but do not have a link, don’t hesitate to ask!
At 40 weeks and 2 days I went in for my prenatal appointment at Women’s Birth and Wellness Center and told my midwife about hip pain I’d been having. She related it to my baby being in a posterior position, and referred me to a massage therapist who is great at spinning babies. The next day I had the massage and did some exercises at home to encourage her to turn.
That night, as soon as my husband, Robby, fell asleep (around midnight), I felt my first contraction. It was much stronger than the prodromal labor I had been having for the last two weeks. I started timing my contractions, but they were only lasting 30 seconds and were inconsistent enough for me to fall right to sleep. (Mind you, our upstairs AC decided to take a poop on us and it was a sweaty night).
The next morning, I woke up at 4:45am to use the bathroom and started timing the contractions again. This time, they were lasting 50 seconds and were 4 to 6 minutes apart. When my husband’s alarm went off at 5:30am, I told him, “You’re going to meet your little girl today!” I got up to go to the bathroom again and had a bloody show, so I knew it was the real deal and called my doula at around 6:00am.
My hubby made me a big breakfast as I labored on the birthing ball. My parents were staying with us, and came downstairs when they noticed Robby didn’t go to work. Everyone was pretty excited! My doula showed up at 9:00am, and she and my mom chatted and kept me distracted, while my husband and dad met with the AC guys. It was such a crazy morning.
The AC guys finally left ($10,500 to buy a new HVAC😞), and my husband started getting everything together for the birth center. At around 1:00pm, I was no longer just breathing through my contractions and started deep moaning, with my awesome doula coaching me. She also started putting counter pressure on my hips. It felt so amazing that I called it my “epidural!” I labored like this for another hour and a half, and started to feel like I needed to get to the birth center before I went into transition. We called the midwife again to let the birth center know we were coming, and that my contractions were only about 2 minutes apart. At this point, I was getting tired.
My doula asked how I would feel if I hadn’t progressed enough by the time we got to the birth center, and they sent me home. I started crying just thinking of the possibility of driving 35 minutes to get there and turning around to come back home. Thankfully, my husband helped calm me down, and looking back I realize now that this was the start of transition for me.
The 35 minute drive was horrible. My doula stayed with me in the car and gave me counter pressure, but my contractions were one after another; and anytime the car would brake, I would start another one. I had almost no rest time between contractions.
Once we got to the birth center, I had 4 contractions while trying to get from the car to the door. I was just praying that I was at least 4cm dilated so they would let me stay. Luckily, I was 8cm dilated, fully effaced, and had a bulging bag (amniotic sac is poking out of the cervix)!!
They filled up the birthing tub and I hopped right it, so happy, but so exhausted.
It wasn’t long before I started to feel like I needed to push. My midwife let me push for about an hour, but I was worried it wasn’t doing anything, so I let her check me again. I was only 9cm dilated, so she made me stop pushing for another hour. I would have a contraction and sometimes involuntarily push, but she was cool with that and everyone was very encouraging.
Finally, I reached up and could feel my water bag. Although it would have been really cool for her to be born en-caul, I felt like the bag was slowing things down, so my midwife let me break it. I broke my own water! It was so cool. She checked me again, and I was 9cm dilated with a lip. She made me push through 2 contractions, with her hand in my vagina to move the lip, causing excruciating pain. Finally, I was 10cm and ready to go!!
I pushed for 5 days… ok, only 45 minutes, but it felt like a lifetime. To my surprise, I felt most comfortable laying on my back, holding my knees as I pushed. And then finally, her head was out, and boom, I caught my baby!
She was born at 7:19pm on 7/8/16 and weighed 8lbs.
We named her Iris Eden💕
Thank you so much to Alyssa for sharing Iris’ birth story and video with us! If you are interested in her tips for preparing for natural birth, you can find that video here.
If you are interested in sharing your birth story, please let me know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Your birth story does not have to be unmedicated to be shared! This blog is for sharing real stories about real families. If you asked for an epidural the moment you got to the hospital, planned a c-section, had an emergency c-section, or even had your baby in the car, we want to hear about it! Every birth story is different, but they are all stories of love and bringing new life into the world. What could be more special than that?