Labour Of My Dreams
Updated: Jan 29, 2021
When I dreamt of childbirth, I didn't dream of an empty visitor room, masked health providers and harsh rules, or the absence of my mom during the best day of my life. I didn't dream of ultrasound and hospital visits, doctor appointments and non-stress tests to be attended alone. I didn't dream of labouring in a mask, having to remove it each time I needed the oxygen mask or a bag to vomit in (for the most of my labour). I didn't dream of only seeing half my husbands (Brandon) face during the most painful bodily experience I endured as he tried to encourage me in the best way he knew how. Oh the list could go on and on.
But believe it or not, my labour with Beau - little did I know at the time- was the labour of my dreams.
I am a researcher. I find comfort in knowledge, and reading about realistic expectations, other peoples experiences and am huge fan of YouTube. An endless source on just about any topic you can think of. Between YouTube and Podcasts I felt well versed in pregnancy, labour and delivery, postpartum and the first year. Childbirth was something I have always been fascinated with. How incredible our bodies were to be able to do everything on it's own, in it's own rhythm. Our bodies were made for this. Women for centuries have been trusting their bodies to lead the way through childbirth. I knew I always wanted to aim for a medication-free birth. I never had any fear around labour, if anything I feared taking my first sh*t afterwards (which was not NEAR as bad as I feared it to be)! But labour in itself, I was strangely excited to experience. How cool would it be to fully experience birth (mind, body, and spirit), without having medication to alter it. I wanted to feel it. I wanted to endure it; overcome it; ride the waves. Haha, it's like an intense version of loving the burn from a workout, feeling so sore yet can't wait to train again. The rush of endorphins, the sense of victory for pushing through.. I don't know.. I'm a weirdo. I had a few different reasons to aim for a medication-free birth.
1) Smoother recovery (from what I read)
2)Less intervention (no epidural=no catheter=lower possibility for anti-biotics)
3) I wanted to be fully present in all sensations
and most importantly
4) I believed I could
And I did. I really really believed I could do it. And to be honest, I think that's what made me able to make it through it. A huge aspect of labour is the a mental resiliency it requires to remain calm when your body is literally shifting your very bones to make way for your baby. And I trusted myself to lead my body to where it needed to be, and trusted my body to take over when it needed to. I'm sure I was influenced in many ways as to why I landed on this "birthplan". My Mom also had her children without pain medication, and always spoke in a confident matter-of-factly manner that I 100% could do it without an epidural if I wanted to, which is a great encouragement to have. I just never questioned it. I knew I could do it, I knew it would be painful as hell, and I was more than eager to find out what all the hype was about. Knowing my "why" made it so encouraging when I discovered Bridget Teyler (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsqMRhkuuI5aiJAVxgUpgbQ)
Her philosophy of care for mommas and babies aligned heavily with my own. She is well educated and has the ability to teach and encourage effortlessly. And she just spoke to my heart of hearts. She is gentle and confident in educating all mommas on their rights, options, and the pros and cons to epidurals, medication-free, home-births, breastfeeding, and many more labour and delivery choices. I highly encourage anyone who's expecting to check her out. She validated and encouraged my personal approach to labour while also educating me on other options if in the moment things needed to change.
And speaking of that, the idea of a birth plan seemed a little strange to me. What's my birth plan? Healthy baby, healthy mom? Seemed pretty self-explanatory. With all this said, I lead my labour and delivery experience with how I would love to see it go, but happy to roll with the punches as they came. I understand that no matter how cool, calm and collected you may be, anything can happen. Please remember you are in the best of hands with a team who is trained and have the you and your baby's best interest at heart. It's great to have an idea of things that are important to you for your L&D experience, but try to be open to welcome changes if the safety of you or baby need to be prioritized.
I was induced at midnight June 27, 2020 and we welcomed our beautiful baby boy, Beau Wilder into the world, just shy of 12 hours later at 11:07am. From midnight to about 5am, I slept on and off masked chatting away with the nurses or Brandon. Around 5am, laying down was no longer comfortable, so Brandon and I walked around the L&D floor with ice chips and slippers. We laughed as we walked the same circle over and over, filling my cup with ice each time we passed to mini kitchenette. By 7am, I wanted to facetime my Mom. Things were starting to progress (I believe I was 4cm dilated) and I was definitely feeling some heat. I remember calling her and trying not to cry with all the excitement and sadness I felt. I wanted her in the hospital with me so bad, and felt such sadness that she couldn't share this awesome experience in person. But after a few minutes and many tears (from us both I may add), my nausea turned to full on vomit. Haha my poor mom, here I thought calling her would make us both happy, but leaving our facetime abruptly to go spew in a bag, probably made her feel worse instead of better. Sorry Mom.
By 9am I was fully dilated and ready to push. HOLYYY F********. Labour is no joke!! Hahaha Brandon and I laugh whenever we talk about this. If Brandon were to share his experience and how I was during labour it would be vastly different than how I remember it. He would wrap it up with "she barely seemed like she was in pain. There was sh*t everywhere. It smelt terrible"....... b*tch please.
I THOUGHT I WAS DYING! AHAHAH. But seriously.... you are in a different world when you're in labour. You are in the zone, breathing, eyes closed and focused and using the power of visualizing as best you can. Brandon was on coconut water and barf bag duty (one in each hand). I couldn't tell you who came in and out of our room, I have NO idea what fluids were where, or how ANYTHING smelled. When I facetimed my Mom I was in a bra and underwear and I have no idea when those panties came off! Hahaha. Man, I can't even explain it. Just... like next level. Sweating, crying, breathing, grunting... it's a lot. Now when I first started pushing I instantly knew that it wasn't a baby I was pushing out.. ohhh the dignity you loose.
yep..I SH*T THE TABLE... whatever, it happened. LOL.
And may I say, you can absolutely feel the difference between properly "pushing" and pooping. Poor Brandon, bless his soul.
2 HOURS of pushing brought us to the moment we all were waiting for (and all I heard about)... crowning (RING OF FIRE). I thought it was a brief moment of excruciating pain. LOL. Ohhh Ellie. Sweet girl. Crowning is a process... the ring of fire is a process. It isn't an intersection that you pass on the highway, it is a full blown four way stop. You spend time there. You hang out there. You're freakin Ford Edge is sitting idling in the ring of fire .. basically dying... and everything you hear about that bad boy is true. It's basically the gates of hell. But believe me when I say, the MOMENT your baby is born, all that pain disappears. Just like that.
I tore slightly (didn't feel it), had a small episiotomy (didn't feel it...but heard it, UGH), and had only a few stitches. By the end of that battle, honey, you are next level numb. But who cares because you get to hold your precious little babe.
We spent the next 24 hours just the three of us. I was up moving around within two hours of giving birth.. WHAT! And felt amazing, awake, stinky but victorious, and my belly was basically jello. But that first 24 hours was so precious. Time actually stood still.
When I dreamt of childbirth it looked so different. And I had to let go of the fact that things wouldn't look that way for us. Letting go of the expectations that I had was hard, and I felt like COVID had robbed so many joys around my pregnancy. I had other friends who got to experience their pregnancy and delivery COVID free, and I was stuck missing out on so many amazing (and I guess traditional) things: cute decorative baby showers, beautiful pregnancy photos, a warm welcome of family visiting the hospital with the fresh newborn excitement in the air. The lifelong dreams of how that moment would be. And once I did, once I let that go.... tears of gratitude quickly flooded my eyes. I endured the unthinkable, and I did it the way I wanted. My recovery was phenomenal. Beau latched well and my breastfeeding journey was off to a great start. We had porch drop-offs of gifts, packages mailed to our home, balloons and welcome home signs set up on our front lawn. We had loved ones celebrate with us in the best way we could at the time. I had the amazing opportunity to relish in the stillness. I was given uninterrupted time to be with my family. I could forever hold Beau, forever kiss his cheeks, forever stare at him without feeling obligated to 'entertain' visitors, or pretend like I wasn't exhausted from being a freakin superhero all day. It was just us. Just us three. And I wouldn't change that for the world.
I am so grateful to have truly experienced the labour of my dreams.
You hold so much power, and have the ability to endure so much more than you think. I encourage you to practice self-love. Speak kindly and confidently to yourself. Walk forward with your head held high knowing you can do whatever you put your mind to. Life (and labour) is more than just a physical journey. It's a mental one too. I whole-heartedly believe that where your mind leads your body follows. So lead with conviction, give grace to yourself as you enter into unknown territory, and know you are capable. You are so so capable.
All my love,