We asked Victoria:
Here is Victoria's birth story.
Contractions woke me from my sleep at about 4:30 a.m. on 6/15. For me, they felt like menstrual cramps, that you may take Midol to relieve yourself of the discomfort, but they came in went every 11 minutes, lasting only 30-45 seconds.
We began preparing the house with a farmers market run, meal prep, sanitizing linens for birth, and getting Julian, my 7 year old bonus son, to football practice. I spent the next several hours taking time to practice breathing and doing my best to nap between contractions and reserving energy for active labor. This is where I began thinking maybe I just had a high pain tolerance because it honestly wasn’t painful like you see in the movies.
At about 9 p.m. contractions were getting closer to 6 minutes apart and my doula and midwife team began making their arrival. By 10 p.m., I learned I was 6cm dilated and baby’s head was at 0 station, meaning the largest part of baby’s head had entered the pelvis and had officially “dropped”.
Although I had come to understand dilation in labor is not an indicator of length of time until birth, I admit I felt so proud of myself for laboring without any intervention and coming so far unknowingly, with minimal discomfort.
My midwife advised that because I was handling my contractions so well there would likely be a shift for me closer to delivery. A point where giving up was on the forefront of my mind as things intensified. She mentioned that as soon as I felt like I couldn’t keep going, it wouldn’t be long before I was holding my daughter.
By 10 p.m. my contractions were getting closer to 6 minutes apart. By Midnight, they were closer to 3 minutes apart and much more intense. Getting in the tub provided a lot of pressure relief and was my first time experiencing a very involuntary pushing by my uterus. The hardest thing was controlling this feeling to push as I was not fully dilated. The risk was swelling in my cervix and preventing baby from moving into the birth canal.
Our bathroom smelled of lemon oil and sage as music played in the background. My husband held cold compresses on my forehead and gave me water sips after every contraction. He reminded me of my breathing so I could stay in control.
Time moved so fast those next 3 hours and pretty soon my breathing didn’t seem like enough to get me through contractions. Even with all my pushing, baby would forge forward 2 steps and then back 1. I was getting exhausted and needed gravity to help move labor ahead, and keep it there. I let the team know I felt it was best to move out of the water. Without hesitation, convincing, or negotiations, I stepped out the tub was dried off and moved to our bedroom.
The beautiful thing about my experience (I feel this is usually the case with midwives) was my body was able to do what it was made to do. No one broke my water sack before it was ready. No one offered a drug to induce labor or make it go faster. No one scared me about the length of time it was taking my cervix to fully dilate. Even when I chose to labor in the smallest corner of my bedroom (not consciously), no one suggested I change my location or readjust. Everyone squeezed in and made room around me. I positioned on all fours at the edge of my bed. I used a stack of pillows to prop up my upper body and tried my best to use each contraction to push.
My last stage of labor was the hardest, but shortest. I got desperate for it to be over. I went into a different zone during contractions; silent. Paris, my husband, gave me constant reminders to breathe.
In about 20 minutes time, I pushed my baby down, controlling the speed and force of each push so that I would not tear. My midwife held hot compresses and applied olive oil to my perinea to relieve the “ring of fire” and allow stretching. My doula applied counter pressure to my hips to counter each surge.
My daughter’s head emerged first and I paused to catch my breath, waiting on another contraction in its usual interval to assist me with the finish. I’m not sure why, but it never came. My midwife said that if I could, to give one last push. The last one was all the strength I could muster. It was all me.
I felt a warm rush of fluid and out slipped my baby, into her daddy’s hands. Paris Ani Elise, was born at 4:01 a.m. after 23 hours and 30 minutes of labor.
You can find Victoria on Instagram where she shared more photos of her birth. Thank you, Victoria, for sharing your birth story with us!
The MammaEase Family