I remember feeling very crampy all day on Friday. I had been having contractions on and off for the past two weeks and was slowly shedding my mucus plug. So although I was excited, I knew not to get too excited as Violet had taken her sweet time it seemed. I was 1 week ‘overdue’ by this point. If nothing had happened over the upcoming weekend we had made a plan to sweep my membranes on Monday. I really wanted to go into labor on my own, as with my first daughter I was induced at 42 weeks.
I went in for a stress test and an ultrasound to see if there was enough fluid for the baby that afternoon. The baby was clearly doing well, as she kicked like a soccer player the entire stress test. Next came the ultrasound, where Mary-Signe informed me all was well. And off I went, crampy and still pregnant. We decided to go out to eat that evening, a rare occurrence for our family. We all sat down to dinner and I continued to feel pain, this time, in the form of contractions that certainly were not going away. I started writing down how long they lasted and logging them on my napkin. I looked at my husband and showed him the log and gave him the ‘I think this is it’ look. Our seven year old daughter is terrified of all things medical. She was so fearful of my labor that I just kept things low-key. When she asked what was happening I just explained, “Momma’s having contractions honey, your baby sister might be coming soon.”
We went home and I tried to relax. We texted my doula and let her know I had been having contractions that were fairly weak and unpredictable for the last few hours. We put my daughter, Isla, to bed and I laid down myself. It soon became clear that I would not be able to sleep, but at least I could lie down and relax my body a bit. My contractions slowly grew more painful and I had to breathe through them. Being that I was induced with my first daughter I didn’t know what to expect.
At around 1:30 am my water broke. We called our doula and the midwife and Tasha decided it would be good for me to come in so she could assess me. We headed into the MBC-Mpls at 2:30 AM or so. Tasha quickly helped us decide that although I was in labor, I still had a ways to go. She let us leave our bags in our birthing room and sent us back home. That car ride was pretty long. I had heard that contractions in the car were difficult, but I knew exactly what they meant when I was able to experience it first-hand.
By this time my father-in-law had come to our house to be with our older daughter, who was not at all asleep and deeply worried about Mom. When we returned back home both she and my father-in-law were surprised to see us. “Not yet” we said as I continued to moan and groan my way into the tub. It was quickly decided that it was time for Grandpa and Isla to head to Grandpa and Grandmas house as Isla wasn’t taking my moaning and groaning too well. Left by ourselves, my husband and I eeked through the last few hours. We had made a plan to have our doula come to our apartment, but things progressed a bit quicker than we had expected. By 5:30am I was experiencing very strong contractions. We called the birth center again and Tasha asked to speak to me over the phone. She could tell it was time for us to come back. We quickly got in the car and re-routed our doula to the birth center instead of to our house. If I thought the car ride earlier with contractions was difficult, I hadn’t seen anything yet. The first car ride was a walk in the park compared to this one. And we only live about 10 minutes at the most from the birth center.
When we arrived, I labored in the tub for a while. My doula arrived at about 7am and my husband and she were amazing at supporting me. It was time for Tasha to change shifts and Kaitlin came in. After laboring for a while I asked Kaitlin about using nitrous oxide. Kaitlin decided that would probably be a good idea about now and asked me if I wanted her to check and see where the baby was at and how she was doing. I quickly agreed. Being someone who always wants a logical answer, I wanted to know where I was at. Kaitlin checked me at about 8:30 and said I was about 6 or 7 cm dilated and suggested doing some sifting as the baby needed to turn.
My doula and husband got me on hands and knees and starting sifting while I used nitrous oxide. I became very hilarious at this point and although the pain was very intense, my endorphins combined with the nitrous oxide allowed me to have an almost out of body experience and escape the pain. I remember my looking up at my husband in between one of my contractions and him having a water bottle ready to squirt in my mouth. I opened my mouth, took the water, and then said to my football loving husband, “I am way f****** stronger than a Vikings player!” We all laughed and carried on. The sifting was working. My doula then said, “Why don’t we stand up and we will sift you as you stand against the wall?” I stood up and got against the wall. Then pure momma instinct kicked in. I started moving my hips and squatting and going back and forth against the wall dancing and moving in a way that I didn’t even know I was capable of. I reached down and said to my husband and my doula, “Guys, I feel the head, we are going to have a baby soon.” At that point I heard my husband say to my doula, “Umm, should we go and get the midwife?” My doula, Stephanie, quickly decided she would go and tell Kaitlin and Leah, the nurse, that I was claiming to feel the head. Kaitlin came in, quickly checked me and said, “Yep, if you want a water birth, you need to get in the tub, this baby is coming.”
My husband quickly grabbed his swimming trunks and headed to the bathroom to change. So much for modesty Asei, I have been laboring nude for hours! I hopped in the tub with my socks on, which Stephanie and Kaitlin or Leah quickly helped me remove as we all laughed. The urge to push was so strong I remembered thinking, Asei isn’t going to make it! I am going to have this baby without him. In a flash there he was, and I was ready to push. I listened to my body and pushed when I felt like pushing and let up when the contraction wasn’t there. It was so intuitive. I didn’t have to think, “when do I push?” My body was doing all of the work for me.
Nine minutes later, Violet was born, weighing 6 pounds 14 ounces. It was the most wonderful birth. It was all I had ever wanted. My first daughter’s birth was in a hospital with a team of midwives. And although hers was a water birth too, I was tied to an IV the whole time and never experienced the natural beauty and progression of labor. I held my baby and quickly delivered my placenta. The birds were chirping on a very cold January morning and Violet was born at 9:09am. It had only been 40 minutes since Kaitlin had checked me and suggested the sifting technique well known of via the Spinning Babies method.
Violet, Asei and I were wrapped in towels and allowed to bond in the bed. We had the most peaceful time with her as I nursed her and we held her skin to skin. After a while I was brought warm bread with butter and honey, the most delightful thing in the world it seemed! It tasted like heaven. We soon were ready to pack up and go home.
I could not think of, or have had, a better birth story. Being a birth lover, someone who should have probably been a doula or a midwife, I longed for this experience. I am so honored to have been able to have it, and so proud of the Minnesota Birth Center for allowing women in Minnesota to be able to have such a wonderful place to celebrate their baby’s Birth Day!
~ Cassie T.M.
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