The Birthing Center required that we take a childbirth class. We signed up and went to the recommended 6 week course. I was really disappointed in the classes. There were at least 15 couples and I don’t think I personally talked to the teacher once. Most everything she taught Eli and I already knew or had read in a book. This was one of the first times I thought about becoming a Natural Childbirth Educator. I knew I could do it better.
My estimated due date was December 23rd. We had family visiting for Christmas and they were planning to stay for the birth. On Christmas Eve I started having some Braxton Hicks contractions about once every hour and lasted through Christmas day and then tapered off. The day after Christmas my family decided that sitting around our small house waiting for me to go into labor was not fun so they left to give us some time alone to prepare for the baby. I remember walking around the block with Eli crying and thinking the baby would never come.
The night before he was born I dreamed of labor.
I dreamed all night of how it felt and how to cope with the intensity of it all. I had been planning and preparing through yoga and personal study for so long it was almost second nature for me to relax and breath during stressful times.
At 40 weeks + 5 days I woke at 7:30 am to my very real contractions. (Read HERE about being “overdue”.) They were coming every 6-9 minutes. We were so excited! We ate breakfast and decided to call the midwife around 9. I decided to take a bath while Eli called our families. While in the bath my contractions started getting closer and closer together. The change was so intense it was a bit frightening. I knew it was going to be like this but reading about it and going through it are two different things.
With Eli’s help I got out of the tub and before I could even get dressed I was on hands and knees working through the contractions. Eli timed them at 1-3 minutes apart and they weren't slowing down. He called the midwife back and after listening to me over the phone she said it was time for us to come in. It was now that I realized we had nothing in the car. No car seat or the many bags I had packed to take with us. I directed Eli, from the floor, on all the things that needed to go.
We arrived at the Birthing Center around 11:30 am. I was taken to an exam room and checked for dilation. I was at a 4 which was the cut off for getting to stay at the birthing center. That was a good thing because I did not want to get back in that car. I got sick on the way to the room and I was thankful I had eaten that morning. We got settled into the room and I had to have antibiotics because I was GBS + (a decision I will research more next time). I was very dehydrated so it was difficult to get the IV going. Dehydration played a huge role after the birth. I can not stress enough the importance of being well hydrated during pregnancy and birth.
Around this time I went into, what my husband likes to call, my “birthing zone”. My memory is very fuzzy of the next few hours. I labored on the floor of the bathroom, on the birthing ball and eventually ended up in the tub. Eli was a wonderful partner and talked me through each and every contraction, never leaving my side.
After spending a few hours in the tub I was checked and was 10cm. I spent about an hour and a half pushing in the tub which seems like a long time but it really didn’t feel that long. My midwife suggested I get out of the tub and get on the birthing stool. I didn’t actually sit on the stool, it was more like I was squatting over it. Eli sat on the bed behind me and helped to hold me up.
Pushing was such a relief because I knew it was almost over. He started crowning as soon as I got up on the stool and was out in 3 or 4 pushes.
What joy it was to have him finally here! What a magically moment for both Eli and I. Ethan Lukas Meyer was born weighing 6lbs, 13oz.
I only had a small tear that did not require stitches. I did have some excess bleeding that I attribute to the dehydration. Because of the bleeding my midwife wanted the baby breastfeeding quickly to help the uterus contract. His little mouth was so small and my nipples would go flat every time we tried to latch him on so I used a nipple shield. (Advice on that to come in a future post.) Because of the dehydration I had to have two bags of fluid before I could go home. This gave Eli a chance to get some sleep but I never closed my eyes. I couldn't take them off my new little man.
There are so many things I learned from my first birth. I continue to learn more and more about Birth all the time and look forward to relaying that information to my students.
Read my Second Birth.
Read my Third Birth.