I remember asking many times how much longer I had. Finally, my daughter began to crown. I remember Lauren saying, “Five more contractions and she’ll be out.” By the 4th contraction, at 10:25 PM on March 23rd, our daughter, Violet Mary, entered the world.
Violet's Birth Story
Diana gave birth to her first baby, a girl at our birth center in Nashville. Here is her story of Violet’s birth:
Many years ago, way before I was even engaged, and not even close to starting a family, I watched Ricki Lake’s movie “The Business of Being Born,” and decided that when the time came, I would look into the midwife/birth center option.
Fast forward to when I got pregnant the first time: I was under the care of an OB/GYN, and at 10 weeks, I learned the baby’s heart had stopped. While my doctor was very kind, and handled the situation as best as possible, it still felt very impersonal. I remembered that I wanted to look into seeing a midwife, and kept that in the back of my mind for the next time. A few months later, we found out we were expecting again, and in the meantime, Baby+Company Nashville was opening. I learned of the Grand Opening event through a very random Facebook post, and showed up to it when I was just a few weeks pregnant. I made my first appointment at that event, and have been a Baby+Company client ever since! Ted, my husband, was 100% on board, because he wanted to do what would make me the most comfortable.
My due date was March 22nd. That evening, around 6 PM, I noticed what I thought was my water breaking. Being a first time mom, I wasn’t sure, because it wasn’t a big gush, and it was definitely not like it is on TV and the movies! I called the center and Margaret had me come in so she could check me. She told me the tests came back negative for amniotic fluid, and that it was probably my mucus plug. We left thinking I wouldn’t be in labor anytime soon. Just a few hours after getting home from the center (after stopping for ice cream, of course!) I got my first contraction, at around 9 PM. They came on fast and furious, and within just a few hours, I was having pretty intense contractions roughly every 2-3 minutes. At this point, we decided to call our doula, Katie.
She joined us around midnight, maybe a little later. Laboring at home was fairly uneventful, especially since we had Katie’s help. The only issue was that I was unable to get some sleep. Once the contractions started, I tried so hard to sleep, but just couldn’t. I enjoyed a nice, warm bath at one point; the rest of the time was just about finding a sitting/laying/standing position that was comfortable. We spent the night relaxing, talking, and listening to music. I let my husband get some sleep, while Katie stayed with me. Around 9 AM the following morning, I got to the point where I felt I needed to be at the center, mainly because I was not looking forward to the car ride, and wanted to get it over with. I also had an overwhelming feeling of needing to be there.
The car ride was uneventful; I live only 20 minutes from the center. I did experience some contractions on the way, and sitting was extremely uncomfortable. When I got to the center, Lauren was now the midwife on duty and greeted us with a warm smile when we arrived.
When we first got there, Lauren checked me out and said I was about 4-5 cm, and pretty effaced. We all thought we had just a few more hours ahead of us. While laboring at the center, I enjoyed mostly being on the birth ball in the shower. I just could not get comfortable lying down, sitting, or on my hands and knees. If I wasn’t in the shower, I was standing. Around 3 PM, labor stalled. The intense contractions just went away. I ate some lunch and I actually got a short nap in. When Lauren checked me next, I was still only at about 5 cm, but she said I was 100% effaced. At this point, she suggested we leave the center to go for a walk in the park, to get some fresh air, since we had been at the center for 6 hours at that point, and to get the contractions going again. We left for the park, which is right down the road from the center. We enjoyed a 30-minute walk around the park, enjoying the beautiful spring day. Toward the end, we definitely had many people looking at us, because within just a few minutes, labor quickly intensified. Some people even commented on it, and we had to assure them that I was, in fact, okay. We headed back to the center, and from then on it was full force ahead.
By then, it had really picked back up. At this point, I got in the tub, because I was still extremely uncomfortable lying down or on my hands and knees. This is the point where the rest of labor is kind of a blur. It took many more hours to get to 10 cm. Lauren informed us that she was fairly sure that the baby was face up, and was turning to face down, which is what was making the labor last longer. Even though it was the most uncomfortable position for me to be in, she encouraged me to get on my hands and knees, because she knew it would help the baby turn more easily. While on my hands and knees on the bed, Lauren used the Rebozo, wrapped it around my belly, and swayed me back and forth during contractions to help the baby turn.
Finally, at around 8 PM that night, I was ready to push. Lauren had me start on the birthing stool. I’m not sure how long I was on the stool for, but eventually, Lauren felt it was best if I moved to the bed. With the help of the nurse (Meg), my doula, and my husband, I did the rest of my pushing in the bed, while they took turns holding up my legs. It honestly felt like I was going to have to push forever. Everyone kept encouraging me and telling me I could do it. I was so tired at this point; I just didn’t know how much longer I could go on. I remember asking many times how much longer I had. Finally, my daughter began to crown. I remember Lauren saying, “Five more contractions and she’ll be out.” By the 4th contraction, at 10:25 PM on March 23rd, our daughter, Violet Mary, entered the world.
I was so exhausted that Meg had to tell me to open my eyes to see her. I opened my eyes, and there was this beautiful, perfect little baby looking back at me. My husband began to cry when she was placed on my chest. After 25 hours, our daughter was finally here. I was relieved it was over, and so happy to have her in my arms. It was the most exhausting thing I have ever endured. But it was empowering, and 100% worth it.
If you choose to go the path of a natural birth under the care of midwives, the only advice I can give is to trust your body and have patience. I went into this experience never imagining that I would have a 25-hour labor. My sisters and my mom all labored and delivered in less than 12 hours for all of their babies, and I thought I would follow in their footsteps. When it became clear that I wasn’t, I just surrendered to the process. I knew my baby would arrive when it was her time, and that I just had to keep doing what I was doing. I learned that day that I am a much stronger woman than I ever gave myself credit for, and that you are capable of extraordinary things if you just allow yourself to be.