We leave the house around 12:20am. By the time I get out to the truck contractions are 3-4 mins apart. By the time we get to the freeway, 2 mins apart. And by the time we get to the hospital, 1-1.5 mins apart. Why can't all hospitals have an after hours entrance that isn't through the ER? Ugh. Asking a woman in labor, having contractions 1 min apart to walk across the entire hospital just to get to labor and delivery is super freaking messed up. My midwife and doula beat us up there. It took us so long I think they were worried we had the baby on the freeway.
The nurse hooked me up to the monitor at 12:50am. I can't concentrate and I'm having a difficult time answering the questions that feel like are being shot at me by way of bow and arrow. Not that she wasn't kind, because she was amazing, but because everything at that point was TOO much. She walks out of the room. At 1:06am my water breaks. She checks me around 1:20am and says that I'm 4cm dilated, 50% effaced and -2 station. Oh, which reminds me, I had been 3-4cm dilated for about 2 weeks already. She leaves.
I got up to go to the bathroom. Remember the castor oil I mentioned earlier? Well - to use as a natural induction, you take 2 ounces - usually mixed with some kind of fat so that it binds well. I made a milkshake with vanilla ice cream and blueberries. It wasn't bad, definitely wasn't good, but it wasn't as bad as I had expected. So you drink the drink, and if you don't have any contractions an hour later, you have another ounce. I have to say that maybe women with a slower metabolism or digestion, should wait longer than an hour to take the second dose...because I'm pretty sure I would have been just FIIIINE with one dose. Because castor oil makes the majority of women shit their asses out.
So, back to the hospital. I hadn't had castor oil diarrhea in hours, so I had thought I was in the clear. Nope. And of course, now I'm here about to push out a baby and I'm going to shit all over everything and everyone. Awesome. My sweet baby is going to be born on a slip n' slide of doo-doo. I went into the bathroom, and this is the part that got scary. I had been coping with my contractions so well. Breathing through them. They were super intense, but they were manageable. As I sat on the toilet, shitting my life out...I was in the most insane amount of pain. I know a lot of the people reading this are birth workers. I know that I teach a childbirth method that teaches that pain doesn't need to be part of birth. I know that I'm a medical professional who specializes in pregnant women and birth, but I was losing my shit. Literally and figuratively. I have never felt pain like that in my life.
I had such terrible cramps and sour stomach from the castor oil. On top of that were the insanely strong contractions that felt less than one minute apart. I was pushing uncontrollably - on a hospital toilet. I was freaking out because the nurse said I was only 4cm and you can't push on a cervix that isn't open as it could swell and cause even more issues. I'm crying uncontrollably. I'm banging on the sink because I literally want to crawl out of my skin. It was like every single nerve in my body was on fire. Pins and needles, hot pokers, mind-numbing pain. I couldn't do it. I was SO FAR BEYOND my threshold for pain. (And I had a Pitocin induced birth with Jax, was on Magnesium Sulfate, and I still had no pain relief meds...he was by far my easiest birth. I would never say that his birth was painful)
Colin came in the bathroom - he just stood there, holding space for me while I shit, sobbed, and begged for it to be over. I didn't know what to do, I couldn't handle what was happening to my body. I was in complete overload. I also had this insane pain just above my pubic bone. It felt like I had been stabbed. I had Karly check, it wasn't a shoulder, it wasn't a uterine rupture..but it felt like I had a serrated blade twisting, non-stop on my pubic bone and in my uterus.
I finally made it out of the bathroom and went straight into hands and knees on the bed. It was excruciating. But I couldn't move. My body felt like a ton of bricks, pain receptors firing away - while my mind floated away in some far away land of hysteria. But from the outside, I wasn't saying much at all. Not that I remember. I couldn't articulate anything. I couldn't ask from help to move. I shook my hands and wiggled my feet and kept repeating, "I don't like this." But in all that craziness, I'm was aware that when I began to hold tension in my body, I was able to immediately release it..except for whatever that crazy freaking pain at my pubic bone/in my pelvis was..that was relentless.
My body started making sounds that were familiar to me but sounded so bizarre coming from my mouth. I've heard dozens upon dozens of woman make these primal, guttural sounds. but I had never. The physiological processes of birth had taken over. I've heard women explain it, the precipitous labor, and they explain it all the same. "It feels like I got ran over by a truck." Everything happens so fast, that their mind can't catch up to their body, often times leaving the mother in an unhealthy state of shock after birth.
I felt like there was a life-sized freight train trying to exit my body via my womb and vagina. It was horrendous. My body started pushing uncontrollably, the guttural song of birth roaring through my weakly parted lips. I whimpered between contractions. These are my take aways from my birth,
- I was in such an insane amount of pain that I thought I was going to die
- I couldn't move, I couldn't speak, I couldn't think
- I felt like I was in a million different places at once, suffering in my physical body, going crazy in my mind, traveling up into the stars to get my baby, and just wanting to give up - check out - be done
I felt like I pushed forever, but I was told I only pushed a few times. I had to ask everyone who was there what my birth was like, because I couldn't remember anything. I asked each person, several times, for the details so I could piece a memory together.
The baby was finally out. I was still on hands and knees. The doctor told me to roll over to my right, I heard him, but I still couldn't move. There were no messages making their way from my brain to my physical body. I just continued to whimper, like a beaten puppy. Someone asked Colin what the sex of that baby was. I was aware that he didn't answer. No one said anything. Finally, what felt like millennia later, he said, "Its a boy."
I was still in so much pain, but also felt like I was in another world. So overwhelmed, and so completely over stimulated. I didn't have that hormonal cocktail of euphoria that I've seen on women's faces 100's of times. No oxytocin love overload. All my body could do was whimper. I couldn't smile, I couldn't cry, I couldn't open my eyes. I just held my baby and whimpered. When I finally (semi) came back into my body, all I could say was, "I can't believe you're a boy." He had everyone fooled.
Jasper was born at 2:13am, just 1 hour and 23 mins after we got to the hospital. I dilated 6cm, effaced 50%, and pushed a baby about 6 "stations" in 67 mins. It was hell. My poor baby was just barreling through my body, it was just insane. The kicker was that as soon as we arrived at the hospital, my BP was fine. FINE. Like 100%, completely, fucking normal. We were all bitter about that.
We were received by an amazing hospital staff. They were very respectful of all of us, our wishes, my education, and I really appreciated it. And because everything was moving so very fast, I wasn't messed with at all. There was no time for asking tons of charting questions, no time for an IV, no time for vaginal exams, no time for interventions. Everyone followed my lead. It was the most challenging experience of my life, mentally, physically, and emotionally. This was the hardest, most painful birth I've had.
Its been really hard to see the photos and read the stories of homebirth that normally fill my social media feeds. Posts by my friends having their babies at home, their kiddos surrounding them - pure joy and love plastered all over their faces, my peers at births they've attended, more babies my midwife caught at home. They are beautiful and I love them but it freaking sucks too. One of the hardest parts of my birth experience was that my boys weren't able to be a part of it. They had talked about it for months and months, they were so thrilled to be there. Jax wanted to catch the baby and cut the cord, he and Jace had big plans about their roles at the birth. Just thinking about it now makes me cry. They were SO excited to be a part of this little baby's entrance. I'm glad they were asleep when we left for the hospital. I don't think I could have handled the looks of disappointment on their faces if they had been. And thats it, that was our last chance to have a homebirth. Now its gone forever.
I had a really difficult time looking at our birth photos. They start out with my beautiful birth team, were all sitting in the living room, laughing and quoting Anchorman., We're in the comfort of our own home, my boys observing with caution and excitement.
Then its a stark and dramatic shift to me in a hospital bed. Bright white lights, the pain on my face captured in the photo. Almost every single photo is of me looks the same, lips slightly parted as I whimpered, my brow furrowed, my eyes shut tight, and pain on my face. It was a rude reminder that we once again, didn't get the birth we had dreamed of.
I'm not sure I will ever understand why my BP was so insanely high, at home, or even elevated during pregnancy, and then completely normal the entire time we were in the hospital.
I worked SO incredibly hard throughout my pregnancy to clear and heal my old traumas. To treat my BP naturally, To open my heart and break down the energetic walls I had built up over my lifetime. I did acupuncture, craniosacral theraphy, body work, coaching, regressions, hypnotherapy, took all the supplements. I practiced grounding myself. I practices forgiveness and release. I so desperately wanted a homebirth. To be so close and then have to transfer for a BP that was perfectly normal at the hospital is just fucked up.
We have had a homebirth transfer two times now. We lost our chance to have a homebirth with Jax and now again with Jasper. Why can't I have a homebirth? The midwife with a homebirth practice doesn't get to have her babies at home? Its a rude joke. Its heartbreaking not being able to have the beautiful experience that I help so many other families have.. And I don't want to hear, "Well at least you have a healthy baby." That is a bullshit, insanely insensitive comment to make to a mother who just had a traumatic experience. Obviously having a healthy baby is clearly important, but so is the health of the mother. My health. My mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health is of the utmost importance too. I matter. My feelings matter. My emotional well-being matters. And it is never ok to shame a mom, or try to make her feel guilty for being disappointed in her birth experience.
This experience, like all other challenges in my life, has provided me an opportunity for spiritual growth. To expand my ability to learn, receive, give, surrender, step into my power, love, forgive, and I'm sure others that I can't think of right now. My soul is expanding, I'm stepping into the spiritual aspects of my life. I have a clearer vision of what I want my life to be like. How our family life will be. How I serve and show up for others, the care I wish to give. Its all becoming more clear and I love it. My spiritual gifts are coming to ahead and I'm feeling so divinely guided
And to my partner Colin, I love you so very much. I couldn't have done this without you. Seeing these photos and watching your love for me and our babies, is just beautiful.
I am forever grateful for the amazing birth team we had. I love them all so much. We really had the best of both worlds. I knew throughout my pregnancy, that a hospital birth may need to happen. So we made sure we had the best "plan b" we could have. My Midwife, Dr, and I worked closely together to make sure the baby and I stayed safe and healthy. Don't get me wrong, having to transfer to the hospital for a "complication" that yielded a perfectly healthy birth, healthy baby and mama, is super stupid and I wish it hadn't been that way.
Considering the circumstances, we had the best of both worlds when it came to the care we were given. I was able to labor at home with my team. My boys had a glimpse of how magical birth and midwifery care can be (also what their Mom does all those times I'm away from them for days). Part of my team was able to come to the hospital with us. We were met with amazing staff, who were super supportive and respectful of our wishes and the fact that I was a Midwife. I had a Dr and a Midwife who wholeheartedly trusted and respected me and my judgement, and I'm grateful for them.
I have so been looking forward to seeing the birth video and I haven't stopped crying since last night. It was SUPER important for me to have, no matter what kind of birth we had, I so desired to have it filmed. I don't really have the words to describe what Ali captured for us. She captured it all so perfectly. My boys. The angst, rawness, beauty, and the love. Oh my gosh, the love. My sister said it perfectly, she was able to articulate the words that I couldn't.
"That broke my heart and put it all back together
Meet Rachel, the Author
I'm a Licensed Midwife and busy mom of two extremely active boys. I manage several different businesses, while also trying to maintain a household, my family and my sanity. Some days it works, some days it doesn't!