It all started on Wednesday. I woke up at 1 am in the morning to go to the toilet which was pretty usual these days at 40 weeks pregnant. I then woke up again at 4 am in the morning to go pee and also poop. I tried to go back to sleep but somehow just couldn’t, so I just stayed in bed and scrolled through Instagram for a bit. But while I was doing that I started to notice light cramps which made me want to use the bathroom more often. I started getting diarrhea and even though I knew that diarrhea can be a sign for labor I didn‘t think much of it. At this point, it was already 6 am and I was a little hungry. Which is not something I usually am that early in the morning. I ended up making myself a peanut butter & jelly sandwich and good thing I did because this would be my last meal before Emma was born.

My body was fuelling up for the upcoming labor. I ate my sandwich in bed while Ali was still deeply asleep. I kept doing something on my phone while regularly going back to the bathroom.

I was going a lot more frequently to the bathroom but I still was totally unaware that this was already early labor. Ali‘s alarm clock rang at 7 am and he started to get ready to leave for work. I asked him if he could heat me up a warming pad to soothe my cramps, which I still thought were coming from diarrhea. He looked surprised and asked if I thought that this was the real thing and if he needs to stay home but I immediately said no and that he can go to work. While he was getting dressed though, I noticed that my cramps were getting stronger and at this point, I just wanted to lay in bed with my warming pad on my belly and I really wanted the room to be dark so I asked him if he could make the room darker which he did by clipping bed sheets on top of the curtains. He was about to leave and I was contemplating if I should tell him to stay home or not. Mostly because I didn’t want to give him or myself false hopes that labor was starting and then it wasn’t. I ended up telling him to stay home and I could tell that he was really excited even though he wasn’t showing it. We were both in bed, Ali was working on his computer and I was listening to positive birth affirmations while going through what I think were my first real contractions.

They felt like intense cramps but they were coming in a pattern every 8-12 minutes at first and lasting for 30-45seconds. I still didn‘t really believe though that this was actual labor. It was so surreal to me that it was finally happening for me.

At this point, I also let my midwife know that I was experiencing some cramps just to give her a heads up. I tried to stay in bed breathing through the contractions but I really needed to keep using the bathroom so it made more sense to just stay in the bathroom. Somehow I was also able to manage and go through each contraction a lot better on the toilet than in bed. My technique was to very slowly do circling motions either by sitting on the toilet and pressing my hands into my knees or standing in front of the toilet and just rocking in a circling motion and pressing weight on my left foot and then my right foot and so on. I kept doing those exact movements even when I wasn‘t having a contraction. It just really helped me to focus on something especially once the contractions were coming again. Ali also started to notice that things were moving quickly now and so he started to set up the birth pool. He knew about all the things that were important to me for my birth and so he knew exactly what he needed to do to set up my birthing space. He also kept rewarming my belly heater which I was religiously holding onto the entire time because it was so soothing especially during those contractions. Once the contractions were starting to get closer and stronger together I changed up my technique by walking very slowly in circles in our dark closet that is right next to the bathroom. I also hated any kind of distraction, so whenever Ali would come to check on me I would tell him to leave because I was just so much better able to concentrate and focus through each contraction by myself. It was around 12 pm at this point and my midwife gave me a call to check on me. I told her that the contractions were getting a lot stronger and she recommended taking a shower to make labor progress even faster. I showered for 30 minutes and I could definitely feel that each contraction was getting more intense. 

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I went back to the closet after that and tried to labor some more in there. I felt like I wasn‘t getting a break and that‘s exactly what I texted my midwife. She called me again to say that she was finishing up a client and would be there shortly. It was 1:30 pm and my midwife arrived, I was still in the closet laboring and she asked if she could check my cervix on my next break. I agreed and to my surprise, I was already 8 cm dilated. She and Ali both finished filling the pool with hot water and she then told me that I could make my way in there. Somehow I thought that the birth pool was the last phase of giving birth so I was kinda excited that it was time for me to go in there but the truth is that looking back at it I feel like this was just the beginning. And what was yet to come was the hardest part of my birth. I immediately noticed that the contractions were feeling a lot more intense and I didn‘t have a technique yet to help me go through them. I think that‘s where I lost myself a bit, I started to depend on my midwife and didn‘t take my own initiative to change positions and try new things to help me. 

I honestly was also kinda scared to change positions which I now know is a common thing women feel during active labor because they are scared it will make the feeling get worse.

I asked my midwife if she needed to check me again but she was sure that I was already at 10 cm which usually means that the transitioning is about to happen where you want to push your baby out but I never felt that transitioning part. Maybe because I had diarrhea and was already pushing stuff out of my body the entire morning. But I seriously wondered if there was even a baby in me because I could not feel anything moving its way down. Throughout my entire time in the birth pool, I also continued to poop out small pieces which at this point I think they couldn‘t even bother anymore to scoop all of it out. I also started to make noises throughout each contraction. I tried to keep breathing the baby down as I learned in my Hypnobirthing class but I just couldn’t focus properly. And the contractions weren’t giving me a break to refocus or reposition myself. I just thought to myself that the only way out of this is going through it, so I kept pushing.  I think I pushed for 2 hours and 30 minutes in total. I definitely broke all my limitations during this time. I didn‘t talk at all and just made moaning sounds when a contraction came. I also had my eyes closed for the majority of the time, I felt like I was saving energy by keeping them closed. My midwife, her assistant, and Ali were all very calm and quiet and just continued checking regularly the baby‘s heartbeat and my blood pressure. Which all of it was perfectly fine. The next thing I remember is my midwife telling me that she can feel the baby’s head and that I should reach down to feel it too. I was a little skeptical at first because I still wasn‘t sure if there was actually something coming out of my vagina. I reached down and I could feel some hair floating in my hands. But because labor kind of stopped progressing my midwife suggested switching position to a squatting position where Ali would hold me from the back around my shoulders and I would squat in the birth pool. It definitely worked because the feeling was getting now a lot more intense and every time I pushed, everyone kept telling me how close the head was about to come out but somehow I couldn’t push past 6 seconds and so the head would keep coming out a bit and then go back in again. At this point I really wanted the head to finally come out so I asked my midwife what I needed to do in order to make it come out. She suggested counting to 8 while pushing and send all my energy down there. So Ali started to count for me while I took all the energy in me to push for this amount of time.

My midwife kept showing me with a mirror the baby‘s head and it definitely helped to see how close I was to push the baby out. But I‘m not going to lie from the entire labor this was the most painful part. Pushing the head out.

I don‘t know if it was because Emma‘s head was so big or if that is for everyone the case. But even Ali told me afterward that he didn‘t think the head would actually come out because my vagina looked like it was going to explode. But the pain was definitely motivating me to push even harder at my next contraction so that it could finally go away and I could meet my baby. So at my next contraction, I pushed really really hard and her head finally came out. And that’s also when my water broke. I was so happy because the hardest part was over and I was so close to meeting her. I didn‘t have a contraction for a while after that and I think my midwife was getting worried that the baby’s belly was stuck down there. So she gave the baby a little help by turning its body so that it would come out. Those last few minutes felt like forever. Emma was so close to me yet still not fully here. My energy was running out but I still needed to push out her big belly and although I wasn‘t having any contractions, I had to forcefully push her out. After a few minutes of pushing, the rest of her body finally came out and Emma was born. She weighed 9.3 lbs and was born at 4:11 pm. I think I was a little in shock at first because a human being just came out of my body but once I held her in my hands I instantly burst into tears and felt so much happiness and joy. I had been dreaming of this moment ever since getting pregnant and finally, it happened to me! It really felt and still feels like a dream. I‘m so deeply grateful for this little girl and already can‘t imagine li