My first daughter was something of a miracle. She was born 9 weeks early in your typical hospital setting. My water was leaking one morning so my husband and I went to the hospital. By that afternoon it completely broke on its own and my 3lb 8oz baby was born that night. From the first contraction to delivery, was about 5 hours. Fortunately Madeline was a champ and came home before her due date, which is a big achievement in the NICU.
When I got pregnant the second time, my husband and I knew we wanted things to be different, and that’s why we decided on taking a more natural approach to child birth and delivered at the local birth center. My pregnancy was somewhat stressful. All the emotions surrounding not carrying my first child to term came back to haunt me, and I was very nervous it would happen again.
At 29 weeks I started having contractions. Our midwife met us at the local hospital and I was certain that I wasn’t going to leave and my baby would be born even earlier than before. After several hours, 2 bags of IV, countless exams and a few shots, I was discharged. We were so relieved!
After that I stopped working and focused all of my energy on remaining positive. I made daily affirmations that I would keep this baby inside of me until February. Every week was a milestone and I kept repeating “February baby February baby February baby”.
On the morning of February 1st, at exactly 38 weeks gestation, I woke up to my water leaking and some mild contractions. They were very irregular and inconsistent. Some long and close together, then they would space out and eventually everything stalled. I went to get checked by the midwives at around 530pm and the NST showed contractions so mild they barely registered on the machine. My doula met me after the appointment and we went to a friends house, who happens to be an acupuncturist, to get some labor inducing acupuncture. On the drove over, I was mid sentence when my water broke in her car, around 6:45pm.
I decided to have my friend put a few needles in to help with pain management. About 5 minutes into the session I wasn’t able to talk through my contractions (which were coming at 2 minutes long and 30 seconds apart). We made a mad dash to the car and my doula drove me to the birth center. On the way there she somehow managed to call the birth center, my husband and photographer to let them know we were in route to the birth center and to meet us there asap, all while talking me through contractions, rubbing my back and safely driving. It was incredible!
I wasn’t getting any breaks with the contractions, they just kept coming one on top of the other. My long low moans quickly turned into grunts. I think we were both afraid I was going to have the baby in the car! At one point we drove past a hospital and I contemplated having her pull over. That was definitely the longest 15 minute car ride of my life.
We got to the birth center at 7:50pm. The midwife checked me and I was at 7cm. I threw my clothes off and jumped into the tub. Oh the birthing tub… I loved the tub. That was the first moment I was able to relax since labor started. My husband arrived a few minutes later, in the nick of time. As soon as he got in the tub my body was ready to push.
At 8:30pm, less than 2 hours after my water broke, my beautiful baby girl, Elena, was born. Everyday I focused on having a February baby, and I did it! I couldn’t be more proud of myself and my baby. We were both determined for the best possible outcome, and together we made it happen.
Photos by Manda’s Memories