“Come on baby, eviction notice has been posted!”
At 42 weeks pregnant, I feared induction or possibly a C-section. I only wanted to give birth naturally, knowing Pitocin’s negative effects on the body and the instantaneous increase in likelihood of a C-section. I didn’t want to be near a hospital. I did everything to get the little one out, thinking I knew a better time than my body did. I pumped, hiked, bounced, sexed it up, danced…I even downed some castor oil, followed by hot showers, and running. But Baby was comfy and he was staying in. I had some Braxton Hicks that got my hopes up a couple of times, but nothing happened.
Then something lovely happened. My body said, “I have a better plan.”
At 5am, I halfway woke up from the pangs of contractions. “Sleep body sleep,” I meditated, and I drifted back to sleep. I woke up at 8, preparing for my 42 week midwife appointment. I showered, put on some make up, and dressed up with contractions happening every 10 minutes or so. I waddled to my husband in the living room and kissed his face, and said, “I’ve been contracting since 5.” My sweet man turned to look at me and said, “I’m sorry for not jumping for joy, since we seem to have been having false alarms the past couple days.”
“Oh, but love, these are different.” I smiled and he turned back to his computer. I wrapped my arms around him and said, “We are having a baby today.”
Driving though Glenwood Canyon, my contractions were taking my attention. I felt my body tense up in an attempt to run away from the sensation. I took a deep breath and sank into the contraction as one would a stretch, and the sensation was instantly turned into a satisfying effort. It’s hard to explain, but when you work with your body in anything, you feel strong and empowered. The same goes with contractions. I turned to my man and said, “Remind me when it gets stronger to sink into it and breathe and let it happen.” He nodded his head.
We arrived at my midwife’s office, laughing and talking. Finally, I lay down to check and see if there has been any progress.
“Oh honey, you’re 8cm dilated! We need to get back to your house.”
I shrieked with joy; I was right! This was good. I could feel my heart pounding with excitement. We all scampered to our cars, as my midwife called my doula and Nathan called my mom to say we are on our way back home.
My mother exclaimed, “How perfect! I just finished cleaning the house. I’ll make lunch.”
Nathan, my husband, shot through the canyon in eight minutes, where it should’ve taken 30 to get through. When we got into the house, my one year old was waiting for us, happy and smiley. I immediately hopped on the exercise ball and bounced, while giggling about the impeccable timing this little one had. My contractions started getting heavier. I could feel my back and down by my crotch working together. I moaned through it, allowing the deep noise to fill my rib cage and belly. It felt fulfilling and strengthening, like I was getting amped up to climb Mount Everest.
I moved to the bathroom to use the tub, but found I was getting nauseous. I told my midwife I felt like throwing up, but I wasn’t going to. They laughed at me, and with me, and said I was allowed to. Then, as I transitioned, I felt like my hips were trying to abandon my body. I had my doula press them together, giving me strength and a foundation to contract from.
And I saw it. It presented itself like a dinner special: the desire to run away, the desire to quit, the desire to disconnect, and hold back. And I said no. I said I will be present, I will experience every contraction, and I will enjoy it. I will work for my baby.
I started speaking out loud:
“Stay here, Meghann.”
“You are strong, you are powerful.”
“Lord, give me strength.”
“Praise you God, praise you.”
“Thank you for the work God.”
The conversations with God started flowing out easily – prayers and thoughts and desires and encouragement, all from my own mouth. My team sat back in awe, as I motivated myself, often times parroting back what I had said. My doula kept the pressure on my hips and my mom massaged my lower back. I smiled during contractions and laughed after each one. I sang through the strongest contractions.
We moved to the bedroom, where I sat on the birthing stool. How releasing it felt to be spread open, ready to bring this baby into the world.
I started to lose steam. The intensity was exhausting and the work was hard, but good. As I pushed and pushed, my sweet husband stood by making eye contact with me with a strong, steady, reassuring look. He fed me honey water and petted my hair and kissed my neck. Then my water broke and I was instantly filled with encouragement and excitement all over again.
I was pumped and ready to continue and push this little one out. I leaned into every push, only working as hard as my body demanded. And then, as he started to come out, my midwife asked me to hold him there! Oh, that was hard! I took high-pitched breaths to tighten back up, as she rubbed oils and warm water on me.
“We need to take care of your tissue, babe,” she explained, and I was thankful. “Now release.”
And I did, and baby’s sweet, little head came out. The next push he came out in total. My midwife flipped him around three times, unwinding the cord around his neck, which I was thankful she didn’t mention earlier as I might have panicked and tore myself in attempt to get him out faster. I noticed he was a boy as she laid him in my arms, and rubbed him and did all the procedure to get him breathing. He took his first breath, cried for a moment, and then made eye contact with me. It was serenity. He merely whimpered with occasional cries.
We sat together, both high on the cocktail of oxytocin and endorphins.
“I worked so hard for you, my love,” I told my sweet Michael. While waiting for the placenta, Michael latched and we were breastfeeding instantly. The placenta came out and they put it in a plastic bag while it was still attached to Michael. I was propped on the bed with my little one as he breastfeed for an hour. He worked as hard as I did. The high and love that I felt isn’t justified in words or even photos, only the experience can speak for it. It was dinner time by the time the infant exam was done and we all ate together and said goodbye to the midwife and doula.
The timing was perfect. We were rested and fed, and the photos were pretty great considering I had a face of makeup on.
Some of the photography was done by photographer Ken Moehn.