It was around 9am when my water broke... I had just gotten out of the shower and was putting on my underwear in our bedroom when I felt a slow trickle of warm water run down my leg and on to the floor. At first, I thought, 'Am I really peeing on myself?'... My water didn't break like on the movies where there is this huge splash triggering pandemonium of labor and a mad dash to the hospital or a phone call to the midwife. It was just a slow...trickle... of water. I yelled for Jon to come to the room so that he too could analyze what was poppin in the champaign room. The more I moved, the more water trickled down... For sure, my water had broken.
I was determined. I was determined to get as much done before Mr. Jedi made his appearance. I wasn't having contractions at this point. However, I knew that at any moment things were about to get rolling. So, I did what any mama would do with their second kid after their water breaks... I took my oldest kid to the dentist. Jax had an appointment at 10:00am in which we were already running late. I called the office informing them that I was in early labor and that my water had broken and that I still wanted to keep Jax's appointment. I also called my doctor. He advised me to time my contractions and come in when things really get going. So off to the dentist we went... Afterward, we went to Whole Foods and picked up some snacks for the hospital... walked over to The Grove and walked around a bit... I wanted to stay active. I was ready to get this baby out.
Afterward, we went home, and had a "big brother" ceremony, where we officially promoted Jax to his new position of "the older sibling." It was beautiful and empowering.
I bounced on my birthing ball. I ate. I binged watched hours of the HBO series, "Treme". It was pretty amazing. My contractions were still irregular. Day turned into night. I slept. I bounced. Nothing. Around 10:30pm that night, my contractions became closer.. Around midnight, Jon loaded up the car, called our birthing posse, and woke up Jax, and we all piled into the car and headed to the hospital.
Upon arrival, they checked me and I was only around 2-3 centimeters dilated. Not much. However, because my water had broken, they admitted me and took us to our birthing room.
Jon prepared our space. Although our first choice was not to birth in a hospital (thank you weird insurance...sarcasm) Jon did an amazing job of making our birthing room look like home... not only by bringing our favorite things from home, but by truly preparing the space to welcome our little one. We had our salt lamps glowing. Our PF Candle Co. candles burning and our Sonos speakers playing our desired Pandora music channel... Our room was beautiful. After settling into our room around 4am, I bounced on my birthing ball for a bit and decided to get some sleep.
3 hrs later... 7:00am. Katelyn (my doula) and I wake up. Jon takes Jax to grab some breakfast. Katelyn & I start bouncing and walking. Contractions are still a bit unsteady. I eat some fruit. More bouncing. Its around noon and our good friend Paige arrives. She takes Jax to grab food... Angela, my mama mentor is there as well. All of my peeps decide that its best to cover the clocks, as by this point I am starting to wonder if this baby is ever going to come out. Perhaps I knew that this was going to take a while (hence me running all the errands that I ran prior). This was a bit surprising... My first labor with Jax, being just over 18 hours WITH Pitosin. This labor was taking a while.
3 hours later... 3:00pm. Jon encourages me to walk around... and by "encourage" I mean he tells me, "Hey, lets speed walk and do some lunges around the hospital"... And that's what we did. We did this for about an hour. Me, Jon, Jax, Angela, and Katelynn (my doula). Jon was right! The more we walked, the more the contractions came. The stronger they came, AND the more frequent... Before I knew it, I was in high gear labor... My conversations started to shorten as my contractions became more intense. I continued to walk (and pause during contractions). They became more and more intense. Thank God for the hypno birthing techniques that I learned. I went inward. I focused on my breath. I reminded myself that every contraction was bringing me closer to seeing my baby.
Its around 1:30am. Still no baby. At this point. I am exhausted. I feel like I can't keep going... I tell Jon, that I can't keep going... My goal was to have an unmedicated birth. I had read all the books and watched all the documentaries... Yes, hypno birthing techniques had gotten me to this point without completely losing it, but I feel like I can't continue another hour with this kind of intensity. The nurse informs me that I am at 9 1/2 centimeters. I am in transition. The final throws of labor. At this point, my body wants to push!!! In fact, my body starts to push... The nurse tells me that I can't push, because I'm not quite at 10 centimeters. Angela, grabs my hand. I continue to breathe... The nurse offers me pain medication similar to morphine. I ALMOST took it.... ALMOST.. To be honest, if the nurse had offered me crack, I may have considered it....It was THAT intense.
Its funny how when things get tough, the want for a maternal figure begins to present itself. In that moment, I began to cry for my mother (who had passed away 3 years prior) I wanted her there. She was at my previous birth with Jax. The intensity of it all... in that moment... without her was real. At this point, Jon asked everyone to leave the room. He then reminds me that I have the right to do whatever I want to do in this moment... to take the pain medication (or not) that was just offered by the nurse. He also reminded me of what I wanted in this birth... to birth without medication... to stand and push my baby out. He then makes a deal with me. He says, "If this baby isn't out in 30 minutes, lets revisit this conversation... You got this!!!" ... I agreed.
The nurse comes in, she checks me again, and says that I can push. I'm on my back, and I push. The doctor comes in checks me while I'm pushing. He says that I probably have another hour or so. He leaves out... I continue to push on my back and nothing. Jon then asks if I would like to stand up. I say yes... as laying on my back didn't seem to be working. He instructs me that before my next contraction, he was going to swing my legs around toward the bedside so that I could stand up. At this point, it seems like I only have seconds in between contractions. I stood up. I have the biggest contraction, that I've had the entire night. I let out a lion like tribal roar, and I feel my baby's head emerge. I utter the words, "There's the head"...And as soon as I say that, the rest of my baby's body emerges and literally falls out barely missing the floor, and into my husband's hands. It all happened so quickly, Jedi was upside down... dangling from my vagina in what could be best compared to the famous Tom Cruise Mission Impossible stunt . It was truly amazing. Jon and the nurse were having difficulty grabbing a hold of him, as he was slippery. The nurse says, "Brandi, grab your baby."... And I did just that. I grab him with total control that only a mama possesses. I lay down on the bed, and lay him on my chest.
This particular birth wasn't exactly how I imagined. It was way longer... 43 hours to be exact. However, it was exactly what I wanted. I was able to birth exactly HOW I wanted... the WAY I wanted.. I was able to birth surrounded with the people that I love, free from unnecessary interventions... WITHOUT fear. People who hear my birthing story, often ask me if I am now a proponent for unmedicated childbirth. The truth is, I am a proponent for women birthing the way that THEY desire to birth... HOWEVER they desire to birth. I feel as though, too often the choice/ option to birth freely is not presented. Women from the beginning are programmed to fear the beautiful task that their bodies are capable of performing... I am Pro-Freedom in birth. I am Pro- Momma... In my case, I was able to trust my instinct and push my baby from my womb, while standing like a boss. Yes, it was the most physically intense experience that I had ever gone through... I felt like my back was being ripped open. I was in pain. I will not lie. But, I feel as though pain/ intensity is not necessarily a bad thing. It reminds us that we are alive and that we are human. Afterwards, I felt strong... I had just birthed on MY terms... In my mind and heart, from this point on, nothing was impossible... I could truly do anything...