When I think about my birth story, I think about my word for 2020...trust. Trust that I was strong enough to go all natural and trust that my body would tell me otherwise.
I’m a planner and I like to do my research. During this pregnancy, I read books and other inspiring birth stories that made me feel that going natural was my way to go. I felt confident in my decision and even more confident that switching from an Obgyn to a midwife (shout out to the amazing midwife team at Avista Women’s Care) was the best choice to ensure I felt supported along this journey.
And that’s exactly how I approached giving birth, as a transformational journey. A journey asking for me to surrender. To trust. To be with what is and what will be.
I never knew just how much pregnancy was a test of patience. You wait to get pregnant, you wait 12 weeks to feel secure in your pregnancy, and you wait for your little one to be placed in your arms. That’s where we were at, almost 41 weeks and anticipating her arrival.
Then, just after midnight on August 3rd, I began having contractions and called my midwife. She said to monitor the progress and call her back when they become consistent. Both my husband and I got really excited ‘It’s happening!’ We started timing them and waited for progress. Then they went away?! What was that about? Confused and tired, I fell back asleep.
When I woke up later that morning I had a feeling to call my midwife back and let her know I was concerned about our baby’s movement. She wasn’t being as responsive as I’d like and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t over analyzing it and everything was okay. They told me to come into the office and check her out.
So, my husband and I packed up our bags (just in case) and headed in. Once we got there, they hooked me up to fetal monitors, gave me juice, and we waited once more. It seemed that she was really sleepy so we then moved to an ultrasound. That’s when my midwife said my amniotic fluid levels were borderline low and based on her responsiveness it was best we induce.
Hello lesson in surrender! Pitocin was not what I wanted but I needed to surrender to what is best for her. So, as the moon was becoming full in Aquarius, we headed to the hospital and got ready for the next phase of this journey.
At around Noon, the contractions began again and this time they were consistent and intentional. They started off like bad period cramps but as time went on they became more and more intense. Even though I had to be induced, I was still determined to do this without pain medication.
When we got to the hospital I was already 3cm dilated and 80% effaced. My body had started the process and now it was time to trust it can finish it.
With my very supportive husband by my side and the best care from my midwife and nurses, I continued along my journey to bring this little angel earth side.
As the day turned into night, the contractions increased in frequency and intensity. With each one, I was riding the waves of pain with my breath and squeezing the heck out of my husband’s hand. At some point we made our way to the spa room tub and I found some relief in the healing water and lavender scent (oh and the sound of some 90’s R&B...I remember singing Babyface at one point)
Once back in our room, the contractions came on stronger. At this point I was lying on my left side with the peanut ball between my legs to open up my hips and give this girl some room to make her way down.
As we approached the 12-hour mark, I started to feel my body shut down. I was shaking all over and could barely make it back to my bed from the bathroom without curling over in pain. My breathing became more vocal and the grip on my husband’s hand got tighter.
My midwife came in to check me and I was only at 5cm. I remember looking up at my husband and crying. I was crying not only because of the pain but because I knew my body needed rest. I was being stubborn and not surrendering. I wanted to do this without intervention and that mindset was holding me back from progressing.
So, I made the decision to trust what my body was telling me and I asked for a walking epidural. It would be just enough relief from the pain but without the restriction of the full epidural. I still wanted the ability to move around and have the choice of my birth position.
They administered the walking epidural and minus the initial drop in my blood pressure that caused me to get really sick, it worked! I was able to fall asleep for 2 hours (or so my sweet husband who stayed awake the whole time by my side told me). My body needed those 2 hours, because when I woke up and got checked I was 9cm!!!
The pain was back and it was time for the final stretch of the journey. And damn was that the hardest part. Knowing you are so close but not yet there.
Those next few hours were a blur until the moment I started to feel the need to push at about 7:00am which also happened to be the time for shift change. With a new nurse and midwife by my side (along with my husband) I started pushing. It took me a minute to find my strength but once I did, there was no stopping me! Well, maybe a little blockage that needed clearing (I’ll spare the details) but after that was taken care of my pushing became very effective.
At 7:48am little Skylar Rae made her way through the birth canal and took her first breath of air. She was immediately placed on my chest and it was love at first sight.
But birth was not yet over. It was time to remove the placenta. My umbilical cord was only two vessels and therefore pretty thin and somehow detached from the placenta. My badass midwife took charge and went elbow deep into my uterus to remove the placenta so that I didn’t have to have surgery. I am beyond grateful she did (may not have looked like it in the moment though).
Finally, birth was over. Skylar Rae was here and my motherhood journey was just beginning.
Ashley Tracey, MS RYT