Being Empowered By Birth

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Three days before my due date (which was December 25th), I woke up about 3:30 AM with some menstrual-like cramps. With my first pregnancy, I was constantly scrutinizing every Braxton-Hicks and wondering, “Is this it?!” And my son didn’t decide to come until he was a day shy of 41 weeks gestation. I simply *knew* it was the real deal with this pregnancy. I roused my husband just to let him know what was going on and hopped in the shower to shave and enjoy the heat from the water. Around 8 AM the rushes/contractions were getting more intense. I had called my doula about 7 AM and told her my daughter was coming, so she began the drive to the hospital in my town.

That drive to the hospital was one of the hardest I’ve ever made. It was so difficult to be confined in that small space and not being able to move. Around 8:30 AM on Monday we got checked in and ushered into our room. I asked for a birth ball and within minutes of us arriving, my doula came into the room just in time for a contraction. She was so wonderful, encouraging, and helpful; she applied counter-pressure to my hips while I leaned into my husband and swayed back and forth on the birth ball. For the next 3 hours, that is what I did; with each contraction I swayed back and forth, breathed with the rushes, and hummed. My son’s birth is not what I had hoped for; I was extremely grateful that he was born healthy, but I really wanted an intervention-free birth this time around.

I was trying to keep an open mind, but I was very intent on having as natural a birth as possible in the hospital. If there’s one thing I loved about this birth, it was having a doula. I sometimes wonder how my first birth would have been different if I had had a doula for my son’s birth. He was 9 pounds, 12 ounces and 22.5 inches long. With his birth I didn’t really know what I was doing, and my husband didn’t know how to help me. Our doula was so graceful and knew just how to encourage John in his role as my labor support.

After being on that birth ball for about 3 hours, I was definitely in transition and feeling the primal urge to push. I wanted to get on the bed, and I was yelling that she was coming. I pushed for a couple minutes, and my daughter was born at 12:21 PM on 12-22-14 (7 pounds, 5 ounces and 20.25 inches long). She was immediately placed on my chest and we started nursing within a half hour. That was one of those most amazing moments of my life. I felt so strong, and I just could not believe that I gave birth to Anne without any interventions. One of the reasons Anne was about 2.5 pounds smaller than Michael was because she had SUA (Single Umbilical Artery), which can mean birth defects but in her case, it simply meant she was a bit smaller. I am so grateful that was born healthy, and I hope my future births will be as empowering as my second. If you’re considering a doula for your birth, I urge you not to be deterred by the cost; I cannot recommend a doula enough. Our doula, Julia, worked so well with the hospital staff and was not combative or militantly against hospitals. She knew what we wanted for Anne’s birth, and she helped us speak out if our care team was suggesting something that we didn’t want. Have you felt empowered by giving birth? 10885366_616180074605_305962513986962429_n

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