The birth of Baby Raina: Fast and Furious
Contractions started early in the morning on the 27th of November but never gained momentum until Raina’s big sister, Elya, went to bed around 8pm. An hour later, I laid down and decided to get some sleep. The minute my head hit the pillow, however, contractions started up again. You have got to be kidding me, I thought. I laid there for about an hour trying to rest, since the contractions were only about 20 minutes apart, but eventually I went out into the living room to see my husband, Peter.
There, my contractions got stronger and closer together, until eventually we thought, “This is it!” But then they spaced out again (around 11pm). I felt SO frustrated and worried that this “start-stop” pattern would continue throughout the night! Sensing my exhaustion, Peter urged me to lie down again and try to sleep, but I knew that if I could just get my little girl’s head in the right position (pressing down on my cervix) I’d be in “real” labor. I therefore started doing squats during contractions, and in no time, I was in full blown active labor, throwing up, and calling the midwives telling them “it was time”. This was around 11:30pm.
At 12:45am, we got to Health Foundations, and my contractions were 3 mins apart. The minute I walked in and hugged my doula and friend, Aubrey, I started crying. I felt so grateful that she was there and that soon I would be meeting my baby girl! Amy, my midwife, immediately told me to get into the shower. Why isn’t she starting the birth tub? I remember thinking. I brushed it aside, though, and quickly got in; and thank God too, because the water felt amazing! My birth mix started playing and it made the whole experience feel so surreal and emotional.
Finally, Amy and Aubrey told me to get out of the shower and try sitting down. There was NO way that was going to happen since Raina’s head was causing way too much pressure to do anything else except stand. I therefore leaned over a bed and put my head on some pillows. I squeezed Peter’s poor hand for the millionth time, and Aubrey massaged my shoulders and neck, which felt amazing since I had pulled some muscles during contractions. Again I started wondering, Why isn’t Amy running the water? I know I’ve got to be close. (Amy told me later that she didn’t think I was even in active labor since I was being so quiet and jovial.)
Eventually, I demanded they fill up the tub so I could get in. I also started telling them that I “couldn’t do it any longer” and that they had to tell me what to do. I knew from my actions that I was in transition and needed my support team to tell me what to do since my brain was being overpowered by my body. I also knew that I needed them to tell me when it was almost time to push because I could tell I was holding back. That’s when my water broke and I threw up again. I knew I was near the end, but since Amy hadn’t checked my cervix yet I started doubting my intuition and resisting “the urge” even more. That’s when I finally got in the water
Once again, the water was amazing!!! Amy checked my cervix and told me Raina’s head was super low (which I was able to feel!) and that I was almost “complete”. What a relief! I thought. She then told me to start pushing with little pushes so I could ease into the second stage of labor, which was SO helpful, because prior to labor, I had been very scared of pushing due to how much I had disliked it the first time around. Easing in to this stage was SO helpful and allowed me to gradually start pushing, until eventually I succumbed to my body and pushed out my beautiful baby girl in three minutes time! I started crying, “Oh my God oh my God oh my God!” and kissed her perfect little head. Peter was crying too, and then we kissed each other and marveled at the beautiful creation we had in front of us.
Raina was born at 2:23am (7lbs 11oz and 22 inches long) after three hours of incredible and intense labor. It was such an amazing and gratifying birth. My first one had been amazing too, but this experience was just lovely, with its beautiful environment and gentle and peaceful process. This is a huge testament to Health Foundations and my support team! I am also SO thankful that I now have beautiful and gorgeous pictures (taken by the lovely and wonderful Danica Donnelly) to remind me of how strong and powerful I am. We all have this maternal power; we just have to believe in it, claim it, and trust in it, so we can fully let go in the welcoming of New Life.