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Going with the flow

It was 4 days past my due date and my mother and I were shopping in Costco, one of our favorite things to do together, when I started having contractions every 10 or 15 minutes. This had happened several times already so I didn't want to get my hopes up. When we got home and sat down I figured the contractions would stop, but they kept coming. I told my husband to expect to be woken up in the middle of the night to go to the birth center. I was able to sleep for 3 hours before the contractions were too strong to ignore. I then began to pack our birth center bag. Around 5 in the morning my contractions were 4 minutes apart and 1 minute long and I was vocalizing a lot to help cope. My daughter, who was only 16 months old, woke up and each time I had a contraction the vocalizations scared her. She thought something was wrong with Mommy. That's when I decided it was time to drop her off at Grandma and Grandpa's and go to the birth center. We got there at 7 a.m. and for the next 11 hours my contractions were irregular and inconsistent. My sweet baby boy was posterior, just like my daughter had been, causing intense back pain. My husband, my Doula and I did everything we could to help keep my labor going, rotate my baby, and ease the pain. We were in the tub, in the bed, on the birth ball, on hands and knees, walking, doing lunges, and "slow dancing". At 6 pm my water broke and my baby was finally rotated. I started to have incredibly intense contractions with multiple peaks so we all thought for sure it would be time to start pushing soon. I got on the birthstool, we turned the lights on, and the midwife got all of her supplies ready. Then, just like they had all day, the contractions slowed down. The next several hours were very hard for me. I felt frustrated, impatient and didn't understand why my contractions wouldn't stay consistent. With each contraction it became harder to relax as I lost a little bit more control over my emotions. We tried several relaxation techniques; music, massage, hydrotherapy, everything it seemed like... Then my midwife started doing imagery with me. She started to describe the way my baby would look, how he would smell, and finally she told me to imagine all the sweet noises he would make. I don't know about you, but I don't think there's anything sweeter in the entire world then a newborn cooing at you or humming themselves to sleep. That was the first time I began to feel like maybe I could keep going and that I would be okay. As I used imagery and thought about my baby, with help from the nitrous oxide, I was finally able to relax through my contractions and let them wash over me like waves. It felt incredible to surrender to the sensations of birth instead of fighting them off. This made them seem so much less painful and was far less physically exhausting. Another incredible thing was as the contractions became stronger I intuitively began to move into better positions which opened my pelvis. As I reflect on my birth experience it was amazing to see my intuition take over and it gives me a sense of confidence to know that my body does know how to birth a baby. After 21 hours of labor and 25 minutes of pushing, my baby boy was born into the water as I caught him and pulled him up to my chest. This was the perfect start to his sweet little life and I'm so grateful to be his mother and for the transformative experience of giving birth to him.

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