Birth Stories

Jade's 3 Week Long Labor

  • When did you realize you were really in labor?

    I was in early labour for 3 weeks, with one week of more intense early labour. For the first 2 weeks, I experienced contractions every 30-60 minutes. For the last week, I had increasingly stronger contractions every 3-5 minutes all day every day. One the Wednesday of that week, I had a midwife appointment, at which she gave me a stretch and sweep and said that I was 3cm dilated and my cervix was about 0.5-1 cm thick. Great news. The next day, I felt the contractions were stronger, so a midwife came over and told me it was still early labour. She did another stretch and sweep and said my cervix was down to 0.5 cm. I continued to wait it out, and on Monday evening, was feeling extremely strong contractions (I had no idea what was to come!). The midwife came over again and said it was still early labour. I was at 3-4 cm dilated and my cervix was paper thin and stretchy. She said she expected me to have the baby within 24 hours. Then again, she said we had been proving them wrong all week already.

    I woke up at 3am the next morning and was sure I was in active labour. I was “mmm”ing and “oh”ing through contractions and couldn’t speak through them. I had a couple of long baths and listened to Deva Premal and worked through it with Greg and my mom, bouncing on my exercise ball in between baths. . Brittany came over right away, determined to stay, whether it was time or not. If there was no progress from the night before, she said she wanted to break my water. Luckily, I was 4-5 cm and good to go!

  • What was the most challenging thing about going natural?

    The contractions were more painful than I was expecting, but what made things really difficult was the back pain. I was not expecting that to be so intense and I relied on Greg and my mom to apply pressure to my lower back or hips and to rub my back with tennis balls or a rolling pin during contractions. I spent time walking up and down the stairs, bouncing on the ball, leaning over the ball on all fours, sitting on the toilet, squatting, and standing and hanging onto Greg or my mom.

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  • What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?

    The most helpful thing I did to prepare was pray often and practice yoga and deep breathing, as well as focusing.

    The midwives were so impressed with my deep squats and said they had never had to lie on the ground looking up with a flashlight while somebody squatted.

    The midwives said that my biggest strength during pushing and what gave me the energy to keep going was my ability to relax in between contractions. I would completely zen out, unable to speak. I would close my eyes, breath, and focus. I even dosed off a couple of times. I could have cried or gotten frustrated, but I pushed all negative thoughts, comments about pain, and worries out of my mind and stayed calm.

  • What surprised you about your birth?

    Despite practicing pushing in yoga class for months, I was doing it wrong. I thought that I had to push with my stomach muscles and keep everything down below relaxed, but what I actually had to do was relax my stomach muscles and try to push out a poop. I struggled to push with the right muscles, so I was most effective when I was lying on my back with Brittany’s hand inside of me, fingers indicating which muscles to use. Trying to push out her hand worked the best for me.

  • I would completely zen out, unable to speak. I would close my eyes, breath, and focus. I even dosed off a couple of times.
  • What pain relief strategies worked best?

    For me, the best pain relief was having my husband and my mom rub my back with a rolling pin and put a lot of pressure on my hips. I did deep breathing, as well, and prayed throughout the birth.

  • What position did you end up delivering in?

    I was mobile and active throughout the birth, squatting, standing, walking around, sitting on the toilet, and pulling on a rope; however, for me, the most effective position was lying on my back. The pressure of my back against the bed helped with my back pain, and it was the only position in which I could make progress while pushing. Adelyn Jeanine Bowie was born while I was lying on my back.

  • How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?

    Holding my daughter for the first time was amazing. Even reaching down to feel her head while I was pushing gave me such a rush of joy. I cried for weeks, thinking about the moment I held her and cuddled with her. There are no words that can describe the feeling. It was the greatest moment of my life. Still, holding her skin to skin calms her right down.

  • What advice can you give to other mamas who want to go natural?

    You can totally do it! It is amazing how strong our bodies are and what we are capable of. Our bodies were designed to give birth, and with the right frame of mind and support team, it is easy. All of the preparation I did paid off during my early labour and kept me focused and calm during the active labour. It is all worth it for the beautiful gift that you get at the end. I remember the pain still, but I cannot wait to have another child. Giving birth was the most alive I have ever felt, and the most spiritual.

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