While I know only 5% of moms deliver on their due date (and it’s super common for that day to come and go), I wasn’t mentally prepared to go beyond 41 weeks. My son arrived a day before his due date, so I figured his sister would arrive in similar fashion but that was not the case.
Early on, I learned that I had an anterior placenta which is not as common and can cause positioning issues with baby (they tend to favor a posterior position or even go breech). I made sure to see my chiropractor (Diamond Chiropractic Health Center) regularly to stay aligned and give her ample room to get into a good position. I was lucky that she was head down the whole time but she stayed posterior or transverse right up until I went into labor.
After trying all the witchcraft I could think of, at my 41 week appointment I decided to try a membrane strip to see if that would help get things going. I waited and still, no contractions. Finally, at 41+1 in the afternoon I started having very mild but consistent contractions. I was hopeful that this was the start of labor but with Bradley (read his birth story here) I never really had early labor (I woke up in active labor) so I wasn’t sure if this was actually it. Sure enough, around 9:30pm my contractions fizzled out and I was feeling pretty defeated. Luckily, I was able to get a great night of sleep. In the morning, I decided to use my breast pump and apply some clary sage essential oil to see if I could get contractions going again. Within an hour, I was having consistent (and slightly stronger than the night before) contractions about 6-10 minutes apart and lasting 30-45 seconds long. We decided to labor at home and wait for our scheduled appointment that morning at 9am.
Union arrival to my OB appointment, we had an BPP ultrasound to check fluid levels (since they had been steadily decreasing) and sure enough my fluid was non existent. The good news was that she finally turned anterior!!! When my OB (Dr. Bellmann) checked me, I was fully effaced, 5cm and baby was at 0 station. Although I didn’t feel like I needed to admit to hospital (or even need of my doula yet), Bellmann encouraged me to get settled as she expected me to progress quickly!
Upon being admitted to WK Pierremont around 10:30am, I alerted my birth team and had my photographer and doula meet me at hospital. We set up my room by firing up my birth playlist, hanging my birth affirmation banner, displaying my labor candles and diffusing my lavender essential oil.
Around 12pm, Bellmann came to check on me and I was at 7cm and starting to recognize signs of transition. My contractions were now on top of each other and I felt like I didn’t have any breaks. I was so happy to have my doula and husband there for physical and emotional support. Swaying on hands and knees was something that helped me through the tough contractions.
See slideshow of birth photos by Tiffany Robinson Photography here.
Only what felt like minutes later I announced that I feel like I had to poop… I knew that meant I was entering the second stage of labor, pushing. The first few expulsive contractions I stayed on hands and knees leaning on the back of the bed… instead of pushing with them, I really just breathed through them and to my surprise baby eventually started crowning (no thanks to my active pushing efforts). In that position, I didn’t feel like I could effectively push so I decided to sit the the throne position which mimics a squat (yet you are supported and easily able to rest between contractions). I finally felt like I was able to work with my contractions and once I reached down to feel that her head was partially out, it only took one solid push for her head to be born and another for her shoulders and body to slide out. That feeling when baby is in your arms… is indescribable. Suddenly all the pain disappears and you are overwhelmed by holding your precious miracle. From the moment I laid eyes on Arlyn, I was instantly in love.
She was born at 1:42pm with a solid amount of vernix (or as Mike calls it, “Uterus Butter”) which we rubbed into her skin. Within 5 minutes she was already nursing like a champ. Minutes late my placenta was born and Mike did the honors of cutting the cord. Luckily, I didn’t have any tears and didn’t even need pitocin after birth since my bleeding was within the normal range and I was effectively producing enough oxytocin through breastfeeding.
We are so in love with our sweet little girl! If you are interested in a having an amazing birth experience, I would love to have you in one of my upcoming Birth Boot Camp classes ❤