Editor’s note: We believe that all birth stories and all birth experiences matter. This post is part of our ongoing series of birth stories featuring a diverse range of women and their birth experiences. Te-Anna is sharing her story hoping to encourage women to trust their ability to handle birth. Not all stories are scary or traumatic; birth can also go quickly and smoothly! Check in with Te-Anna over at Musings of a Small Town Mom.
If you would like to share your own birth story, visit this post to learn how.
When someone like This West Coast Mommy asks for people to submit their stories, I often wonder what kind of mix she gets. My experience in mommy groups has often been that the people with long labours or more traumatic stories will talk, while the people with “easy” labours tend to stay quiet because we are often bombarded with choruses of, “Oh you’re so lucky!” and then they go on to essentially one up with how awful theirs was. Same goes for postpartum sex stories or toddler stories. Basically anything regarding parenting. You get told all of the worst stories and very few of the good stories. Is it any wonder why so many people are terrified of having children?
With both of my kiddos I had really good births. I come from a long line of women who handle pregnancy and birth children like it’s nobody’s business, and I’ve been lucky enough to carry this “gene” as well.
For the purpose of this I’ll talk about Odette since she is my most recent labour. Aside from some stress caused by genetic testing at the beginning, my pregnancy was uneventful and birth was much the same. I used a midwife again, but chose to birth in the hospital since my husband isn’t comfortable with the idea of a home birth. Also, the hospital is only a few blocks away, and very small, so it’s not stressful getting there.
I always make sure I let the midwife know that my family births well, and births quick, and since this was my second the midwives instructed me to call them as soon as I think it’s the real deal. My due date came and went, but I wasn’t concerned since my first was ten days late, and everything was going just fine. I had some contractions in the evenings but nothing lasted.
Then at five days past my due date, I woke up just before 4:00 am with a contraction. I was pretty sure it was the real deal but waited for a few more before waking my husband up and telling him he wasn’t going to work that day. I went downstairs and let a few more contractions pass before calling my midwife and my doula to let them know. At about 5:00 am I sent my husband over to wake my neighbours up and got my toddler ready to head over. I also sent a text to a friend who is an OB nurse to see if she was on shift and told her we would be on the way soon.
When my midwife arrived she checked me right away and I was 5 cm dilated. My contractions were quite strong and close (1 minute long, 5-10 minutes apart) so I made the choice that we may as well head over to the hospital. I let my doula know to meet us there, and my friend was on shift so they were ready for us.
Now, just because I labour fast doesn’t mean that it’s easy. My contractions come strong and quick right out of the gate, so it’s pretty intense. There isn’t a lot of time in between to rest. This time I chose to spend my labour on my hands and knees on the hospital bed. My doula coached me through the contractions, and my friend stayed in the room to coach as well despite being near the end of her shift. My water still hadn’t broken, and I remember my friend saying, “As soon as that breaks the baby will come quick!”
And she was right. Once my water broke, within 18 minutes I was fully dilated and then 20 minutes later, at 7:54 am, my baby was born. I had no drugs and spent a lot of time yelling, “I can’t do this!” but with the help of my birthing team, I made it through. In total, my labour from first contraction to birth was just over four hours.
Baby was 8lb 9oz but was nice to me and didn’t cause any tearing. We did skin to skin right away, and she latched on to the breast easily. She was happy and healthy, and we headed back home before lunch. Honestly, I felt better after birthing her than I had in the final weeks of pregnancy.
So there you have it folks, not every birth story has to be a bad one! Good ones do exist.