The birth of my first child Julian left me wanting more from the birthing experience. Growing up, my mom was always the “crunchy” one. Having most of her children at home, she sometimes did it without the assistance of a midwife. When I got pregnant with my son I was open to the idea of a birth center birth but we were living in Biloxi, MS and there weren’t any close to the area. My birth with Julian was the typical cascade of interventions with me getting induced at 41 weeks. As I said, it left me wanting more as I felt very detached from the experience due to the epidural. Julian stayed in the NICU for 5 days due to meconium aspiration so I didn’t get the initial bonding I longed for either. When I got pregnant with Audrey I switched to a different OB, hoping that they would be more lenient about not inducing at 41 weeks (my family tends to run late). Although this OB was much nicer and personable, it was still very much a traditional “do everything” approach. When we got the word that we would be moving back into the Panhandle area, I asked my mom if she knew any OB that were more relaxed…I specifically told her that I was not looking for a midwife. She sent me the link to GBO and I got very emotional as I looked over the website and read/watched some of the birth stories. I convinced my husband that this is what I wanted and quickly set about contacting the office since I would be 20 weeks once we moved. I got established and the rest of the pregnancy went without a hitch. I had no idea how long I would go overdue since I was induced at 41 weeks with my first. Cindi ended up moving my due date 5 days later based off my original ultrasound putting me due July 20th. I had a lot of Braxton Hicks leading up to 37 weeks and then sporadically have stretches of slight contractions but nothing organized. My due date came and went…that Sunday I had several hours of light contractions about ten minutes apart, I was very hopeful that this was the start of something. I went to bed and woke up not in labor anymore. I was frustrated but at the same time okay with it (I think the reality of having another baby was sinking in). Nothing happened throughout the next couple days. Wednesday evening we went for a family walk and then relaxed after dinner. I started having regular contractions that were growing in intensity, about 5 minutes apart. I tried to go to bed but ended up getting up and making the quiche that we were planning on bringing for the birth food. I called Cindi to update her about 1:30am and at her advice took a bath to try to relax. The bath relaxed me enough that I was able to fall asleep around 3:00am. I would wake up with a contraction occasionally but they were weak enough that I could stay in bed and fall back asleep after. I woke up around 6:30am restless and got ready for my 41 week appointment that morning. I would have some contractions but was able to talk through them. I didn’t bother timing them because after the false starts I had been having I was over it. Cindi offered to sweep membranes which I took her up on, hoping that it would kick start something. She mentioned that it would cause contractions but they may or may not progress into actual labor. Cindi said that because of the early labor I had been having that my labor may be fast and furious. We headed home towards Navarre with the plan on relaxing and seeing what would happen. I was starting to have more intense contractions that seemed to be stacking on each other (again not timing, but this time because I was busy concentrating). I thought that the drive was the longest ever; by the time we got home I ran inside and hopped in the bath. My mom was updated on the way home, and we told her we would let her know when we were heading out so we could pick her up quickly. I was out of the bath hugging my labor ball when my mom walked in, I assumed Joey had called for backup but she had decided to come over based on how I had sounded on the phone. I immediately started getting dressed to go, and told Joey to give GBO the heads up. Joey had set up the SUV so that I could lay/move around in the back (I think I told him I was NOT getting back in the regular seat after the ride home). Now THIS was longest ride I have ever endured. At some point during the ride my water broke and I felt the need to bear down. I told my mom who advised me to take shallow breaths, and she got in the back with me to help calm me. She told me after that she thought she was going to have to deliver Audrey on the way to the center. We made it to the center and in between contractions, I went in. Based on my past experience (pitocin induction), I thought I had a long time to go. My contractions were about the intensity they were with Julian when I was told I was only 3 cm and decided to get my epidural. So with that in mind, I figured I was nowhere near having Audrey. I went from the toilet to the tub and back to the toilet when Cindi suggested she check me to ensure I didn’t have a cervical lip. So I went to the bed and after she checked me I kneeled over the end of the bed and we started to push. I, of course, had lost all track of time and felt like I was pushing for forever. I told Joey I didn’t want to push for hours like I did with Julian…little did I know we were at the birth center for just under an hour when Audrey was born. Pushing was probably the best feeling because I felt like I was working with my labor and not a bystander. Joey got to catch our daughter who was born at 2:34pm. We got to do immediate skin to skin and bond with her. After a few hours we got to go home and begin our life as a family of four. I think my first birth left me feeling somehow that my body was broken, incapable of birthing a baby without interventions. Going through this experience with GBO reaffirmed that I am a strong capable woman!
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