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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

the story of little miss

oh, hi dada!
Little man predicted his sister’s birthday. He told me the Monday before that she would be born that Saturday, and I kind of felt like he was right. The night before I went into labor we stayed up late watching a movie after a day of errands (shopping at Ikea...with a 9 months pregnant...ACK) and cleaning (I think it was the fridge) and a special mommy and little man outing (hot chocolate and library storytime).

I woke up at 3:30 in the morning on Saturday wondering if my water had just broke. I could feel something was different. I had endured months of severe Braxton Hicks contractions (including one 8 hour episode that sent us to labor and delivery at a nearby hospital at 32 weeks) but this was different. I laid in bed for an hour watching the clock, trying to rest, as the contractions got closer and more intense. By 5am they were 4 minutes apart and really intense. I finally decided to wake up dada, called my mom, and called our midwives. It was going to take an hour for my mom and sister to drive up from the farm so we called in back up childcare, Jack's favorite babysitter, to come over the minute he woke up and play until they got to us.

After a breakfast of eggs, taking bites between contractions, our midwives started to arrive. By this point I couldn’t speak or move during each one and they started scrambling to get things ready, thinking a baby was around the corner.

This was one intense labor - but peaceful at the same time, much like missy girl's personality actually.

Dada went down to our family room and lit a fire. It was about 6am. I came down and did squats, experimenting with different positions to ease the discomfort. Unlike my first birth experience I felt so clear-headed. It was amazing feeling everything, every move and ache, trying to tell just what my body needed.

With little man I was on the birthing ball the whole time, rocking over my giant belly listening to music. But for some reason I couldn’t sit, I wanted to lean, stand, move, squat a little. Around 8am we thought maybe I might be ready to push and I did, leaning against dada a little, thinking it was time, but it wasnt quite right. A quick check confirmed, I was only 3-4 cm. Thankfully no one told me until after the fact - “progress updates” can only serve to disappoint and I would’ve been devastated!

More than the pain it was the endurance mind thing of labor that caught me off guard. It really was like forcing yourself to run another mile on the treadmill, tricking yourself to do another five minutes, another ½ mile, to push yourself to the limit. And then, to do this for hours. Eight hours it turned out.

After the check they told me, quite kindly, you know lets try to work through them a little longer, maybe a shower? My body, they knew, needed to relax into the pain to open up for the baby to descend. I climbed the stairs in one contraction up to the shower “like a mountain goat” they said later on. The shower helped. I lunged from side to side with each contraction, the water on my back.

Back downstairs in our birthing area they checked me again. Little girl's head had descended to +1 station and I was dilated to 7cm but her head was cocked to the side, just like little man's head been.

Strangely, I wasn’t panicked.

I never once thought, “this is it, I need another cesarean, lets get to the hospital.” Instead, I knew that my midwives could help me through whatever lay ahead. We had been working for months on getting my body ready with nightly inversions (positioning yourself upside down) and cradling my belly with a rebozo.

Instead my response was, okay, so what do we do?! My body was trying, so hard, to move her down and reposition her, which is why the contractions had felt intense enough to push so early.

At this point one of our midwives who is a yoga instructor, made a suggestion. She had noticed my slight lunging into each contraction earlier and suggested we do this five times on each side in a more deliberate way, through each contraction. I lunged five times on the left and then, with the first lunge on the right, I felt the baby shift inside of me, immediately sending a gush of liquid as the pressure increased incredibly. (ACK. I didn't know it COULD get stronger!!)

I was nearing exhaustion at this point, unable to take the intensity for much longer, and said so to our team. They however had the perfect response. This is the time in labor when hormones flood your body and you start doubting yourself but you CAN do this. That made sense to my rationale brain and I was able to keep going. Oh, ok then. Let’s get on with it!

For the next hour, I worked through each intense contraction, as I finally transitioned and readied my body for birth. During this hour one of our dear midwives held one hand and my husband the other, as I lay on my side, talking me through every single contraction. “And you are rising with the wave, and let it wash over you, don’t struggle against it, let it carry you up to the sunshine, and now back down again as your toes touch the sand.” As a former California girl this image really worked for me. By the end of the hour the urge to push was uncontrollable, and finally I really could. My body knew what to do and had done it to reposition my baby and get her down, with the help of some smart women.

After two hours of work, feeling every centimeter of progress in a strangely satisfying way as she traveled down the birth canal, our daughter came into the world, placed on my chest by loving hands. She was a perfect little rosy girl. A few squawks and then peaceful. She was content to look up at my face and I down at hers. We explored her toes and fingers, discovered her crooked ear and her blue eyes. And then she latched on and nursed happily for the next hour. Sleepy big bother met her after waking from his nap a few minutes after she came into the world. A little family of four.

As the afternoon turned to evening and the fire died down, our three midwives gathered around to say goodbye. They stood circled around me and my girl and we all kind of got choked up. “Sara, you are the HBAC goddess you wanted to be!” I started crying. I really HAD done it. It wasn’t terrifying. It was beautiful. It was hard, but it was perfect. And I had done it.

introducing brother and sister.


  1. Bravo! Great story, thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Thanks for telling her story, too! As someone who succumbed to the painlessness of epidurals with both births, I am in awe of your strength. HBAC Goddess, indeed! I hope the story of baby #3 is just as wonderful.

  3. Congratulation Sara, such a blessing you`ve got! Greetings from Switzerland

  4. Love this story, Sarah. Are you planning a home birth this time too?

  5. monica - she is a blessing...and more to come when i write about blessing #3 :)
    tara - definitely!

    thanks for reading everyone!

  6. Beautiful, beautiful. Wishing you just as amazing an experience with this one!

  7. Oh, I just love, love, love this! Yes, you did it! So proud of you!!!!

    (Thanks for linking up!)


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