Updated: Jul 26, 2019
Eight months ago, my provider estimated my due date to be June 22, 2019. Throughout my pregnancy, I stayed busy and focused on growth and health. My pregnancy was wonderful. As I approached my due date, I hired a birth doula, postpartum doula, massage therapist and photographer. They would soon be key players on my birth team.
As a birth doula myself, I hear women express their need to deliver before or at their expected due date. Although I was not “too tired to be pregnant” I could relate to their sentiments. My anxiety kicked in as my due date approached. I experienced a sudden fear of infant death. I struggled daily because apart of me wanted to remain pregnant but another part of me feared that my beautiful baby would not make it. This is a real fear for me. REAL. So real that I had to remind myself to be patient. I preach patience to women daily, and here I am rushing the process. I experienced prodromal labor for almost 2 weeks. Contractions would come and then go, but my body was not quite ready. My massage therapist also worked to prepare my growing body. The day after my estimated due date I came to terms with my extended pregnancy. I took the last few weeks pampering myself, preparing for baby and spending time with my older children. We had a blast!
Sunday, June 30th I went to bed knowing that the next morning would be the beginning of my “birth-day.” I had a gut feeling. My body was becoming tired and heavy. I knew that the end was near. Monday, July 1st at 41 weeks 2 days I went into labor. I woke up at my usual time, close to 10 a.m. I felt cramping while laying down. Once I stood up, the cramps formed contractions. I rested in the bed for 30 mins and they grew in frequency. I knew this was the real thing! I contacted my midwife, doula and photographer to inform them of my progress. I ran bath water. My photographer arrived first. She watched me labor some in the tub. If I was going to move this labor forward, I knew that I needed to maintain mobility and move baby lower into the pelvis. This was my 4th baby and 2nd attempt at a unmediated labor and delivery.
Around noon, I began walking outside with my photographer. She captured me stopping during contractions. They intensified. I knew I was in active labor. I didn’t track or count my contractions. I didn’t need to. I knew my body! My baby was coming. My doula arrived and we moved into my home, laboring and preparing for our visit to the birthing center.
My midwife wanted to see me. She knew that I would likely delivery quickly. At 1:30 p.m, I was 4cm dilated and actively laboring. I wasn’t ready yet, I needed to labor more. My photographer, doula and myself went for lunch at Jimmy Johns. We chatted and laughed in between intense contractions. I listened to R&B when I needed to mentally escape. After lunch, we returned to my home. Contractions became so intense, my doula suggested that we return to birth center. Around 5:30 p.m, I was about 6 cm dilated. The only thing that I wanted at the time was ice water, music and my doula’s care. I labored in my private room at the birthing center.
My birthing team began getting into place. My mother arrived, my friend Taylour and other family members to help with my children. I wanted to my children close by. I wanted them to have access to me when they wanted to. I did not want them to be afraid of birth. They came in while I labored to check on me and again shortly after I delivered.
The room became dark from my closed eyes. These last moments were raw and intense. I struggled to find my “sweet spot.” After many attempts, I found the position I would deliver in, on my left side. With my wonderful birth doula encouraging me on one side of the bed, my mother was on the other. My two midwives gave me freedom to feel every emotion. They were so supportive. Words of affirmation were flying across the room. I can’t see. My midwife says, “Brittany, open your eyes.” I opened my eyes and my team was in full formation. I felt powerful, encouraged and loved.
My body began to push naturally and I rode the wave. It was painful but beautiful. I would do it over in a heartbeat. I felt baby crowning. I reached down and felt his head and hair. He was delivered. My love rested on my chest, he was perfect! I felt relieved. My baby remained attached to his placenta as it was being delivered and 4 hours post delivery. I trimmed his cord and saved the placenta for encapsulation.
I loved on him and so did everyone in the room. I did it! I controlled every step of my labor and birth and it felt so good! I needed this. I was reborn.
After 4 hours of postpartum care at the birthing center, we went home. Care began in the comfort of my home. I embarked postpartum unmedicated. I wanted to heal naturally. My postpartum journey began.
Two days later, we named our beautiful baby Chasson Carter. He has no idea what he has done for me. I love him truly. His siblings love him and they are proud to have been there at his birth. We are blessed.
To read more about my postpartum healing, subscribe to my blog and look out for my postpartum healing guide that will soon release early Fall 2019.