(written by Liana Sheintal Bryant, about the birth of Woody, 04.06.11)
While washing my face around 11am, my water broke. I was at home so called Harmony, and with her advice, proceeded with my day and kept her posted of progress. Contractions didn't start for a while, so I practiced yoga, showered, did my hair (wanted it looking good for any labor pics!), did laundry, put on my bikini (one last pregnant belly pic!), and then contractions started around 3:45pm. They became frequent enough by around 7pm to head over to Rosemary Birthing Home. I went with my husband, John, and my mom.
When I got there, I was only 1 cm dilated! The contractions continued to be strong and regular, so we stayed. After some time, we decided to try the tub. It was funny, because at this point, I was still pretty modest and remember asking John whether he thought it was okay to be completely naked while in the tub. Boy, did my modesty soon become a thing of the past! I then ended up spending much time in the bathroom. I felt most comfortable on the toilet and would squat, pressing into my thighs, during contractions (resulting in numb pinkies and ring fingers for a couple weeks later!).
I went back and forth from the bedroom to the bathroom many times. I also would occasionally try going back in the tub. By now, I was completely naked, as I walked from room to room. During the labor, I didn't want to talk, be touched, eat, or drink. I ended up getting an IV for fluids, because I just couldn't drink much. I remember being in pain and thinking it was just too much and saying I needed a break.
Then, oddly, in the midst of active labor, my contractions stopped, so I took a nap. I felt so much better when I woke up. Harmony also showed me the adorable baby that had just been born upstairs by my lovely childbirth classmate. Harmony showed me this sweet boy to remind me what I was working towards! I then got in the tub, but since my contractions still hadn't picked back up yet, Harmony suggested we try things to strengthen my contractions. And, again, I frequented the bathroom often. I remember talking about my options with Harmony. My options were basically to go to the hospital, where I likely would have to get a c-section, or deliver him naturally there. I remember thinking that there was no way I was going through the process of getting dressed, walking out of the birthing home, getting into an ambulance, walking in the hospital, etc... let alone the delivery process! But, I also remember thinking that I didn't think there was any way my baby was coming out of me either!
Harmony suggested I go up the stairs to bring on stronger contractions. She suggested squatting up double stairs. At this point, I was into negotiations, so I suggested squatting up stairs one at a time but in a minute. Deal. So, in a minute, I proceeded to squat up the stairs, completely naked (fortunately we were alone in the birthing home). By the time I got to the top, I had to get to the bathroom. Heidi was still cleaning up the bathroom from the last birth, so I had to wait a second, which felt much longer! I got on the toilet, and very soon, I felt that I didn't have the sensation to go to the bathroom, but rather, that my baby was going to come soon!
Harmony told me that I needed to get on the floor if I thought I was going to deliver, and I knew I was! So, Harmony called John, my mom, and Heidi into the upstairs bathroom. I got on all fours and after two pushes, I believe, he was out! John caught him. It was amazing. I held him. John sang The Beatles song, I Will, to our boy, Woody. My mom watched. I was then pleasantly surprised that moments later, Harmony was able to lightly pull on the cord, and the placenta gently came out. What a relief! A little later, John cut the cord. I showered. We then enjoyed resting on the bed all together.
Author's note: This is the first time I've written out my full birth story. And, I write it now with Woody asleep on my lap, on his 5 month birthday. I love him so much. My 27-hour labor story, relayed above, was the best experience of my life. I am so grateful for the amazing support I had that day.