This feels like a very vulnerable share, but when a friend at the Womb Room here in Baltimore asked me to share a birth story, I felt grateful to put my birth together in this way. Every birth is a rite of passage. Every birth story matters. I hope that by sharing this helps someone, somewhere feel resourced.
Check out my story on the Womb Room's site- as well as many of their amazing offerings for pregnant families in the Baltimore area!
I believe our babies bring with them great lessons for us. I believe they play a role in how our pregnancies go- they prepare us to be the parents that they need once they arrive.
Our rose bush bloomed a bright yellow flower on the winter solstice the week I confirmed I was pregnant. I knew right then we were going to have a girl and that we would call her Rosie.
My second pregnancy was a surprise. I had miscarried a month before and felt upended by how sad and empty I felt, and then, a few weeks later, I was shocked by how terrible I was still feeling. Waves of nausea, no more milk in my breasts, an indescribable exhaustion.
The message I kept getting was “It is safe to receive love.” An enormous task for me, one I was forced to work on every day. The lessons I learned, the degree to which I was invited to let love in, the people who came into my path were extraordinary.
My midwife friend flew out from California to help out for the birth. We waited. And waited. We cooked, played in the garden, did puzzles with the toddler. One morning, I woke up with bloody show and knew we would be meeting our baby soon. The entire day I could barely engage with the world. My head was fuzzy, I felt pulled deep deep inside myself. No huge contractions, but I had to move tenderly, it was like I was on the verge of tears and couldn’t keep track of ordinary things like where the toaster was.
My house filled with well-wishing family- we watched a movie and I took a luxurious shower. I nursed my toddler and held him to sleep. The house emptied.
I woke up just after midnight to pee. I went back to bed, my husband rolled over to check on me. I had a few small contractions, decided to get on all fours, things felt very spaced out. I moved around, energized by the activity. My husband came in to check on me, we were talking in between, laughing even as I tried to convince him this wasn’t labor yet.
Suddenly, I had one huge contraction. I had to vocalize through it. My son woke up. I went to the bathroom. My husband asked if he could call our birth team. I begged him to wait for the next contraction, to see what would happen.
Another big one, but still really spaced out. I looked at my blurred reflection in the mirror- “is this it?” I asked the woman I saw.
I had to really roar through the next one. I remember gripping onto my husband’s neck, hearing my son cry out for us in the next room. We called our friend and my sisters. They were 12 minutes away.
I went to the bathroom as my husband tended to our son. I remember second-guessing myself because the contractions were still so far apart. I lit a candle, paced around the floor, really working hard and making lots of noise when the waves hit.
Time sped up. My sisters tended to my son. My friend stood in the doorway, laid down a chux pad beneath me. I could not move. All I could do was focus on breathing. The cold, hard bathroom floor felt perfect.
I kneeled in the tiniest corner of the tiniest room of our house, next to the toilet, and felt my body begin to push. I cried out for my husband to come and catch the baby. My eyes were closed. I heard my sister encouraging me from far away. Everything was incredibly still, all of my senses heightened.
My body pushed and my baby flew out-! My husband said “guess who it is?” and handed her to me. We rejoiced at her little cries, our dog began to wildly bark.
I stood to birth my placenta, which felt like it took a long time. I showered, and allowed myself to be pampered with food, blankets, socks.
Everyone left and we laid down- a family of four. I watched my babies sleep as the sun rose.