Birth

Well! It’s been almost a month since I’ve had Asa, so I figured I should probably get his birth story written out before I forget details. So settle in, grab a cup of coffee (or tea, or hot chocolate), and have yourself a good read. If you like reading birth stories, that is. Side note, in case you weren’t sure: I chose to have a completely natural and drug-free labor and delivery, using a midwife and her birthing center (basically, it’s like a home birth but at a home that is set up specifically for birthing). If you live in the Seattle/Tacoma area of Washington and are looking for a good midwife, Nancy Spencer is amazing and you can read up on her and her birthing center here. 2

It was 2:30am on Saturday, January 18th, three days past Asa’s due date, and I woke up feeling a contraction that somehow seemed different from the few sporadic cramps I’d felt throughout the two weeks past. It was not a harsh contraction, but it lingered longer than usual, and I lay there wondering if perhaps things were finally getting started. Taking a deep breath as the contraction subsided and I lay waiting to see if another one would come, I prayed “Please, God, let it be time.”

Ten or twenty minutes later, I had another contraction. I lay in bed for quite some time wondering if I should try to sleep, or get up, or wake up my husband. I felt a few more contractions in that time, and I decided perhaps I should at least get up and use the bathroom and check to see if I had passed my mucus plug yet. I had been checking all week, but nothing had happened. So when I used the toilet and saw blood, I felt a pump of excitement. I’d read that some women didn’t pass their plug until they have entered active labor. Still, it felt a little too good to be true. So I went back to bed, and tried to decide whether I should start timing these contractions, or sleep.

Because labor didn’t come on quickly. That, I knew. But the longer I rested, the more continuous the contractions seemed to be. So at 3:50am, I started to time them. In an hour, I had 9 contractions at a pretty even pace, so by 5 o’clock I decided I could wake my husband up and tell him the good news. I was in labor!

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Things I Didn’t Expect: Labor and Postpartum Tips for First-Time Moms-to-Be

Things I Didn’t Expect: Labor and Postpartum Tips for First-Time Moms-to-Be | EccentricOwl

I was going to wait until February to start posting again, but knowing several of you are getting close to your due dates, I wanted to share the things I didn’t expect (or people were too shy to tell me) about dealing with labor and life after giving birth outside of the whole “buy lots of diapers, diaper wipes, and nursing pads!”

Keep in mind, I had an easy birth; I didn’t tear, and though I had 68 hours of prodromal labor, my active labor was very short, as was the pushing period. Plus, Asa latched well, nurses well, and sleeps pretty dang good for a nine-day-old baby. So if you have it harder than me, you’ll want to pay even more attention to these things!

Labor:

I had a completely natural and drug-free labor. I’m not going to lie: it hurt. Obviously. But nobody can tell you how much labor is going to hurt; you just have to do it yourself and find out, unfortunately! However, keep these things in mind, and labor will be much, much easier for you!

  1. Up until you go into actual labor, rest as much as possible. As mentioned, I had 68 hours of prodromal labor that, in three days, only progressed me to barely 2cm dilated. If this happens to you, listen to your body first. Everyone told me to walk around and speed things up, but my prodromal labor was not the type that stopped when I moved. It got worse when I moved, to where I was in tears and couldn’t even take a step for the pain. For three days. And my midwife told me to rest, so I rested.
  2. Learn how to breathe. Pre-labor, I did this yoga video on YouTube, and it helped SO much with knowing how I was going to need to breathe during labor. We didn’t take any Lamaze classes at all, or anything to help us know what labor would be like… and personally I didn’t feel like I needed to. But knowing how to breathe through contractions is so essential to keeping calm and getting through each one!
  3. Have a focus point. Throughout labor, the one thing I did that helped — other than the breathing — was squeezing my husband’s hand. I tested other things, such as making noise through the contractions or tapping my other hand on the side of the tub, but those things just made me more aware of how much pain I was in. Keeping quiet, breathing slowly and rhythmically, and squeezing Mr. Owl’s hand kept me feeling calm, in control, and as though I could get through the contractions one at a time.
  4. Do what makes you feel better, and remember that these pains are good. Some people get through contractions by walking. Others, by making noise. Others, by resting. Personally, I was in the tub the entire time I was in active labor, and I kept as still as possible. But if moving around makes you feel more in control, do that! And with every contraction, especially as they get stronger, remember: your body is moving that baby down and out into the world, and soon you will see a beautiful new life! I remember thinking, as the contractions got more intense — “He’s moving down. He’s moving down. This is good.”
  5. Don’t be afraid of pushing. You guys, believe me. Pushing feels awesome, because your body knows that’s what you’re supposed to be doing when the time comes. Labor is so much more painful than pushing. (And a few tips my midwife told me about pushing: hold your breath, don’t allow ANY sound to come out, have people push on your feet, relax your legs, and push as hard and as long as you possibly can. It’s hard work, but the more you do those things, the quicker it will be over!)
  6. And lastly… just don’t be afraid. Labor hurts. It is intensely painful, and I cannot lie to you about that. But being afraid will only make things worse. Your body was made for this. You were designed with birthing in mind, and unless complications arise, you will get through it. You can. Because your body was made to do it.

On to the next part, which is longer!

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