Hi Friends! It has been over a week since my last post! But oh what a week it has been. I can't even remember the last time I went that long without posting.
How was everyones holiday? Ours was wonderful and exhausting, all at the same time. We have had a lot of family in and out, which has been incredibly helpful. And we've been getting settled into our new normal.
I'm excited to share Zoe's birth story with everyone. It was the most intense emotional rollercoaster I've ever been on.
Meet Zoe Washenko.
It all started on Friday (the 18th). I was officially 39 weeks pregnant and I had a routine appointment with my midwife that morning. Zoe was head down, settled nicely into my pelvis, just waiting on the word from the universe, that it was time to make her entrance.
After my appointment I went to get some lunch and went to the chiropractor to get aligned, just incase Zoe decided to come over the weekend.
Around 7pm I started having some cramping. I was also feeling very frustrated and upset about something personal going on, so I thought the cramping may have to do with that. I grabbed my yoga mat and some frankincense oil, to do some meditating.
I went to bed that night around 10pm, still cramping. At 1:30am I woke up to regular contractions. My last labor was insanely fast. It was less than 5 hours long, including pushing. Because second babies tend to come in about half the time of first babies, my doula and I made a plan for me to call her once I knew I was in labor, so she could be ready.
When I talked to her I told her I was managing contractions well and I didn't feel like they were intensifying quickly. We made a plan to talk in the morning unless something changed drastically before then.
After we got off the phone I quietly milled around the house packing last minute things in our bags, getting something to eat to keep my energy up, and sitting on my birth ball. Then I stood there enjoying what I thought would be my last few moments of quiet, in my living room, rubbing my belly, with the moonlight shining in, onto the hardwood floor. It was truly a beautiful moment.
My contractions still didn't seem to be intensifying too quickly so I decided to lay down in bed. I was in and out of rest, falling asleep between contractions. It wasn't total rest, but it was rest.
Around 6am I woke PJ and told him I was in labor. I was still managing contractions well, although they were intensifying. I hadn't timed them yet because timing is less important than intensity, and I didn't feel like we were there yet. We all got up for the day, and I spent some time with Aria because I knew I wouldn't be home later in the day to see her.
My in laws came to pick up Aria 9am, to allow me to labor at home peacefully, concentrating on the important work my body was doing.
My contractions intensified gradually throughout the day. I put some essential oils in my diffuser to encourage a peaceful environment. I bounced on my birth ball while watching Love Actually, and eating the most delicious grilled cheese of my life. Then I layed down in bed and tried to rest between contractions. After that, I took a bath. By this time it was about noon.
The bath was a game changer. In the bath my contractions started coming closer together and I could tell I was starting to make progress. I called my doula back and told her that we may be getting close to time for her to come. Knowing things were ramping up, I decided to lay down for an hour and rest between contractions again. PJ layed behind me and held me as I drifted off and awoke, over and over again.
When I got up, my body was telling me to get back in the tub, so I did. The water felt good and again, things started to pick up. By this time I was vocalizing through contractions and swaying back and forth with the sensations. As I felt a contraction coming I would close my eyes, place my hands on my belly, sway from side to side and vocalize low, deep sounds to remain relaxed and let my body work.
By this time it was 3pm. I called my doula and she was on her way. I called my midwife and she listened to me work through a contraction. She said to leave and head to the Birth Center as soon as my doula arrived.
My doula arrived at our house and guided me through contractions, as Pj packed the car. Then we all headed out.
We arrived at the Birth Center and my midwife was waiting for us in the lobby. I immediately had a contraction as we started to walk through the lobby. I leaned against the wall, swaying and vocalizing. My doula applied pressure to my hips and my midwife talked me through it.
Once we got into the Birth Center my midwife did an internal exam to see how my cervix was progressing. I was 4cm dilated. She and my doula suggested I get into the shower. The warm water of the shower helps manage contractions, while also helping labor progress. The water does a fantastic job of stimulating the nipples, which produces the oxytocin that moves your cervix along.
I got into the shower with PJ. Through each contraction I leaned on him, we swayed like a beautiful slow dance, and I vocalized through the contraction. Between contractions he held me and I rested my head back on his chest. Most of the time we were quiet, but after each contraction encouraged me with sweet words about my strength and how much he loved me. My contractions grew more intense very quickly.
After about 30 minutes in the shower, my doula peeked her head in the bathroom and told us that she could hear my contractions changing and that they were consistently 2 minutes apart...all good signs.
I moved into the big tub. The tub felt so good. Being submerged in water does amazing things for contractions. Imagine a contraction is like a wave. The water eliminates the start and end of the wave, making the contractions feel shorter and less intense. The water also offers a calming sensation throughout the body.
Pj sat on the edge of the tub with is feet in, so that he was available should I need him, and I alternated through positions during each contraction The most comfortable position was on my knees with my arms resting on the side of the tub and my head resting on my arms. My doula sat next to the tub holding my hand when I needed it, coaching me through contractions and reminding me to trust my body because although this was really hard, my body was doing exactly what it was supposed to. She encouraged me to talk to Zoe.
After a while in the tub (I have no sense of how long I was in there), my midwife suggested I get out to try some other positions to move baby along. Our doula mentioned that her clients have a lot of success incorporating childs pose in their labor. That position encourages baby to move down and naturally puts pressure on the cervix to open.
I got into childs pose on the bed, for a few contractions.
I started to feel very tired at this point. It was 6pm and I had been laboring for almost 24 hours. All I wanted to do was lay down. I layed on my side in the bed, with my doula sitting at my side, my head resting in PJ's lap and my midwife sitting behind me. I felt completely safe and supported.
Contractions continued to rock through my body. By this point I felt like my body was going to rip into two, but somehow each time a contraction would come, I breathed and worked my way through it confidently. I had an amazing support team.
I started to shake uncontrollably and telling them there was no way I could do this and that I didn't want to do this anymore. I started to lose it a bit, but my awesome support team brought me right back.
My midwife kept reassuring me I could do this and I was amazing. I remember saying to her, If I survive this....champagne for all. And calling her crazy about 100 times. Labor makes you say weird things.
I asked her to check me again because I was feeling desperate to know if I had progressed. I was 8cm. Another contraction came, and with it my water broke with a huge gush! It was an incredible relief. That's when things got real.
Part 2 will be up tomorrow! Enjoy your Monday everyone! I'm taking both girls out by myself for the first time today. Wish me luck!