I want to share my story with you for two reasons. 1) I want to be bold and honest in my experience because there are too many women on social media portraying an easy/glamorous/perfect birth. There is no such thing. We are all human. 2) I had so much fear leading up to this moment that if I could do it all over again, I’d let the fear go and welcome the experience more.
All I knew going into this was: 1) The plan is to have no plan. Expectations are never good for any situation, and emergencies can happen. 2) I don’t want any drugs. Epidural…preferably not, but definitely no actual drugs.
I had done SO much research on birth, breastfeeding, and alllll the problems and setbacks that can come along with them, which was great because I was overly prepared, but also terrible because I was absolutely terrified that all of these things would happen to me. “OMG what if the baby goes breach? What if I need an emergency C section and all of my insides accidentally spill out? What if I get mastitis and my boobs explode and I’m left with no boobs? (but then again…i guess i don’t really have any to begin with) What if I never lose my baby weight and I’m planet Neptune forever? What if the baby comes out and something is wrong with her? What if I can’t push her out fast enough and she freaks out and has a temper tantrum and never comes out? What if i DIE!?!!!!!” And these, my friends….are just a small tidbit of the questions that were swarming in my head. If I could go back and do it all over again, I’d simply say to myself, “Raina…you have done all you can do. You have exercised almost every single day, you have eaten healthy, you took a baby class, you’ve done your research, you have an incredible husband who is going to do everything he can and more to make sure everything is okay, and you are strong, amazing, and a WOMAN. Drop the fear, and embrace the miracle. If something happens, it’s just an obstacle to overcome.”
Alright so here’s the story:
Contractions started around 7pm, and finally at about 2AM it was downright miserable. I woke up my husband, called my doula (btw I HIGHLY recommend getting a doula for those soon to be first time mothers!!!!) and…suddenly it all became very real- this. is. happening. Then of course, I burst into an ugly, sweaty, sob. I was SO scared. My husband just held me and calmly reminded me of how strong & amazing I am, and that everything would be okay. At 3AM, my doula came over, and from then ALLLL the way until 1PM, (trying to think of the best way to put this) I SUFFERED. Contractions are the equivalent of flaming hot piranhas having an angry dagger fight inside your center of gravity, as your tail bone explodes over and over again, all while you’re slowly being sawed in half. My husband and my doula were my team and without them…I don’t even know what I would’ve done! I was on the couch, on the floor, on the yoga ball, bouncing, kneeling, standing, laying, walking…whatever I could do to relieve some pain. I will say however, that the “mini breaks” you get between contractions are a life saver (insert grateful happy dance for mini breaks here). Finally after 18 hours of contractions, it was time to go to the hospital.
For some reason in my state of panic, I suddenly decided I didn’t like hospitals, and declared my intent on staying home. WHAT!?? My poor husband then calmly and lovingly somehow managed to convince me to get in the car. THANK. GOODNESS. Side note: If it hadn’t had been for the doula, we would’ve left for the hospital HOURS earlier. (Shoutout to Billie Wolfe! You rock!) By the time we got to the hospital, the contractions were so gnarly that I couldn’t bear the thought of having to do it for another minute. After all, I had been dealing with contractions for 18 hours at this point (11 of which were absolutely miserable) and gasped, “is it too late to get an epidural?!!!!” Thank goodness it wasn’t- another 30 minutes, and it would’ve been! I should also probably mention that I was absolutely terrified of getting an epidural because somewhere along my “labor and delivery research” I read about the horrors of epidurals, and freaked myself out so bad that I thought I’d somehow get paralyzed and never walk again. So the poor epidural guy had to deal with a frantic pregnant lady who was asking/screaming/panting WAY too many questions.
Even though it would be nice to say that I had a completely natural birth, I CAN say that the epidural was THE BEST THING EVARR. I could still feel my legs, as well as the pain, but it wasn’t nearly as atrocious as it had been for the past 12 hours. I had 3 hours of significantly reduced pain to relax a bit and regain some strength for the pushing part!
After roughly 4 sessions of pushes, which included a few “ARE YOU SURE IM DOING THIS RIGHT?!” and “I AM PUSHING AS HARD AS I CAN!!!!!!!!” out came Kaia just after 6pm! I can honestly say that besides marrying my husband, the moment they put her on my chest right when she arrived, was the absolute best moment of my entire life. There is truly nothing like it and I will forever and always remember it. An absolute miracle. Every pain leading up to that simply vanished and there she was, the most precious little, purple, shrivled, old-bald-man-looking, baby that I grew inside of me, finally in my arms. Heaven.
(Quick shoutout to my absolute rock of a husband who loved and uplifted me, who helped me regain my confidence when it started to slip, reminded me constantly of how incredible, strong and beautiful I was, and that God has the master plan, all from the second contractions started, through the pushing, all the way to the delivery. I couldn’t have done any of this without you. You’re my hero.)
P.S. The photo below is obviously a professional photo (taken by Giselle Salazar), 13 days after Kaia was born. Makeup, lighting, and angles are the only factors keeping me from looking like a scary zombie lady who had recently somehow pushed a human out of her body after almost 24 hours of labor.