I started to feel some light cramping around 9:30 at night. I know now that it is very common for women to begin laboring at night. We aren’t sure what exactly initiates labor, but we do know that the hormone, Melatonin, is released in dark and quiet spaces, and that Melatonin promotes the release of Oxytocin, which in turn stimulates the uterine surges! I was excited at the prospect of this being the onset of labor, same as it was for my first. I went to bed to rest and conserve energy, and woke up around 2am unable to sleep through the surges any longer. They were about 10 minutes apart and I love to "walk the dog" - alternating knee bends, hinging from the hips, holding onto the stair rail, back of a chair, or the bed, through them... I found that this really helps me navigate the intense sensations. I did my yoga breath, focusing on the inhale expanding (allowing space) and exhale (releasing baby) and repeated my mantras. "My baby and my body know what to do." "The power and intensity of my contractions cannot be stronger than me, because it IS me."
About 9:30am we left for the hospital as my surges were a bit closer (about 6 minutes apart) - My intuition was telling me it'd be best to just be there, even if I wasn't far enough along yet. I hadn't had any signs such as losing the uterine seal or waters releasing, but once in triage, I consented to a cervical check from the midwife and I was dilated to 7 or 8cm!! I walked down the hallway to my room, pausing when a wave would come by holding onto the railing along the wall, pumping my legs and breathing through it. Right across from my room, I felt what has been my sign of transition now for both births- Feeling as though I'm going to puke... and then I felt the urge to push!
My midwife suggested continuing to stand, as that was working for me, so she raised the bed and I stood on the side of it, with my husband behind me applying pressure to my lower back to help with the sensations. I welcomed my low, primal sounds and released all inhibition. I quickly lost my uterine seal, my waters released, and yes- I poo'd (I was pushing and didn't care what came out! Also, this is normal! Baby clears the body out.)- and then baby was on his way out! I was tuned in and feeling the power of birth! My midwife encouraged me to do a few smaller pushes, which I believe helped me not to tear very much, and within minutes, my baby was Earth side! I layed down and we did skin to skin, leaving the cord intact for as long as possible. Euphoria washed over me and the boost of oxytocin felt orgasmic. My body and my baby are so strong! It was a calm, beautiful, empowering experience and I am SO thankful!!! Ryan James Duffy was born May 1st at 10:23am weighing 7lb 5oz and was 20.5in long. I affirm that the tools I gained in my prenatal yoga practice were quintessential in my positive birthing experience. I also received relaxing, soothing, prenatal massages. After a few days of difficulties breastfeeding due to a low supply, a friend sent over her lactation consultant- who taught me more in 15 minutes then I had ever known about breastfeeding before! I also continued my talk therapy sessions to maintain mental health through this transitional phase of life. I felt held and supported. This is motherhood. And that’s the story of my birthing experience, my baby’s entrance into the world, and the village that helped me.