Liz. new mom.
Ivy's Birth Story
The decision to have our baby at Baby+Company was an easy one for me and my husband. We had an orientation at an offsite location while the center was still under construction, and were immediately in agreement that this was our place! I knew that I wanted a natural birth and we both felt very safe doing so at Baby+Company. Our prenatal experience was great! During our first appointment, Taneesha led us through a guided meditation. (I think this was a bit of foreshadowing because she would later deliver our child.) I felt supported, guided, and comforted every step of the way. I looked forward to each of my appointments.
Convinced that I would have a baby at least two weeks early (just as my my mom and grandmother before me), there I was 8 days over my estimated due date. I was starting to think this baby was never coming. So, when I started feeling some mild cramping late in the evening, I brushed it off as nothing. I went to bed and slept off and on, still having mild contractions. My sweet husband, knowing that something was a little different this time, would ask me if I was okay any time I turned over in bed. (I think he was excited and ready, too!) Early the next morning, we talked and decided that he would stay home that day. He had been going to the gym and work everyday for the past few weeks fielding the “No baby yet??” questions.
Looking back, I kept trying to tell myself that this wasn’t the real thing. I was terrified of going in too early only to be sent home. All day long I would qualify the things that were happening and tell myself that I wasn’t in labor.
We ate breakfast and walked around our apartment complex. I walked several sets of stairs and unevenly on as many sidewalks as possible. I wish I could have seen my very-pregnant-self walking all over that day.
We got bored around 11am and a little stir crazy so we went to a local park to keep walking. I had to stop a few times with contractions, but they were still mild and intermittent. We headed back to the apartment again and I was so hungry (I wouldn’t be hungry if this were real labor).
By mid afternoon, I was testing myself. If you can’t sleep, it’s probably labor. If you get in the bath and things slow down, it’s probably not labor. If you can still talk and carry on, not labor. After lunch, I tried to nap. This was my first inkling that this might be happening. I couldn’t rest much. After about two hours, I decided to test out the bathtub. It felt great and I was re-energized, but the contractions didn’t slow down. I had been timing them for a while and they were consistently a minute long, but at seemingly random intervals. I was waiting for the 4-1-1 that we had discussed in birth class and with our midwives at Baby+Company.
We finally decided to call around 5:30pm. Contractions were now moderate and lasting at least a minute. I could still talk through them but had to stop to breathe through occasionally. Taneesha, the midwife on call that night was really calm and told us to call her back in two hours. No problem, I thought. I decided to get back in the shower to fix my hair in case we went to the birth center that night (this is comical to me now!). This is where the night starts to run together. I was in the shower and told my husband to start preparing our food for post-delivery. I remember him coming in the bathroom and asking several questions during the middle of a contraction, and I wasn’t able to answer until it subsided.
I eventually got out of the shower and labored on the floor for quite a while. I wasn’t able to time my contractions anymore. I remember getting starting to feel tired and going to lay on the couch between contractions. I could feel another one coming so I went to get on my hands and knees (my preferred position). All of a sudden my water broke! This was about 6:40pm, according to my doula. My husband had been asking me for a bit if we needed to have her come over. I kept telling him to hold off because I didn’t want her to come too early.
He started calling the shots after my water broke. If left up to me, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere or have anyone come over. He told me to get ready to leave for the birth center and began packing the car. Once he was finished, he pretty much had to dress me and force me out the door. Between having contractions back to back and not wanting to go too early, I was being stubborn. He finally got me in the car and I remember the clock said 7:11pm. Although my contractions were pretty intense, the ride was bearable and we arrived in 25 minutes (clock said 7:36pm). Jessica, our doula, and Trish, a Baby+Company nurse, met us the parking garage and started providing immediate support. Between nausea and contractions, I had to stop and child’s pose several times between the car and birthing room. I do think I managed a joke about my appearance! My hair was half-wet (I never got to style it) and I was wearing sweatpants, slippers, and a robe.
My final sign that this is real was when Taneesha checked and I was 7cm dilated. I felt so accomplished! Now all I needed to focus on was our baby moving down and relaxing during contractions. I labored in the tub for about an hour before I started to feel pushy. Meg, our nurse, came in at that point. I wanted to try pushing from the birth stool so we tried that first. After about 45 minutes, the baby’s heart rate started to decelerate during contractions. I was also getting tired and losing my breath, so I was given an oxygen mask. After about another 15 minutes of pushing, the baby was crowning and was born very shortly after at 10pm.
The first thing I said when they put the baby on my belly was, “WE MADE THAT and it’s a….” Then I looked down and someone opened her legs and it was a baby GIRL! The sweetest and best surprise. We spent the golden hour snuggled together and she latched almost immediately. She was perfect in every way! We had a few girl names picked out, but none of them seemed to fit her except the one that we had talked about only four days earlier. Her name was Ivy.
Meg made me feel so cared for and supported during those immediate postpartum hours. I knew she was there for anything I needed, yet they gave us ample space to enjoy our precious first moments as a new family. After a few hours, Meg let us know that Ivy and I had incompatible blood types and that she was Coombs positive putting her at a higher risk for jaundice. Ivy needed to be transferred to the nursery at Vanderbilt Hospital for further monitoring, which is completely precautionary. Although the transfer to the hospital was difficult after such a serene birth experience, the nurses and midwives continued to check in on us until we went home about 36 hours later.
The staff at Baby+Company, especially Meg and Taneesha, helped us have our dream birth experience. I am forever grateful that we were able to bring our daughter into the world in such a welcoming and loving environment.