Jillian. new mom.
Jillian Bryant and her husband, Matthew, moved to Colorado almost six years ago. Since then, they’ve dedicated themselves to developing a healthier lifestyle, choosing organic and gluten-free foods, removing toxins from their diet, and spending lots of time hiking those gorgeous Colorado mountains. When Jillian became pregnant with their first child, she knew she wanted to give birth outside of a hospital. In her quest for a safe, supervised environment to give birth naturally, she discovered Baby+Company of Wheat Ridge and, as Jillian tells us, it “just felt like home.” Here’s their story of Levi’s birth.
Visualization During Labor: Levi's Birth Story
“I was ten days past my due date, and I was feeling anxious because I didn’t want to be induced in a hospital. Matthew and I were doing every trick in the book to get labor started, and finally we tried castor oil. Within four hours, I was in labor. I had regular contractions for the next twelve hours, and spent that time at home doing different exercises and techniques. I relaxed in the tub and went for a walk. The Baby+Company classes had really prepared me for the different stages of labor, so I felt at ease with the whole process.
They had coached us to be conscious of how quickly the contractions were coming and how long they lasted, so when they were about three minutes apart and lasted a minute each, we called the birth center and they told us to come in. The contractions were coming more frequently by the time we arrived, but I was only 5 cm dilated, which was a bit disappointing.
The midwives were encouraging and gave me a few different techniques to try. I relaxed in the tub, which was very nice. I spent some time on the birthing stool and did a few exercises on the yoga ball. Mostly, I just tried to stay calm and let the contractions do what they were meant to do so my body would open up and I’d be ready to give birth.
When the midwives checked me again several hours later, I was only 7 cm dilated even though I was ready to be finished! They told me to focus on my breathing and really dig deeply within myself. My husband was so incredible throughout the experience. He encouraged me to get through each contraction and be in the moment.
Finally, I was 9.5 cm dilated, so a nurse began to get everything set up. There was a nursing student there, which was nice because she was so excited to learn about the whole process along with me. She was like another cheerleader. I got in the tub, and kind of draped myself over the side of it. Labor was painful and I used the nitrous oxide for a bit, but I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere with that. The midwife suggested that rather than leaning over the side of the tub, I try flipping over. I did, and within three pushes our son Levi was born!
Labor took a lot longer than I expected – 22 hours! Luckily, I was well prepared. For pain relief, I found it very helpful to fixate on a round object in the room, and then envision it growing and getting larger and thinner, just like my cervix. That gave me a visual representation of what I wanted to happen with my body. I also tried to focus on the fact that labor is pain with a purpose – at the end, I’d have a beautiful baby. That put things into perspective for me.
Levi is 15 weeks old now. Motherhood has been wonderful, but a bit harder than I expected. I wish I had taken one of the postpartum classes at Baby+Company, and gotten together with some of the other women who were giving birth around the same time. One of the things I love about the birth center is that they don’t just cut you loose after six weeks. There are lots of events for moms with babies and families to do, and it’s nice to know that they continue to have activities for us to participate in. I bonded with the midwives during my pregnancy, so I was excited to learn that I can still go to the birth center for my well visits and other care. I look forward to returning!”