It was 10:30pm and Sean and I were lying in bed, watching some new Marvel series on Netflix when I felt a contraction coming on. Braxton Hicks. I’d been having them for a few days and they usually went away fairly quickly. This one was different, but we were a week from the due date so I didn’t believe it was happening already. I started breathing through it as I had with the others. This one lasted much longer and I felt like I needed to sit up to find some ease. It didn’t change the intensity.
I made my way to our bathroom and emptied my bladder but when I stood up I kept leaking. I now know it was my water breaking but at the time I wasn’t so sure. Wasn’t it supposed to gush out? It kept trickling down my leg and I realized I simply couldn’t wear pants anymore. I put a towel on the ground in our bedroom and got on all fours. I remembered the midwives saying this position was a favorite for most women. I didn’t like it. By this time I had had three contractions, all lasting a minute and only two minutes apart. We called the midwives.
The toilet was my sanctuary. Once I found that seat (and I did very early on) I labored there the entire time, alone, with Sean just outside the door waiting in our bedroom. I needed the space and he picked up on that right away. He would come in occasionally to bring me ice and motherwort tea. He made me a calcium lactate drink which consisted of 40 crushed up pills with water and almond milk. It was disgusting but I was told to consume it when I went into labor as it would help with the pain. So I downed the entire thing and chased it with my tea.
Danielle and Rachel arrived around 1:30 in the morning and I was still sitting on the toilet breathing a deep yogic breath through every contraction. It was intense, but manageable. I felt very calm and confident. I knew that the best thing I could do was nothing at all. I trusted the wisdom of my body and of my baby and I let the two of them take over the situation. I was only witnessing, breathing into the experience and letting everything be as it were. It was yoga at its finest.
Suddenly my body started pushing and I knew we must be getting close. Of course I couldn’t actually give birth sitting on the toilet so when I knew the time was coming I stood up. That’s when the pushing became very strong, and yet I still felt like I wasn’t trying. It was just happening. Sean, Rachel, and Danielle sat around me watching, waiting, holding space. I pushed hard for just over three minutes when Connor finally came out of me and into his daddy’s arms. It was 2:27am. I felt incredible, strong, beautiful. All five of us laid down in our bed, cracked open a couple dark beers and rejoiced. It was the most amazing experience of my life and I loved everything about it.
I believe my birth experience, which was simple and intense and fast and joyous, can be the same experience for more and more women. Birth isn’t scary. Birth is beautiful. Birth is natural. Surrender to the breath and have confidence. When a woman is confident, she’s a force to be reckoned with.