On March 10, 2010, I went into labor with Addison, being technically one week past her “due” date of March 3rd. The day was pretty normal, just me and Haden hanging out, while Daddy was at work. We did a lot of dancing that day. In the afternoon we laid down to watch a movie and take a nap. I woke up from my nap at 4:20 in the afternoon, having a contraction. I didn’t really pay it much mind, because I’d been having contractions here and there for the past few weeks.
I decided to get up to start working on making dinner, which was a big pot of homemade minestrone soup. I turned back on the radio. Throughout making dinner the contractions kept coming, what seemed like about every five minutes or so. I never did time any of them though, so I’m just guessing. I just danced during them, trying not to pay to much attention, because I wasn’t really sure I was in labor. At some point Haden woke up, and was hanging out with me while I cooked. Then, Michael called to say he was on his way home. I told him that I didn’t want him to get too excited, but I thought that I might be in labor.
Michael got home at around six, and we all sat down to eat. They were still coming what seemed like every few minutes; Michael was sure I was in labor, but I still wasn’t convinced. He decided to go to the chiropractor as he had originally planned, so he left, I started cleaning up from dinner, and straightening up the house. At some point after he left, contractions started to get stronger. I decided to call him to see how much longer he would be, I wanted him home with me. He told me I should call my mom to come pick Haden up, which I decided to do even though at that point I still had my doubts about it being the real deal. After that I didn’t really like doing anything else around the house. I didn’t want to be upright during them anymore, so every time I had one, I would get down onto my hands and knees. Haden kept trying to comfort me during them by giving me hugs, and telling me it was going to be okay. He’s such a sweet boy, and a great doula!
Michael got back, saw me, pulled out the birth pool, and started getting it ready. Not long after that my mom showed up to get Haden. They were already a little bit stronger then, and I wanted to be more vocal during them. After they left, things seemed to speed up. I went into the bedroom, and kept getting on the bed on hands and knees for them. Then, I made a pallet with pillows to lean on. They kept getting more intense and I kept getting more vocal, moaning through them. Michael started taking breaks from trying to get everything set up so that he could be with me during the contractions. He turned on some music for me, and started burning some essential oils, setting the mood. 😉 It was really nice and helped me start relaxing more.
Contractions were very intense, and I remember Michael being behind me with his pelvis pressed into my butt, while he leaned over me, with his arms wrapped around me, so that he could hold my belly, where all the tension was during contraction. He would help me sway my hips back and forth, talking me through it. It felt like a cross between dancing and making love, and I remember thinking how sexual it felt. In between contractions I joked that if we had been in a hospital right then, we probably would have given some of the staff a heart attach. Then again, if we had been in a hospital, we probably never would have been doing that in the first place.
I told Michael I had to have the water. I just knew I needed to be there, because nothing else was going to make me feel better. He worked on filling the tub up for me, and as soon as it was full enough for me I jumped in. As soon as I hit the water, I felt relieved. Just… more right. I told Michael that women having babies were meant to be in the water. I remember thinking that I didn’t know how women could give birth unmedicated without water, even though I have seen many of them do it. Things picked up even more once I was in the water, to the point were I thought that pain was way more than what I had expected, and I thought I must be insane. Why didn’t I just go to the hospital for an epidural like everyone else? I could be laid back feeling nothing, which at that moment sounded like a good thing.
In between contractions Michael was rubbing my hair, and giving me soft kisses on my face. It was so relaxing; between the contractions I could almost completely forget that I was in labor at all, I was like mush, but then I would get slammed again. The sensations were so extreme, it felt like a life force trying to split me apart. I kept thinking that if I weren’t close to the end, I didn’t know if I would make it. During one contraction Michael kissed and nibbled on my ear, then my neck and the contraction was like an explosion going through my body. I remember fussing at him, accusing him of making them stronger. It was so strong it made me nauseous, and when it was over I told Michael that I was going to throw up, to get me a bowl. And I did. Up came my homemade minestrone soup. Eww.
The taste in my mouth was so gross that I forced myself to get out of the pool to go brush my teeth, because I knew the taste was going to be too distracting. I had a couple of really sucky contractions in the bathroom, and hurried back to the pool as quick as I could. After that they only got more intense. I wanted to cry and give up. I kept telling Michael that I couldn’t do it anymore, and he would tell me I could; I knew that I could. There was so much pressure, I just wanted to fight against it. I said out loud that I needed to quit fighting it. I tried to keep my body as loose as was possible and just kept going. The pressure was finally so much that I had to do something about it, so I pushed without ever actually consciously deciding too. And it felt good! Well, compared to what it felt like before.
When I told Michael, he said that if it felt good I should keep pushing during them, and just listen to my body. The “mind” of me was debating in my head about this, thinking that I hadn’t been in labor very long, and that if I wasn’t dilated all the way pushing against my cervix could be bad (Always trust your instincts & your bodies urges!). I decided to get out of my head, listen to my body and Michael, and pushed during the contractions. I think I pushed during two more and then I felt her. I put my finger inside me, and I could feel her head! My bag hadn’t broke, so I could feel the membrane, and water moving back and forth as I moved my fingers; when I pressed harder I could feel the firmness of her head. I was so excited. I told Michael it would be very cool is she was born in the caul, but during the next contraction the bag broke as I was pushing. Michael has that contraction on video, and when it happened I said, “I broke.”
My excitement was short lived, because the contraction after that, I pushed, which it brought her right down to crowning. There was no one step forward, two steps back. Her head was pushing on my tissues with such a force that it was almost unbearable. I wanted to not push because of the pain, and at the same time I had no choice. I could see her head, everything stretching, and I though for sure that I would just split open, that all my vaginal tissues were just going to rip and tear. I used my fingers help stretch the tissues, but I didn’t feel like it was doing any good. I tried changing positions, hoping that she might slide back up or something. I told Michael that it hurt so bad and that I just wanted to push her back up inside; I clenched my legs together trying to will her to slid up some, but it didn’t work.
I got back into knelling position and then during the next contraction I just put all my force into trying to bring her out. I roared during the contraction. Literally. I had to roar. I needed its force to get through the contraction, to push with all my might and it worked. Her head came out. OMG, what a relief. I felt like crying, maybe I did. I can’t be sure. I just kept touching her head, amazed that she was almost there, and then with the next contraction I pushed, and she slid the rest of the way out. I grabbed her, and pulled her onto my chest. I was ecstatic. I kept saying, “She’s perfect. She’s perfect.” She was pink, screaming and perfect. Then I thought to lift her up, and actually verify she was a girl. Of course she was, we knew she was a girl.
It’s funny that my birth went nothing like I had thought that it would. I am apparently not an earthy birthy, make it look serene type of birther. It was gritty and loud. I moaned, I thrashed, I cried and I whined. It was beautiful and intense and scary. And I was a warrior, like we all are.
Addison Lynn Bowden was born on March 10, 2010 at 9:40pm after approx. 5 hours and 20 minutes of labor. She weighed 9 lbs. 1 oz. & measured 18 inches long.