One of the biggest questions moms face as they head from early to active labor is: Is it time to go to the hospital yet? Once they're at the hospital, clinicians will check cervical dilation to determine whether it's time to be admitted to the hospital or it's safe to keep laboring at home. We are so grateful to Jen for sharing her birth story below, in which she experiences both sides of the spectrum of the "Is it time yet?" conundrum, from "Definitely go home and labor" to "We can't move you from this bed!" Jen is an inspirational blogging mom and author, and her website Fit Lovin' Mama has incredible resources for moms interested in fitness. She's even authored a book for post-pregnancy fitness! Read on to learn more about this fit mama's beautiful birth story.
By Jen Dean of FitLovinMama
My little girl was long anticipated after struggling to conceive & having a high risk pregnancy. As soon as I found out I was pregnant I realized how profoundly afraid I was to give birth. I decided to meet with doulas but was dead set I would have an epidural & was afraid a doula would judge me/try to talk me out of it. After meeting with my chosen doula, I felt very empowered & started to research. I decided to go for an all-natural (medication free) birth & began Hypnobirthing classes. I constantly filled my head with positive birth related affirmations & tuned out anything & anyone negative.
My due date was September 1, 2013. On the evening of Sunday the 25th of August I started feeling some more intense & different type of Braxton Hicks. I thought I’m really getting close! Monday the contractions picked up but were manageable. I was officially in prodromal labor – pre/early labor & was feeling frustrated that it wasn’t immediately in active labor! Tuesday morning I had an appointment with the midwives but decided to cancel since I was in labor. When I called to cancel, they pressured me to come in & be checked, even though I did not want to know how dilated I was. When they checked, I told them to not tell me how dilated I was, but to just tell me if I needed to go straight to the hospital or not. After they checked me, they told me to go home & continue laboring/resting at home. They said I could deliver that evening or in a few days.
Tuesday I remained at home in my zone – had my favorite delicious candle burning, my birthing playlist, pink roses, a comfy bed, magazines, t.v. & my lavender oil & the bathtub. It was the perfect scenario I envisioned! By about midnight I guess I was officially in active labor, & I decided that I needed my doula’s help. My doula came about 12:30/1a.m.
My contractions were getting much closer & more intense. My doula worked with me over the following few hours. Yes, this included some lunges! If you're in one of my exercise classes, I always say you may lunge during labor to bring baby down. I did that along with other positions. Around 4a.m. I started feeling a lot of pressure & change. I was headed to the hospital!
It took a long time for me to get downstairs to the door to leave the house. As we were leaving, I said that I was disappointed I never had my champagne bubble bath (one last piece of my master labor plan!). So my doula popped the bottle for me, I sat on the stairs, took one sip, & my water broke! I got in the back seat of my husband’s SUV & got on my hands & knees bent over the ball. My husband played my birthing CD. I was crying with joy saying "We’re having a baby!" I think the waves of emotion were shock too...like..."We're really about to have this baby!"
We got into L&D triage. The midwife came to check me, and I was 10 cm dilated at that point!!! It was about 6:30 a.m., they were out of rooms to move me from triage. I was so far along I could not move, & I don’t think they wanted to attempt to move me! So I asked them to dim the lights, & I proceeded to gently & slowly push my lil girl into the world! This seemed to take forever & was HARD! My husband kept telling me he was going to get me my favorite restaurant food as soon as I was done, & I kept telling him I loved him.
My beautiful angel, Sienna Rose, was born Wednesday August 28th at 8:12 a.m. The sun was shining in the room. It was the most beautiful moment of my life. She was immediately brought to my chest, & I kissed her 100 times & cried along with my husband. The nurses said afterwards it was the most interesting birth they’d ever seen.
I now believe in order to conquer the fear of childbirth that a lot of women have you need empowerment, support, education, & commitment. I’m so proud that I conquered something I feared so intensely & had a wonderful, positive, natural birth experience bringing my sweet daughter into the world.