Whitney's Birth Story
After 37 weeks, I was just in this weird limbo of not knowing when it was going to happen. Different scenarios would play in my head depending on where I was (water breaking while walking through Costco or while going to the hot springs, etc).
At 3:30am (24 hours before going to the Birth Center), I was in bed sleeping and kept waking up from contractions. I just hung out all day and called the midwife to check in a few times. I remember that day being partly cloudy, maybe 20 degrees and lightly snowing. I called the next night at 2am when I couldn’t distract myself anymore and woke my husband Keegan up and he packed up. We arrived at the Birth Center at 3:30am. My cervix was facing downwards so I wasn’t able to know what I was dilated to. I didn’t expect my cervix to be facing backwards. I knew a few days beforehand which was nice, but it was interesting laboring while not knowing how dilated I was. I didn’t put any extra thought into it and just accepted that my body would do what it needed.
During labor, I visualized holding my baby and finding out the gender. I kept saying to myself “I am strong.” “Let my body do the work.” And “I was made for this, ride the wave, Breathe, Breathe.” I would relax between contractions and tell myself to breathe when they were over, and I kept saying “come on baby.”
My favorite labor position was in the tub with the jets on and ears underwater when the contractions hit. Then, when I got too cold, I got out and walked back and forth between the toilet and the bed. I labored on the toilet with pillows stacked until I started feeling pushy. Then, I moved to the bed and was on all fours leaning on a peanut ball and would sit back when pushing. The switch from contractions to feeling pushy was pretty crazy. My water exploded when I was pushing and I remember thinking “whoa that was cool.”
The most helpful things my birth team said during labor were: “relax your shoulders,” “sit down into the pressure,” and “each breath breathes the baby down. Visualize that happening.” Overall, the consistent and hands-on support saying I can do this was the most helpful. No one had one shred of doubt in me. When my doula Kelli got there and I was having a contraction, she walked over and rubbed my back and did counter pressure on my hips and it felt amazing.
The first thing I said after I saw my baby was “Oh my baby! Is it a boy or a girl? Oh Riley! You surprised me! I thought you were a girl!” We did not know the gender ahead of time. My mom, grandma, and I all thought I was having a girl. It took us a long time to find a boy’s name. Riley wasn’t on the list and one day it popped into our heads and we loved it. The middle name “Hiker” Keegan picked out because it was original and he likes it. He also loves to hike and can’t wait for Riley to hike with him. The combo stuck and we love it!
My favorite part was knowing that my husband got to help catch the baby and him being there and supporting me. And, the incredible women supporting me, both my midwives and Kelli, my doula from Tree of Life. I had such a strong team and support system. I’m not sure it would have been as manageable as it was without them. It was intense but I loved the whole thing. My support team helped me let go and trust my body to know what to do.
Looking back, the hardest part was relaxing into my contractions and trying not to resist the pressure. The feeling is intense so I was bracing myself when I needed to do the opposite. Focusing on my mantras and staying in the zone was also hard. I was grateful to have had the freedom to move around and have the atmosphere to stay in my zone. Once pushing started, I had to remember to catch my breath, re-focus, get water, and remind myself that breaks will always come and this is only temporary. Being stitched afterwards was also difficult because I wasn’t in the zone anymore.
I am blown away by the power of my body, the beauty of childbirth, and the unexplainable love you feel after birth, for my son, my husband, everyone, and everything in my life. Women are way more powerful than I ever imagined. Trust in your body. This was the best birth experience I could have ever hoped for. So, happy I meal prepped and set up a meal train, support systems are so important.
Our first “fur baby” Ziggy was at the birth too! He laid on the bed and got a celebratory bone after!
Our first meal after was a special sandwich, burger bun, turkey & cheese made by my husband. It was the hardest thing to get down because I was so excited. We had pizza and salad later.