Valentina Bird: A birth story

9:13 AM


I've struggled a lot with whether or not I wanted to post my birth story but I ultimately decided to do it if only for the sake of remembering. The whole experience was so unlike anything that I had expected or ever experienced and I don't want to ever forget. I saw a very pregnant lady at Target the other day and all those memories rushed back. The fears, the frequent bathroom trips, the anxiety, the heaviness and the waiting, waiting, waiting. I went back home and looked at pregnant photos of myself. It's absolutely incredible the way our bodies are able to change and morph to accomodate a growing life. I cannot believe that it was this same little person that smiles at me and makes faces at the mirror was also the same little person I carried with me for nine months. It's enough to make me cry...
...
Valentina's birth story doesn't begin on the day she was born, December 11, instead it begins on Thursday the 28th of November. It was a long journey to that Tuesday morning...
I had been experiencing somewhat regular Braxton Hicks contractions all through the month of November so I was well acquainted with them, however what began to take place that Thursday night was a little different. The contractions started at around ten and I tried doing my breathing exercises. That worked for about two hours but by midnight they were stronger and only about two to three minutes apart. At that point I got in the tub, papa bear brought a blanket and joined me on the floor. We went back and forth with whether or not to call our midwife but ultimately decided against it. I breathed and moaned in that tub for two hours until the water had become frigid. We decided to move to the bed. It was two in the morning at this point. Husby rubbed my back for another hour and at around 3:30 or 4 we both dozed off from sheer exhaustion. I woke up the following morning feeling tired but more or less fine.

last photo we took of me pregnant on December 1

This scenario repeated itself on Saturday and Sunday. We still chose to wait since we had our second to last appointment that Tuesday anyway. So on Tuesday, December 4, we headed into our midwife's office. She checked me and found that I was 3 cm dilated, fully effaced and V's head was at station one. I was elated, it felt good to know all that "work" wasn't useless. However, my midwife tried her best to temper my excitement and told me it could still be three weeks before anything actually takes place. I had high hopes though... I refused to have my child's birthday be on Christmas (I just found it cruel). Stupidly I thought I could will this baby out of me.
I won't take you through the mundane days that followed, all of them more or less mirroring that Thursday. It became a routine for us - getting me through those nightly contractions. Our spirits were good and we continued to look forward to meeting our little baby soon. But by Friday I was completely done. I was feeling bigger and heavier than ever, we had both been getting next to no sleep and the endless cycle of contractions was starting to weight on me even more than my belly (which seemed to double in size every day). I called my mum sobbing that morning telling her I was going crazy and couldn't do it anymore. She called me back fifteen minutes later and said daddy and she would be on their way to us that afternoon. They spent the weekend distracting us, cooking for us and helping us feel a little bit normal again. We discussed emergency options and what we should talk about with our midwife at our next appointment.
After another round of contractions Sunday night I told husby I couldn't wait any longer and wanted to see our midwife the next day. On Monday, December 10, we went into her office around 11. I was praying ceaselessly that I would have progressed since last week. To my horror I was told that everything was the same... In addition I was told that this cycle could potentially keep going for another two weeks. I was ready to pull my hair out. Thankfully our midwife saw my desperation and suggested a membrane stripping. Side note: it is not a fun procedure at all. She once again made sure to temper any of our excitement since the procedure results in labor only thirty percent of the time. We drove home. Once home that afternoon I began to experience contractions again, nothing different from before but given that it was a day before our due date and we had had the procedure husby decided we should move to a hotel close to the hospital that night (we live approximately 45 minutes away from the nearest hospital). My parents had already taken the pets so we packed up our bags and headed out the door.
Of course by the time we got to the hospital the contractions had all but stopped. At this point I didn't even care, I was just hungry. We ordered pizza and watched Colbert. Around 10:30 I decided I would go take a bath as that was always a good way to relax myself before bed. By eleven the contractions had returned. I decided we better time them this time (we gave up a week before as it had all lead to nothing). Four minutes apart. Then by midnight they were strong and coming every two minutes. I continued breathing and added warm water to the tub. Somewhere around 12:30 they went from the contractions I was used to to something that would practically take my breath away. And then in what seemed like a split second it started to feel as if someone would insert a lead rod of pain from the top of my head down to my toes. My body felt locked in a prison of pain for what would feel like an eternity every two minutes. Eventually my mind would go dark every time a contraction hit. I started to get concerned when my noise level began to escalate since we were in a hotel and told husby to get me out of there. My moans had turned to legitimate screams at that point. But we were able to time it well so I never subjected the hotel patrons to that...
At this point I have to say that I'm not sure if I was blacking out or what but my memory becomes very spotty so a lot of what I'm recollecting was told to me by papa bear after the fact.
One thing I remember very well is that I was timing the contractions and I remember that right as we arrived at the emergency entrance of the hospital the clock on the dashboard said 1:20. Due to a lot of incompetence they didn't get us to labor and delivery until 1:40. I remember requesting to use the bathroom and taking my pants off only to discover that they were drenched with blood. They gave me a gown to put on. I remember it being on but I don't remember who put it on me. I remember getting on the bed and wrapping my entire body around the arm handle (husby told me they were legitimately concerned I would break the bed). I remember having the monitors and an IV strapped to me and then husby tells me they had to remove them all due to my "thrashing." I also ripped off the gown at some point because I got hot. This all seems like it happened in a matter of five minutes to me. Then I told them I felt like pushing. Papa bear told me that it was at that point that the whole room went into a frenzy since our midwife had not even arrived yet. Some point shortly after my declaration she ran in and one of the nurses threw her scrubs on her. Five minutes later V's head would begin to make an appearance. I was told to slow down but I distinctly remember how I could think of nothing but "getting my baby out," no matter what I was told I had one mission on my mind and I wasn't going to be stopped. The fact that the whole ordeal ended up taking three hours is testament of the fact that this little girl wanted out bad.
I need to interject here and say that it's sort of scary to me how quickly everything happened. I don't even remember a single person's face in that room. In fact I don't even remember if papa bear was there. My memory only clearly returns to me at this moment... At 2:36 to be exact.
I hear a commotion and then I feel my baby's warm wet body on my abdomen. I glance down between her legs and my heart stops as I realize that this baby is actually our daughter. It is the most amazing feeling to know that after nine months of speculating. I pull her up to my chest and pull up my shirt. I ask for permission to feed her as I had read for months before that the best time to start breastfeeding is immediately. She takes to my breast eagerly. I give papa bear a kiss. I hear my midwife tell me I tore quite a bit. I don't even care. She's here. It's over. She's mine.


Finally the hush dies down and it's just the three of us. We just sit there and take it all in. Take her in. Her tiny little feet and hands, her puffy eyes and her sweet little button nose. I tell her how we're going to be best friends, how we'll do everything together and how I'll love her more than she will ever know.


“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
as long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.”

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8 notes

  1. Beautiful and the "love you forever" quote, one of my favorites. Brings tears to my eyes everytime I read it to my babies. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  2. Thanks for sharing, that's very brave of you.
    xoxox

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  3. Gosh that was incredible, so true to my 2 experiences of birth (15 and18 years ago) ....very smart to write it down while still fresh... Your words made me tear up . Sweet blog, you have a lovely little family. Blessings from Australia x

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  4. What a beautiful and brave recollection.
    I wish I had written my son's birth story 8 years ago. It was such a blur, so intense.
    My daughter was born eight weeks ago and I am so glad I wrote her birth story while it was fairly fresh in my mind.
    I really enjoy your blog!
    Kim

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  5. Thank you for sharing your daughter's birth story --- it's both beautiful & honest, which I really appreciate.

    Glad I stumbled upon your blog again!

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  6. wooo this was intense (as most birth stories). and the end made me cry (of course). thank you for sharing your story - the act of labor is truly inspiring, and what you went through is no different. an incredible and amazing feat, with such an immense payoff. the picture of you staring at her is perfection - something to frame, and an image i am sure she will cherish forever.

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  7. Thank you so much for your incredibly kind words ladies, it really means a lot to me. I am very glad I wrote this all down too. Women are pretty awesome right?! ;) Love and hugs to you all! xoxo

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