This was my second pregnancy, and what a difference it was! My first was such a breeze with little to no major complaints. I absolutely loved being pregnant! Not to say I didn’t love being pregnant this time, but it was rough, with bad nausea for the first 4 months, horrible fatigue, and my body always in some sort of pain or uncomfort. I definitely enjoyed my much needed trips to my wonderful chiropractor. As my guess date came closer and closer and then passed by, I was surprisingly in peace with it. I knew baby would come when she was ready.
While we all waited patiently for baby to make her appearance (whose gender was still unknown since we didn’t have any ultrasounds done) I got to spend time with my mom who came to help, snuggle with my 3 year old son, and enjoyed getting lots of sleep.
I knew for a very long time that my body would begin labor either around my son’s nap time or his bedtime. I was still nursing him, and every time I would lay down with him I would get contractions/braxton Hicks(pressure waves are what we call them when using hypnobabies). I was told by many people that this labor would be fast (“the second baby just pops right out”) But I really tried not to believe this, as I had a long labor with my son and I didn’t want to be let down if this was another long one. In the end Dahlia’s birth was perfect, here is her story.
Sunday December 16th, my husband went out to help a friend move, I stayed home with my son and my mother, and looked forward to spending some one on one time with my dear friend Amy later that night. My son and I played and read books all morning. Once it was time for his nap we were both definitely ready to rest. We laid down and he nursed to sleep, Just as he was nodding off I got a strong pressure wave! It was different from the ones I had been getting during the previous 2 months. I told myself, ‘nah, it can’t be it and just let it pass.’ But then I got another one even stronger which made it very uncomfortable to lay on my side, so I whispered to my son that I had to get up and fortunately he fell right asleep. I tried changing positions which helped, so I decided to rest after the next one. Resting was interrupted by constant pressure waves, so I text my Doula (and close friend, Mona) nothing more than “I think you should come over!”She called me right away and we chatted a bit before she said she was on her way. I went out to the living room and told my mom, “Mona is coming over”, she said “well tell her not to come so you can rest”. I said “Nooooo, I asked her to come over” with a big smile on my face. And Then she understood… “oooh I see”. Once Mona arrived we started tracking the pressure waves, they definitely had a pattern. I moved throughout the house, stopping during each wave. She convinced me to take a walk outside, the fresh air felt really nice! Every couple minutes I had to stop, lean on something or on Mona and just breathe through each pressure wave. I told her we should head back to the house (I’m not sure why), but once we got back something in the pressure waves changed. I can’t really describe what it was, but they were just different. I knew things were progressing. I decided to call the student midwife, who I was renting a birth Tub from to come set it up. She came within the hour and started setting up the tub. I had also been in contact with my Midwife, Stephanie, to let her know how things were going. We decided that she would start getting ready to head over soon. Before the tub was ready for me to get in, I was having a hard time trying to find a good position to be in during the pressure waves. What worked for Desmond’s birth did NOT work for this one. (I had a lot of back labor because Desmond was not in the ideal position.)
I found that leaning on my dresser or my doula worked well, also if I put one foot up on a chair it seemed to help. As the pressure waves progressed I had to focus on them more deeply. I Tried using my hypnobabies CD’s but I was more distracted by them this time, so I told Mona they weren’t helping so we turned them off. I felt an urgency for my midwife to come over so I asked (told) Mona to call Stephanie back to tell her I wanted her to come right away (she was already heading out the door). She arrived as I was working through some pressure waves in the bathroom area, she waited ever so patiently for my pressure wave to pass before saying Hi. I was so happy to have her there! Not only because she is my midwife, but I needed her love, support and presence. It’s hard for me to put into words my feelings in that moment, I looked up to see her and smiled, I was happy, relieved, and knew that, yes, this was really happening. Desmond’s birth was rough, and without her I don’t know what I would have done, I gained a trust from her that doesn’t come by everyday. We hugged and she kissed my forehead, and asked what she could do. I don’t remember what I told her.
Crystal let us know that the tub was ready, so I changed into my swimsuit and got in. Ahhhhhh, what relief! It felt so good to be in there, I got on my knees and continued through the pressure waves. My son would come in every now and then and make sure I had lots of water or hugs. His hugs were so helpful, I’m so glad he was around! When he hugged me he would ask “are you ok?” and I simply replied yes, and that he was going to be a big brother soon. Sometimes he would come in, hug me and “it’s ok mama, just relax.” Sweet words from a sweet boy.
The pressure waves were getting pretty intense, I tried standing up at one point and immediately knew my body didn’t want to do that, and said “NOPE!” So I sat back down on my knees resting my head on the edge of the tub. I love how the water allowed me to move so freely.
I was so tired at my son’s birth I didn’t get to enjoy the rests during the breaks in between pressure waves, but during this birth I really took advantage of those breaks. Each break we chatted a bit and I kept making silly faces at my sister and Mona. Why? I guess it brought me back down to Earth and into my space. It helped me push away the fear of the next pressure wave.
Joseph my husband sat near me as I rested my head in his arms I felt so warm and safe! He didn’t need to say anything to comfort me, just as long as he was there!
I got to a point where it kind of felt like I needed to push… I didn’t believe I was in the transition stage though! Only after a couple hours of active labor? My midwife recognized the signs right away (I overheard her whisper to someone…. “she is closer than she thinks” but I still couldn’t believe it). She had been sitting next to the tub helping me work through the pressure waves when she leaned in and said “Shireen, I think it’s time you take your swim bottoms off.” my reaction….. I busted out laughing! I couldn’t believe it and at the same time I was so relieved! Everyone in the room was cracking up… How could I be laughing right before pushing out a baby?! That’s what having such wonderful support around you will do to you!
Time to birth this baby! I was amazed at how aware I was of everything happening in my body, I felt the baby pushing down and through, ready to enter this world. I got on my hands and knees to push, it felt right. I ended up with my head on the side of the tub for support because I knew instinctively (without planning) I was going to catch this baby on my own and wanted to be ready with my hands underneath. With my son I was very uneasy about feeling him crown, (I guess because it was all unknown to me) but this time I felt everything and was so in tune with my body that I wanted to know exactly where baby was and how baby was doing. At this point I had been pushing, I felt a stronger urge to push when, POP! My water broke! Another relieving feeling! I remember telling myself not to push too fast, but wanting to because it just burned and felt like too much for me to handle! I was starting to tense up, and was reminded by Mona to relax my body. So I surrendered to my body and did as it wanted to, when it pushed I let it and when it took a break I let it. After about 15 minutes of pushing I birthed my baby’s head! I remember holding her head and asking if she was alright. I was so close to meeting my baby! As the next pressure wave came I gave a strong push, caught my baby and lifted her up onto my chest, what an amazing feeling! So much love and joy, I can’t even begin to express these feelings! The world around me disappeared, everything was silent, it was just my baby and I. My baby was in my arms and I just kept saying “I Love you! We did it!”
For both my children we didn’t find out the gender until birth. I didn’t have one ultrasound done with this pregnancy. When they were born I didn’t even care to look what the gender was! I had my baby in my arms and that was all that mattered! I had to be reminded to check to see if it was a girl or boy. And based on the reaction of everyone, I knew it was a girl. We were so excited to meet our baby girl! And because this birth went so well we got to snuggle a bit in the tub before getting out. (I had to get out quickly with my son because he decided to wait a few minutes before getting in some good breaths.)
Once I got out onto the bed and warmed up, still snuggling my baby, my sister called my aunt, who read a prayer for the baby in Arabic over the baby’s right ear. She did the same thing for my son when he was born, and for me when I was born.
It was time to deliver the afterbirth (which was so easy the first time), but it was taking a while. I started getting worried because I didn’t even feel like pushing. I started getting a bit anxious, the birth went so well that I must have been worried something would go wrong. After a long wait I pushed out the afterbirth and I was finally comfortable and much more relaxed. I was able to just enjoy holding my baby girl! I am not sure how long it was after I birthed the placenta, but long after the baby’s cord stopped pulsating, Joseph cut his daughter’s umbilical cord. Just as he did for our son.
Once everything was cleaned up Stephanie gave the baby a little hat she makes for each of her clients babies. She sang Happy Birthday to her, whispered some sweet words in her ear and kissed her head.
Stephanie and Crystal were so wonderful, I was so blessed to have them at the birth. We are so honored to have had Stephanie at both of our children’s births! And I can’t leave out how terrific Crystal was, as a Senior student midwife she did most of the monitoring and assisting. She was fabulous, so caring and gentle. She is going to make a wonderful Midwife soon!
Mona was my rock! She makes such a wonderful doula, and friend. I’m so grateful for her, she helped me through a very difficult birth with my son and was by my side through this one. She was there every second I needed her, walking with me, holding me, rubbing my back, holding my hands, supporting me through each contraction, making me laugh during the breaks and encouraging me with her words. I can’t express how thankful I am for her!
I am so grateful for my whole birth team, I couldn’t have done it without any of them! (my husband, my son, my sister and Mom, Mona, Stephanie, Crystal and all my friends who were by my side in my thoughts. I’m very lucky to have pictures from Dahlia’s birth, Thank you so much Nasreen!! I hope Dahlia will one day thank you for them!