Amiya’s Birth Story -My Experience with a Natural Birth

Birth story, Natural Birth, 4th degree laceration, birthing center

It’s only taken me 6 weeks to post this…It’s hard to put such an amazing experience into words, but I know I’ll forget a lot as time passes, so here are most of the details. There are lots of little moments that I know I’ve left out, but here is most of it…

I remember during one of my last midwife appointments asking if I would know what a contraction was. I was assured I would, and if I was sleeping it would probably wake me up.

My due date got closer and closer and I would have weird twinges and think, “Is this a contraction???” Then my due date arrived and nothing, which made a lot of people happy because my husband was part of an ultimate Frisbee league and the rest of the team really wanted him there for their final game, which happened to be two days after my due date.

He also had co-workers out that same week, and many of them frequently mentioned how they would appreciate if I could wait.

Part of me wanted to give birth on my due date just to spite them all, but my nicer side took over and I did everything I could not to have this baby until the following week.

As in, I didn’t do squats of any kind, I didn’t lift anything even moderately heavy, I stopped climbing on counters, I even quit going on my daily walk. I just laid low.

My due date, June 7th. came and went. People in the store or at church would ask when I was due and I would tell them, “Yesterday”. To which they would always reply, “You look amazing for being over-due!”, or “I remember being 9 days over-due with my first…”

People…never, I repeat NEVER tell a pregnant woman who’s in the last days of pregnancy how late you were, or how late she could be. 40 weeks feels like an eternity when you’ve thrown up for 21 solid weeks, had what feels like a rib out for a few months, can’t find a comfortable sleeping position, are hot constantly, have lost all athletic capabilities that you once had, and just want to be DONE.

My “Yesterday” response to people’s question turned into a “Two days ago”. It was now June 9th, and all things considered, I was feeling pretty good. We went to church that morning, my hair looked fabulous, my makeup wasn’t half bad, and I felt like an adorable little pregnant woman.

Plus, today was the day of the final Frisbee league game. So far I had not gone into labor which people were happy about, and there were no signs of it happening any time soon. I think everyone was holding their breath a little bit though…

We showed up at the game and I cheered, yelled, kept time and the score like usual, feeling normal. Our team won the season undefeated and to celebrate, someone busted out the silly string.

{Fun fact: Never in my life have I used silly string, and it’s been on my bucket list. }

I took that can, probably with an evil glint in my eye, and did what any smart, 40 weeks pregnant person would do…started a war with my husband. he took off down the field, and I sprinted, (yes, you read that right. I SPRINTED) after him, yelling, “I MIGHT BE FAT BUT I CAN STILL MOVE FAST!!!”
Stupid move. I ended up pulling a muscle in my groin. Not fun.

That night was ridiculously painful because I couldn’t even roll over in bed and I thought to myself…”Hope I don’t go into labor like this.”

Midnight came, and I felt 2 small “possibly contractions”, and made a note on my phone of them and promptly went to sleep. 2:00 am I woke up to go to the bathroom, and lo and behold…there went my mucus plug. I wasn’t expecting to see that so I got excited, but then thought, “Eh, it could still be days from now…”

3:45-ish in the morning I kissed my husband goodbye as he left for work, just like normal, but decided not to say anything to him. He might think it was gross anyway…lol

Early labor

6:30 am I was sleeping soundly when all of the sudden I woke up with this weird feeling.

You know in the movies where all the sudden they’re like, “this is it!”? That’s how I felt. Everyone said I would know what a contraction was when I had one, and they were right. It wasn’t overly painful, but definitely strong.

I laid back down and 10 minutes later, on the nose, another one came. It was impossible to sleep because right off the bat they were coming every 10 minutes lasting 20-30 seconds. They weren’t terrible, and naive as I was, I was like, “man, I don’t know what people complain about…these aren’t bad.” I called my mom to let her know what was going on since she’s a few hours away, and the plan was to wait it out a bit longer just to make sure this wasn’t a false alarm, and I would call her when I thought she should leave.

I hadn’t even called my husband at this point so he was clueless, and it was almost 8:00.

I was doing fine and didn’t want him to feel like he had to rush home, but on his 8:00 break I let him know I was pretty positive I was in labor. Of course he asked if I wanted him to come home, but I said I was fine.

Every time a contraction hit I would stop and kind of double over, then I would continue on my way, so I didn’t think it was necessary for him to skip work because it could be hours, and hours before we needed to leave for the birthing center.

I used this time to fix the swimsuit skirt I bought for labor, packed my bag, swept and mopped the floors, washed dishes,etc.

Contractions were sporadic, but strong.

I would have some that were 10 minutes apart, then 3, then 7, etc. At 10:00 am my mom and I decided it was a good idea for her to start heading up. I was pretty much fine laboring alone and it still wasn’t bad, but by the time my husband’s 11:00 break rolled around I was wishing for a hand to hold, and for some company.

I said if he wanted to come home I wouldn’t be opposed, but in the end we decided it was best if he just finished his day.

Someone asked him how he handled it when I told him I was in labor. He said he was kind of in disbelief because I was cracking jokes, and sounded normal through texting…

By 12:20 my contractions had gotten a lot stronger and I wanted him home, but he only had 10 minutes of work left, and a short drive, so luckily I didn’t have to wait long. My mom got here about 15 minutes later, and all the sudden contractions went back to being 10 minutes apart.

I was still puttering around the house, leaning on the counter when I needed to, finishing up some last minute things. My mom suggested Abe and I go on a walk to see if it would get things going again and I kept saying I didn’t want to. With her gentle encouragement I finally agreed to it, and we set off for a slooooow walk around the block.

For most people that’s supposed to speed things up. It made my contractions almost come to a grinding halt, and I had maybe one.

One sad lonely contraction.

I started to feel guilty, like maybe I made a wrong call, and little Amiya wasn’t coming for another day or two.
Since things seemed to be calm, mom went to the bakery for more bread for the post birth meal, and I encouraged Abe to eat something and go nap. There was no telling how long this would take so I wanted him to eat and sleep while he could, much like me.

Shortly after my mom left, My contractions were suddenly 2-3 minutes apart and much stronger. Abe had just laid down and closed his eyes, my mom walked in the door, and I said, “We need to go, and we need to go NOW.”

Procrastinators that we are, he threw a few things in his bag, in case we had to stay overnight, and gathered the car seat, camera bag, diaper bag, and my bag as I hugged my mother-in-law, and little sister-in-law goodbye.

They were so sweet and brought me a few bananas which were life savers.

Active labor

We had a 25ish minute drive to the birth center, and let me tell you…there’s something about cars that make contractions so much worse. They were coming every 3-5 minutes, and I was basically bracing myself against the floor boards, and the door trying to breathe. So much fun.

We got there around 3:00 I think, and I walked in myself while Abe parked the car. I briefly joked with the wonderful receptionist, and she commented on how I was still laughing and joking.

It’s often times my coping mechanism for pain…just find something humorous about the situation and its not as bad.

Someone in the room next to me was giving birth and obviously in the pushing stage and as I settled on the bed, feet dangling nervously, listening to her cries of agony, my only thought was, “I don’t want to be here. I want to go home.”

Abe followed shortly along with a midwife who asked to check my cervix. My contractions were still about 3-5 minutes apart and stronger now, and i was really curious to know what I was at.

Naive person that I am, I had no idea how they check how dilated you are. In my brain I was like, “Do they shine a flashlight up there or something???”

Oh Emily. Bless your little soul.

I was at a 5, which I was told was a good thing, since that’s halfway there. I heard the midwife say to someone else that she thought I would be at a 2-3 and have to send me home, and I almost said, “Nope. I knowed it wuz time. I just knowed.”
But I refrained.

To me, that was one of the worst parts. It hurt like crazy and I cried during and after, thinking to myself about how if this was this bad, what would birth feel like???
I made Abe come over so I could hold onto him while I sobbed. Emotionally I was a train wreck. I was excited, terrified, and in pain. Between him, my mom, and me cracking a joke, I got myself calmed down.

Time escaped me completely and I never once looked at a clock. We hadn’t been there long and mom walked to a store nearby, and I decided to get in the tub. I personally don’t like baths anyway, and I got in and sat there for a bit, not noticing any obvious relief and couldn’t figure out a way to get comfy.

Not that there is necessarily a “comfy” way to give birth, but I’m sure you know what I mean.

I wasn’t in there long…maaaaybe 10 minutes at the most before I got bored and decided to try sitting on the birthing ball.
I was sitting there, moving my hips in a figure eight pattern, enjoying the tiny bit of relief it provided when all of the sudden I felt a “POP!”. My eyes got wide and I looked at Abe and pretty calmly said, “My water just broke”.

He looked at the floor, a bit confused because there was nothing there, so I stood up to prove my point. I waddled to the bathroom while he cleaned it up, because we’re tidy like that. We weren’t sure if we were supposed to tell someone my water had broken or just wait until they checked on me, so luckily my mom came in right then and let them know.


My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I remember after my water broke that my contractions were SO INTENSE.

I felt like I had the flu with the way my whole body ached with each contraction. There was now nothing pleasant about this and I laid miserable on the bed. I tried the tub again now that things were stronger, and I just couldn’t stand it. I didn’t want to sit, I didn’t want to kneel, I don’t think I could have physically squatted.

At this point I started to want to give up and get an epidural at the hospital. Mom tried the hip squeezing technique and it was the only thing that offered any relief. She leaned over the tub squeezing, her arms shaking and I made her and Abe trade so she could take a break.

I couldn’t take it anymore so I got out and crawled back on the bed. I was so hot, so we opened the door facing the street and the turned a fan on me which helped immensely, and I didn’t even care that I could hear all the traffic on the other side of the privacy fence.

I was basically in a child’s pose on the bed knees out, leaning on my forearms, and was having cold sweats, and nausea. Abe was behind still squeezing my hips and mom was in front holding my hands, and I was pressing my head into her chest.

The midwife who I had really wanted to have for my birth came in and put a drop of peppermint on a paper towel in a stainless steel bowl in case I needed to puke.

That bowl was a lifesaver even though I never threw up in it. The smell was so refreshing, and when I wasn’t having a contraction I would turn my head towards the wall with my cheek pressing on the edge, and when I would have a contraction I would stick my head in the bowl, pressing my forehead on the edge as hard as I could to distract me from labor pain.

I was afraid I’d be one of those women who snaps at their husband and doesn’t want to be touched but no. I wanted to be touched and held a lot, and I kept apologizing.
I’d timidly ask him to change up what he was doing and then apologize for being so needy. I even remember telling him he was doing a great job and I appreciated what he was doing but could he please maybe move his hands down a touch?

I also remember saying sorry for feeling like I wanted to push, because for some reason I thought it was too early. My sweet midwife told me to do whatever my body was telling me, but I think I still resisted the urge.

The pushing phase

All the sudden the urge to push hit me so hard I physically couldn’t have stopped it even if I had wanted to. I was not expecting that sensation, and I was totally powerless as my body started to push our baby out.

My head went back into the bowl again, and my yell, (I don’t scream…I yell) echoed. It makes me laugh when I think about it now.

In between pushing wasn’t a long break, and I would stare blankly at the wall either moving my lips silently praying, or just laying there in sheer exhaustion while mom and Abe encouraged me on.

Instead of moving around, my midwife was now sitting on the bed with me, and that gave me enough strength to keep going. If she was there I figured it must be close.

I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere with pushing, but I wouldn’t move like mom suggested to let gravity help. I hurt too much to move.
Probably 30 minutes into pushing and yelling, my midwife brought over the peanut birthing ball and got me upright more and told me I was really close.

I was hitting my limits, working on holding my contraction a little longer even after the feeling had passed. I just wanted to give up and go to sleep. Then the midwife said those words we all love to hear… “I can see your baby’s head.”

I got so excited, and said, “Come on baby girl!”. My brain shifted gears and went into over drive. I wanted to see her so bad, and pushed with everything I had. I could feel her head coming out, and it was sheer agony.

There was also something that felt like a pop, or a tear, but everything happened so fast I didn’t really think about it, and I felt her little body slide out, apparently with the cord around her neck, around her body, and through her legs.

My midwife later said she was amazed at how fast it went from seeing about the head about the size of a nickel, to being completely out.

After only 45 minutes of pushing I was getting to see my baby.

I moved as fast as I could, which wasn’t fast, to slide my body over hers on my knees, and picked up her tiny little 6lb body, holding her to my chest in disbelief. I was crying, Abe was crying…not sure about mom…mom, were you crying? Lol.

She was so small, with a headful of hair, and just so perfect. She fit so perfectly in my hands, and I couldn’t believe it was all over. I can still remember how my chin felt with dried blood on it from where I rested it on her head.

Everything from here on out is a bit fuzzy, but I remember my whole body shaking so hard from adrenaline I had to clutch Amiya to my chest, and it felt like forever until I calmed down.

After a little bit we got me a bit more comfortable and cleaned the bed up, Abe and I had some alone time with our baby, and ate the most delicious meal I’ve ever had…a turkey sandwich and pineapple.

seriously… if you’re in need of ideas for a meal after the birth, do sandwich stuff and fruit. Easy and delicious.

I think it was when two of the midwives came in after this, that they said I had torn, but they couldn’t tell how bad, and needed to check me out. I so badly wanted it to just be a little tiny tear, because I’m terrified of stitches, and who really wants to tear down there?

They stayed very calm, which is good, otherwise I would have been shaking violently again, and they said something to each other about it looking like a third degree laceration. I had no idea what that meant but didn’t think it could be that bad.

Megan, the midwife who was attended my birth, told me it would require me to go to the hospital, and laid out a rough timeline for what needed to happen before I was transported there, and left the room briefly. I don’t remember if it was Abe or I, but one of us must have asked mom how bad it was. She very honestly said, “Well, she tore one of the worst tears you can tear.”

Natural Birth story, birth, birthing center, 4th degree laceration

We were there for about three hours after the birth, and it went by crazy fast. Amiya got weighed, measured, and all that stuff, while Abe and I worked on paperwork, and then I got cleaned up and dressed.

the walk from the bed was difficult, and I had to hold on to the assistant just to get there, in and out of the tub, and dressed. I had literally just finished pulling my shirt over my head when in walked the people there to transport me to the hospital.

This was my first time on a gurney, and in an ambulance and I hope to never repeat it. My mom took Amiya in one car, Megan took her own car and was going to facilitate our transfer and head back to the birthing center.

Abe was in the front of the ambulance and I was in the back.
The hospital we went to was massive, and I could feel myself getting more and more nervous the further we went. The only thing keeping me from starting to hyperventilate was the fact that I was holding onto Abe’s finger as he walked beside me.

In case you were wondering…I don’t like hospitals.

It was now after 10:00 pm, and they were getting me situated in the bed, and getting stuff ready when Megan, mom, and Amiya came in.

I had started shaking again, and was trying not to look at anything. My favorite moment of the whole day, oddly enough, was lying there scared, and my mom bringing Amiya over and putting her tiny little body on my chest. I can’t explain, or even describe how special that was.

She was so small her cute little newborn footie-jammie outfit was far too big on her, and her little legs were all tucked up.

I was not at all thrilled to be at the hospital, but I had just brought this precious person into the world and it made it all worth it.

Unfortunately I had to pass her off as they got started, and all I could do was turn one ear into the bed pillow, plug the other one so I couldn’t hear them talking, hold Abe’s hand, stare into his eyes, and listen to his voice to try to take my mind of what they were doing.

I had opted for just local anesthesia, otherwise I would have had to stay the night, and I wanted to go home.

Turns out I had a 4th degree laceration…uff da. I had to have them numb me up several times because I could feel more than I wanted to feel, and finally at the end I started to loosen up and was cracking jokes. My surgeon and nurse were amazing and would joke right back which helped so much, and Megan was phenomenal…instead of leaving she stayed with me the whole time and even rubbed my foot.

She told mom and Abe all the postpartum care instruction so I didn’t have to try to remember anything, and we were all set to leave around 11:00.

We were home a little after midnight, and we were all exhausted. Overall, I really did have a crazy easy, fast birth…

Natural birth story

12 hours of labor total, 6 of which were done home alone and were a piece of cake, and only 45 minutes of pushing to bring Amiya into this world.

It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

I would have preferred not to tear because that brought a whole ‘nother aspect to postpartum recovery, but I’m so grateful our peanut was safe, and now I can sympathize with other’s who have had a similar experience.

Any other mama’s have a similar experience? Let me know!
And if you have your birth story written, send it to me! I love reading them.

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