Myla’s Birth Day

“The birth was the most beautiful and empowering time I will ever have in my life.”   ~Laura England

Myla Grace

Myla Grace entered our world at 10:51am on April 3rd.

Our original guess date was March 25th, so I began preparing for anything to happen anytime in March. Although I had a fabulous pregnancy and loved every day of it, I was very eager to meet our little babe. We saw our doctor on Tuesday the 25th and as nothing was happening yet, he advised that we consider a membrane sweep to “get things rolling”. I was very hesitant as I insisted on everything happening naturally and was not yet educated on what a sweep involved. Then he mentioned to us that he would induce me within 10 days (my blood pressure was a little high as well), I immediately became very anxious and stressed…I was dead set against this.

I declined the sweep so that I could go home and begin looking for more information about it. I knew that if my B.P. continued to increase that was going to be a reason for artificial induction. The more I researched I realized that a sweep is not that invasive, but I was still not convinced we needed to move ahead yet.

We returned to the doctor on Friday the 28th, still with no signs of anything going on. He again offered the sweep and I again said no! I was sure that something was going to happen over the weekend!

As the next week drew closer and with the induction day on my mind (I was very distracted by that and stressed out), I contacted Marie, our birthing instructor.  She reminded me of the decision making process we had learned inside her birth course.  Following that framework I decided to go ahead with the sweep because of my increased B.P. and the desire to avoid induction….I did not want to get to the point of more drastic measures.

Marie’s note: A membrane sweep is when a finger is moved around in a circular motion (sweep) inside the cervix to separate the membranes (amniotic sac) from the cervix. It’s not technically an “intervention” because it doesn’t involve drugs or medical equipment. However it does nudge your baby into the direction of labour.

Studies show that about 25% of women will go into labour within 48 hours of a sweep.
However for this to work the cervix needs to be ripe:  soft and stretchy and slightly open to get the finger inside.

I returned again to the doctor on Monday the 31st and asked him for the sweep. The sweep itself was not painful, but I immediately had what felt like surges as soon as I got home. They were not consistent and gradually subsided after several hours. I went to bed that night knowing that nothing was going to begin, I felt normal. I awoke the next day disappointed that the sweep “did not work”. Friday was drawing closer and I would be induced!…I was doing everything… walking, squatting, eating pineapple, spicy foods, listening to all my relaxations and visualizations… why wasn’t this happening?

We went back again for another check up on Wednesday April 2nd. We again did the sweep. I returned home and this time the surges were more intense, my lower back was very sore, again though they were not consistent and gradually subsided. Now I was becoming frustrated. At dinner that evening my husband and I talked about how we were going to deal with being induced, as it was now only 2 days away. We joked that perhaps we would just not answer the phone if the hospital called! As we were scheming about our plan the phone rang…it was the doctor. He had been looking at my file and realized that my actual due date was March 29th, not the 25th. Although due dates are always just guesses anyway, what it meant to us is that the induction date would be postponed now by 4 days! I felt instant relief knowing that I would definitely go into labor on my own before then! I felt a huge weight had been lifted. We relaxed on the sofa that night with no talk of induction…it was wonderful.

At 1:15am that morning my membranes released. Was this due to the sweep earlier in the day? Or was it due to the induction date changing and my mind finally letting go and relaxing? I believe the latter.

As I felt the pop and the gush of fluid, I told my husband what was happening. He asked if he should take the dog over to his mom’s house…I said “no, I’ll just go to the bathroom and come back to bed we’ve got time” (I had no surges or pressure at all at this point). Well, by the time I was heading back to bed, the surges began. They were 5-6 minutes apart. I decided to relax in the bath. I no sooner got in the tub and the surges were 2-3 minutes apart. It was time to go! My husband had just returned from his mom’s house, we loaded into the car and sped off to the hospital with my head hanging out the window (I was going through hot and cold extremes). At the hospital we checked into emergency and as we were heading down the hallway a nurse looked at me and said “happy epidural!” (if only she knew).

When the nurse checked me I was 8cm already. I was in moved to my room and began alternating between the birthing ball and the birthing stool. I found the ball to be the most comfortable and did a lot of hip circles on it. My husband got the relaxation cd going and got me a hot water bottle and blankets as our room was freezing. They called the doctor and he arrived around 4am. At that point I was 10cm…he assured me I would have this baby by 7am! I had no urges to “push” and I actually felt very comfortable. I did not have a strong sense of what was going on around me as my eyes were closed and I was focusing on breathing. This was going great and I was enjoying being pampered!

And then the surges slowed…to 6-7 minutes apart.

No big deal though, I wasn’t in any hurry…I walked and rocked and used the birthing stool more for a squatting position.

A birth stool requires much less energy than a full squat, but still gives you the benefit of gravity to help move baby down.
Ask your medical support team if they have one at your birthing location.

I tried all fours on the bed as well but that was not comfortable. The nurse suggested that I try to empty my bladder as sometimes that can get in the way…no go. They insisted on a catheter and I was okay with that. It was not successful either. But I was not worried…I was enjoying my music and breathing. As the hours began passing, the nurse and doctor advised me that I was going to have to start “pushing”…I said I would try but I really had no urges. Up until that point I was focusing on breathing the baby down, but because my surges were so far apart she kept creeping back up into the birth canal. When he mentioned that it was unsafe for the baby to be in this position for this long, I decided I would push. He also told me that my nurse’s shift was nearly over and that I would have to get a new one. Being that our nurse was very accommodating to our birthing preferences I did not want to lose her! The nurse and the doctor were both amazed that I was not screaming in pain as most women would have been.

So began the “pushing” phase. I wanted to completely just breathe the baby down… but perhaps she was just needed extra help. Every time I “beared down” I was just so focused on getting the job done so I could see my little one. I remember looking at the clock on the wall several times and thinking how fast time was going by.

However things were still progressing too slowly for my doctor. He was worried that I was getting exhausted and suggested something to help me rest. Again I refused as I was doing just fine…baby however needed to enter the world and we were going to have to help her along. I agreed to a pitocin drip. I was assured that it would be a small dose and told that it would not kick in for about 30 minutes. Whether it was the drip or not, I don’t know but within 5 minutes my surges sped up and within about 20 minutes my baby was born!

The actual delivery part was very fast and easy. She was born at 10:51a.m., calm as could be. As soon as she could, the nurse handed her to me, she grabbed my finger and latched onto my breast. We spent the next several minutes in awe of the little life we now held in our arms.

Later I talked to my doctor about the delivery and that fact that my surges slowed so greatly for so long. He laughed and said that sometimes that’s how it goes! Regardless, he was amazed that I went through my first pregnancy naturally and with little discomfort (and no screaming!)

I am so grateful for Marie’s birthing course as it allowed me to fully participate in my baby’s delivery. I was able to feel everything emotionally and physically and I wouldn’t change that for anything. Bringing a baby into the world is a very powerful experience and I’m glad that I have such wonderful memories of that night.

Written by Laura Englund

You might enjoy reading more birth stories from my students so that you can an idea of what a gentle and calm birth can be like.

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