My Birth Story, by Chelsea Gonzalez
client of Kym Benner, Doula
Kym Benner - Professional Birth Doula, Childbirth Educator & Certified Sacred Pregnancy Instructor
(951) 352-5960 home (951) 218-5490 cell
At 1 am I felt it! It was intense enough to wake me from my sleep. I could say with confidence that what I felt was indeed a contraction and not just cramps. My husband lay in bed next to me sleeping and I didn’t wake him. Kym, my doula had walked me through the scenario. She had told us that labor usually began at night due to the high hormone level. If this happened for me I wasn’t suppose to get up and try to “get labor going.” Instead she encouraged me to try to go back to sleep and rest for what would be one, if not the most, physically challenging experience of my life.
I was able to sleep, off and on, in between the contractions until around 6 am. At that point I woke my husband and told him I was having contractions and that I was going to take a warm Epsom salt bath. He nodded, half asleep, and fell back into bed. The bath felt good and helped with managing the pain however, I was feeling a lot of pressure on my lower back.
Around 8 am my husband woke up and we ate breakfast together. I sent Kym a text to let her know I was having contractions. I was one day before my due date and she had also let me know what most first time mommies have their babies at least a week after their due date. She asked how far apart the contractions were and if they had any type of pattern. At that point, they didn’t and she warned me that I might possibly be having “prodromal” labor. My heart sank. We had learned about prodromal labor at a “Pain Management During Labor” course taught by Kym. This is when your body goes through the cycles of labor for days before you actually give birth to your baby.
Kym sent me some links on information on prodromal labor to read up on and encouraged me to go about my day as normal. One of the websites said prodromal labor can be caused by the baby not being engaged properly in the position for labor. I already knew my baby boy was head down but I worried he might be stuck since my back pain was getting more intense. The website had exercises and positions to get into to “help” the baby move into the right position.
Every time I had a contraction (they were coming about every twenty minutes by noon) by husband would stand behind me and lift my lower tummy while pulling in gently. This intensified the contraction for me and was very painful but I reasoned that it would ultimately help my labor.
Around 3 pm my sister came over and encouraged me to go for a walk with her. This actually felt so good and really helped! We walked outside for about an hour. Every time I felt a contraction I would try to walk through it. If it became too intense I would lean against a bench with my head down and sway my hips side to side. I would also moan a little to help remember to breathe. I don’t remember if Kym had told me or I had read about it in Ina May’s book but I knew that locking my jaw would only make the contractions more intense. I tried entering the pain and seeing it as a process instead of fighting it as something foreign.
By the time we finished walking my contractions were five minutes apart and lasting around a minute each. I called Kym to let her know. She still thought I was in prodromal labor and told me to not over think things and “go see a movie or something.” I started to think, if this isn’t labor, I’m not going to be able to do this naturally!
My family had planned a birthday dinner for my niece and step-dad for that evening and I decided to try and go. I got into the shower and the pain was even stronger. I got out and told my husband there was no way I could sit through dinner at a restaurant (sitting made the contractions much more intense). I told him I was going to try and rest. Lying in the bed, however, made the contractions even stronger and my moans were getting louder. I used the restroom and saw more blood and began to worry that if this wasn’t actual labor, something was terribly wrong. I told my husband to call Kym and to tell her that we were going to the hospital.
On the way to the hospital I had the overwhelming urge to push. The contractions were getting stronger and longer and closer together. We called Kym and she heard me go through a contraction and encouraged me to breathe and resist the urge to push.
Kym was waiting for us when we drove up. I decided to walk to be checked in because sitting in the car had been so painful. When I had a contraction Kym would encourage me to lean and sway my hips and then she would rub my lower back.
Once we were checked in I informed the staff I had my own gown, a Pretty Pusher, to wear. I had decided and purchased the gown a few months prior. I didn’t want to wear the hospital gown because it felt so sterile and uncomfortable. Bringing my own gown helped me feel more “at home” with the hospital experience. I didn’t want to view birth as un-natural. I had spent the months up to labor meditating on verses about birth and collecting different quotes. Our society makes labor out to be this traumatic and horrible experience and I wanted to mentally and physically erase that view from my mind.
After I changed they checked me and I was already dilated between 7-8! I had hope I could actually do this naturally! A contraction came and I felt intense pressure and then I felt something pop and yelled out, “My water broke!” I asked to get out of the bed and sat on the birthing ball we had brought from home. Every time I felt the contraction coming I would look at Kym. She had me focus on her eyes and would walk me through breathing, encouraging me as I went. My husband was behind me, kneeling and rubbing my lower back. Sometimes the contractions became so strong I would lose focus and start crying out but Kym would re-focus me with breathing and I would get through it.
I had forgot to bring my birth plan but Kym helped and we told the staff the main points. I had a hep-lock and stayed hydrated with water the entire time. When I went to use the restroom I felt a drop and told Kym. She helped me back to the bed and the nurse checked me again; I was complete! I asked if I could push. Everything happened so fast. I was told to turn on my side and asked again if I could push. They said yes and Kym helped by holding up one of my legs. I think at one moment I used my code word for an epidural but my husband reminded me it was time for the baby and Kym laughed reassuring me that it was too late for that; the baby was coming!
I had read about the “ring of fire” for pushing but honestly, pushing was the best part. I had such relief knowing it was almost over and my little boy was going to be in my arms! I pushed about 15 minutes, pausing a few times in between to breathe for my baby and then I felt this release and heard the cry! He was laid on my chest and I was shaking from the experience and taking it all in. It was the most amazing, life-changing moment of my life.