It was Jan 12th, our due date. I had done all my prenatal care with the lovely midwives at UCSD and had planned to have an un-medicated birth in their birth center. I had been having contractions for a week prior to this date, but they always stopped at night.
That morning we had a prenatal appointment with our midwife, Jasmine Ortega, and as I was peeing in a cup for the urine analysis, I noticed that I was bleeding. Being my first baby, I had no clue what this meant or if it was a positive sign. I told the assistant leading me to the room that I was bleeding and she assured me the bleeding was a good sign as it was my cervix ripening. She asked if I wanted to request the midwife do an internal exam and I said yes (as it was not the practice of the midwife). I was three ½ centimeters and 75% effaced. The midwife said that her best guess would be that I would deliver by the weekend, but not to rely too much on her guess.
Ben and I went to Chili’s and I remember getting the chocolate lava dessert, we went home and I was still having contractions but nothing that I couldn’t walk and talk through. We did not change our routine, I went to bible study that night, and Ben went out with his friend, Mike, who was in town from the East Coast. This was about 7:30 pm and at that point the contractions were getting stronger, but I could still talk through them. We chatted with Mike and our sister and brother-in-law until about 11:30 pm and then decided to call it a night. I assumed, like normal, the contractions would go away when I went to sleep, but I was wrong.
At midnight, the contractions picked up intensity and were coming about every 5 to 10 minutes. I laid in bed and was in and out of the shower. I called the midwife around 2:30 am on Jan. 13th and she said not to come to the birth center and that I would know when I needed to come. At 3:00 am I had a contraction so strong that I screamed for Ben to get me up and my water ruptured all over. I ran to the bathroom and started laboring on the toilet. I then began vomiting and inherently knew that I was in transition. I shouted for Ben to call the midwife and tell her we were on our way. We threw the last items into the car and then off we went.
We reached the birth center by 3:15 and were in our room by 3:20. I had planned to labor in the water with a doula, but the midwife, after I agreed to let her check my dilation (I was eight centimeters), said we didn’t have enough time to fill up the tub or for the doula to get there. Again, I wanted to be on the toilet so I sat there until I felt the sensation to push. At that point, I started pushing when my body told me to. I became very weak and almost fainted so Ben and the midwife moved me to a side reclining position where I pushed two more times. The midwife then asked me to stop pushing so that the head could crown slowly. She asked me to push once more, and then placed my hands in my baby’s armpits and then I pulled our daughter onto my chest at 4:47 am. I was in hard labor for 4 hours, at the birth center for 1 and ½ hours and pushed for 30 minutes.
We look back upon the birth of our daughter with fondness as one of the greatest days of our lives. It took strength and determination and a force that I did not know woman possess. It has helped me believe in my intuition as a woman and a mother, and the divine creation of our bodies by our Heavenly Father.