i read this awesome story in my inbox recently and went to respond to the mama by saying “holy cow! that sounds aaahhhhmazing!” it’s extra awesome when first time parents have amazing births- i think it sets families up for health in many, many ways.
rhiona and ricky took my essentials for childbirth class and are a super fun couple. we have mutual friends, which is how they came to find my class, and i am so thankful they did! we wanted to work out a doula situation as well, but our little fam was heading on a trip to sri lanka (i know…right?!) right around her guess date- so i got them set up with a sweet sweet awesome doula friend of mine, alisa okamoto. her care provider is super loved in our community and we are really thankful to have a care provider like Dr Damon Cobb here! ENJOY this beautiful story, told by rhiona to her sweet little dash.
It was Wednesday July 9th at 10pm when I decided we needed to go for a walk on Moonlight beach to try and get you moving out. My due date was Monday July 7th, but I kind of wanted to keep you in my belly forever so I hadn’t done much (or anything really) to help you come out. It was an emotional walk because I felt you were coming soon and I knew I needed to be ok with that. Walking on the beach has a way of releasing emotions for me. I wasn’t scared to birth you necessarily, I just felt like pregnancy had zoomed by. I wanted more time with you so close to me. There were only a few other people on the beach; it was very dark and the cool crisp air felt so nice. The waves crashing calmed my mind. We walked a while and then I made your daddy take a picture of my belly before we got in the car to go home. I’m so glad we have that photo to remember our night because it turns out you were ready to meet us way faster than I thought. It’s the last photo of you in my belly and I will cherish it forever. We went home and around midnight I went to the bathroom and had blood. I was so excited, nervous, shocked! I was skeptical I was in labor, but it kept coming and it was pretty evident I had lost my mucus plug. I texted my doula, Alisa, and she of course told me to sleep if I could. Ha! That wasn’t happening even if I wanted it to! I had an overwhelming feeling of anxiety pass through after I realized this really was active labor. I kind of wanted it to stop. I think I told your dad “I’m not ready. I don’t know if my body can handle labor.” I was afraid. Majorly. He went to sleep and tried to make me do the same. I laid in bed wide awake and a little terrified. At this point the surges weren’t really surges. My back would just kind of tense up and have a little ache every 20 minutes or so. All through the night it continued getting closer and closer. At some point in the dark of the night I started to feel more calm and in control, or was it that I was not in control?! I let my body take control and do it’s own thing. I guess I just took control of my thoughts. I was surprised I never even shut my eyes but morning had now come. Morning changed things. I knew I needed to shower, so I did that. Things slowed down a bit after moving around and showering. I thought I could get a nap in, so I choked down a bowl of oats and laid back into bed. I tried so hard to rest, but things just kept progressing! It felt very rapid. I quickly found that being on my hands and knees was my position, as it just made me feel the best. I was starting to get nauseous and I remember not liking it. I felt like I could handle the surges with ease, but the nausea was so annoying- totally cramped my style. By 11am your dad decided to call the doula to come over because he thought things were getting serious. I thought he was being silly but didn’t have the words to express this, so really, he was right. Ha. My surges weren’t that regular or consistent. They were kind of all over the place the entire labor. Sometimes they were many minutes apart and sometimes seconds apart. They were also quite long. I had a few 4 minute long ones and lots of 3 minute ones, which was super weird. When Alisa arrived, things slowed down a little. Alisa had me try smelling peppermint oil, while laying on my side leaning my leg off the bed to start things going. I wanted to kill her. 🙂 Whew, those surges felt strong. Crazy how positioning can change things so fast! I continued laboring until around 3 or so. We weren’t that sure how far along I was because of the inconsistency, so Alisa suggested going to Dr.Cobb’s office to get checked. I then started getting back to back surges. We decided to just drive straight to the hospital, and quick. In the back of my head I was slightly bummed that we were going to the hospital “so soon”. Looking back, this is hilarious to me. If we didn’t have a doula I probably would have accidentally birthed you at home. Oh, the car ride. I had dreaded this. We live in Encinitas and the hospital was in Poway. That’s a bit far when you are deep into labor! Things got very intense for me while in the car. I closed my eyes the entire time. I pulled down hard on the handle above the window with each surge. It was a great release. I also pounded my hands on the roof of the car with some surges. The car ride is also where I first started what your dad calls my “yeti call”. Lots of strange sounds were coming out and I just had to let them. Looking back I now know I was transitioning. In the car. Joy! The car ride apparently took 30 minutes, but labor does weird things to your concept of time! Your dad kept saying “we are almost there” and then “I can see the hospital!”. My eyes were still shut, but this was slightly annoying to me because I knew we were still far…that is, until I actually felt the familiar speed bumps in the parking lot. I opened my eyes and saw we were there and couldn’t believe it. It felt like he did a magic trick. The car ride felt like 5-10 minutes at most to me. Alisa came and got our car to go park it while daddy and I walked into the hospital. It was a slow walk with a few breaks to ride out the surges. We got into the elevator and rode up to the fifth floor, the birthing floor. As soon as we got out of the elevator and onto the floor I took a step or two and threw up all over. “Hey guys, I have arrived, and look! I am ready! Sorry about the mess.” We walked to the nurses station and they just walked me right into a room…and gave me a barf bag. We met our nurse, Diane. She said she needed to check me. I was nervous because I had never been checked for dilation and was told it would hurt a bit. It didn’t hurt and I was EIGHT centimeters. I smiled so, so big. I knew I would have to get the standard IV or at least a saline lock next, but didn’t really want one. Nurse Diane came in and said I didn’t need either and I proceeded to give her a high five (I really just wanted to kiss her) while telling her how much I liked her. It was just a little thing, but for some reason being completely free of that was important to me. So far things were off to a great start! Nurse Diane was supportive and amazing and gave me so much peace because of that. I felt in control of my birth. She monitored you with a fetal monitor for a bit. It wasn’t really working well, but we could see you were well, so she let me get in the tub. She trusted my body and I loved her for it. From this point until you came out, my eyes pretty much remained shut. It helped me to stay connected to my body, your teeny body, and the great work we were doing together. We were in our own little world. The tub felt really nice. I was in there for a long while and I wish I could have just birthed you in there. I was starting to feel an urge to push. I said “push, push, pushy, pushing” a lot and that’s when I realized I had lost my mind. 🙂 The nurse called Dr.Cobb who was finishing up appointments at his office. He wanted me to get checked again to see how close I was. This meant I had to get out of the tub, which was no small feat. I tried and failed, a lot. Like a real lot. Somewhere in there, my water broke. I have no idea how long I tried to get out of that tub but it must have taken at least an hour. I may have used a bad word or two, but my lovely Alisa just said “I knoooow Rhiona.” I told Alisa that I just needed some help and she started saying encouraging things about how I didn’t need the help, I was strong, etc. That’s when I said “No, just help me out of this tub.” Haha. I finally get out of the tub and make it a step or two but end up on the floor on my hands and knees. I needed something to lean on and your daddy got right down on the nasty hospital floor with me to support my head. I have never loved or needed your daddy more in my life. I gently rubbed my face into his neck and it felt so wonderful. I hadn’t pictured needing him like this, but I so did, and here he was. After a bit, Dr. Cobb arrived and I only knew it because I happened to open my eyes and see two man-sized bright red Nike shoes. That Dr.Cobb is so fancy. I eventually make it to the bed to be checked, what a journey it was to get there! Dr.Cobb asked if I wanted to know where I was at and I said yes. I only had a little tiny lip left to open. I tried laboring on my hands and knees and I started to notice a very primal energy coming over my body. The yeti call was back! The grunts that came out of my mouth…I cannot explain. The nurse kept asking if I was pushing and I accidentally ignored her…every time. I wasn’t so much pushing, it was more of a bearing down and it felt very good and very right. Dr.Cobb came back and watched me for a bit before suggesting a new position. He tied a sheet to a squat bar and had me pull myself in as I pushed. Pushing and pulling felt like a great release, kind of similar to what I did in the car ride. After a while he suggested the stirrups. I was kind of against stirrups, but trusted him. I started more controlled pushing in sets of threes. I was amazed how strong the desire to push was. It was like a huge wave coming over my body. It continued to feel intense, but good. Slowly it started to feel more intense and then for the first time in the entire labor process, I will say there was pain. But this was good pain, because then your head was suddenly out! The pain passed so quickly. Next, I felt lots of pressure and everything was just a blur because things got so intense and heavy. And then? You were on my chest!!! A big wet baby. You felt like a slippery fish 🙂 You were cute! Way cuter than I could have imagined! It felt unreal. I smiled so big and didn’t stop, no tears, just smiles. We did it! It felt like I had won the best prize ever (probably because I did!). I looked to my right and there was daddy, weeping in a new way I had never seen. You were here. You were ours. So pink, healthy, and BIG! On July 10th, at 8:22pm my 9lb 3oz baby boy, you became ours. Forever and ever. And ever.
if you or anyone you know is in San Diego and is interested in childbirth preparation classes, or online childbirth classes, please feel free to check out my website for more info, along with doula support and placenta encapsulation information, and a small online shop for all kinds of birth/postpartum related goodies!