...I'll probably start with my last day of pregnancy! I really enjoyed being pregnant, and without knowing this would be my last night with Olivia on my belly I took this selfie, I'm not the kind of mirror selfie person, but now I'm glad I captured this!! How sweet was waiting for you...We were dreaming, talking about you and singing you songs all the time, but we were not prepared for all the love that melted our hearts when we saw you for the first time.Without even knowing we were expecting, I dreamed with her, days before finding out. In my dream I saw her face and the moment when she was being delivered in my arms, exactly as it was.
I wasn’t expecting to be on time for our due date, October 30th, I thought it would be delayed for days or even a week or so, I was patiently waiting for Olivia to arrive whenever she felt ready to come.
On October 26th, I began to lose my mucus plug, but didn’t feel anything different. I thought to myself, it could be today…(or maybe not), but after being so alert, I finally decided to let it go and relax, I was ready to follow back my daily routines and not to lose my head overthinking.
On October 28th, Richard and I decided to have a date night, thinking maybe that could be our last date as a family of two - we joked - we ended up going to a brewing pub, not the best place for a 40 week pregnant lady, but it was the only place still open near home. I had a Sangria with minimum alcohol and we shared an artisan cheese plate, we were just talking and enjoying each other's company.
That night, I took the selfie picture in our bathroom (now that I think about it, I didn’t take too much mirror selfies during my pregnancy), however that night I was in the mood and, to be honest, I was a little bit nostalgic about my belly. I knew I was going to miss it, I was really comfortable at 40 weeks and couldn’t believe it was almost over, but at the same time I was really excited about the labor and delivery waiting ahead.
On October 29th at 3:30a.m. I opened my eyes, for no special reason I just woke up. Suddenly, after 10 minutes I felt something, a warm feeling inside my uterus, at that moment I imagined it as a volcano, like a mini-lava explosion, and I can say it felt so nice, I just smiled and thought - OK this is it!
I waited, hesitating if I should wake up Richard, I knew labor process could take 6 or 18 hours, or more, and at that moment I was just thinking we needed to rest the most for the day ahead…but I couldn’t resist my excitement, and just whisper “Picus, are you awake?” ("picus" meaning our spanish nickname for each other), and wow! I was so surprised he was awake and talk back to me immediately, so I told him I just felt the first uterine wave but suggested to keep sleeping since we needed to rest. I went to the bathroom and began to feel a warm water coming down, my water had broke! I was excited and trying to keep calm as I had trained months before. I couldn’t believe - finally! I was living that moment I had waited so much for.
As I was having waves and the water broke, I decided to send a message to my doula at 4:33a.m., just to keep her informed. I didn’t expect her to reply but she did immediately, saying she had waken up at 3:30a.m. (same hour as me) with the feeling that I was starting my labor. I was just shocked to hear that! We kept on the phone as I went through 4 contractions, helping me with my breathing and relaxation.
At 5:00a.m. we realized we weren’t going to rest any longer, my wish was to stay at home as long as possible however the process was going forward really quick and so we decided to get ready, since I was in active labor since 4:00a.m. with rushes/waves every 10 minutes we informed the ob/gyn and he recommend us it was time to head to the hospital, which luckily is a ten-minute drive from home, so we were on time.
I got a shower, the only way I could, kneeled. Got myself ready I don't remember how, I was just so concentrated in every powerful wave my body created to bring my baby out. As I breath each of them I just felt happy and excited for being able to live that moment. My mantra was: “My Jesus”, I just felt Jesus was with me from beginning to end. I could feel his presence with me and my baby, that mantra was my strength in every wave.
Finally, we got in the car around 6:50a.m., headed to a crowded highway because of the morning-traffic rush, the only thing I could do was work on my deep breathing, eyes closed just breathing and feeling every powerful sensation through my body. I experienced 4 or 5 waves during the ride - enjoyed them all! Oxytocin was in place there, I was just smiling and enjoying the oxytocin-effect in between waves.
At 7:15a.m., we arrived at the hospital, headed directly to the maternity area and I was taken to a labor room, the nurses were skeptical at me assuming I still wasn't in the proper labor stage, checked me and found out I was 3cm dilated. I wasn’t expecting any number but 3cm was more than OK for me, I knew things were moving along and I was prepared for a long labor day. I refused to monitoring the baby, I needed to keep the process moving and lying down in the bed for 30 minutes wouldn't help me on that. So I sat on the floor with my arms and head over the room sofa waiting patiently for the waves to pass over me. At that stage, that position was really helping me to cope the sensations.
Fifteen minutes later, my doula arrived and it was like having an angel in the room (besides my Hubby of course!). She truly set such a peaceful environment through out the process, she was so helpful guiding me to concentrate and keep in a mindful state since the waves were becoming more and more powerful. I began to feel how my pelvis opened, I no longer could sat on the floor, so I kneeled on the bed with my chest over the headboard and kept like that for maybe an hour. My doula and husband were offering me ice cubes and water during the waves and that keep me refreshed and hydrated. I kept saying my mantra and calling Jesus to be present with us during the birth, which brought me so much peace in that stage. Then, Richard brought me Olivia’s 4D ultrasound pictures, I was so delighted to think I was going to have her in my arms in a few minutes. I’m sure the feelings of love, safety and excitement did an effect on my hormones, and by the time the doctor arrived maybe 9:00a.m. I had dilated to 7 cm. I felt so thankful with God to be so close already!
10:00a.m. I was moved to a stool, suggested by the doctor, which suddenly triggered the sensation of pushing. I honestly didn’t know if it was show time, we waited a little bit more, then my doctor checked me again and found out I was on 10cm. I was having the need to push but didn’t felt the baby’s head near, at that moment, I hesitated if I was doing everything OK and asked my doula if I needed to be doing something else or differently, everything was so new to me and I didn’t want to do something wrong on the last stage, she told me I was doing OK. All of this happened in the room, our adorable doctor is the only ob/gyn in Costa Rica that delivers babies in the hospital room and not on a delivery room, so I was on the stool in front of my husband, my doula and the doctor, all of them just waiting. It was just a beautiful moment, it was peaceful and natural as I had wished it to be, almost like a home-birth.
And in the stool, I began to push every time I felt like it, it was time for the adrenaline to kick in and bring all the force out with the baby. We decided to change my position to help the baby move through the canal easier, so I went to the bed and laid down on my side, everything felt ready to receive the baby in the room. In between waves, we all smiled and talked about having the baby in hands, I felt so blessed with every person that was present, all of them in harmony looking for a natural birth, not rushing things, just waiting and giving me and the baby the time to go at our own pace.
I began to feel the ring of fire, that warm feeling, not painful at all it was more like a natural anesthesia. During the first pushes I began to feel how I was opening to my baby, I could feel how her head was coming out firmly and slowly, doctor said she was there and Richard with excitement told me he'd just seen the baby's hair. I was so excited to see her, hold her and live that moment I always wished for. My support team was keeping me up telling me I was doing my best job, baby was just 3 pushes away, and with all the strength my body could handle, this little baby girl came out.
Immediately, they put her on my chest, the most impressive feeling seeing and feeling her outside for the first time, this time hugging each other's skin. Richard cut the umbilical cord and after sharing our first minutes together they took her to weight her and measure her. Everything seemed like a dream, I was holding her delighting my eyes, ready to meet each other, and to start writing our very own life-story.
Olivia was born on October 29th, at 10:52a.m., she weighted 6 pounds 3 ounces, and measured 19 inches. We couldn't take our eyes off of her, gazing at her beautiful tiny hands, abundant brown hair, funny elf ears and a lovely dimple in her left cheek.
I was so blessed to have a beautiful natural birth, so blessed by God have been surrounded by the right people, a respectful ob/gyn, a thoughtful pediatrician and an adorable doula. All of them on the same page looking for a natural birth. I'm also grateful for my supportive husband who was my accomplice, friend and motivator along my pregnancy. Together we watched all-baby related movies, documentaries, read books and what not. He was so supportive every time I came up with a new idea, expressed my fears, philosophy or had any special requests about the labor!
I'd love to share with you a few resources that helped me during my pregnancy and birth.
One of my favorite resources was the book and documentary: Orgasmic Birth, I read several books but this one made the difference for my pregnancy and birth, I know it sounds weird at first, “a pleasurable birth”?, but yes! It's real and any woman has the power to enjoy it that way. It’s the way a woman deserves to give birth, this is the greatest secret to give birth in an enjoyable way. I can assure you our birth wouldn’t be the same without this book and philosophy.
I also used Hypnobabies as a complementary therapy during my pregnancy, it helped me to relax during my pregnancy and therefore during labor. I wasn’t regular with it and wasn’t able to follow 100% their schedule, I also felt asleep all the time during the hypno sessions. However, every day listened to the Birth Visualization CD and it helped me a lot at being calm the day of the birth (I didn’t listen any of the CD’s that day, though)
And the most important of all, prayer! On the third trimester, I realized my baby was getting bigger and bigger and I thought: “this little one has to come out one day!” At that moment I prayed with all my heart to God asking for strength and peace for the Big Day. The last few weeks I read a story of a woman who asked for an easy and quick birth for her baby and she ended up having the baby in a shopping mall bathroom. I wasn’t looking for that, lol! But after reading it I asked for the same, I prayed for a quick and easy birth, which could sound like too much to ask for, but I know God takes care of me and nothing is impossible with him. A labor of 7 hours with no interventions was the answered prayer for me.