It was a Wednesday afternoon and I was 6 days late — but it felt like 6 months!! For some reason I had this idea that she would come slightly early. As the days would pass with no labor and very few signs of it approaching, it wasn't until about 2 days before my due date (Thursday the 11th) that I started feeling stronger braxton hicks. My due date passed and every day after felt like years. I was trying to stay positive and not force her — for I knew the importance of her choosing her own birthday. I believe we choose our astrology when we come into this world. So we may have the personality that will suite our soul mission and serve our highest good for our time here on earth. The weekend passed with lots of nipple stimulation, acupressure, and dousing my belly in clary sage oil. But still no baby and no signs of baby :/ I was starting to feel slightly discouraged and wondering why she didn't want to come meet us?! Monday morning rolled around and I lost my mucus plug!! Yay my first sign! I thought for sure I was going into labor that night. We had a non stress test the next morning and I really wanted to miss it. The Midwife had scheduled us to do the testing for being 5 days overdue — just to make sure the placenta was still working properly etc. Senna was soooo active during the monitoring they had a hard time finding a base heart rate for her. I was contracting every 4 to 8 minutes and they noticed a slight deceleration in her heart rate after contractions. The high risk OB tried to convince me that I needed to get induced that day even though her rate didn't even drop below 120! My intuition told me I should not get induced. That goes against everything I believe in and my dream of having a beautiful, romantic, empowering, natural childbirth experience. Also, I knew it would be harder to go unmedicated if I got induced. They monitored her heart rate for another hour in Labor and Delivery and she finally started to calm down in the belly. The midwife said she was perfect and induction was not necessary. The difference in their demeanor! Fear had really started to set in after talking to the high risk OB but the midwife really calmed my fears and I started to gain my confidence back. But the next morning, Wednesday August 17th, I couldn't help but feel like I was starting to lose confidence in my body again. Did my body know how to go into labor? Of course it did! I was only 6 days late, but what an emotional time those last days are!! So "in it" and not seeing the bigger picture. I decided to stop my "stinking thinking" in its tracks and knew I needed to stay positive and continue to create in my mind my empowered birth journey. I chose to trust my body and my baby. I went to lunch with my mama and Dom at Trio and then we ran a few errands. We went and got Dommy a new lap top for starting school on Monday and got some last minute things at Ikea for our trailer that had just sold (we flip vintage trailers). When we got home I decided to listen to my hypno birthing prenatal bonding track. It was about 6pm. I kept talking to my baby girl and saying it's safe to come out now and how cool it would be if she came on the full moon!!! That her papa would love some time with her before he had to start school. I'm not kidding in that same moment I had my first more intense contraction. Didn't think it was it because I didn't want to get my hopes up. But then another! These felt different than BH. They were lower and I had to breath through them. Dom was outside working and I said "Babe, this may be it!!!" He had heard me say that a couple of times before... Haha but he could tell my energy was different this time. I hurried and finished packing our hospital bags knowing that was the last thing I wanted to worry about it if this was it. As I was packing up our bathroom stuff, I had another and I REALLY had to stop what I was doing to breath through it. I was filled with excitement and a little bit of angst not knowing what was coming next. "We get to meet our baby!!!!!" I thought. It seemed so surreal after waiting this long.... You start to wonder wait do I really get a baby out of this!? I turned on my affirmations and other hypno birthing tracks. Got my crystal lights on and diffuser running to really set the tone and try to get in a state of deep relaxation. Although it seemed hard to do because I was so excited. Dom made some food because he knew he would need energy for this marathon. He said it felt like it took him an hour to eat because the waves just kept coming and he was always right by side. I had a protein bar but nothing else really sounded that good. I loved being on my birth ball and doing circles and figure 8s. The pressure started growing and getting really intense in my lower back. We tried pressure balls and rice packs. Daddy doula Dommy had the great idea of tying the rice pack to my back with a scarf and secured it above my belly. It felt so good. I started to feel a bit nauseated. The bathroom seemed like a real good place to migrate to. I had a few waves on the toilet and it felt good to be there. Although I was starting to sound a bit pushy. I started throwing up at least 4 or 5 times. My body was cleansing itself for this experience. We both honestly thought we would have more resting time between contractions. But this baby was coming fast. I could hear myself getting louder louder. (I am NOT a quiet birther😂) Dom kept asking me if I thought we should head to the hospital. He said I was starting to drift and be less responsive- which is an emotional sign that transition may be near. I wasn't sure if it was time. I really didn't want to head to the hospital too early. I wanted to labor at home as long as possible to prevent possible interventions and up my chances of having the positive, unmedicated birth I had been dreaming of. I was also gbs positive. I really didn't want antibiotics during birth. I am so sensitive to antibiotics (I have battled systematic candida overgrowth for years, causing me a slew of food allergies and other sensitivities all from being on heavy antibiotics for acne as a teen- and being on birth control didn't help either) I knew how important it was for my baby to receive all the good gut flora that I had spent years trying to heal and get to an amazing place before I got pregnant. I was devastated when I initially found out I had gbs because there's an emerging amount of studies indicating how vital for babies to get good microbiome at birth!! The antibiotic decision really weighed heavy on me the last couple of weeks of my pregnancy. I knew it was a very very small percentage of babies that get sick. But when it's your baby, any risk is a risk you don't want to take. I was so torn. I didn't want either of us get thrush and have to start off our relationship battling that. I didn't want our little girl to grow up with food sensitivities and allergies and have to fight the same battles I do. Our decision was to a make a decision in the moment based on when my water broke and if I had a fever etc. I trusted that I would know in the moment. But this was also another reason I didn't want to be at the hospital long — so If I did end up getting the antibiotics, I would go quickly and they wouldn't have time to give me multiple doses. The less the better. Contractions were 2 - 3 minutes apart. And a wave of inspiration told me it was time. The tone had changed during the bathroom laboring from fun and exciting to serious and focused. We gathered our things (it felt like we had tons! Thinking we would want all these things for the long labor everyone tells you to be prepared for) and hopped in the car. The waves were getting stronger and stronger. It felt like I had no breaks or resting time. I hadn't had my cervix checked yet at all (I refused checks because of the gbs and didn't want to risk it or reverse the progress I had made from the natural treatment I had been doing since I got the results — garlic tampons, probiotic suppositories, high doses of echinacea, vit c and probiotics orally. I decided to wait to be checked until labor actually had begun. Plus getting checked before or ever really doesn't tell you that much...birth can move so fast and has a timeline of its own!) so I had no idea where my cervix would be. I hoped I had made good progress. It was about 9:30pm when we got the hospital. I started having waves as we walked into the lobby and like I said, I am not a quiet birther. I probably scared the shit out of everyone in there! I waited for Dom and we headed into Labor and Delivery. We had my birth plan and I prayed they would follow it. We requested a room with a jacuzzi. I was really looking forward to laboring in the tub. I was bummed because I had just found out that they wouldn't let me deliver in the water... A huge reason why I chose the midwives at IMC. They would only let me labor in the tub. I guess it was only for a study they were doing. I shook it off and remembered my affirmation "I am prepared to take on any unexpected turns in my birth journey with confidence and peace." This was huge for me!! They told us who the midwife on call was and felt a little let down because it was one we didn't know. I had built a good relationship with about 3 of them and was really hoping it would be one of them. They knew my concerns with the gbs/antibiotic issue and I felt understood and respected. But I still felt confident and I trusted my journey that whatever was meant to happen would happen. I kept having these meditative experiences the days before birth where I was shown literally an army of guides and angels that came into my space to bring Senna here safely. I also saw two new spirit animals- a dragonfly for her, and a lioness for me. Dragonflies start their existence at the bottom of ponds and make their way into beautiful, colorful, irredescent flies with wings that leave the water. I would see dragonflies literally everyday for weeks leading up to her birth. I knew that dragonfly medicine would help guide her journey through the realms. The lioness gave me protection and fierce sense of strength and ferociousness that I needed to stand my ground and protect my cub. I knew we were both protected. And even if we did get the antibiotics, we were standing with an army of angels. We were protected and we would be okay either way. We got into our room and checked my cervix and I was 6! Perfect. Baby was coming. I was in laborland at this point and pretty unresponsive. They brought up the gbs and antibiotic issue. I told them I wasn't sure and wanted to think about it for a minute. It was hard to think. Waves kept coming. The midwife came in and told me she really recommended the antibiotics. She said they would watch my baby like hawk and make me stay 48 plus hours. In the moment I just did not want to deal with any of it. So I accepted. I knew I would have my baby soon in my arms and nothing else would matter. Waves kept coming in the bed and they were getting more and more intense. So was my wailing. There were moments in my mind where I questioned if I could do this. I was exhausted. And things started feeling chaotic. Women I didn't know were putting their hands on my back giving me counter pressure. I don't even even remember their faces but I was grateful for their support. But a small voice reminded me that it was almost over. I could do this! I wanted to get in the tub. Started filling up the tub. During my waves I was a little pushy. It just felt good. They told me to breathe and not push just yet. I went on the toilet and could not stop the pushy feeling. My water breaks in an explosion. I hop in the tub and Doms rubs my back, dims the lights and turns on my hypno tracks. It felt better, safer and more calm in the water. I wanted to stay. But they told me I needed get out and get checked because I was acting so pushy. Got on the bed with a warm blanket and I was 8 1/2. Close. But exhausted. They told me there was meconium in my water. Not a lot but a moderate amount. It was slightly yellow. They said they had to cut the cord immediately and take baby away from me to be suctioned — I didn't understand this. It was very important to me for my baby to get all of her cord blood and even more important to immediately be put on my chest. I had been dreaming of that moment for over 9 months. I asked if they could suction her on my chest. They said they couldn't and it was protocol. I didn't understand and it didn't make sense to me why they couldnt. But the waves were coming hard and fast so I let it go and silently mourned the truth that I wouldn't be the first one to hold my baby. "I am prepared to accept any unexpected turns in my birth journey" I reminded myself and focused on the moment. Kept feeling pushy. Checked again 9.75. This was going fast! But also felt like a lifetime. She said I had a little lip and she could help my cervix dilate to a 10 so I could start pushing. I reminded them between waves that I DID not want an episiotomy I would prefer to tear. This was in my birth plan. Along with baby being put immediately on my chest and delayed cord clamping. :( Nothing can prepare you for pushing!!! Oh my. I had already just ran the hardest marathon of my life and now I'm suppose to find the strength to push this baby out? I was so so tired. In between contractions I was out of it so hard with my head in a pillow. No position was comfortable. Nothing gave me relief. We got out the squat bar but nothing helped. I remember Dom telling me to rest and save my energy so then I could push and get our baby out. I pushed for 45 minutes. I could feel baby's head getting closer. I couldn't see them but more people joined the room, the ones who would suction her. I saw a table with tools and scissors and felt fear. Were those for me or for my baby? Baby's heart rate kept dropping I guess but I had no idea I was in my own world. I knew she was okay. I never felt fear about that surprisingly but everyone else was. The tone in the room changed. She said "Kelly, I need you to push harder and get this baby out." I was like oh wait do I need to be concerned!? I pushed as hard as I could. But it wasn't enough I guess. She said "Kelly this baby's heart rate is down I need to give you an episiotomy and get this baby out. Okay?" What do you say? No?! Of course I didnt want that but I wanted my baby to be safe even more. Luckily it was small snips. And I felt it all! Those last moments were so intense I barely realized how fearful everyone else was in the room. Dom said everyone was so nervous. I still wonder why I didn't feel that. I knew my baby was okay. She snipped and I pushed one more time and baby's head was out. Her tiny little shoulders and body slithered out quickly right behind it. I wish I could of been more aware to really see her be born. I just saw her tiny body get passed off and her long long cord wrapped around her shoulder and belly be snipped so close. I watched her get laid on the table and suctioned. Luckily they were gentle. I was grateful for that. My spirit longed for her. To go over there but my body was incapable. They wiped her vernix off and I had a tinge of regret about that. I wanted to rub that sacred vernix into her precious skin giving her as many benefits as possible. I told them not to bath her. Especially with the antibiotics, I wanted her to have as much good bacteria as possible. But at this point I surrendered. All I wanted was a healthy baby. She was so cute and tiny. I couldn't wait to hold her and look at her face. I don't remember how long it was, maybe 5 minutes or so — but it felt longer. Then they brought her to me!!! She was absolute perfection!!!! Everything from the labor and birth melted away. My baby girl was here and she was safe. I did it!!! We did it. And it was hardest thing I have ever done. I have never been so proud of myself in my entire life. I grew this baby in my belly and now she is here. This perfect little human all her own. Tears of joy streamed down my face. I looked up at Dom and we shared this moment of pure bliss and understanding. This was our daughter. We were forever changed. I had never felt so much love in my life!! We then got the "sacred hour" and it was pure ecstasy. She latched on immediately and seemed so happy. She didn't even cry. She was so alert and looking up at us. I couldn't believe how tiny she was. Only 6lbs 14 oz! I felt so huge at the end of my pregnancy plus I was over due, so I thought she would be a little more! Now I am grateful she was over due, she needed a little bit more time to grow:) I'm so grateful I trusted my body and let things happen naturally in such a beautiful way. Some things didn't go as planned but when do things ever go as planned? I trust my journey. I trust my story. Our story. I have been dealing with and mourning the few things I didn't get but I have accepted them and I have love in my heart. Our birth story was perfect for us. I have seen no negative side effects from the antibiotics and I could not be more grateful. I thank spirit every day for that protection and I hope it lasts. I've been eating probiotics and fermented foods like crazy. Absolutely no sugar. Not even fruit. And it's working beautifully. I'm so grateful for my body. And Senna is nursing beautifully. I'm so proud of her. I'm so thankful to be out of the hospital and be home and feel like she is finally all mine!!!! She is doing so much better at home. It's like she remembers it here.... She grew up here in my belly! She remembers the energy of it and I really believe that. She slept so good here, she hardly even cried. It feels so good sleeping with her on my chest. I love every second of breastfeeding. When she latches my heart could explode. It's perfect. My placenta pills have been a dream. So grateful for them and the immediate results. My episiotomy is healing beautifully although I'm still a bit sore. Everyday gets better and better with our Senna B. At her 1 week apt she already gained back the 5 oz she lost at the hospital plus some! She was 7lbs 4.5 oz. Good girl! Now at 2 weeks she is 7lbs 14 oz. She's gained a whole pound since her birth weight. I love watching her fill out and her thighs get softer everyday 😍 she's finally here and life is beautiful. We are filled with gratitude everyday. ✨
A massive thank you to @kennydawn for these gorgeous photos that we will cherish for the rest of our lives!!
Senna' sweat pants are from Lulu and Roo and her bows are from Bijou Bows :)