I think many of us who work in the natural birth arena think differently of the meaning of labor day. At least I did this year. I celebrate all the moms who have labored to bring her child/children into the world. Congratulations to you! Regardless of how you labored, you brought a child into this world and THAT is amazing and reason to celebrate you. This year on Labor Day I reread Jack’s birth story and thought I would share it with you.
Wednesday October 26,2011 was my planned last day at our chiropractic practice. I was 37 weeks pregnant. I was going to use the next few weeks to quiet down, turn in and prepare for the arrival of our baby. Jack had a different plan. On Thursday morning October 27, 2011, we had our regularly scheduled home visit with our midwife. During the home visit in addition to the typical prenatal appointment, she also checks to make sure our home is ready for birthing our baby. We had a few organizational things to do but overall we had all that we needed. During my appointment I was having some practice contractions but I thought it was nothing different than I had been having during pregnancy. I got up to go to the bathroom and could not hold my bladder. I thought that was a little interesting but dismissed it as an issue of third trimester pregnancy.
Our midwife left and Jacob and I both needed to get our cars into the shop. I dropped Jacob off at Well Beings then continued along to drop my car off in Cherry Creek. I thought, “hmmm I should have gone to the bathroom before my drive” so I pulled into a gas station. As I stood up to get out of my car I felt a gush of wetness in my pants. I was still thinking this was a bladder issue but also thinking perhaps this wasn’t a bladder issue. Thinking I “needed” to get my car in, I continued on my way. I went over a bump on 6th Avenue and there was that gushing feeling again. Now I knew, this wasn’t just a bladder issue. Something else was going on. I had yet to consider or accept that I was actually in labor. For some reason, I had in my mind that 38 weeks was full-term so in my mind there was no way I could ACTUALLY BE IN LABOR! I arrived at the dealer and was praying that I did not gush all over the dealership floor. It seemed like FOREVER to get my car processed and get on my way. I was in a brand new 2011 BMW loaner. I thought, “Oh Lord, please I do not want to have a baby in this car.” As I drove back to our practice to get Jacob, I knew SOMETHING was going on. I went to the bathroom and there was the bloody show. Reality was sinking in, I was in labor. I asked Jacob to call our midwife. He wanted to wait given we only live 1.1 miles from our practice. I did not want to wait so we called her. She asked if I was having any contractions or pain. I mentioned a tiny bit of low back pain but no contractions. She decided to come over to test the fluid to see if it was amniotic fluid.
When she arrived, I was in the bathroom crying. I was upset still thinking I was pre-term and was going to need to go to the hospital. When I shared my fear with my midwife, she told me 37 weeks was full-term, not 38 weeks. What a relief. The testing strip did not indicate amniotic fluid. She checked me to find that my uterus was fully effaced and 1cm dilated. THIS WAS HAPPENING. I knew I needed to turn my educated mind off and let my body and primal brain take over and that’s what I did. I had a moment of “but wait .. I don’t have my birth necklace ready and I don’t have my affirmation cards up and I don’t have THE BIRTHING TUB.” There was no time for “but wait”. From the time I called my midwife at 1:00 p.m. to the time she arrived at 2:00 pm, I was in full labor. The contractions were one on top of the other. They stayed that way for the next 4 hours and 15 minutes until Jack was born. I labored some in my bedroom. I don’t remember a lot of that. I labored in the bathtub. I labored on the floor in the bathroom. Jacob, our midwife, and her apprentice were feeding me and making sure I stayed hydrated. I was on the toilet when I opened my eyes for a brief second and I saw Jacob and the apprentice exchange a look that made me realize our baby was going to be here soon. I moved to the birthing stool because birthing a baby over a toilet is not a good idea. As I moved onto the birthing stool, my educated mind turned back on for a second and I thought to myself, “Oh! That’s the ring of fire everyone talks about. Oh! Our baby is going to be here soon!”
A few pushes later, Happy Birthday, baby Jack. He was here. My little boy. My gift. My joy. Moments later we moved me into our bedroom where our midwife and apprentice continued to care for Jack and me. Once we were all settled. I checked Jack’s spine and nervous system. He had a subluxation at atlas which is the 1st vertebrae of the spine. I gave him his first chiropractic adjustment and watched him settle in to his world outside of my womb. I was in love. My dreams were a reality. I was a mom.
I am thankful for opportunity to have labored. What an amazing representation of the innate abilities of the body. As a prenatal chiropractor, I am continuously in awe and wonder of the miracle of pregnancy and birth. Blessings to all of you who have labored and to those of you that will labor in the future.
Happy Labor Day!