Graysen Michael Cluster's Birth Story
March 30th, 2017
Its a bit detailed but I don't want to forget anything so bare with me!
Woke up on Thursday, March 30th 2017 (my due date) to no sign of labor up to this point. Instead of being frustrated that I was still pregnant, I had decided to try and focus on the gift that I was able to carry this child to his due date and that we were both healthy. Especially since there were a couple times early on during this pregnancy that things weren't looking favorable.
I went to work for an uneventful 8 hour day, picked up Jamba Juice on the way home as a mini "I made it to 40 weeks" celebration and then came home to lay down since i wasn't feeling good (nothing unusual). Still no contractions or signs of labor at all and I was convinced that I was going to be pregnant forever but again, tried to focus on the positive of a healthy baby.
Around 4:45pm, right when I heard my husband, Braden, come home, I heard a sort of click inside me and then an intense pain really low in my pelvis. I sat up really fast from the pain and then realized my water just broke! Since it seemed to break only halfway, I made it to the bathroom before it got all over the floor and then continued to leak for the next hour. When Braden came down stairs a minute later and while he could tell I was still really shocked, I told him my water just broke. He called our doula, Twyla, who happens to also be my mother in law and I called my midwife, Chris, to let them know. Neither of them seemed too worried since I was just barely starting to have mild contractions at the time and figured progress would be slow and to just keep them updated. However, contractions quickly got stronger and seemed to last longer fairly quickly. Within 30 mins the contractions were really hard to talk through and I couldn't really stand up during them either. I lost my mucus plus shortly after, all the while texting Chris and talking to Twyla on the phone about what was happening. Being a first time mom, I figured I was just not used to it all and was just being paranoid but since the birth center was an hour away, Braden and I felt it best to pack up and leave right away. The plan was to go to the birth center and have Chris check my progress and depending on how far I was, we would stay or if not very far along, continue to labor at Twyla's house that was only 15 minutes away.
During the car ride, my contractions had gotten super intense, I had been trying really hard to stay as relaxed as possible, making low tone sounds, and staying positive. Not easy when you are confined in a car! (As I hadn't been checked at all up till this point and had no experience of how far dilated I could be, I prayed so much that I would be far enough along to stay at the birth center! I did not want to get back in the car again before I had this baby!) Braden was such a huge help as he appeared so calm and continually told me I could do it. Despite the rain and traffic hour, we made good time and made it to the birth center around 7pm.
As soon as we pulled up and a strong contraction had just ended, Braden helped me hurry up the stairs to the birth center before another contraction came which I knew was going to be all too soon and would make those stairs seem even more impossible. Twyla had gotten to the birth center about 5 mins before us (which made me so relieved! Seeing someone I trusted reminded me that we had such an amazing support team to help me and Braden through this birth. It brought so much immediate comfort) and she was able to see how I was doing to update Chris who was currently attending a funeral. Another doula and dear family friend, Anjie, who was going to take our birth photos arrived soon after although at this point, time gets a little hazy for me.
As contractions were getting more intense and closer together, Braden, Twyla, and Anjie helped me get dressed into what I had planned to labor in which was a nice lightweight and flowy nightgown. As contractions seemed to be getting more intense each time which seemed impossible that another one could be more intense than the last, I found that leaning over a counter, or chair, while someone applied counter pressure helped and leaning into Braden helped the most. Being able to lean on him helped me remember that we were in this together. That somehow, I could get through each contraction because it was bringing us closer to holding our perfect little boy!
Chris got there pretty quickly (7:45) and after she gathered some things to fill up the birth pool, she checked me (around 8 pm) and was surprised to find that I was already dilated to an 8 and 100% effaced (Yay, I wasn't going to have to get back in that car!). Change of plans though, the pool was no longer going to be an option.
It was at this point that things had progressed so fast that I was beginning to feel like I was being engulfed by the intensity of the pain. I remember hearing Twyla say "Listen to your body, what position feels best for you?" and honestly not knowing because I was having such a hard time thinking through the growing intensity of every contraction. At this point, I was still standing up and leaning into Braden and not knowing what position I was going to birth this baby in. It was about this time that I had been feeling the strong urge to push and did so a few times standing up before I realized I didn't want to have this baby standing up and fall on the floor (even though logically i knew no one was going to let my baby fall on the floor). I ended up on the edge of the bed on my side with Braden at my head holding me. He was so supportive and continually repeated all of my birth affirmations to me that I had written but completely forget about at this point. I remember him encouraging me to say them and looking me in the eye and telling me I could do this! Throughout this whole time, Twyla, Chris, Anjie, and Braden kept telling me how amazing I was doing and I remember that helped me so much and gave me hope! I was really doing this!
Some women say that pushing is their favorite part and I never understood before. Now, as I would agree, it is because it made me realize how close I was to actually meeting my little boy. I'm not quite sure how many times I pushed (3-4 maybe) but I remember the pain becoming so intense that I began to try and pull away from it (as if I could). Everything had happened so fast, I was exhausted, and just when I thought the pain had reached a maximum level, it became even more intense.
This next moment is hard to put into words but I will do my best. At this moment, it was like I was in my own relm of pain and I could only hear muffled voices around me. I then prayed so intensely that some kind of divine intervention would help me through this, even just a little. Some may not believe in a God but I know more than ever before that He was there helping me in those intense moments. It was a sacred experience I will always cherish. It was about then that the only voice I heard as I looked her in the eyes was that of my midwife, Chris, who said to push the pain away from me, don't keep it in. I'm not sure exactly why out of every helpful and encouraging thing she and the others had said to me that that phrase at that moment stood out but it did. Something clicked then and the fear that had started to overwhelm me disappeared. It was definitely still the most intense moment of my life but it was like those words helped pull me back into reality and out of my relm of self doubt and fear. It was then that I truly understood what it meant to birth without fear. As my baby boy was crowning, I was able to reach down and feel his head and after another push or two, I reached down and caught my perfect beautiful little boy! Words cannot come close to describe how many emotions I felt in that moment but the one that comes to mind is LOVE. The instant love I felt for this perfect little angel I was holding is indescribable! That moment with him finally in my arms and feeling that undeniable connection between us was so surreal.
Maybe I am a bit biased but I couldn't have imagined a more perfect and beautiful birth! I will be forever grateful for the support of my birth team. I coudn't have done it without them. This experience has forever impacted my life in the most perfect way imaginable. :)