Calla's Birth Story - Rainbow Baby- Unmedicated First Time Mom
I can’t count the number of times people said that birth would be the hardest thing I’d ever do in my life. And in some ways, it was. But in many more ways, it may have been the easiest…
In a matter of 4 years, my confidence in myself as a woman diminished. My husband and I lost our first baby and struggled with years of infertility. I hated my body. I despised that it couldn’t do the one thing the female body was supposed to do. I mourned to be a mom and eventually thought I never would be. The only thing I could do was hold onto the tiniest ounce of hope that was left. So we did.
One day, hope blossomed.
At 38 weeks and 3 days, I spent about 32 hours in prodromal labor after being at 5 cm and 100% effaced at my weekly appointment. It was about midnight on Friday that the contractions really kicked in. In all my life, I have never felt stronger instincts. The moment active labor kicked in, my body began to communicate with me. We got to the hospital around 1:00 AM. My contractions had gone from 10 minutes apart when we left home to every 3-4 minutes when we arrived at the hospital. Our midwife, Christine met us at the hospital and immediately checked me: 7 cm. This was it. I was leaving that hospital with a baby. So we did.
Once we got up to our room, I immediately gave into my body’s demands. I labored in the bed, in the tub, on the toilet, pacing around the room, all over the floor, in my husband’s arms…My body would put me into positions I never imagined existed. I was blessed with the freedom of cords, tubes and medication, and even more blessed with the freedom of indulging in cool, refreshing strawberry Jell-O at my leisure. So we did.
Eventually I was 9 cm. At this point, my body wanted to walk. Back and forth. Back and forth. I must have made about 100 laps around my room. I will always remember everyone surprised that I was walking at 9 cm. To me, it was the only thing to do at 9 cm. It’s what my body said we should do at 9 cm. So we did.
At one point, the contractions became so intense that I finally submitted to them. They engulfed me. Took over me. And I was begging for an exit. It was time to push. I knew it had to be time to push. So we did.
I would eventually find out that I pushed for nearly 4 hours. Time had never felt so slow and so fast at the same time. I was exhausted like I had been working for decades, but I really only felt like it had been 30 minutes. I remember each 3-push burst feeling like so much work. They’d coach me to pick up my legs and pull them to my chest and I was disgusted. I’m supposed to push this baby out of my body AND pick up these heavy legs every 2 minutes?! There were moments where I would sob and sob just demanding a rest. There were contractions where I would dive into the depth of my body and pull out every last ounce of strength and then there were contractions where I would secretly pretend like I wasn’t contracting to cheat myself a little extra break. My team would keep saying, “just a few more and we will have a baby,” “just a few more,” “just a few more,” “just a few more”. I have done “a few more” a few too many times! And I had finally met my breaking point. The point at which my maiden body had given up. “I can’t,” I kept saying. And I really truly thought I couldn’t. But I had to. So we did.
And then I was a mom. In a matter of just a few final tiny pushes and one last “push with all your might,” she was here. My 7 lb 4 oz, 19 in long, baby GIRL was finally in my arms. I will never forget her first breaths as she muddled out her brand-new cries. I will never forget realizing we hadn’t checked if she was a boy or a girl and the moment my husband announced we had our sweet baby Calla. Calla Rose Coughlin. I will never forget her 10 tiny fingers and 10 tiny toes all covered in sticky vernix. I will never forget the way she nuzzled into my chest and settled right into my arms. I will never forget the comforting warmth we shared or the feeling of complete, content wholeness she gave me. And just like that, I went from feeling like I couldn’t possibly be awake for another second to feeling like someone had recharged me with jumper cables. Wide awake. Ready to get to know each other. So we did.
And so, yeah. It was really, really hard. In so many ways, it was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. But I think if you asked me, I would still say it was the easiest. All I had to do was let go of control and listen to my body. The rest just happened. In a matter of 12 hours, I learned to love, cherish, trust and respect my own body more than ever before. In a matter of 12 hours, I became a mom. My body was finally ready.
So we did.