Sara and Taylor, oh what a journey! It seems surreal that we have arrived! I wrote notes down Saturday morning, after leaving the three of you, but I needed more time to really put things together… it was and still is such a ‘high time’. At last, though, it is complete – the miraculous and powerful birth of Aryianna has been achieved; and now, here is the experience in the words of your doula.
You had an early bout of preparation labor on Saturday, August 25th. It started around 3 in the afternoon and finally tapered off sometime around 4 in the morning on Sunday. Mightily discouraged, you and I talked about what may have kept this from being the ‘real thing’. I mentioned that prodromal labor for such an extended period of time can sometimes be an indicator of baby being slightly misaligned in the pelvis. So, on Sunday, August 26th, at my urgings, you attempted the knee-to-chest position and were successful to stay in that position for a full 45 minutes. That night, you found that Aryianna was pressing down on your cervix more firmly and really nuzzling it, perhaps feeling out her new space to move around. You were up many times that night for the bathroom and Taylor noted your ‘laborious’ walk – she had finally engaged.
Monday and Tuesday, you had no Braxton Hicks to speak of, though Tuesday, you found your body to be preparing further with bouts of friendly and frequent runs to the bathroom, along with more mucous discharge. I believe that the knee-to-chest position helped get Aryianna in a better position because of a number of reasons. First, you were given a break from your Braxton hicks; which indicates Aryianna was settling down, giving you a rest before starting the real thing along with a non-aggravated uterus due to properly aligned baby. Secondly, the increase in plug/bloody show and her being 'SO LOW' since that time definitely confirmed lightening and settling into the pelvis much more snugly. And finally, her ‘twisting her head against [your] cervix’; some birth psychologists believe that that is a prep indicator of baby 'testing' the route out...
Wednesday marked an appointment with Linda, your midwife. She happily announced that your cervix was no longer posterior, but anterior, and Aryianna was resting her sweet little head against your cervix. Later that same day, you had diarrhea and light bleeding. Your body continued to work at readying itself for Aryianna’s entrance into the world.
Thursday, August 30th, you were graced with another set of contractions – Aryianna testing out the door, so to speak. They began around 4:30pm and tapered off around 3am on Friday morning, August 31st. By daybreak, you were both emotionally spent and were ready to release the anxiousness at starting labor. God was conceded the reigns of worry and anxious waiting, and thus, He was given the permission to start.
That same night, Friday, August 31st, around 7 in the evening, while you and Taylor were enjoying “Chocolat”, contractions began yet again. Their timing was, again, around 10-12 minutes, but both Taylor and you noticed that they were different, more demanding of your attention, and Taylor began to consider that this was it.
Meanwhile, I had gotten my shower and was just crawling into bed when a niggling voice told me, as it had numerous other occasions just such as this, that I would not be falling into a deep sleep anytime soon, but that my dear friend and momma Sara was preparing to guide her daughter into the world. No sooner had I had that thought, and picked up the phone to put it a little closer to the bed, than the phone rang.
It was Taylor, calling me at 11pm to give me an update that contractions were the same distance apart as when they had begun, but that you were noticeably more distracted by them. I could tell by his voice that this was, indeed, different then those that had occurred in the past. We talked about timing a few more, before considering going in.
After hanging up, I called my aunt to come into town and watch the children as my husband, Calvin, was out of town. At around 11:45pm, Taylor called once again to ask what I thought should be your next step. After hearing that contractions had not picked up measurably, but knowing what I sensed in his paternal heart and my spirit, I recommended that, if you wanted to arrive in time for your GBS treatment (which you had previously decided to do) that you may want to pack up and go in.
Five minutes after my aunt arrived at our home, Taylor called to let me know that you were en route to the hospital and your contractions had quickly shortened to 6 minute frequencies and you were showing signs of transition. What a wonderful coach Taylor was! I hopped in my car and arrived at the hospital 10 minutes later. I met with Linda briefly in the hall before quietly letting myself into the room.
Walking into your room, I had a sense of exquisite intimacy – the continuation of a romance. Truly, lights low, and with Sara reclining on the bed, in complete repose, concentration, and relaxation, while the attentive hands of Taylor roamed her body, searching for any tension, while breathing loving words and lighting kisses on her skin intermittently, oh – it was passion! That same loving attention that had created Aryianna was now going to help guide her into this world!
At that time, you were 7-8cm and your contractions were coming between 3 and 4 minutes apart, lasting for around 1 minute each. Encouragement and loving touch seemed about all that you needed, reminders to keep the tension out of your shoulders, neck, and face. Your complete relaxation had those around you entranced. Between contractions, we offered you water and reassurance, and you offered us grins that all was well.
Shortly after I arrived, during one such time between contractions, your eyes were not as cloudless, nor your smile as strong, and I watched your shoulders pull up during the next contraction while your toes flexed away from your body. You were beginning to physically pull yourself away from your womb.
I sensed in my spirit that you knew you were coming upon the last stretch of labor and had a silently harbored fear of the next stage – a disbelief in your own abilities. So, with the next rest between contractions, we talked about what your pushing contractions might feel like, how your body was meant for this act, and to not be afraid of the contractions. I encouraged you that, when you felt the desire to pull away in unease, to instead immerse yourself in the contraction, giving in to it and going deep into it.
About 10 minutes later, you felt your first real grunty pushy contractions at about 2 minutes apart. Taylor knew immediately what it was and looked up to me with a huge grin on his face before moving his mouth down next to your ear once more to praise you and whisper affectionately to you.
After a few more of these, which seemed to be getting slightly more demanding, you decided to try another position. So, we assisted you in switching to your other side, which was hindered slightly from cramping ligaments. At this point, you felt a strong push contraction and you followed your body’s cue to yoller her down.
It only took one more of this type of contraction for you to know that you no longer wanted your legs together on your side. So Linda, who had arrived back in your room a short time ago, Taylor, and I helped you into a sitting position with your knees falling outward. Immediately a look of self possession and purpose came over your face. Your eyes were no longer clouded as your body unfolded, strong and purposeful, yet soft and supple.
With your next contraction, you again began pulled away from the contraction, but it only took a reminder from Linda to envision your body like a “J”, curving down to meet your baby, and myself to sink deep into the contraction and listen to your body. You transformed, in that instant, from a laboring woman into a vessel which channeled an Energy more powerful than yourself, one that you could not contain, but only give into – relinquishing the last visages of control. Gave up and gave in – you began birthing!
Your baby and your body worked in perfect harmony and Aryianna began to descend rapidly. Lost to the world of midwives and doulas, coaches and hospital rooms, you travelled into Laborland – the only inhabitants being yourself, your baby, and the Energy. Opening your mouth wide and singing her down, your body followed suit and Aryianna moved to +2/3 station with an intact bag of water. Linda continued pressure on her head with the next contraction and your bag burst, baptizing Taylor’s waiting hands in a rush of warm water.
You were utterly and completely given over to labor, working with your body, moving it slightly right and left, lifting your hips, and pulling your knees apart, all the while vocalizing Aryianna down the birth canal. A work of art – wrought in nature’s design and God’s purpose. It took my strong grip on your shoulder, and Taylor and Linda together nearly yelling your name to bring you back to the present time. Slowly, Linda urged; so as to keep you intact, slowly Sara.
Aryianna descended the last bit, fully to crowning, and was born up to her neck with one contraction. I barely had time to spin around and get the camera ready. Taylor was poised to catch, and your body at last gave you a short break before the final wave crashed over your body and out of your womb. Aryianna rotated slightly, her shoulder slipped free, and she slid into Taylor’s waiting hands. Immediately both you and Taylor began laughing, joy immeasurable. She was Captivating. She was Beloved!
7lbs 8ozs 19.25 inches long
Born September 1st at 2:20am