Aili Linnea LeHolm decided it was time to come into the world while I was playing cards with my family. I was sitting on a birth ball playing a card game and at 8:45 pm I noticed a surge with more umpf to it than my normal Braxton Hick’s surges. I made a mental note of it and kept playing. During the time sitting on the ball the surges were about 10 minutes apart and very manageable with breathing. I felt some pressure in my cervix, because my bag of water was bulging (coming out in front of her head) but that was the only discomfort I felt. I kept thinking, maybe this is it, but since they were only 10 minutes apart, I figured we had a while.

At 10:19 pm I went into the bedroom to lie down. I had a surge, vomited, had several more surges, then I started to feel shaky, so I went into the bathtub to warm up. While in the bathtub I felt urges to push, so my husband Robert called my midwife Jude to make sure she could be there by the time we arrived. We only live 4 minutes from the Birth Center, so that was important! We relaxed at the house a little longer and put all of our stuff to take into the car. My family was staying with us, so they were a little nervous, but when I came out of the room, everyone was wondering if I was really in labor or not. The whole time at home it felt very surreal. I didn’t feel like I was in labor, but my body was telling me different. I had no pain and my mind was relaxed. I felt very confident.

We arrived at the Birth Center sometime around 11:15 pm. I was examined and was dilated to 7 cm. They admitted me and we relaxed in the room while Jude prepared to deliver the baby. We planned to release my water if my bag was bulging, so at 11:50 pm, we did that. Immediately I was prepared to give birth. The pressure was gone, and I felt like I could do anything. Surges were unimportant then. I went into the bathtub to prepare for a water birth and felt urges to push.

I started to breathe the baby down, but felt there was something wrong. Since this was my second natural birth, I knew what was supposed to happen. With my first birth, once my water was broken, it took 20 minutes to progress from a 6cm-birth. I was at 10 cm for 10-15 minutes and decided to get out of the tub and try different positions to get the baby to move down. I still felt very calm, but a little irritated that it wasn’t going just so. After about 20 minutes of trying different positions her head finally came out. While her head was out, my midwife Jude had me do several other positions. The baby had a compounded nucal hand—which means her left arm was above her face reaching to her right side. This made it almost impossible to get her out. I had to do some hard pushing, but I still felt controlled and calm. After almost 2 minutes with her head out Jude tried to pull her hand out manually, but we had used castor oil to lubricate my perineum, so she couldn’t get a good grip. Finally it worked, and as soon as her arm was out of the way, she popped right out. 4 hours from start to finish. She was a little purple, and her capillaries burst on her face, but she was pretty much perfect. We had to give her a little oxygen to make sure she was ok, but in hindsight I don’t think she needed it. She just doesn’t cry when she is awake! She was born 1 week and 1 day late at 12:50 am on December 23rd. She was 8 lbs 9 oz and 21 inches long. Her head was 14 inches around.

It was a fantastic birth without fear or pain. The entire time I was wide awake. We even laughed because in between surges I was wondering what everyone at home was doing. I know that my HypnoBirthing class with Carol Yeh-Garner was essential in my awesome birth. Also, my midwife Jude, I couldn’t have asked for a better midwife. She trusted me and helped me to do what I need to do to not have interventions. Best Start Birth Center is the only place I want to have my babies. Both of my children were born there, and even in the same room!

Aili is now 11 weeks old, and still an angel. She sleeps well, eats well and is the happiest baby ever when she is awake.

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