Ryleigh Abigail is here! Though I am a little late on this post (she is currently 7 weeks old!) but I have been living in that newborn bliss and fog, soaking up every moment of it. But I can say, I loved my birth experience, it couldn’t have gone any better if I dreamt it up, even though I really had no idea what to expect.
I was first due on 1/5/23, around 20 weeks, they moved me up to 12/29/22 because of how big she was measuring which made me a little worried because I really didn’t want her to be a Christmas baby. Not because there’s really anything wrong with that, but I feel like Christmas babies’ birthdays are sometimes overlooked and from everyone who I have ever asked, didn’t like it.
I was told for so long from so many people that she looked like she was going to be a big baby. The doctors moved up my due date because she was such a big baby. I popped earlier than most for their first, and my belly was definitely on the bigger side. I knew I wanted a natural birth, but was nervous to be able to with “such a big baby”.
Instead of seeing OBGYN’s throughout my pregnancy, I opted to see midwives to give birth at the birthing center. The birthing center that I delivered at is in a hospital, which gave me reassurance in case anything were to go wrong. Being a first time mom and not knowing what to expect, I don’t think I would have just gone straight to a birthing center for fear of the “what if’s!”
I went on maternity leave at 36 weeks, which I was planning on working up until I delivered but one thing led to another and I ended up taking leave earlier than I had initially expected. I loved it. This is when I really started to do my research and absorb everything there was to know about birth, the birth I hoped for, and writing my birth plan.
Once I was on maternity leave I focused SO much of my days on preparing for birth (as much as you can LOL). I went and saw a pelvic floor therapist who gave me stretches to do daily, went over birthing positions, had a doula come over to teach us laboring positions and go over techniques to help get through labor (in case it was long like was typical for first time moms), hired a doula, hand expressed, ate dates, drank red raspberry leaf tea and the list goes on and on. My goal was to prepare my body and my mind for birth because before this point, honestly I was so busy I didn’t do that much. I felt like I was late to the game and that scared me for what was to come.
I absorbed as much information as I could, hoping to retain even just some to be able to use when the time came.
I had a doctor’s appointment this day, my due date. I was having pretty regular contractions by this point, nothing really that painful but consistent daily, and mostly at night. At my doctor’s appointment I was 3, almost 4 cm dilated and 80% effaced so I declined a membrane sweep. She thought I’d have a baby this week. My dream of a NYE baby could be a reality. We were officially on “baby watch”
That night I had my typical contractions. The next morning we went on a day date because we thought I would go into labor today, went to brunch and ran errands. I had contractions into the day, and I was told when you can’t ignore them, that means the time is coming. I remember walking through RiteAid having to stop because the contractions were getting more intense than they had been.
I thought the time was coming, I went home and did my hair (#priorities right) and by the time I was done, the contractions had stopped. And they didn’t return that night or for the next days.
As the next few days came and went, I had no contractions and was reading more and more on how to naturally induce labor. As my research got more in depth as the days passed, I learned that these methods will help labor progress if your body is ready – not induce you if it is not. I was worried that the more time passed I was going to give birth to a 10 lb baby!
I was sick of walking the neighborhood so we went and walked the beach. We walked a longer walk than we typically had been doing but the beach was flat and our neighborhood is full of hills but I hadn’t felt any contractions that day, or the night before like I typically had so I really didn’t think much of it.
We got home around 11:45 am, I washed off my feet, got into comfy clothes and sat on the couch to watch TV. A few minutes later, I felt a big drop and thought I needed to pee. As I got up, I thought my water broke but was uncertain. About 5 minutes later, I knew it did. 12:15 pm.
We monitored contractions and I was told to labor at home as long as possible so I was hesitant to go to the hospital when the app told me to that it was time.
By the time we got off the freeway on our 20 minute drive, the contractions were a lot more intense. We got there close to 2:00 pm. We walked in and they asked if we had called on the way, oops, nope forgot to do that! About as soon as I got a triage room, I felt the urge to push. After I was checked, it was confirmed that it was time to push! They debated if we even had enough time to switch me into a L&D room.
I was moved to a L&D room and within 30 minutes, sweet baby girl was here. 3:13 pm. Less than 3 hours later. Once I delivered, my admittance paperwork was still being filled out so technically they couldn’t start any postpartum care. Our nurse “robin hooded” some aspirin for me though.
I birthed a 7 lbs 7 oz baby without being induced, without any epidural or any other drugs to help me. Despite me having a “big baby”, I just did what felt right and what my body knew to do.
Looking back, it seems so blurry, filled with emotions I could never explain. I loved it, I couldn’t have even thought of a better birth for myself, especially being a first time mom and not knowing what to expect. I was instantly in love with this little baby girl that we had created.
Ryleigh Abigail | Born January 2nd, 2023 at 3:13pm | 7lbs 7oz | 20.5 (and a little more) inches long
~ XOXO, the new mama, Amanda // Blonde out of Water