Alana's Birth Story
Intro by Alana:
I wrote this 15 days before giving birth to my son:
It has now been over eleven months since I gave birth. In that time, I have gone through a complete transformation of self. This is what I remember from that day.
It was a chilly Sunday morning. I woke up with slight feelings of contractions that would come and go. It was before 6:00, so I decided to take a shower and wait to call Mary until I knew for sure.
When I called Mary a little bit later that morning, she told me that she was going to get ready and have breakfast and just take her time getting to town so that David and I could spend the morning together as I started my labor. She also said that she had a feeling I would be going into labor that day.
David put on the last season of Parks and Rec, and we spent the morning together with the show playing quietly in the background. My contractions were manageable for the first half of the day. I would lean over my exercise ball or sit on the floor quietly. It was a lazy Sunday morning. I had a piece of toast with some butter and a little bit of broth and emotionally and mentally prepared myself, being in the moment with each contraction.
When Mary arrived late morning, I was still feeling pretty good and managing my contractions well. She sensed that the atmosphere was perfect for laboring and said she would be available for me when I needed her but that she was going to leave me and David together to continue laboring at home. I found timing my contractions and noting the intervals between them to be helpful at first. When I stopped caring about that, I knew that things were progressing.
I held onto my green aventurine wand that morning. I didn’t put it down until I had my son in my arms at 11:59 that night. It was my light and my guide. It grounded me and allowed me to let go. I had moments where I had to separate from my body because of the intense pain surging through me, but the weight of the wand was always there to bring me back. I needed to flow back and forth between feeling my body and separating myself from my body.
All sense of time left me once my contractions started picking up. Mary was sitting on the couch while I was laboring on the floor with my ball next to David. At some point, I couldn’t really participate in the conversation anymore, and Mary suggested we call my mom and my sister. When they arrived, I was feeling intense contractions more rapidly. I was so happy and relieved to have my mom and my sister there. They both performed Reiki on me before we got in the car for the 45-minute drive to the hospital.
The car ride was almost unbearable. Mary had called my midwife to let her know we were on our way. My room was ready for me before I got to the hospital. Once we arrived at the hospital, I was throwing up in a plastic bag. I continued to throw up as I checked in and walked to my hospital room. I had blood drawn and the fetal monitor put on me. I also had to have a round of antibiotics right away. Once all of that was done, I was allowed to walk around and leave the hospital bed. David was there for me to lean on. He applied pressure to my hips and back with Mary’s guidance. It was wonderful relief.
I had a lot of mid to lower back pain that caused me to feel extremely nauseous. I would take a sip of water and then throw it back up again. This continued happening throughout the rest of my labor. I had to close my eyes as I labored in the hospital room transitioning from walking to kneeling to laying down. At one point, I rested on the bed and focused solely on keeping my jaw loose and concentrating on the weight of the wand in my hand.
I imagined green light surrounding me and flowing through me and protecting me and my baby. This visual carried me through to the end. All of the pain was intense and extremely real, but the wand brought me back to that place of peace and protection, filling me with love. I heard everyone’s voices, and I felt David next to me and continued to keep my eyes closed. I had the support I needed.
My mom and my sister continued doing Reiki on me throughout the evening as labor progressed. I was checked frequently by the nurses to see how far along I was to keep my midwife informed. There was an interval of time where the only thing I could do was feel the pain and that intensity as it washed over my body in waves with no sign of relief.
I told Mary that I felt the urge to push, and she informed the nurses. When they checked me, I was fully dilated. My midwife was in the room applying pressure to my back. Mary facilitated various positions for me to labor in. I would stand up and lean on David and then get on all fours on the bed and lay in the fetal position. Having that freedom of movement was so empowering because it allowed me to listen to my body and respond to what it needed with each change in my labor.
Pushing was the hardest part of labor. I had to be fully present in my body and actively labor. I don’t know how long I pushed for. Because I was able to feel my contractions, I knew when to push. My midwife was there to tell me when I was pushing correctly. I had a moment where I thought that I couldn’t do it.
I experienced a side of myself that I haven’t before. It has always been there, this primal animal-like part of myself that gives in completely to the body and embraces the extreme physical experience. Even though it is so physical, it is also emotional. It is about opening yourself up, opening your sacrum up, the home for your emotions. So it is an intense emotional experience as well. At one point, in the midst of all of the sweat and puke, Mary told me to look into David’s eyes and focus on him.
Shorty after that, I had my baby boy in my arms. David caught him and handed him to me quickly. He was crying loudly and continued to cry as I held him to my chest. I soaked him in as my midwife stitched me back up. I felt an enormous sense of relief and euphoria feeling my baby’s skin and smelling him and hearing his cries. I did it.
They were all taken by my sister, Seane Thomas, except for the afterbirth pictures with my family. Those were taken by my brother-in-law Bac To Trong.