I have a daughter now. She's nearly 7 weeks old. It seems so crazy that she's finally here and totally awesome and smart and sweet.
Her birth was absolutely one of the most affirming physical experiences of my life. Leading up to it, I hired a doula to advocate for me in the hospital. For various reasons, I opted to have this first birth in the hospital instead of at home, but since I'm nervous around medical personnel, having a doula seemed like a good investment.
From the very beginning, and throughout the process, I made a conscious decision to be open minded and flexible about labor and birth. The world seems to have lots of opinions about how to go about having a baby, but in service to my body, my kid, and my own mental health, my go-to phrase became, "Roll with it."
I decided that while I really would prefer a vaginal birth*, if I needed a c-section, well then that's what we'd do. Babies are born in all kinds of ways. I wanted the best outcome for baby and me. And part of that meant not stressing about how she came out, or judging that experience in any way.
So far so good, right? Well, they still wanted me to write a birth plan so that the hospital would have something to go with if decisions needed to be made, so I wrote one...while I was in labor.
I know, I know. But she came 3 weeks early. Everyone kept telling me I had time, which I really didn't believe. I kind of knew deep down she was going to show up early, given my past history, and also the first showing of what would turn out to be maternal intuition. My water broke at 3 am, and contractions started. We ate pancakes and hung out in bed for awhile. Then I figured I should probably get a bag together and write the dang birth plan, because those contractions weren't messing around.
As it turned out, we didn't really need the birth plan, because when I got to the hospital after laboring at home for ~8 hours, I was 8 cm dilated. (!!!)
Everything just kind of progressed from there. I had a great doula that knew my history with roller derby and CrossFit, and she used a lot of sports psychology during labor, which worked super well for me. When it was time to push, she immediately had them pull out the squat bar. I was really jazzed about that. It was super effective, that squat bar, plus the breathing, counting, and cheering.
After 12.5 hours of minimal intervention, epidural-free labor, my daughter was out and in my arms. And I have never felt so good about my body.
My body birthed a baby! All on its own.
I have a lot more to write about the psychology of labor and birth, but for now, I am super grateful and happy to have my daughter, and to have had such an incredible birth. I feel very lucky.
* I believe that the phrase "natural birth" has an inherent bias that allows people to be judgy and prudish. Just call it vaginal birth y'all. That's where babies come from -- let's all get on board with it.