It all started the night before the big day. I was thinking I might be in labor and texted my doula to tell her, she told me she wasn’t feeling well and didn’t think it would be wise to attend my birth if I were actually in labor, and that she had a backup for me.
I was immediately heartbroken and turned to my backup photographer who is also a doula and a friend, Shanna. The photographer I hired had an emergency and had to go out of town and that broke my heart too. I was telling her I couldn’tbreathe from crying so much and how I had been visualizing my birth and Meredith (doula) and Tiffani (photographer) had always been present. Shanna walked me through breathing, put my mind at ease and told me to use my Breathe essential oil to, yeah, you guessed it, BREATHE!
Thankfully it helped and I was calm enough to get to bed. I should add that I had been pretty confident about this birth and so very excited from the start, but started having little doubts creeping in. Thankfully my midwife, Liz Derry, talked to me days before to put all those fears to rest. She kept assuring me that everything will happen as it’s meant to and that she knew my birth would be amazing!
I woke up at 2:30 AM on December 14, 2013 feeling some stronger contractions. Still unsure that I might be in labor, I started timing contractions and discovered that they were coming three minutes and 30 seconds apart on average. I had been having contractions on and off for a couple weeks before the big day, so that’s why I was unsure. I woke up Travis, my husband, to let him know I was “feeling something.” Shortly after, I went to the restroom and had some bloody show and then I knew that this was it!
Around 3:30 AM I texted my midwife asking her to head on over. I called Meredith begging her to come. She said she had just woken up and suddenly felt better and then made sure that I was okay with her coming over even though she had previously felt ill. I was. While waiting on them to arrive I put out the birth affirmations that my doula and I had made, got some candles out, and put some clothes and makeup on (I had to get my mind off of everything-why not put some makeup on, right?).
Travis and I spent some alone time together and were so excited that the time had come and we were soon going to meet our new baby. Meredith walked in the door at 4:30 to find me laboring on my birth ball. At this point I was handling contractions very well and could still talk through them. She immediately gave me a big hug and started massaging me and guiding me through contractions. I had planned on us playing connect four during early labor for fun, so we sat down and played a couple rounds of the game. I won both rounds and Meredith teased me saying something about me having supernatural powers because I was in labor.
When I became unable to focus on the game anymore, we decided this was definitely active labor. During this time Travis was busy setting up the birth pool and getting last minute things ready. The air pump was pretty loud, but not loud enough to wake up my snoozing 2 year old, Zayne Rex. Meredith lit candles and placed them throughout the room and dimmed all the lights.
At this point I was laboring in our living room floor in front of the Christmas tree. The atmosphere in our home was so peaceful and warm. The scent of my favorite essential oil blend, Elevation was in the air and the candlelight mixed with the Christmas décor was so nice and cozy. I remember saying something like” I don’t know why I was so excited to do all of this” and Meredith reminded me that this is an amazing rite of passage and that soon I would be meeting my baby. Her encouraging words throughout labor always put me back on the right track.
My photographer, Shanna (who is also a doula) came over just after 5:00 and sat down in the floor with us. She started rubbing my feet while Meredith played with my hair and massaged my top half. Having both of them pampering me was amazing and I felt like I was having a spa day. We decided on a change of scenery and stepped outside in the backyard. The fresh, cool, crisp air felt so wonderful and the grass between my toes grounded me. We spent a few contractions outside with Meredith applying counter pressure to my back.
It was great being surrounded by people I felt safe and comfortable with, I could be myself, crack the jokes I wanted to, and just be free. I remember telling them in a very serious manner “I like it when there’s not a contraction” and they just laughed.
I started feeling a lot of pressure and needed to go to the bathroom, so back inside we went. It ended up just being a turd, not the baby, bummer. Then I decided I wanted to lie down and relax on the bed. I now realize that this was my body resting up before going through transition.
I got comfortable on my side with a pillow between my legs to leave my pelvis open. Meredith and Shanna began massaging me all over again. It was taking a lot of focus to get through each contraction which I am guessing my doula could see because her voice and words were able to take me to a comfortable and happy place inside, so happy I was smiling a lot and even laughing during active labor.
We had taken hypnobirthing class together and it really paid off. I had previously taken a Bradley method class with my first child which also helped. I started having more intense back labor and Meredith applied Deep Blue essential oil blend to my back while rubbing my lower back and hips. All along I just kept saying “I can do this, I got this, I am doing this!”
Liz walked in the bedroom door around 6:15. I was so relieved to see her. She got all set up and took my vitals, which all looked good. She listened to Asher’s heart rate and it was perfect too. Since my midwife was finally here, we had a little gift giving ceremony where I gave Liz and Meredith each an engraved necklace that symbolizes birth, one saying “midwife” and one saying “doula”. I wanted to give them something special that signifies the important role they played during my journey. I also wore a similar necklace during the birth that reads “support without fear”.
Afterwards, I got up from the bed and the pressure intensified. Liz was right there and had me hug her and she supported all of my weight. Her arms made me feel so safe and taken care of. I had no fear. I started feeling “poopy” again and Liz encouraged me to labor on the toilet through a few contractions.
This was awful. Laboring on the toilet was the most uncomfortablefeeling, but did help bring Asher down and helped me progress. I started saying things like, “I don’t want to do this anymore” as if I could stop it! The birth team knew I must be in transition.
I told Meredith that I needed some pain relief and so she and Liz suggested that it was time I get into the warm water in the birth pool. I was hesitant because I thought I was going to be in there forever and wanted to wait. All of a sudden I got this urge and I yelled out “I want to get in the pool now!!” and stripped down to my bra. As soon as I got into the pool, I felt immediate pain relief.
These feelings of relief were quickly followed by me feeling like a caged animal. My doula, photographer and husband were right there touching me, putting cold rags on me,wafting oils under my nose and giving me water, but they all felt very far away from me. A switch went off and I suddenly feltvery independent. I felt like it was all up to me, my body, and my baby at this point. Nobody was going to birth this baby but me.
Soon after I started to feel the urge to push; I started pushing at 7:25. I looked at Liz and said “I feel pushy” and she just smiled, nodded and said “uh huh, push when you feel like it.” At the exact moment that I started to push, we heard Zayne cry out from his crib and my mom and sister walked in the front door. Perfect timing!
My mom had Zayne and let me give him a kiss because for some reason that’s all I wanted to do while pushing his little brother out. It was better than what I was doing seconds before, slowly and harshly saying the F word repeatedly. Oops!
Zayne made it so sweet and must have given me a boost of oxytocin with that kiss because just a moment later at 7:37 AM, Asher Anakin Peeler was born. Daddy caught him and passed him between my legs and up into my waiting arms. I brought him in close to revel in all of his beauty. I was simply amazed to be holding my BIG, 11 pound 2 ounce baby so soon.
He came into the world so gently that he didn’t even cry. He automatically opened his eyes and saw me and his daddy smiling down at him. It was truly an AWE moment. My jaw dropped with amazement and my mind was flooded with thoughts. I was in shock that I just had such an easy birthing experience (yep, I was calling it easy minutes after it happened). It was fast, about 4 hours of labor, and I was astonished by his size and beauty.
I got out of the tub and walked over to my bed to deliver the placenta which was later encapsulated by my husband. We sat there and Zayne was so excited to kiss and get close to his little brother. I felt whole. I felt complete. I always thought that sounded cliché, but at that moment, I felt it. It was real. My baby was finally here, and everything went smoothly.
The ooh andahh’s were nonstop, and one of my favorite memories was the weigh in. I heard the gasps from everyone who saw the number that showed up on the scale and I couldn’t wait to hear it. My midwife was telling me that he was her biggest baby, her trophy baby! Eleven pounds and 2 ounces was mind blowing, but even more mind blowing to me was that I did not tear, like at all!!!
We went about our Saturday morning with much love and appreciation. I was surrounded by my family and the awesome birth team (including Becky who is a student midwife and showed up right after the birth) who got to experience such a glorious time while getting pictures of all those first precious moments. From the first latch, to our first herb bath, and our family cuddling on the bed, everything was simply perfect. Perfect!