Ashlee's Birth Story
My heart is full, my mind is blown, I am a mom. I am writing this birth story for myself. Before time elapses and I forget the little moments of this incredible ride. I don't expect anyone to read it, but if you do I hope you find inspiration that birthing a baby does not have to be a scary or painful experience.
Nine months came and went I was very grateful to have had a very easy pregnancy. I stayed active up until the day I delivered... literally!
Zephyr's due date was Dec. 29 2016... but in my last month of pregnancy, I kept saying I knew he was going to come early. The day I went into labor was so different. Sure, it's not easy being pregnant and definitely not easy trying to sleep with a giant basketball shaped weight that stays connected to you at all times. However, when I woke up that morning, I turned to Joey and said I literally felt like I had been hit by a truck. My entire body ached and the pressure was so real. Even feeling this way, my busy body self couldn't stay still. I took Babs on a walk, a mile long walk. I remember telling her to walk really slow because it felt like he was about to drop out at any second. After our walk, I had to get to Michales craft store to return some items, then off to Costco to stock up on groceries. With each task I kept joking to myself - "OMG what if your water broke in Michaels or Costco." Thankfully it didn't. I had a 5pm appointment to meet our potential pediatrician which went great. And of course, my day is not complete without a trip to Target. I decided that maybe I should start shopping for items to pack in my hospital bag (which I had still not packed.) I scoured the aisles for cute, comfy pjs, and other items people say are "Must Haves" for the hospital. At about 6:15pm, I walked over to the maternity section AND THEN IT HAPPENED... CLEAN UP ON AISLE ... MATERNITY??? My joking with myself all day had come true and my water broke in the maternity section. Apologies now to Target Woodland Hills, and whoever had to clean that up. Thankfully, I had a sweatshirt on, I tied it around my waist, left a full cart of items and walked out as fast and inconspicuously as I possibly could.
As soon as I was outside, I called Joey at work... no answer. I told him to have his phone on vibrate this last month, just incase. I called back seconds later and he answered. Within a couple of minutes he was in his car and on his way home from Malibu. My adrenaline was pumping so hard. I wasn't scared, I was excited and mostly in disbelief. When I got in my car I called my Dr. who comforted me and told me to start timing contractions. Then he said, looks like we'll have a baby within 24 hours. WHATTTT all I could think about was the cute pjs I had left behind in the Target shopping cart and the fact that I had packed NOTHING in this so called very important hospital bag.
I got home, went straight into the shower and started to pack this "hospital bag." It seemed like I blinked and Joey was home. The look in his eye was priceless. "We're gonna have a baby!" he said and hugged me so hard. He helped me put my bag together and we made sure to assemble all of the materials and exercises we had learned in our hypnobirthing class. For those of you who have never heard of hypnobirthing, it is the practice of self hypnosis to eliminate fear. Fear causes tension, tension causes pain. So to eliminate feat you can essentially have a pain free birth.
Bags packed and I began my hypnobirthing affirmations. We sat together and ate a bit and decided to head in when contractions were 5 minutes apart. I had no fear, and little pain as we drove. When we arrived at the hospital,it was calm and quiet. The nurses led us into our own room and it felt super cozy. Each person we met greeted us with a smile and was so excited we were there. My Dr. had already informed the nurses that I wanted to go all natural. They were incredibly supportive and told me they would get me whatever I needed. We dimmed the lights and got comfortable. I allowed them to check to see if I was dialated. It was a bit discouraging to see I was only 1/2 centimeter. But I kept reminding myself... THIS IS MY BODY AND MY BABY, THEY WORK TOGETHER AND KNOW WHAT TO DO.
I told Joey to get some sleep and I began walking the halls to speed up labor and dilation. With each surge of pain, I would squat in a stretch position until it passed, then continued to walk. As the contractions got more intense, I began to labor on a birthing ball, which helped a bit. They would have me lay down every 40 minutes to check the baby's heart rate (which was a process that lasted 20 minutes.) this is when I would try to sleep. As the surges become even more intense I started to play my self hypnosis tracks. The insane thing about them is that every time I play them, I fall asleep and I was able to sleep even through contraction pain. The only problem was that as I become incredibly relaxed, so did the baby and his heart rate would slow. I knew nothing was wrong with him, I felt safe and relaxed and I told them I was ok. About 7 hours into labor they offered me a wheel chair to walk with which would allow me to sit down in the chair through each contraction. Joey was such a trooper and would walk the halls over and over helping me breathe and doing light touch massage as each passed. As each hour passed, the pain increased. I tried to use self hypnosis again but my sleep deprivation was beginning to creep in and I kept thinking how I needed all the energy I had left to push. At about 10 hours, I decided to get checked again. I was 5 cm dilated. It was then that I told them I wanted an epidural. I didn't feel like I failed. I felt ok and happy with my decision. I tried my hardest and remained calm through 10 hours of no medication or intervention.
Epidural in, and we were finally able to get some sleep . The time seemed to fly by, the morning sun was creeping into my room and I literally forgot that I was in a hospital room. I can't say enough about the nurses at Providence-Tarzana Medical Ctr-Er They made sure I was comfortable and happy. They were warm and so thoughtful and really made you feel like they were a part of your team!
Around noon, I was 9 cm. My Dr. came in and said the last cm would come soon. I called my friend Ali Buni who was going to photograph our birth and she rushed over. Shortly after it was go time!
My nurse began the process of guiding me to push. I was calm and confident and very excited to end the process and meet my son. I asked Joey to play some music and it made pushing easier. The conversation between the Dr and us became music. It was so cool to see the vibe so fun in the room. In the past, I was always so nervous and weirded out of the actual birthing process. I was worried about my partner watching. But, this thought never even crossed my mind. Everyone in the room was supportive and Joey is the best coach in the world. I was also able to watch my birth through a big mirror and it helped me push in a shorter time. Our son was brought into the world rocking out to Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers. HA!
I have never known a love like this. I am so grateful to our Doctor, the nurses, Ali for capturing the moments we will never forget and especially my husband. I am one lucky girl!
Zephyr Axl Clement, you are loved beyond words. We are so excited to raise you. Through the good and the bad we will never leave you. We will never stop supporting and encouraging you. You are in for a wonderful ride in the crazy world. But I promise you will love every moment of it. - Love your mom <3