I have had both a hospital birth and a birth center birth, so with my third child, I definitely wanted another birth center birth. We had recently moved to Portland from Austin, TX, and we were so thankful to find Andaluz Waterbirth Center close by! Our experience was nothing short of amazing. The midwives are incredible, and all our prenatal appointments were very relaxed and therapeutic.
My waters started leaking on a Saturday morning, and I thought for sure I’d be having a baby that day. She had other plans for me though. All day I waited for contractions to come, and when they did, they were very few and far between. My mother was in town and she took me to Costco to “walk the baby out”, but even THAT didn’t work. Through text, I kept Marilyn (our midwife on-call) updated and she was calm, collected, and far more patient than I was.
We stayed up far too late Saturday night, but finally decided to call it and head to bed. I think we were in bed by 11 or so. I had just started to doze off when I felt my first legit contraction. At almost 1 am the contractions were enough to get me out of bed and keep me concentrating. I got the hubs out of bed as official time-keeper. Since this was our third baby, we knew that she could possibly come very quickly and had worked out the timing at our last appointment. I called Marilyn at 1:40 am with contractions coming every 5 minutes. We determined to meet at the birth center at 2:40 am.
I know that hour stressed out my husband, as contractions got stronger and stronger and much closer together. I felt very in tune with my body though and was aware that I wasn’t in very active labor yet, even though the contractions were close. That hour felt like minutes! We loaded up the car with my parents, who were staying with us, and our two other kids. We were all very excited to meet our new baby girl!
When we arrived at Andaluz, the room was dim and the tub was steaming. I opted to have a cervix check and couldn’t believe hearing I was 7 cm dilated. I got right in the tub and was able to relax into my labor. As I labored, I relaxed into my contractions and rested between. It was almost an out of body experience as everything feels blurry. My kids came in the room to give me loves and my friends and sister also were able to come in and say hi. I vaguely remember hearing Marilyn say that everything was progressing nicely, which was encouraging. The tub was so relaxing, there were times my husband says I fell asleep floating in the water.
I distinctly remember when the labor pains changed and became the desire to push. Very quickly we were joined by Marilyn, Emily and Suzanne. My husband had decided to catch our baby, but they were close by as back up. With every contraction and desire to push, I was feeling for her head. I felt her crowning, and in that moment it felt like I was going to be stuck there forever. Then I knew it was time, and feeling with my hand, I pushed her out into our arms. The relief and joy were overwhelming and I was crying as I held our baby girl for the first time. My daughter and son were right there to meet her, and our family was complete.