Courses I took: MamaSteFit Birth Prep, Pain Free Birth, Christian Hypnobirthing.
Most important questions asked throughout all of these courses was:
How I wanted to feel in my labor process? And values I wanted held in my birthing space.
It was extremely important to me to not have fear or external pressure enter my birth space. Dare I say, I wanted to have fun.
I got all of that and it was largely in part to also facing the following sentences and beliefs beforehand. These were from both the Pain Free Birth course and MamaSteFit birth prep.
What you believe about labor will undoubtedly show up in your birthing process.
A vaginal birth is:
A cesarean birth is:
I wanted, planned and prepped for an unmedicated vaginal birth. And I nearly got it. But bebe Miller had other plans.
My labor was everything I thought it would be from a physical and spiritual standpoint and so much more. I feel like I got to have three birth experiences in one. I got to experience nearly everything I saw for myself, plus paths and routes that I didn’t.
With that – with wanting an unmedicated vaginal birth, I did have plans laid out for when I would be okay with a cesarean, knowing full well that birth does not stick to a pre-set plan. My midwife encouraged me to write out and consider what interventions I’d be okay under what circumstances.
For me, a cesarean was a go if:
Other hard nos for me were:
My labor took many turns. It was an intense, wild ride and my favorite life experience to date. It ended in an emergency C section after laboring at a 7-8 for 3-4 hours with no progress, and pushing at a 10 for an hour.
Today I share the full story. Please respect it and know that it is mine, nothing else. It means nothing for your birth experience. Past or present. I simply share because I have always been amazed by birth stories even before I considered having children myself.
I was a woman terrified of labor. It was a reason I was hesitant to ever have kids. Perhaps my story will be of some perspective, benefit or redemption to other moms or moms to be out there. I know hearing others stories is monumentally helpful to me. Thus, I pass along my own.
Let us begin with making clear:
Shame has no place in the process and experience of labor.
I was talking to an old 1:1 fitness client who had recently had a delivery that played out many of her fears, and almost none of what she had planned or wanted. She was left with a lot of questions and what ifs, wondering if she would have just “x” would things have been different?
I hadn’t given birth at this point but I told her that I thought those questions, and having questions post delivery was very normal.
Almost no birth goes exactly to plan. Yes, some women do really get the labor they dreamed of. Which is amazing. But the majority of labors take a different route than we envision. This is not bad in my opinion. And it doesn’t mean we should not prep for or plan for our ideal.
Birth is beautiful and miraculous. And with every position, movement, approach, intervention, that can happen, I think it’s only natural to wonder about and question how different scenarios could have played out – if we left for the hospital at a different time, or tried this move, or waited 5 more minutes to make that decision, or went with the 39 week induction, or waited 3 more days, or if the labor and delivery team was different.
Outside of labor itself there is possibility, to then, even question your preparation and what may have affected the labor process. It really is a Pandora’s box once our minds start going.
So buckle up, put in your headphones, grab a tissue box because I am bringing you a day by day, hour by hour documentary of my labor AND, the questions that came up for me afterwards, when the fog cleared.
Please give room to question. And don’t feel guilty if you have them. It’s only natural when your birth took one of literally over a million possible routes.
You brought life into this world.
Your body grew a whole new person, an individual soul, and then birthed it – whether in the way you wanted or not, there is no room for shame. Period.
That brings me to my labor progression of bebe Miller, due date Nov 19, 2022. Born Nov 23, 2022 (40 +4) 9.5lbs 22 inches long, head circumference of 15 inches. He was quite literally off the charts. And that context matters.
I want to start the week of his labor because there is this weird time in pregnancy when you approach your due date. You hit 37 weeks, and you’ve now entered a 5 week period of “it could be today or a month from now.” It’s a very strange headspace to live.
Attempting to enjoy the last few days and weeks of just you and baby before you have to share them with the world, being over pregnancy, wanting to see your vagina again in the shower, and preparing to add another human to your life. It’s just a lot.
A friend of mine said the last 3-5 weeks of pregnancy should be it’s own trimester and I couldn’t agree more.
“How do I know I’m going into labor?” Is one of the most googled questions.
My journey began exactly 7 days before giving birth.
Diarrhea two days in a row – pooping 4 times a day. This was after a few days of feeling extra bloated and just inconsistent bowel movements – which was not normal for me.
Noted an energy increase (especially this late in the third trimester) desire to MOVE 16,17,18th
Generally feeling crampy but constant – not coming and going like contractions.
Bloody Mucus in morning and throughout day – not a lot (not a full mucus plug) but like pink discharge with nearly every bathroom use.
Cramping progressed to on and off
Tired today compared to days leading up. Just wanted to rest.
Walked 30 minutes + shower 10am
Pooped 3 times and then cramping intensity picked up with tight uterus at noon.
12pm Started timing contractions for fun just to see.
Pelvic pressure notably increased with the cramping.
Contractions 7.5 minutes apart 45-90 seconds from the get go.
2pm contractions were more like WAVES that people described.
5pm timing was still 4-7 minutes apart but intensity was picking up, more bloody show/shedding and more pronounced pubic pressure.
This went on all evening.
9:30pm went to bed because contractions slowed. But Nate and I got all the bags ready because we were both like, IS THIS IT!?
I had night sweats, pooped twice in the night and contractions continued on and off – few waking me up. Nothing more than a decent period cramp.
7am wake up, no labor signs
9am Shower/shave (IYKYK)
10am Walk 30 min + lift and mobility
11:30am Cramping starts but constant low cramps
Noon Grocery shop, pelvic and rectal pressure big time increase – thought I might be leaking water
3pm home – eat
3:20pm walk 45 minutes again
6pm Contractions pick up – more intense than yesterday. But same timing. Demanding I change positions, stand up or move. 4-5 minutes apart consistently. Fine between contractions. Ate dinner. And made sure we were packed (again).
8:30pm contractions slow and intensity remains the same. Super tired by 9:00. Took 45 minute nap, had a few contractions. Went to bed at 10.
6am contraction + poop wake me up. Slept great. Few intense contractions at 2-3am. But slept fine.
After two days of early labor (21st and 22nd) 8 hours per day of contractions 4-7 minutes apart)…
At 1pm intense contractions started. 3.5 minutes apart consistently, right away – much more aggressive than the past two days. (This will be the moment that people are talking about when they say you will know, but my point is that I was unsure if I knew the previous two days).
Gushes of bloody show would happen after a good one (strong one).
2:45pm not even two hours later, water broke getting in truck to head to hospital.
I was waiting for mom and sis to get to our house because we had let them know that these contractions were real and things were moving quickly. Mom arrived, saw me and said “what are we waiting for? Why aren’t we heading to the hospital?”
Mom said based on my demeanor, we needed to head to the hospital. Called my sister and told her to meet us there instead of my house. (Back story – my sister was my doula for my birth. We got her certified so I could have my mom, sister and Nate in the room due to visitor restrictions. My sister had doula-ed unofficially for two people already, given birth naturally 3 times and is legitimately interested in labor so it worked out amazing. She got her badge the week of my due date). Moving on!
To answer my mother’s question of why we weren’t going to the hospital already…
No seat belt going to hospital. I’d heard how terrible it is to sit in a car and have contractions. FACTS. I sat for the beginning of my first one and then that approach can fuck all the way off and I rode on all fours hugging the head rest. Make your own decisions. I had 4 surges in the car as we live 10-12 minutes from our hospital. And still felt okay between them. So I thought, no big deal.
Held in triage for almost an hour, contractions progressed and I was feeling good.
Still no cervical check.
4:30pm Got into a room – was clearly in active labor upon arrival.
We continue with the unmedicated portion of my hospital labor in part 2 😉
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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