The Birth Interview Project consists of 17 simple questions designed to help mothers process their birth story & share it with others. All mothers are invited to take part in this project. Born out of Joy’s desire to help women discover, process and express the feelings surrounding their birth experiences, The Birth Interview Project strives to offer a platform for mothers and readers alike to share and be heard, to search and to discover, to identify and to heal, and to exhort and remember. The views and opinions expressed here are unique to each woman who takes part in the Birth Interview Project and may not always reflect the values of the blog author.
Please give a brief description of yourself, and what number baby/birth you’re sharing with us.
I am a 28- year-old lady, Meredith Buie. I’m the coordinator for an art gallery in Denton, a wife and mother, an animal shelter volunteer (check out Meredith’s work with stray animals on Facebook by clicking here), and a huge cry baby. This is the story of our only daughter, Ella.
What was your due date, and what was your baby’s birth date?
Due Date: march 6, 2009
Birth Day: March 10
What was your baby’s weight and length?
Ella Rose , 8 lbs 5 oz 21.5 inches long.
Please give a brief synopsis of your birth.
Ella’s due date came and went so Monday morning I decided to start trying to get things moving. I walked/pumped/walked/squatted/ate an ENTIRE pineapple, pumped again and then BOOM: tiny contractions started. I called my friend who was past her due date and told her.
“SHUT UP. I’m having contractions too,” She said.
Crazy. So I cleaned and labored and rested, and at about 10pm my water broke. I called my midwife.
“Meet me there at midnight, A (my friend) is on her way too.”
Oh yeah, my friend was birthing at the same teeny tiny birth center! I was at a 5, she was at a 6, so I took the small room and went on a walk. I closed my eyes, and my husband, Justin, held my hand and led me through the park. He was encouraging and pushed me to squat through contractions even though it was painful. When we got back, there was not a tub in the smaller room, and the birthing ball was missing, so I felt limited in what I had available to use during labor. But I remember using the shower and standing in the HOT water for a while, I also crawled around naked on the floor a lot, eventually I got into bed. Transition felt like a train going through my body, but I was in a meditative state and went along with the waves. I was moaning through my contractions and could hear A doing the same thing on the other side of the wall. It was pretty surreal looking back. Jean told me to push and thirty minutes later, Ella was born! (can’t believe I summed up 16 hrs of labor in a paragraph!)
What did you do to prepare for your labor and birth? Did it help?
We attended the birthing class (where I met Joy, Peter, and eventually Zoe) and I read a TON. I was especially inspired from the actual birthing stories in Ina May’s books. They were honest and beautiful and gave great tips.
What did you like about your birth experience, if anything?
I really enjoyed being able to 100% experience and focus on such an incredible moment. I’ve never been in such a trance and it made me feel really in tune with my body. I was able to have a clear head and just trust my body.
What did you not like about your birth experience, if anything?
I wish that the second birthing room had tools for labor. There really wasn’t much to work with other than my husband, who was amazing and incredibly supportive and helpful. I also had really bad PPD which came almost immediately also.
What surprised you about your contractions/labor?
I was surprised at how they sort of train you throughout the day. I learned to cope with the pain as they progressed. But I was even MORE surprised at how violent they felt towards the end. My last hour they were just right on top of each other with no reprive.Pushing was like a breath of fresh air!
In reflection, would you do anything differently, either before the birth, during or after?
I would have taken photos during the birth. It was just my husband and I in the room. I didn’t think I would want any, but now I wish we had documentation of the entire experience.
What do you remember the most about your birth?
I think I remember most the focus. I was so focused on my body and on Ella. I literally had my eyes closed for the last 4 hours of my labor. Although I felt really disconnected for a while after the birth, the entire labor was a very spiritual experience for me.
How was your birth experience different from what you imagined it to be?
It was a lot more intense, but it wasn’t scary like I thought it would be. Also, I didn’t think I’d be having a baby next to my friend having her baby. That was kind of a surprise!
What were your immediate emotions about yourself and or your birth experience after the birth?
Relief! I was so happy to meet Ella, SO incredibly grateful that she was healthy. I remember just thinking “WOW” over and over. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve experienced. But again, I had PPD almost immediately. Just acknowledging that depressed me and I felt incredibly guilty that I couldn’t be more “with it” like I wanted to be.
How would you describe your recovery?
I think my recovery was average. I rested for a few days in bed as a family, and slowly regained all my movement. It was definitely a lot more intense of a recovery than I had expected though.
How has your perspective of your birth experience with Ella changed in the last 3 years since the first week of having her?
My perspective of the birth experience itself hasn’t changed really. We were very fortunate and had a (relatively) easy birth. I personally felt disconnected as a mother for a few weeks, but have since gotten over that completely. I’ve realized that probably stemmed from not having a mother figure in my own life. I am now more connected to my daughter and husband than I have ever been to anything in my life. I’m very grateful for Marissa, on of the teachers of the class, confessing her own postpartum depression in the birthing class. Knowing that it was common REALLY helped me.
Did you learn anything about yourself through this experience?
I learned how strong we are mentally and physically. I learned how to focus instead of fear. I’ve learned that birth is an incredible and personal experience and that it is up to the parents on how they want to experience that.
Would you recommend having a natural childbirth or medicated childbirth to other women?
YES to natural!!! If health and circumstances allow it, go for it. It’s natural and empowering and women have been doing it forever. I realize it’s not for everyone, but I can’t imagine doing it differently.
Any further thoughts, comments or advice you would like to share?
Do NOT eat 9 boxes of girl scout cookies in your last few weeks, followed by ice cream. The taste of Samoas still haunt me.
*Broken blood vessels in the eye can occur when Mom is straining particularly hard while pushing. This might occur if she is holding her breath for longer than what’s naturally comfortable and or concentrating the force of the pushing in her face, head and neck rather than allowing the momentum and energy of the pushing to be in her lower body. Sometimes simply lowering your chin down to your chest and imagining a “J” shape can help ease the force of the push out of your face and into your bottom.