~Age: 17, almost 18
~Number of pregnancies and births: 1 pregnancy, 1 incredible birth
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 23 weeks
I was 16 years old when I found out I was 2 weeks pregnant. My boyfriend, who was/still is my best friend, was 18 at the time and we were both mortified and at a loss for words when the fourth pregnancy test that I took read ” + “. I’d never thought that I would be “one of those girls” that I was always so quick to judge–I knew nothing about how much it takes to bring a life into this world. I told my mom the day after I found out and she told my dad that night…I’ll never forget the day after. It seems like I didn’t say anything to anybody that day besides saying the word ‘yes’ to my dad when he worked up the guts to ask me if I was scared. I immediately decided that I was going to give my child a fair shot at life and I started researching different ways to give birth. It only took a few days for me to decide on doing a completely natural home water birth, it was time to grow up and do what was best (in my opinion) for my baby. No ultrasounds, no drugs of any kind, just love, a peaceful environment and positive thinking.
Despite all of the remarks and rude comments that I got for wanting to give birth that way, I knew that it was what I wanted to do and I was determined to make everything go the way that I wanted it to. I decided very early on to eat an organic, protein rich, hearty and healthy diet for the months that followed. I got pregnant in mid July and I moved across the country that November with my family and boyfriend. A few months passed, and with his family pressuring him daily to move back by them and leave me, my boyfriend caved and moved 1,000 miles away from me and our unborn child. (We stayed together, though it was extremely difficult, and he’ll be moving back in with my family and I in the next few months.) As time went on I got more and more excited to go into labor and after about 7 months of positivity, support and spectacular chiropractic care, I was fearless. I knew exactly how labor was going to go and I knew what to expect as if I’d already done it all in a past life.
Exactly 1 week after my due date at 3:54 a.m. my contractions woke me. They were very subtle but I knew that day, April 16, 2010 was going to be the day that I would finally be face-to-face with the mysterious creature that was my child. Like I said, I had no ultrasounds or testing of any kind during my pregnancy so I was even more anxious about finding out if I was going to have a Dominic or an Ava. Contractions barely grew stronger over the following hours until I was in the grocery store 8 hours after they’d begun and I had to squat in the freezer section to breathe through my first ‘painful’ contraction. Things started moving along so I hurried home with my mom, a.k.a. my birth coach&birth partner, and called my midwife. I told her that I was starting to feel uncomfortable and I needed her around. As I was waiting for her to get to my house, my mom and I prepared the birthing tub and all of the things that would be needed for cleanup afterwards. My midwife got there 9 hours after contractions had started and things were really starting to move along. I went from squatting and holding the island in the kitchen to the handle of the back door, and finally to a pile of pillows in my bedroom as I moaned through my contractions. 10 hours into labor, my water broke and contractions were so unbelievably strong after that, they took my breath away. By the time my midwife checked my cervix, I was 8cm dilated and ready to climb into the birthing tub.
I squeezed my moms hands as I spiraled my hips in the warm water and ‘moo’d through my 90 second long contractions with only 30 seconds between them. Before I knew it I felt the undeniable urge to push that everybody always told me about, but it was nothing like I thought it was going to be. There was such an incredible life force moving through my body and as I screamed (not because of the pain but because the sound was literally being pushed out by my body) I felt my baby’s head starting to crown. One contraction later, it’s beautiful head had been born and the body was still kicking and squirming around inside of my body. I laughed as I felt my child’s beautiful dark brown hair under water and said “Baby! Stop kicking!!”. 3 powerful contractions and 10 minutes later, after 12 life changing hours of labor, my incredible child was fully submerged in the water. All 8lbs 11oz and 21inches of my beautiful child was gently unwrapped and able to unfold in the warm tub. I reached my hands down to pull my baby up to my chest and as I was still in shock, I asked “Is it a girl or a boy?!?!” My midwife simply said “Why don’t you reach down and feel?” And as soon as I did, I cried “She’s my Ava!”. With a huge sigh of relief I threw my head back and my proud mama (who is now also a proud grandma) splashed water on baby Ava’s back and cried with me. I got out of the tub and crawled in to my own warm bed with my new baby and latched her on to my breast for the first time.
I was completely healed in 2 1/2 weeks. No cuts, no drugs, no stitches, no doctors. Just love. My daughter is my world and I will always remember every detail of this story. I hope that another young mom reads this and realizes that regardless of what people say or do, you are perfectly capable of doing exactly what you want. Anything is possible if you work for it.