My Birth Story
Updated: Jun 8
“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”- Elizabeth Stone
May 18, 2022 9:30am
I woke up and today felt different. I knew today was a start of something new. Since week 20 I had been sitting on my yoga ball and as I sat there that morning eating my oatmeal at the kitchen table, I felt him inch his was closer down my pelvis... today's the day. I felt it. It was 6 days before my due date but my intuition told me to "prepare". My hospital bags had been packed for over 2 months collecting dust by our couch. Car seat was ready, labor bag, delivery bag, postpartum bag for mom, dad and baby were all set. I had pre-registered at the hospital and all possible forms had been filled out. What more could I have done to prepare? N o t h i n g. Absolutely - n a d a.
My baby was ready and without speaking he showed me the way. My body was ready. But was I ready? I don't think you can ever feel or be ready for the overwhelming unknown.
I drank a big glass of water and started feeling what I thought were braxton hicks contractions, but something inside me told me they were real. "Start timing them" is what I heard, so I did. By 1pm I couldn't stand for too long without constant pressure.
1:00pm Lay down and rest" is what my intuition said, so I listened. I laid in bed and knew then that I had had my first real contraction. It started in my lower back and wrapped tightly around my front. This is it! There was no denying the dull achy pain I had read about. All the billion of birth videos described this so well. It was happening! It had been 9 months since my last period but if you've ever had period cramps, you never forget that feeling. Contractions are similar but an entirely new animal all on their own. As my birth doula, Claudia replied to Vito when he asked what contractions felt like, "there really is no way to describe them, but they are a purposeful pain". Now that I've gone through labor and birth, I couldn't agree more.
Contractions went from 14 mins apart to 8 mins...
I continued to time them as I pressed a beige furry electrical heat pad onto my lower back. Pain slowly intensified as I went from 7 mins to 4 mins then 3 mins apart. Oh gosh... I thought I'd be able to labor at home but this was all happening so fast! Is this real? I thought first time labors took days... but baby was racing to the finish line with or without me... he was coming!
Birth Doula Claudia: "Checking in, how are we feeling?"
Violet: "I have a heat pad on my lower back thank goodness for that. I think once it gets worse I'll tell Vito to try the tens unit. I'll take a bath in a few hours and try to read meditate.
Birth Doula Claudia: "Beautiful. Good plan."
Baby: Well, he had other plans...
I laid there on my left side taking long deep breaths for each contraction. Vito popped in and out of the room checking in. I'll never forget the silly smile on his face. I could tell as much as he was nervous, he was so eager to meet our little guy. Gush... I thought I had peed myself. In pain I lifted open my pants as I sat up in bed and instantly panicked... oh god, I'm bleeding. Two thin pantyliners I had been wearing were covered in bright red blood. Immediately I thought it was my "bloody show" or... was I hemorrhaging? I freaked out and I called Claudia. As I sat on the toilet I felt a small gush of water leave my body. I think my water broke.
I wanted to take a hot bath and relax but I knew that once my water had broken I had to head to the hospital. I called the hospital and let them know we'd be on our way. I desperately wanted to shower. I knew I might be in for a long and crazy few days and warm showers always relaxed me. Somehow I was calm but Vito was a ball of nerves. I showered and took my sweet time shampooing my hair like there was no tomorrow. I'll never forget rubbing my belly with my loofah and knowing that was the last time I'd have you inside. I'll never forget those moments telling you I'd miss you being inside.
Car was packed and loaded and we were off to the hospital. As I brushed my wet hair, I prayed I wouldn't leak through my black shorts and white tennis shoes... what the heck was I thinking wearing white shoes? lol Vito rushed down the freeway. I had to remind him to calm down. What I needed was calmness but he was anything but calm. I knew his biggest fear was me giving birth in the car which thankfully didn't happen. :) We took deep breaths together till we arrived to the main entrance. I think those deep breaths mostly helped him but I went along with it. For someone in labor I was pretty well collected. Not at all what I anticipated or had seen in all the movies. The entire drive my contractions increased by body temperature and I was covered in sweat. I was so grateful I had made the time to shower before leaving. Labor is a messy job!
By this time my pain was worse but I was so happy to see Claudia waiting for us at the hospital entrance. Eventually I was wheeled to the labor and delivery floor. Oh god... it's getting too real. The pain I was in was getting bad but I knew I had to breathe through it. By the time I was pushed through the main delivery floor doors in a wheelchair, Vito had arrived to our floor from parking the car and was right behind us with my yoga ball, mat and all the stuff I had loaded up which we truthfully hardly ended up using. Some things I definitely did use, meanwhile others... not so much. Ya live and ya learn!
I undressed and put on the pink hospital robe. Nurse Joe, a sweet man came in and helped me get set up. Immediately he put me at ease and maybe it's because he reminded me of Santa Clause. He tested me to see if I had been leaking amniotic fluid and although I knew I had, the test came back negative. Because my contractions were now about 2 minutes apart consistently for the past hour, they allowed me to be admitted. "Thank god I don't have to go back home!" Another nurse, nurse Ellen came in and checked to see how dilated I was.
Nurse Ellen: Okay, you're 3 centimeters! I couldn't believe it!! I don't know why I always thought my body just wasn't capable... but here it was... doing what it needed to do to get ready to open up and let this baby enter this world. I was only 3 centimeters, but so damn proud. I was doing this! It was happening!
Hours passed and labor pains intensified. Mentally it took such a toll. I knew I had to relax my face and shoulders but all I wanted to do was clench my entire body. This hurts!!! A f'n lot!! My mind wandered but it had nowhere to go. I prayed my baby was okay. Nurses came and went checking me, monitoring my heart... Monitoring baby's heart. Although I feared something was wrong because I hadn't felt him move much that day, the monitors showed me otherwise. He was strong. His heart galloped like a wild horse. Only when I laid on my back or right did his heart dip so we remained in his preferred position of "the throne" and on my left side. I knew to get this baby out I had to keep moving so before I opted for the epidural I let Claudia take the lead in getting me into positions to help him lower even further. I labored on the yoga ball for some time leaning on the bed. Eventually I felt a bowling ball weighing down inside me, oh my god... how can I do this naturally if he's so big! My mom had told me all along he would be a big baby... but I reminded myself that my body was made to do this. I coached my mind to keep breathing deeply and exhaling slowly. It hurt, yes. But I could do this. Next, I was reminded to pee to empty my bladder which would help the baby descend further. Claudia said to labor a few contractions on the toilet so I did. This was a huge turning point for me. Vito held my hands as I moaned and almost cried. The pain had become unbearable. Crying was wasted energy but where does one allow such massive pain to go? I rocked myself back and forth. I blew air out with "horse lips" and did all the other things I had learned to get baby out naturally. Little by little it helped and oh man did the pain increase from a 5 to 10. I needed pain relief and I needed it FAST! I had suffered enough. The epidural was what I needed and I'm so glad I did it.
Thank god you're here! I said as I saw the anesthesiologist enter the room. Within moments I was hunched over the side of the bed holding Vito's hands praying I wouldn't be paralyzed from the injection or get a "spinal headache" which I heard was truly awful. I focused on my breath and braced myself for the sting of what I knew would come. I felt a crazy contraction come and in that moment he said "Hold still - do NOT move". I squeezed his hands hard to refocus my pain and I felt it all as it stung my spine... and then a "pop" as the catheter entered my back. "Please work... please work". By then my contractions were beyond unbearable. With every contraction I'd roll to my left side and grip the bed handlebars and prayed to breathe through it.
It's not working...! I was suffering and with every contraction happening exactly 1 minute apart I moaned loader and louder. I couldn't bring myself to cry, it was a pain like no other and tears wouldn't have helped. Over and over I felt each wave wash all over me and I broke down. Why wasn't it working?! I had read about this. Some women just don't get pain relief, some only get partial relief. Ugh. Was I one of them?? I was miserable and in so much pain. Eventually the anesthesiologist returned and quickly injected a large dose into my IV. The next 2 contractions I felt. A pain I'll never forget. Eventually the third died down a bit till most of the pain had left. THANK GOD. How do women do this medication-free?
May 19, 2022 - 12:30am
Nurse Ellen: "You're 6 centimeters!" I was in disbelief! It's really happening! My body is working. I was so tired but in that moment I felt proud. It was time to get some sleep but by then my nerves were a mess. I was shaking all over, it was a mix of hormones preparing for the big event... Claudia dimmed the lights and Vito played my hypno-breathwork audio and eventually they dozed off. I closed my eyes and pictured his face. Please be strong. Please be healthy. I asked my brother Brandon to watch over us and to "keep us safe". Eventually I slept a bit.
A few nurses and my delivering doctor entered the room. She checked me again and to my shock she said, "You're 10 centimeters!" OMG! I couldn't believe it. Nurse Ellen: "The staff will enter shortly for you and the pediatric team will be here for baby and then you'll start pushing. You ready to meet your baby??" In that moment I finally allowed my body to release the river of tears. I couldn't believe it was time! I had dreamt about this moment for decades and it was time! My sweet little boy was ready and now it was time for me to get to work! This whole time my body was doing it's thing and now it was my turn to help.
After trying several positions I decided that using the birthing bar was the best for me. I felt most empowered this way. I had always envisioned birthing on hands and knees because I knew that it would naturally allow my pelvic outlet to open 20% more than laying on my back, but in that moment I went with what felt right. The nurse draped a sheet and twisted it over the bar then handed me the ends to pull with each contraction. With each contraction I pulled and pushed. Over and over and over and over I pulled, tucked my pelvis upwards and pushed at first for 3 turns, eventually I pushed myself to do sets of 4. "I'm not gonna be here all night!" I thought lol. After an hour of pushing my exhaustion took over but I didn't quit. I knew I could do it. I had to do it! This was all on me. I just needed to get my mental state in order. With every inhale I coached myself through it. Mentally as I heard the doctor, Vito and my doula, Claudia encourage me, I repeated the following:
I can do this
I was born to do this
My body was made to do this
I am stronger than I know
I am a mother
My baby chose me for a reason
Keep going, you are not a quitter
OBGYN: "We see his head, do you want to feel his hair?? He's got long hair!" Vito: "Oh man, he has a lot of hair!" I cried thinking about his hair. All throughout pregnancy I fantasized about my baby having dark, soft hair I could brush and play with and although I couldn't bring myself to touch his head as he emerged, I leaned over and saw a bit of it. Oh my god.. a freaking head is coming out of me!! lol In the moment I couldn't believe my body was birthing a baby but I was so damn proud. SO DAMN PROUD!!
After more than 2 hours pushing, my belly heart monitor was removed and I felt a huge pressure... his head! I knew he was so close. This was almost over. "One last push, I can do this!"
"Congratulations mama!" In that moment I felt the warmest, softest, wet little body cover mine. I was overcome with emotion. I did it! I did it! I'm a mama! I pushed my baby out into this world. No one else did this - but me. No words can ever express the feeling once you're there. It's something I'll never, ever forget and in that moment I looked at Vito and saw his face overcome with emotion. We made this little life together. I knew in that moment we had done something huge. We were parents and nothing and no-one could ever change that.
Welcome to the world my little love! My son, Giovanni Alejandro Ostuni was born in SF on Thursday, May 19 at 4:57 am, weighing 7.7 pounds and 21 inches long. Life has never felt more tiring (if I'm being honest lol) but also more fuller and more beautiful than now. ❤️
Birth is painful, but it's more beautiful than anything else.
It has empowered me like nothing else. There is nothing in this world I don't think I can do now. Mamas are all warriors. We create and carry life and then we birth life into this world. We worry and care so much, we protect ferociously and we love unconditionally forever and ever. Instantly this tiny human becomes our entire life and there's nothing we wouldn't do for them. At least that's the way I feel and he's only been here two weeks!
If you want to have a baby but the fear of birth overwhelms you, know that this is how I once felt too. But now that I'm on the other side I can say this confidently,
You are so much stronger than you think. You have everything within you that you need to bring your baby earth-side, and it all begins with knowing you can do it, trusting your body and then building a supportive team by your side to help guide you through it all.
Dedicating this blog to my loving, devoted husband, Vito, my caring and empowering doula, Claudia and the sweet little boy who has made me a mama. I love you, Baby G.
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