Trigger warning: This story contains graphic descriptions of medical circumstances (including hospitalization etc.) that may cause distressing psychological or physical reactions, especially in people who have previously experienced a related trauma.
Geri Hirsch knew she wanted to have her second child soon after giving birth to her first. “I was pregnant before my oldest turned one,” she told Hill House. “I just wanted to get going right away and not waste any time.” Here, she shares her story of her second pregnancy, labor, and motherhood.
Being pregnant with an infant was totally exhausting. I was still breastfeeding Leo and at one point I just felt like I had nothing else to give between sustaining the life growing inside of me, breastfeeding and trying to take care of myself. I was completely depleted. I decided that something needed to change so I stopped breastfeeding and finally accepted help which was huge for me.
By my due date, I was feeling super ready, and then every day that passed after that, I couldn't believe I was still pregnant. Every time I would leave the house, there was sort of this anxiety.
“Maybe I need to bring my hospital bag! What if I go into labor when I run to meet this friend for lunch?” By day five, I'm like, “OK, this isn't happening.”
I called my doula, Patti Quintero, and asked about all the things that I could start doing to try to kick my body into labor. I was walking a lot, drinking raspberry tea and went to the valley to have the salad that everyone says pushes them into labor...that did not work for me.
Finally, when the baby and my body were ready, it happened. It was 11pm on Sunday, I was 5 days past my due date, exhausted by the waiting game, and like a sharp bolt of lightning, it hit me. The first contraction. It was unmistakable. From there, [the contractions] came on fast and intensely, a deep rhythm building heavier and heavier like pounding waves on the shore during a strong moody storm.
The hot shower was the only place I found solace, so it was there where I labored; lights dim, music low. As the contractions grew closer, Darin called my doula who came quickly, along with his brother who was staying with Leo.
Two hours of active labor later and it was clear that this baby, and my body, were ready. We moved to the hospital, driving by the buzzing nightclubs on Santa Monica Blvd. I couldn’t help but to think, ‘am I dreaming?’ as we drove past people dancing in the street while I was experiencing the most intense contraction of them all.
We arrived at 1:45am and woke up a sleepy hospital by almost having the baby in the elevator. Turns out, I was 9cm dilated. A surprise to everyone, the most of whom was the nurse who checked. A team rushed around getting a delivery room in order. “I NEED to push! NOW!”
My doctor walked in just in that moment, and at 2:06am, I unleashed a loud primal roar. A scream so deep from within, I could feel it rip through my body and soul. It was as though that roar were a broom sweeping through my system collecting every bit of strength and energy I’ve ever banked for the final push.
Time stopped and all I could feel was warmth. There she was, our second child lying on my chest, skin to skin. Her naked body on mine was a feeling that could only be described as pure ecstasy.
Then at 5pm that evening, we left the hospital and drove home so Leo could meet her sister before bedtime. October 21, 2019, forever one of the greatest days of my life. For me, them meeting is what life is all about. Family and togetherness.
This drug-free birth was a transformative, powerful experience in every sense.