Those that know me, know that I LOVE birth. I love the process, the spiritual imagery, the welcoming of new life, the passage into motherhood, and the intimate moments that follow. I could probably talk about birth all day long.
Birth stories are a source of encouragement and empowerment for mothers and I couldn’t read enough during both of my pregnancies. Reading birth stories also helped me envision my own births and drive me to research ALL of my options. My desire for a hands-off, yet intimate and personalized approach in care, led us to choosing the home birth route with a licensed certified professional midwife (CPM).
My oldest son’s home birth was incredibly challenging, but beautiful and empowering. This time, there were ways I knew I wanted to prepare differently so that I could hopefully have a smoother, quicker, and easier labor/delivery. Every other week, I was adjusted by the chiropractor, my diet was much more nutritious, I ate dates and drank pregnancy tea regularly, and I visualized how I *hoped* my birth would transpire. If any fears came up along the way, I quickly prayed and gave them to God.
As I approached 38 weeks, I caught a stomach bug from my preschooler. Stomach bugs and pregnancy do NOT go together. Luckily, I recovered quickly but it left me feeling weak, dehydrated, and having lots of contractions. We were in no way “ready” for our baby to come and the thought of giving birth in that state terrified me. I knew I was going to need every ounce of physical strength to get me through labor, so I rested and did as little as possible in order to stop contractions. This worked, but from 38 weeks on, I was having regular contractions every evening until our son was born.
A few days after I recovered from the stomach virus, my lingering allergies turned into a full blown sinus infection. I spent the next 3-4 days taking care of myself and resting as much as possible. The recurring evening contractions continued on and I could tell my little one was dropping impossibly lower. We avoided anything that would jump start labor and prayed we would make it to the weekend.
I finally started feeling a little better and my to do list was completely checked off. What a relief. On the night of Thursday, August 24th, my husband Drew and I talked about how we both felt that the baby was coming the next day.
As soon as I woke up on Friday, August 25th (39 weeks 2 days) I felt contractions. I went to work and timed my contractions all morning. After a couple hours of this, it was reaffirmed that today was “the day”. I left work around lunch to come home, eat, and rest before active labor began. Drew came home early from work, picked up our big boy from school, and I informed our birth team that I was, without a doubt, in labor. The barometric pressure change from Hurricane Harvey sent a lot of women into labor that day. My midwife informed me that she was with another laboring mom and gave me “the plan”. I felt good about “the plan” and was able to stay emotionally constant. No panicking. I could wait.
The late afternoon hours were sweet and ones that I will always treasure. I spent time with my firstborn, husband, and best friend Jessica (who was also my birth doula). We played memory game while I bounced on my birth ball, ate a delicious meal prepared by Jessica, and had great conversation and fellowship. As I was walking to the kitchen to put my dish in the sink, I had a contraction that made me pause, lean up against the counter, and take deep breaths. Active labor was on.
Drew got our big boy ready for bed while I moved to my bedroom to labor. My allergies were still giving me trouble so Jessica made me some tea. My midwives let me know that they were on their way. The vibes were becoming much more serious. When the soon-to-be big brother came to kiss me goodnight, he stopped and said the sweetest prayer over everyone in the room. It was just what my mama heart needed in that moment and I couldn’t wait for him to wake up to his baby brother. Everything felt as it should be. My mind and body knew it was “go time”.
The next couple hours were intense. My midwives arrived and checked on me and the baby. Drew stayed by my side and applied counter pressure on my lower back as my contractions increased in intensity and got closer together. Jessica brought me tissues, refilled my drink, took pictures, and gave encouragement. I changed positions a few times as I neared transition. During transition, I stood against my dresser and moaned through contractions that were now on top of each other. I prayed 2 Corinthians 12:9, “… My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…” I repeated the birth affirmations in my mind, over and over. Suddenly my water broke and I announced that I had the urge to push.
Pushing was the hardest part of my first birth so this was my mountain to overcome. I wanted to be on the bed and I felt confident and ready. Everyone got into position and I pushed and moaned through each contraction. After about 7 pushes, baby boy was here. Drew caught him and put him on my chest. Baby boy was covered in birthday icing (vernix) and I sighed and said, “It’s done”.
Drew and I stared at our new baby while everyone took care of us and cleaned up for the next few hours. We felt extremely loved and well cared for throughout the whole process. Every woman deserves to feel this way during their birth.
No matter how you choose to birth, it is equally a mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional challenge. Just like motherhood.