My Birth Story

When I was pregnant with my son, Waylon, I wanted a natural birth so badly. Natural for me meant a vaginal birth that would be medication, induction, and augmentation free. Whether you want to call it "natural" or "medication free" or "birth of choice"... that's what I wanted. Being a first time mom I didn't know much about birth (you really never can until you experience it first hand) I figured all I needed to do was research a little and have some determination. Well, due to lack of true preparation after 12 hours of labor (early and active) I begged for an epidural. I had done nothing but fight my contractions the entire time, because of that I was physically and mentally depleted. I don't regret getting my epidural because I could not have gone on without it at the time. Some people find epidurals to be heaven, I am not one of those people. I hated not being able to move, having to lay on my side, the heart rate drop it caused in the baby and blood pressure drop it caused in me, the slowing down of my labor, the IV and the oxygen. I hated feeling "hospitalized". Then when it came time to push, many hours later, I felt helpless. I pushed for 2 hours but never could feel any of the progress being made. In the end... despite a couple minor complications I had a healthy baby boy and he was worth every second of that experience. But, I knew I never, ever wanted to go through that again. At the time I thought that meant he would be an only child. What it really meant was that I would prepare and make decisions for a better birth next time.

It took a lot less time than I though to make the decision to get pregnant again. Not even one year after Waylon was born I was pregnant with Miss Lillian Rae. I stayed very active during the pregnancy until about 30 weeks, when it became to painful for me to exercise. I knew exercise could help strengthen my pelvic floor as well as maintain my stamina for birth. I also did my best to eat healthy, nourishing and hydrating my body and my baby. It wasn't the easiest pregnancy. I was in a lot of pain from low back problems as well as developing SPD that caused a lot of pelvic and hip pain. There were times where I couldn't walk or lift my son for days at a time. Despite the pain and many visits to a chiropractor I had a healthy and low risk pregnancy. We only want two kids so I knew this was my last chance to achieve the birth I wanted.

At the beginning of my pregnancy I hired a Doula. A doula is a someone trained and certified to provide physical, emotional, and informational support to a mother before, during and after birth. I highly recommend anyone who is going to give birth to hire a doula. Luckily I had a friend who is a doula so I didn't have to interview people. We discussed my birth plan and she gave me some reading materials. I read, researched, meditated, practiced affirmations, exercised, ate healthy foods, took supplements, etc...

A couple days shy of 40 weeks I started have contractions that would stick around for a few hours and then stop all together. These were not practice contractions, they were real signs of early labor. Each time I had them I would get excited thinking it was time, only to be let down when they stopped. I had chosen not to be checked at any of my appointments so I had no idea if I was dilated or effaced at all.  At 40 weeks and 1 day I woke up around 1:30 in the morning with still, more contractions. I tried not to get too excited but around 3:30 they started increasing in frequency and intensity. I told my husband he better not go to work, that labor was actually progressing. At 4:00 I called my dad to let him know since he would be the one to watch our son. He said he would head off to work and to call when we needed him to come by. I decided to call my doula around 4:15 because it was getting hard to handle the pain. At this point the contractions are strong, and around 4 minutes apart. Despite that we figured we had plenty of time since I was in labor with my son for a full day with contractions 2-3 minutes apart the entire time. My plan was to stay home as long as possible. I knew the less time I had to spend at the hospital the more likely I was to have the birth I wanted.

I had left some things for me to do while in labor to keep my mind off of it, one of those things being to pack my hospital bag. After a few failed attempts it was clear the bag was not going to get packed. The pain was starting to consume me and I had a hard time thinking clearly. I didn't even know what to tell my husband to pack. It took our doula 20 minutes to get to my house, and in that time the contractions went from 4 minutes apart to 2 minutes apart. I felt like they were continuous, leaving me no time to rest inbetween. When Jessica got to our house she started to time them and they were infact 2 minutes apart and about 1 minute long.

From about 3:30 on I had spend a lot of time in the bathroom, my body was clearing itself out. That is very common in labor and it had happened with my son, that was how I knew it was the real deal this time. I needed to use the restroom again. As I was in the bathroom I started to go into transition, I had multiple back to back contractions and couldn't stand to get off the toilet. Finally I got a small break and was able to move back into the hallway where Jessica caught me with both arms and helped me walk into a bedroom. I had previously planned ideas of how I was going to try to handle each contraction, but didn't realize how vocal of a person I am. My way of coping with pain of that magnitude is to scream, loudly. So that is was I did, I screamed at the top of my lungs begging for Jessica to help me. Her response to my screams couldn't have been more perfect. She kept calm and in the most soothing voice told me how amazing I am doing, that I can do this, that I was okay. I started to feel a sensation I had never felt before, a deep pressure inside that stuck around even when the pain subsided for a few seconds. I knew it was her, I could feel my baby moving down the birth canal. The only way to explain that sensation is that it was... everything. We had to go to hospital.

At 5:30 we had called my dad who was still 20 minutes away, but I knew I couldn't wait. Between contractions Jessica and Justin got me into Jessica's car. Justin stayed home with our son who had managed to stay asleep despite my pleading screams in the next room. On the drive I was so consumed with what my body wanted to do I couldn't help but start pushing. The hospital is only a couple miles away and I know Jessica must have been driving 50 mph through our little community. I kept asking if they were going to let me push when we got there. I was so concerned that I wouldn't be dialated enough. I told her that if they weren't going to let me push I had to have an epidural because I couldn't do this anymore. Jessica just smiled and reassured me that she's sure they will let me push, knowing that I was in transition.

Our hospital was in the middle of some construction so we missed the entrance and had to turn around in a parking lot. Because of this 30 second delay I had one more contraction in her car where I had not choice but to do what my body wanted me to do, push. So I pushed, hard, and my water broke all over in the front seat of her car as she was opening the door to help me out. I sat in a wheelchair and got rushed into labor and delivery. I am so consumed by my body and the desire to push this baby out that I had little ability to listen to anyone. When the nurse checked me and saw that I was fully dilated and baby was descending Jessica called Justin and told him he had to get to the hospital ASAP. As Justin tells it, he grabbed Waylon out of his crib by his shirt, contemplated changing his diaper but decided against it. He threw him in the carseat and raced to the hospital going 80 mph (an over-exaggeration, I hope).

The nurse was telling me to wait, calm down and not to push. She didn't want me to tear. Jessica knew that I couldn't tell my body not to do something it was already in the process of doing. She gave me the quiet okay to do whatever I needed to do, so I pushed. Luckly we live in a small town and my midwife only lives a couple miles from the hospital. She came in and took over. Relief rushed over me when she told me I could keep pushing, and infact I could push inbetween contractions if I wanted to. They got me a mirror so I could see how close I was to meeting my baby, but I actually only felt disappointed that her head wasn't out as far as I had hoped. Right as I was pushing her head out, my husband was rushing into the hospital with bags in one arm and our son in the other. Everyone was tending to me so when he got to the door of L&D no one was there to buzz him in. Her head was out and he was stuck at the door. Jessica finally saw that he was there and found a nurse to let him in. Right as he walked through the door I was pushing out her shoulders. One more push and her whole body seemed to slither right out. It was the most relief I had ever felt in my life. At that moment I knew it was over, we did it.

Lillian had inhaled some meconium so she had to be suctioned out and put on oxygen. But, they waited until the cord stopped pulsing to take her off of me. I also didn't come out unscathed, I had a second degree tear that needed stitching. It took a couple minutes, but I noticed that not only was my husband there, so was my son, and my mom and dad. It turned into a family affair! It was so nice to see all those familiar faces, especially my son, it brought on a calmness. After I was stiched up, my family came over to the bedside to lay eyes on their granddaughter. I got to have an hour or more of skin to skin with Lillian, where she latched on great and had her first meal outside of the womb. After everyone left it was just Jessica, Justin, baby Lillian, and myself. We talked about how quick and intense the entire experience was. They both told me how proud they were. Talk about a birth high! It was only 12 minutes from the time we got to hospital until I gave birth. After everything calmed down I had no pain. Infact, I felt no pain for 2 days due to all the hormones that come along with the birthing process.

My midwife came back later to check on me and she asked me if I would do it that way again. Even though our family is complete, the answer is yes, absolutely.