Birth isn’t pretty. I think birth is beautiful, but it’s surely not “pretty.” Birth can be gritty, primal, intense, and scary. That said, I still think it’s the most beautiful rite of passage I’ve been able to participate in.
I wanted to share our birth story on the blog because, frankly, I’m so very proud of it. I’m proud because I kept my cool. I accepted the hard parts and even embraced them. For the first time, I felt like I have accomplished the impossible and it’s staggeringly fulfilling – for me. That is what I wanted out of birth and everyone has their own circumstances, goals, and wants. Birth is our womanly statement – no matter what. We all have our own story to tell, so here’s mine:
Our birth story journey started with losing my mucous plug on Saturday (November 26) morning. The kids and I took a 30 min walk at 1:30 pm. I remember wishing something would happen, but I had no contractions all day – even with weeks of braxton hicks and prodromal labor. Seb/Sebastian (husband) was gone all day, not at work, but butchering hogs and making sausage with my dad and some of his family. They had a lot to do, so it would be a late night. This time, a few extra things came up. The kids and I spent the night watching Cinderella. I couldn’t wait for it to be over, so I could go upstairs and go to sleep. I had some contractions during the movie and even texted Seb about them. They weren’t too painful but definitely there and timable. But they quit… like every other night.
I finally went to bed at 11pm, but it wasn’t long until I woke up to a painful contraction at 2:30am. I was surprised Seb was still not at home. I texted him to check and make sure he was okay. He said he would be home in an hour or so because a few things came up while making sausage. Before I could fall back asleep, I got another contraction: 10 minutes later. I rolled over and propped myself on pillows. The next one hurt too much to lay down though, so I got up. Next, I tried sitting on the labor/exercise ball while laying my head on the bed and tried to snooze. I was cold, shaky and just really uncomfortable. I thought there had to be a way to get comfy. I still felt tired, so I crawled back into bed. I realized on the next contraction that I really couldn’t lay in bed. That’s when I decided on a shower. If anything could stop these annoying contractions, it was a shower or bath. I labored for 3 more contractions on the toilet. It felt good to just sit with the hum/roar of the shower going. I started some music too. If I was going to be awake, I was going to enjoy it. The contractions felt okay but a bit intense, yet not like Braxton Hicks. I had 2-3 more in the shower. They still felt super manageable yet quite real. I Heard Seb come home around 3:45am when I got out of the shower. I sat back down on the toilet. I just felt like keeping to myself. Which is out of character for me. His presence in the house was good enough. I worry and think about the older kids. Who’s going to watch them? He came in the bathroom to check on me and asked what I wanted to do with them. I said I don’t know, but eventually I decided we have time to call and wait for Toni, my mother-in-law. He called at 4:30am. I called the hospital at the same time to let them know I was probably in real labor. I chatted with the nurse and she asked questions, and I asked which doctor was on call and who would be delivering. I made a mental note to text my friends who also delivered at this hospital to see what kind of doctor she was, but I forgot to actually follow through with that. At this point, I’m walking around in my robe alternating between walking, standing & rocking and bouncing on the ball.
Seb goes on our phone plan and puts his new phone on our account. At 5 am, he lays down to nap until we need to go to the hospital.
I run jasmine in the diffuser while he’s calling and setting up his phone. I still hope the next contraction comes, and they don’t stop. I fight being scared that they will quit. I know that’s not good for labor, so I just pray to accept whatever God has planned. I do my makeup a little and flat iron my hair. I try rocking in the chair as he naps in bed. I want to be close to him because he’s calm and his presence feels good. As soon as the next contraction comes, I hate sitting there so I get up. I remember being frustrated during the contraction wishing it would stop, so I could move. I notice that the contractions are coming every 8 min now. I know that’s a good sign, but I still don’t let myself believe that it is real labor. I’m still focusing on embracing God’s plan, but I’m still a little afraid we’ll go to the hospital only to be disappointed. I pack the bag a few times and organize my labor things. I continue timing and still wonder if I’ll have another. Then it comes and I remember that these contractions feel intense. Each one that comes makes me think that it’s more and more real.
Around 5:30am, Seb’s boss texts Seb. Although it’s Sunday, they had planned on taking bull pictures since it was the only day that would probably work, weather wise. He mentions bedding the picture pen with fresh straw. I didn’t know Seb’s password to get on his phone, so I ended up texting his boss back on mine. He wished us luck and mentioned that, of course, he’d have it handled. I then texted Jen, our neighbor, friend, and labor photographer, and said it was for sure labor and we would be going to the hospital soon.
We expected Toni to arrive at our home at 6:30 am. I woke Seb up at 6 o’clock after I got everything packed, set up, and loaded in the car. I got a little nervous but reminded myself that I had plenty of time. I didn’t want transitional labor in the car. I also needed antibiotics during labor, so being a little early was okay. I did have a gut feeling at 6 am that it was time to go. I couldn’t wait much longer.
The contractions at this point were still 8 to 10 min apart, but I continued to have little contractions lasting 30 seconds in between the bigger contractions. It was such a weird rhythm of the contractions. If I would have waited until they were 5 min apart, I would have had her at home. They never got that close.
As we drove to the hospital, Seb drove the speed limit the whole way, and Jen followed us. I had a few contractions on the way and the only way I felt comfortable was by hugging the headrest and relaxing the rest of my body, but I was still managing fine. We talked about the birth plan and the doctors in between the contractions. I called the hospital again when we got closer and realized I called right at shift change at 7am. I talked to someone new and requested a nurse who could be compatible with my hopes of a 2nd unmediated/ natural labor and delivery.
We parked and went through the ER. As the nurse for labor and delivery was coming down to get us, the ER nurse asked if I was okay. I was still laughing and joking in between contractions, so I must have looked like a crazy lady coming there super early. I still did feel like we were extra early. It was only 7:30 am.
When my nurse offered the wheelchair to the labor unit, I decided I wanted to walk up to our room. On the way, I had another contraction. I just slowed down walking and breathed slowly. It still felt good to move.
Of course when we got to our room Seb started some oils. I chose peace and calming. Then, I jumped in bed to get hooked up to the monitors and get the iv and antibiotics. I hate this part. I hate sitting still or laying down. When I couldn’t lay down or sleep at 3 am, that’s how I knew this might be real labor. My nurse checks me and I’m a 5. Seriously a 5! I say, “I’ve never been so happy to be 5cm in my life.”
The nurses had a hard time getting my IV started. I must have the veins of a small child. Four tries later, I have been watching the clock. It’s been an hour or so. At one point, there were no nurses in the room, and Seb mentioned that baby girl’s heart rate dips down a little during a contraction. My nurse confirms it. She’s a little nervous, but it’s not worrisome yet. I finally ask to get out of bed, and they finally get the IV going while I’m standing. Yay!
I labor, walk around in my room, and use the restroom. Seb recommends the ball to help position baby girl better so there aren’t any more heart rate decelerations. I wasn’t excited about the idea for managing the pain, but I took his advice thinking it might work. I just bounced and rocked through the next contraction saying a few Hail Mary’s that our baby girl would turn and if I could please stay out of bed. Right after that contraction, I felt her shift and push her whole butt and back along my belly button. I just felt at peace that she scooted a little bit.
I meet the new doctor at this point, and she’s good. I’m comfortable with her. – I’m lucky to say this part.
At 9 am, doctor comes in again to do a check and offers to break my water. I know if she breaks my water that things will intensify dramatically, but it will also move things along quickly if this labor mirrors our son’s birth at all. I’m managing so well that I’m not sure I want her to break my water yet. I ask Seb what he thinks. He votes break my water and after a moment I trust his judgment and go with breaking my water. It’s good clear water. Yay!
But I was right. Things get intense. I roll onto hands and knees for the long hard contraction that follows. It somewhat surprised me on the intensity, and I felt a little push at the end. I mentioned I was a feeling pushy. Then I fell into the pillows to relax until the next contraction. I kept on repeating, “thank you” to God. He was giving me a nice break to accept, embrace, and prepare. My sweet nurse checks me, and I’m a 7. The next contraction was just as intense, but this time I was mentally ready and focused on relaxing my face starting at my brow, then my eyes, then tongue, jaw, and shoulders. I chanted, “I can do anything for a minute.” Checked again and I was an 8. I knew it was going to go quickly now. I remember the nurses bringing in equipment in for baby and I but I was only hearing these things. I couldn’t see because my eyes were closed and I was facing the bed.
I thought they shouldn’t be in too much of a hurry. I didn’t want them waiting on me.
But I was distracted by that thought with another contraction. I told Seb I needed some Valor essential oil. I felt a little out of control. Valor was amazing. As usual. It smelled good and gave me some relaxing power to embrace that I was gearing up to meet my baby. I felt like I could take on the next job and that was having my daughter. The very womb inhabitant who spent 40 weeks inside hearing my heartbeat and my stomach gurgle. I now get the opportunity to put a face to her kicks, flips, and turns. That moment is quickly approaching. That moment is now. My body was made to do this. I hung on Seb for the rest of this contraction with my knees on the bed. I remember it feeling quite intense and quite sharp.
My nurse taps me on my left shoulder, in the next break of contractions. She said, “roll over. You’re about to have your baby.” I was still in a little shock this was happening so quickly. I was surprised it was really happening. It was a happy surprise that I was embracing.
I rolled over and the next contraction it felt good to give little pushes and then the moment came. At 9:51am, Josephine Rose was born and the doctor said, “catch your baby.”
And, I did.
I grabbed that little, slippery baby and brought her to my chest. Her chubby face was scrunched and she looked like her siblings except she was dark. Dark hair and dark eyes. She grabbed my scapular before looking at my face when I talked to her. It was a beautiful moment. I knew that, although I battled through her pregnancy to embrace her new presence in our life, she was truly sent from God. It was our job to show her the way to embracing God’s beautiful cross. We don’t get to choose our crosses and yet, God knows the perfect one to send. She is healthy, and we are so very lucky and blessed.