One word to describe Audra’s birth: Amazing!
My experience with Micah’s birth was definitely not that; a failed 27 hour long induction with “failure to progress” due to too many medical interventions, which ended in a dreaded unplanned cesarean section. Blah!
I had been praying and praying through my pregnancy that this time around things would be different. I specifically prayed for baby positioning (Micah was posterior, facing the wrong way), going into labor naturally (Micah was induced), and either before or close to my due date (Micah was 11 days overdue). Basically everything that went wrong the first time around, I covered that! I had also been praying that God would give me a daughter, and we found out at our ultrasound that my prayer was granted!
God could not have come through for me any bigger.
On Saturday January 7, 2017, exactly 1 week before my due date, I woke up that morning experiencing a different type of contraction, not just the stomach hardening Braxton Hicks kind I’d been having a lot of in weeks prior. It felt a little more “labor contraction-like”. I had noticed a couple of these through the early morning while Daniel, Micah and I were having a lazy sleep in morning and cuddling in bed. My gut was telling me something was different.
After getting out of bed, I went to the bathroom and to my surprise, I noticed I had lost my mucous plug. Ok – now I KNEW something was different. Something was really happening! I called my midwife to report this news. She informed me that this can actually happen even a few weeks before you give birth. Shoot, maybe today wasn’t necessarily the day I was going to meet my girl after all.
I went through the morning about my business, cleaning, tending to Micah, etc. Still I was experiencing these weird contractions. My gut was still telling me something was happening, and SOON. I started to panic a bit because I hadn’t yet packed my hospital bag – I mean, I had one more week to go! So I was scrambling to get that done and mentioned to Daniel that this could be the day and to start getting things ready.
After I’d gotten some things done I decided to lay down for my daily nap. As I was starting to fall asleep, I felt a little pop and gush. Oh my. My water just broke! There was no denying now – this was HAPPENING TODAY. I yelled down to Daniel, “MY WATER JUST BROKE!! Call the midwife!”
I cleaned up a bit while he called. My midwife, Breck, told us to stay home and labor there as long as I felt comfortable to do so. Daniel was totally scrambling to do everything he hadn’t done prior to this point, including studying the hypnobabies reading I gave him to be able to help me during labor. I joked with him, “Oh now you are trying to cram when it’s D-day!” I’d been on him for weeks to get the reading done. After that he was packing his bag, calling the neighbors to come get Micah, and taking care of other last minute preparations.
My water breaking was the end of the comfortable contractions I’d been having. From there, stuff got INTENSE rather quickly. I could barely manage a goodbye hug and time spent with my sweet boy before he left for the neighbors, which I felt sad about. I really figured I would have quite a while to be able to labor at home so I was trying to do the different positions and methods of relaxation I’d studied in my hypnobabies training. Seriously, all the hours I’d spent reading and training mostly went out the window and it was really – just grit your teeth and do anything you can to get through it!
I could not believe how fast and furious these contractions were coming – really no time to even relax in between almost from the moment my water broke! I started to freak out a bit at one point about when to go to the hospital. I knew it was best to stay home as long as possible, but the thought of a super uncomfortable 15 minute drive to the hospital had me terrified. I didn’t think I could manage the transition. At one point it sounded so awful that I told Daniel I’d rather just stay home and have the baby there! I think I was losing it a bit! So finally I told him, we just need to go. NOW. It was all I could do to get to the car, stopping every few feet to hang on to him to get through a contraction.
My water had broken at 4pm, and by now it was around dinner time. We got to the hospital triage and they had the hardest time trying to find a vein to start a port for the IV if needed. I had a painful bruise for weeks after I left the hospital from where they were poking and prodding me. Breck met me there and after questioning her, she confirmed that I indeed came to the hospital at the right time, that I was dilated to a 6/7. Daniel handed the staff my birth plan.
As I was yelling out during a contraction, I heard one of the nurses whisper “is she getting an epidural?” I must have sounded very uncomfortable. The other nurse responded, “No, she’s a VBAC” (vaginal birth after cesarean), which they’d read on my birth plan. If I’d ever left any doubt in my mind of doing this birth all natural, for some reason overhearing that comment solidified in my mind that yes, I was going to do this all natural. The staff was prepared that this was my plan.
They wheeled me to my delivery room and Breck had me get into hands and knees position on the bed. It was extremely uncomfortable! She then had me go sit on the toilet to labor a bit. I’d previously read this was a great position for helping you feel the “releasing” feeling, which it totally did, and I was glad she suggested it. I stayed on there for most of my laboring. Daniel was next to me and I would squeeze his hand hard during each contraction, as I would bust out an “Ohhhh Jesus!!”, and pep talk (or yell) myself through it – “I can totally do this!”.
I sat on there for what seemed like a short time, and soon my yelling inadvertently turned to a pushing out type of noise, “huahhh!” Breck immediately noticed this and asked me if I was feeling the urge to push, which I was. She had me get up on the bed and checked me. Sure enough my cervix was fully dilated. Time for the hard work. She asked me if I wanted a mirror to be able to see the baby come out, which at first I declined, but then thought, how often will I ever get to experience that?! So they brought one in. I had Daniel on one side and a nurse on the other both helping hold my legs.
Breck helped guide me with how to push and breathe. At one point I got really frustrated with Daniel because he kept checking his phone in between my pushing contractions, and I thought how dare he be messing around on his phone while I am going through the hardest work of my life?! Come to find out he was actually texting all of our family who wanted the play by play.
Pushing was actually easier/less painful than the contractions were so this part was ok for me. It was just a LOT of work. I was literally out of breath after each one. And I only felt the much talked about “ring of fire” once, very mildly. The next morning I noticed my poor face and neck had blood vessels showing from pushing so hard – eek!
“Look you can see her head with all that hair!” Squeals Breck, directing us to look at the baby coming out. “Uhh, no thanks”, says Daniel. He has never wanted anything to do with seeing our babies being born from the lower region area, and had his eyes fixed on my face. The nurse sensed his squeamishness and asked him if he needed a chair, clearly worried he’d faint. He declined.
I had no idea how long I would need to push her out but it didn’t feel like it was that long (ended up being about 20-25 minutes). Before I knew it, it was the final push and Breck had placed Audra on my chest! All I could do was cry and exclaim, “I did it!!”, over and over. It was like a dream, a dream com true! I couldn’t believe I was actually able to have the birth I’d wanted, the one I didn’t get with Micah.
Breck excitedly asked Daniel if he wanted to cut the cord since this is the job of most fathers, and of course he replied “nope!”. So she offered for me to do it and I said “yep!”
Childbirth has always frightened me, and I honestly did not know if I could do a natural drug free birth. Thankfully it went so fast that I didn’t have time to think of getting any pain relief. My water had broken at home at 4pm, and I had the baby by 8:45pm at the hospital. Whirlwind!
I give God all the glory for His provision and getting me through everything. I even had prayed against the “baby blues” which I’d had big time postpartum with Micah. And I have had none of that. Also breastfeeding has been a breeze, where it took a long time to establish with Micah. My recovery was great too, I felt quite well after two weeks!
This was a total faith building experience, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it and my sweet baby girl. 6 pounds 13 ounces and 19.5 inches of perfection 🙂