Birth stories have never ceased to inspire, amaze, and move me. Do they do that to you too?
I’m continuing my theme of birth stories this month (click here for baby #3’s or baby #4’s), and I hope you have been enjoying it so far! For me, a walk down memory lane often does a world of good (especially if said child is driving me nuts today….”But look how cute and tiny you were!!”)
I was now 42 weeks and 3 days pregnant, anxious and exhausted.
My midwife had attempted to strip my membranes two days prior,but with no success. Although this baby was head down, he was backwards (face forward), which prevented him from descending properly and pressing against my cervix. Without that, there was no dilation, which means my midwife could not manually separate the sac from the cervix.
We discussed my options. She gave me a couple exercises to help the baby turn around and agreed to give us a couple days to try this (we both hoped my body would begin labor on its own). If there was no change by the end of the week, I would need to transfer to a hospital and most likely end up with a C section.
She, my husband, and her assistant prayed over me and the baby, entreating God to turn him around.
The winter sky was clear above us during our drive home. The stars shone cold and bright in the distance, and I wanted nothing more than to shed my weary body and float toward them. But I couldn’t, and the sobs that had been repeatedly denied finally broke free in that darkness. I was terrified, and I couldn’t hide it any longer.
My husband spoke truth to me over and over again, desperately pulling me back from despair. I spent the next couple of days performing my instructed exercises and preparing myself for however God meant this baby boy to be born. I surrendered myself to His will, and rested.
Miraculously (this is very rare considering his size and the late stage in pregnancy), he turned around. He was now facing my spine and lowered properly into my pelvic bones, ready for labor.
Like a distant bell summoning me, I was woken by the first contraction. It took me by surprise and I wondered if I should wake my husband. I began recording the contractions and tried to sleep (or at least dose) in between them. I had learned from our daughter’s labor that it would be best to rest as much as possible in these early stages.
Contractions were now consistently under ten minutes apart, and showed no sign of stopping. I woke my husband and asked if he thought I should call the midwife. He agreed I should, so I called and woke her too. After the update, she told me to rest as much as possible and let her know if the contractions continue to pick up. She would plan to head over in a couple hours.
Contractions were now around seven to eight minutes apart. I could no longer lay in bed, so I headed to the living room and watched TV while breathing through each wave. I also tried to eat and drink as much as I could handle since I knew soon I would no longer want either.
Contractions continued to build and I did my best to breathe through them calmly. The midwives arrived and began to set up the house for delivery. They checked me and I was already at 8 to 9 cm dilated (which I found very encouraging). My water had not broken yet and my midwife wanted to wait a little while longer before manually doing so. I swayed, breathed, and leaned on my husband in order to cope with the ever strengthening contractions. I prayed over and over, “Father God, may this contraction bring glory to Your Name. Thank you for bringing my son one step closer to birth. Please grant me the strength to endure the task to come.”
I had spent the past few hours walking and swaying, hoping my water would break. My midwife decided that since the baby was in the proper position and my dilation was so far along, she would break my waters manually. I was more than happy to comply.
Thankfully the fluids were clear this time around (no sign that the baby had passed meconium yet), so I got back up and continued breathing. It didn’t take very long for transition to kick in after the waters were broken. The midwives coached me through each contraction with instruction, support, and prayer.
At this point, I panicked. I was exhausted and no longer cared how this baby was to be born. I looked at my husband and told him I couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t want to be in pain anymore. He held me and reminded me that I could get through this—that I would get through this and he would be with me every step of the way. He and my midwives urged me to walk around the apartment and squat during each contraction to help the baby move downward.
I began to feel the strong urge to push. My midwives instructed me to hold onto my husband, squat, and push with each contraction as hard as I could. The first few didn’t feel very effective, then all of a sudden, I felt my body kick in on its own. Even through the pain, I marveled at the surge of power in my own body. Slowly he descended and I was more than ready for him to appear.
My husband was my warrior and my rock. He had spent the last several hours physically holding me up, not to mention all the emotional support he continually offered. I could not have made it to this point without him.
I felt the “ring of fire” and knew he had crowned.
Newly determined, I squatted and pushed with every ounce of strength I had left. Slowly his head descended but his shoulders were stuck (same thing happened with our daughter—apparently I only make babies with broad shoulders). The midwives immediately commanded me to get on all fours in order to assist the body. I continued pushing and just when I thought I couldn’t handle anymore (and what felt like hours later), he was born. I will never forget the experience of his body leaving mine. I collapsed on the floor, completely exhausted.
I didn’t hear him cry.
I was too tired to look behind me so I glanced at my husband sitting in front of me. I heard him say, “Breathe baby. Please breathe.” Now worried, I slowly turned and saw my newborn son for the first time. He was white, squeaking, and his eyes opened. The midwives were rubbing him vigorously, flicking his heel, and giving him spurts of oxygen to assist his breathing. I heard one midwife say, “Talk to him Mama. Let him hear your voice.” Immediately I began speaking to my baby boy. “Breathe for Mommy Sweetie. Please breathe for Mommy.”
He let out a little cry and turned pink. Gazing at our little son, I sighed in relief hearing his cries. The midwives declared his was fine but just needed a little help adjusting to the outside world. He also had quite a bit of mucus in his mouth and nose. Once that was removed, he let out a good hearty cry.
Thankful that labor was over and our son was finally here, everyone settled me on the bed to finally rest and hold the baby. My husband sat close and we just marveled at this new little life in my arms.
He was furry and burly and broad like a linebacker….and he was ours.