Here is a post from my first blog.
From over 5 years ago. I’ve always loved sharing birth stories so here is my first. My perspective has changed a lot over the years, with different experience and knowledge of birth and how our family functions. But I want to honor where/who I once was so I’m practically just copying and pasting from my first post. (Be gentle, I’m being vulnerable with this!)
Almost 3 months ago, a beautiful gift was given to my husband and me: our first daughter Jane. As a birth enthusiast and advocate for home birth and natural, drug-free labors, I had a very special plan on how I was going to bring our baby into this world. As many of you know, I was planning a home birth at my mother’s place (she is a trained doula). I wanted a water birth in a birth pool with low lights and calming music, surrounded by those who mean the most to me. Peacefully and gently, I wanted to work with (not against) my body to do what it has never done before. I expected to be pushed to my limits, far beyond what I had ever experienced, into uncharted waters (as far as my body was concerned!). Plans were changed though towards the end of my pregnancy when we decided to have a hospital birth due to gestational diabetes. I will explain that journey in another post soon! (LOL! That post never was written, but I’ll explain at the end) This is how it all happened!
I had a great last weekend before having a baby. I was only a few days past my “due date” and feeling pretty good all things considered. I spent the Saturday with my mother, visited my previous church Sunday morning, enjoyed a wonderful afternoon with my best friends celebrating a soon-to-be bride, and spent time with the in-laws Sunday evening. This whole time I was having back aches which my mother warned was how her labors started…but I wasn’t too focused on that idea! My husband and I got back home late that evening but I decided I wanted to finish up the dishes that were in the sink and figured I would dance while doing so! I danced, did the dishes, then went to bed.
Not long into my sleep (2 a.m.), I was woken up with a really sore back. I had a hot shower to try and relieve the discomfort, then attempted to go back to bed. As soon as I lied down, I had my first contraction, then another one 10 minutes later! I figured I would try to contact my momma at this point. I tried to tell her to go back to bed and not worry, but she was already up and almost in the shower by the time I hung up the phone!! By 3 a.m., my mother and I were sitting together in my living room (husband sleeping), watching shows on Netflix.
Contractions showed no signs of stopping, only increasing in length, time, and frequency so we woke up Josh. This made me so happy!! I was not in pain…. my body was working hard, but well. I used my voice/long slow breathing to move through each tightening. Plus my husband, he had to put pressure on my lower back through each one, I couldn’t have done it without him!!
By sunrise, my sister had joined us, bringing with her goodies (apple juice and cheese strings, yum!). We were in contact with our midwife who told me a couple of times to take a Gravol and Tylenol, have a shower, and try to sleep. (This is to slow down pains if it isn’t active labor yet). I half obeyed and showered but that only brought labor on stronger! Around 10 a.m. my mom made the call that we should go to the hospital (a half hour drive). My team packed the bags, loaded the cars, and we were off!
God blessed my husband and me with a beautiful moment on the way there. The song “Cowboy Take Me Away” by the Dixie Chicks came on the radio. We cried and held each other in the back seat (my mom was driving) and enjoyed one of our last moments of being just the 2 of us.
We arrived at the hospital around 11 a.m. and my mother parked at the back of the parking lot! Her birthing motto is “gravity works!” so she saw it fit for me to walk as much as I could on the way to the maternity floor… and of course she was right! The more I walked, the more frequent my contractions happened! I believe it was 11:30 a.m. by the time I got into triage and met the midwife. She checked and I was dilated 5 centimeters and ready to go to a room! Yay! I sat up for the next tightening (lying down in the hospital bed was very very uncomfortable!) and sploosh! My water broke!!!
**At this point my one sister called my other sister and told her to get to the hospital quick because it wouldn’t be much longer. Finally, my team was complete!**
Bam, that’s when things got serious. I entered the difficult part of my labor. Before that, it was all exactly what I was expecting and easy to manage with the tricks I had learned! But once my water broke, I entered a whole new level that required concentration, my husband holding my back, me holding my mom’s hands, and lots of vocals! I took a quick walk (thankfully) to my tub room, had one contraction, then said: “I can’t do this”.
With all my previous researching and encouragement from other moms, I knew my body could do it. I had no doubts! But to me “I can’t do this” meant something needed to change and change fast for me to be able to continue on! So into the tub I went!!!
Having a room with a tub was such a blessing, I could not have done it without the tub! It made it so I could lay down comfortably and gave my feet and legs a break. With my mom on one side and my hubby on the other holding my hands, my body started to push! My midwife was scrambling to fill out her paperwork before she came and checked me again. My mother told me to do the “hee-hee-hoo” breathing so my body didn’t push before it was ready!! It worked but was the hardest part of my labor. Finally, I got the okay from the midwife to push so I wasted no time. (it was probably around 1:15 p.m. at this point) I climbed out of the tub (not easy) and onto the bed (also not easy!) onto my hands and knees. I was just following my body, it was telling me what to do. Then we pushed, my body and I, my baby directing us.
In 3 pushes, 13 minutes I’m told, my husband was holding our baby! Our baby girl he announced! She was passed to me and my world shifted. The beautiful rush of hormones took over and all I could do was kiss and hold her and tell my baby how much I loved her.
I was fully transformed. I became a new woman that moment. God and Jane changed me.
The next couple hours were a blur (…literally). While getting stitched up (I had a partial 3rd degree tear from how fast the pushing went!) I used the laughing gas…that was a crazy experience. I got really out of it quickly because of how much I was breathing! The nice thing about the gas (entinox) is that as soon as you stop breathing it, it dissipates from the system so I was back to normal in 30 seconds. I also had some dizzy/blackout spells when I attempted to have a hot shower. Thankfully Jane was safe with Josh and the midwife and my mom were right beside me in the shower.
My labor was calm, it was beautiful, it was relaxed. I was able to be at home up until the last few hours. I used the tub to ease my discomforts. I got to control where and what I did. I chose the position to birth my baby. I felt empowered by the birth of my child!
I can not thank my team enough for the amazing experience! My husband, mom, sisters, and midwives. Also, those people who have taught me so much about the joy of childbirth and bringing a baby into this world! <3 Thank you <3
My new perspective
5 years, 2 more babies, multiple doula trainings, multiple births attended, and hours of education have really changed my perspective.
I didn’t choose those midwives again.
I know I could have had an easy, uncomplicated home birth if I had listened to my gut.
I had declined the gestational diabetes test but was asked over and over again by my midwives, really pushing that I do it (and even pushing my sister’s to do it who were also in their care at the time). Yes, I was overweight and didn’t have the healthiest eating habits and I made the mistake of mentioning that my grandma’s doctor was watching her for diabetes.
I finally gave in and did the test to appease my care providers.
My results came back borderline positive which isn’t a surprise because the later the test is done in pregnancy, the more likely it will be positive and I did mine past the “ideal window”. This “diagnosis” led to a downward spiral of stress and mistrust in my care providers.
I did the “mandatory” visits with the hospital diabetes clinic where they gave food advice that was not healthy at all (especially knowing what I know now about balancing blood sugars with Trim Healthy Mama).
My daily testings were reading all over the place and the midwives kept saying that we might have to transfer from a home birth and that we weren’t very close to the hospital (15 minutes away), and, and, and….
We made the choice last minute to do a hospital birth so at least we had a plan and wouldn’t have to worry about our midwives not showing up to support us.
I never did the gestational diabetes test again, and have now learned how to balance my blood sugars for everyday life. The stress that I dealt with at the end of that pregnancy was crazy, plus the extra tests that my midwives required because of the diagnosis (Non-Stress Tests and an ultrasound that was another terrible experience) were unnecessary.
I’m thankful for a healthy birth, but I have learned not to let someone push me into things I feel are unsafe and unnecessary for my babies.
My hope through this post is that you can see the beauty and joy in birth. That it doesn’t have to be a terrible, traumatic, painful experience. And that you have complete freedom to decline tests and procedures by any of your health care professionals, and the right to be respected in that choice… not coerced into anything.
My fave birth resources:
The first youtube channel I ever subscribed to! I watched all her videos while pregnant with Jane!
An internationally recognized midwife from BC who tells it like it is, not held by the medical system. I’ve trained and worked with her and her writings are informative and inspiring. She also writes for Midwifery Today
And for the truly radical: The Free Birth Podcast
(you’ll have to wade through the feminism agenda and occasional profanity depending on the episode, but this podcast shares some amazing free birth stories of women of Christian faith too who openly share how their faith and the power of prayer were monumental in the births of their children)
Be encouraged, stay connected!
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