A Birth Story (Part 4)

**This is part of a series. To begin the series, click here.**

I have decided to post a series on the birth story of our daughter, who recently arrived. It will start from the beginning of trying to conceive through pregnancy and labor and delivery, ending with her birth and some reflections. These posts will be detailed and include some descriptions which some readers may find uncomfortable/graphic, (labor and delivery is no joke!) though, I have endeavored to not be too gross with details. I want to be true to the beautiful, messy, incredible experience and journey. I hope that it adds beauty, inspires, and adds some light and hope this season. Peace to you all.

Love,

C.

Only a short time later, I started having an urge to push, and was checked at 9 cm. Meg was called, and I was asked to hold off on pushing until she got there. My nurse, Hope, said the baby was incredibly low, and that they guessed I wouldn’t push very long.

Meg arrived at 10:30 at night. With the delivery tools in place, she was ready when I was.

I asked how to push, and they said the same muscles as when you have a bowel movement, only this felt like the biggest one of my life. They asked me to hold my breath, to go with contractions, and to curl into the push.

The pressure was unreal.

I began pushing as my nurse and my wife held my legs and applied counter pressure. It was incredible to feel the weight of what I was pushing, and it was heartening to have the voices of women – Hope, Meg, and D to encourage me on.

I did well for a while. Though shaking uncontrollably and feeling so tired, I knew I could do it.

Then progress stalled. The baby’s head was still against my spine, and she was hitting up against my pelvis. So, under Meg’s direction, I grabbed the knotted end of one sheet while Meg pulled on the other, and we achieved another angle for pushing, all the while her encouraging me and coaching me along.

Some progress was made, but then another long and drawn out slow point began.

Some time later, I started to grow incredibly tired and discouraged. I looked at the clock. I could no longer vocalize that I was going to have to push. I could only motion with my hands.

I had to save my energy.

At one point, it was very quiet in the room, and I looked up searching for Meg. I asked, exasperated, “Am I doing ok?” She said yes, I was doing great.

It’s a moment I’ll never forget.

At another point she said she could see the head, and that she could already tell “she is beautiful.”

She asked if I wanted a mirror, I said no.

Later, she asked if I wanted to touch the top of our baby’s head. I just couldn’t. I was too tired and had to save every ounce of my energy.

Then, there was a point where I knew it was now or never.

I pushed with all my might, and curled as much as I could for each of my pushes in this round. Then, Meg said, “We have a head.”

A towel was placed on my chest.

Then, her voice changed into the most encouraging and cheering yet, as well as the voices of Hope and D.

“Alright, Charity, push!”

I felt incredible relief, and a flurry of people were there as Meg lifted the baby and she was placed on my chest. I felt an incredible outburst of joy and laughter and tears and cries came from the deepest place in my soul. My mom later asked what all the laughter was (she was outside – I only wanted D in the room for the pushing stage.) D was crying. We kissed and said I love you. It was beautiful.

3 hours of pushing. And at 1:40 am, we were born as mothers.

 — — —

I feel connected with Meg, with Hope, and D. I feel connected with Sarah and with Ashley who both helped guide my baby’s head and my breast so that I could learn breastfeeding.

I was surrounded by women attending to and encouraging me, and I became a new woman.

I gained new respect and admiration for mothers.

Mothers whose children are delivered naturally, by cesarean, with epidurals, by fostering, and by adoption.

These are all birth stories. They are all beautiful. They all deserve to be told.

Damned up rivers broke open, and love poured out in rapids that have overtaken me. I have discovered love on a completely other level.

This is what it means to learn sacrifice.

This is what it means to be re-born.

This is what it means to be a mother.

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A Birth Story (Part 3)

**This is part of a series. To begin the series, click here.**

I have decided to post a series on the birth story of our daughter, who recently arrived. It will start from the beginning of trying to conceive through pregnancy and labor and delivery, ending with her birth and some reflections. These posts will be detailed and include some descriptions which some readers may find uncomfortable/graphic, (labor and delivery is no joke!) though, I have endeavored to not be too gross with details. I want to be true to the beautiful, messy, incredible experience and journey. I hope that it adds beauty, inspires, and adds some light and hope this season. Peace to you all.

Love,

C.

On December 3rd, I had 3 contractions, 10 minutes apart. They subsided.

I continued to have low back pain, pelvic pressure, and felt incredibly miserable.

My midwife had told me that the baby was incredibly low, but that she didn’t think she would necessarily come early.

The next Sunday, I made sure we brought the card for our pastor who is retiring. I had D take a belly shot and a few nice pictures of me and my belly. It felt like my last chance.

On Tuesday, I brought Christmas gifts and remaining thank-you cards for my co-workers. Again, thinking that I needed to hurry. I told a colleague to enjoy her break. I would be leaving at the end of the week. She said she would stop by. Somehow, I knew she wouldn’t get to.

I woke up a lot Tuesday night and pre-dawn Wednesday. It was an incredibly restless night. I dreamed that I had a baby, but when they handed her to me, she was a cute little rodent (like a cartoonish hamster or something.) It had been a long time since I had a crazy pregnancy dream.

As I got ready for work Wednesday morning, I noticed I was more crampy than usual, the back pain was worse, and I was feeling utterly miserable.

As D drove me to work, I had a small contraction. Ten minutes later, I had another.

I figured they would stop.

After an hour of them continuing, I called D to come get me so I could go home and call the midwife, Meg.

I got changed, ate a meal, and we called. We were asked to come up so I could be monitored.

I was shocked to know that I was having contractions 5 minutes apart, and I was about 70% effaced. I had only been counting the tougher ones. Her head was so low that my cervix could barely be checked for dilation. It was at an inch or less.

My midwife wanted to make sure that this was true labor. She said we could go home, but to come back if I wanted to be checked again. We live an hour away, and thought it would be ok to just rest and drink fluids to see if the contractions subside.

As we pulled back into our driveway, my contractions became so intense, I started tearing up in pain. I was having back labor. I got inside and did some pelvic tilts as suggested, to try to get the baby to turn. The strength of contractions continued to grow to the point where we were supposed to call again, so we did. We loaded up and I sat in the car for the most painful hour long car ride I have ever endured.

At one point I cried hysterically, saying, “I can’t do this.” Then, I was able to resume by breathing rhythms and imagery. D helped me think about more pleasant things.

By the time I was back at the midwife’s office, I had to lean against the wall due to the pain. The workers in the office looked concerned and compassionate.

I laid back on the table and was hooked up to the monitors. Meg checked me. She still couldn’t reach, so she had a doctor come in whose hands were longer and could reach around the baby’s head. He said I was at a good 2 inches, and over 90% effaced.

Meg helped me continue my breathing patterns to get me through the strong contractions I was having in my back.

They recommended we go across the street to the hospital and be directly admitted.

We got to the hospital and checked in, and were taken upstairs. There were 2 other women being admitted at the same time as me, and there was a slight mix up that slightly delayed my getting to the room.

I handed over my birth plan, and was wheeled up to my room.

I climbed into the bed to be placed on intermittent monitoring. The plan was 20 minutes on monitoring, 40 minutes off so that I could walk and do pelvic tilts and get in the shower to help with my back labor and to encourage progress.

Meg came over to check on me, and suggested some positions I could get into in the bed to help with back pain in the time I was connected to the monitors.

I answered questions from the nursing staff as they hooked me up.

My IV was botched the first time, and that was excruciating.

All the while, my contractions were longer, stronger, and closer together. Meg knew I didn’t want any meds unless necessary, and after talking we decided on a small dose of something to take the edge off so I could better deal with the back labor.

The nurse working with the nurse anesthetist came in and began to ask me questions. D went to grab some food while my mom took over. (I was having them apply counter pressure for my back during contractions and some massaging in between.)

As I answered the questions, I felt what seemed like a bottle cap popping off, and a gush like a two liter bottle pouring out of me. Groggy, I told the nurse I think just I peed on myself. He left the room.

Almost immediately, my contractions became exponentially worse. I began sounding in low tones and breathing and begging for counter pressure to be applied. I was shaking.

D got back to find that things had progressed quickly.

I leaned against D for my epidural. The nurse anesthetist said I had some tension in my shoulders and needed to relax.

I could have punched him.

Of course, as the epidural began, I had another contraction through which I was only able to breathe and sound through as I was unable to move while the epidural was performed.

It was all I could do to breathe.

After the epidural, my shaking became much worse. All I could do was shake.

Then, there was a rush of nurses in the room and no one was saying anything. I didn’t know what was wrong. They were looking at the monitors, and then I realized they couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat. One nurse very quickly and forcefully inserted a probe. I could be much more descriptive about this, but will spare details. She later came in and said she was sorry for man-handling me. But it was necessary to find the heartbeat.

They finally found the baby’s vitals, and said she had moved completely to the other side, and out of range, and that’s why they couldn’t find her on the external monitor.

I was so relieved. And so was D.

My epidural began to work, and my contractions were no longer painful, but I could still feel the tightening. I knew this would be good.

My shaking was even more intense.

By the end of this, I was checked at 5 ½ cm dilated.

Within a couple hours, I asked to be checked again, because I was having more pressure.

I measured 8cm. It was almost time to begin pushing.

A Birth Story (Part 2)

**This is part of a series. To begin the series, click here.**

I have decided to post a series on the birth story of our daughter, who recently arrived. It will start from the beginning of trying to conceive through pregnancy and labor and delivery, ending with her birth and some reflections. These posts will be detailed and include some descriptions which some readers may find uncomfortable/graphic, (labor and delivery is no joke!) though, I have endeavored to not be too gross with details. I want to be true to the beautiful, messy, incredible experience and journey. I hope that it adds beauty, inspires, and adds some light and hope this season. Peace to you all.

Love,

C.

Pregnancy was an incredible and completely other experience. I cried when it was my last appointment at the fertility center – at twelve weeks. The staff had become like family, so supportive and hopeful for us.

I read pregnancy and birth books. I wanted to prepare myself and make educated decisions about labor and delivery. I thought I was really fortunate to be assigned a midwife who would have long conversations with me about those decisions and what would be best. She listened well, and she offered other experiences and voices for me to consider as well.

Ultimately, I decided against a completely natural birth, and optioned for an epidural after doing research and considering my own body and needs. We talked about not wanting to be induced, no pitocin for induction or stalled delivery, and no episiotomy. (All if possible.) Conversations I never thought I would have.

I made it through horrible morning sickness, intense reflux and heartburn, leg cramps, and other discomforts. I delighted in the first quickenings, and in later obvious movements in my belly which could be seen. I found my hand naturally and instinctively resting on my belly often, which many people found to be funny and asked if I was holding my belly up.

No, I was connecting with my daughter.

I sang to her, and I wrote her a lullaby in French. She moved at the sound of my voice.

Pregnancy was a beautiful and sacred gift.