**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.
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.