I am so excited to be able to share my birth story with all of you. An experience I wasn’t sure I would ever have to share. From infertility to pregnancy to birth to parenthood, the temptation to let fear take over never really goes away it just changes shape and form. Birth is viewed by so many as something to fear. Oh, how it should not be this way! Yes, it comes with pain, but it also comes with joy and excitement and strength. It is amazing what our bodies can do. I did the best I could to go into this birth with a mind void of fear and a spirit encouraged by God’s very specific and intricate creation.
So it all began on Saturday, March 3rd, 2018. I was 40 weeks and 3 days along at this point. Prodromal labor, false labor, early labor, whatever you want to call it, that’s what it was, but it felt real. I had been taking long walks with the doggies and my sister Christina all week. The contractions began on Saturday after a long walk just like that (Cole and Jessi joined us too this time). Christina and Jessi had gone home, and I told Cole that I was feeling what I think were real contractions. I headed upstairs and got into a warm bath and texted with my doula (my sweet best friend, Lindsay). The contractions continued coming but were not consistent in duration or separation. Lindsay made her way to Lafayette and by about 10 P.M. her, Cole, and I decided it was going to be a long night. Cole napped a little bit preparing for when I would really need him and Lindsay kept me calm while giving me homeopathic remedies to help with anxiety and progression of labor. The contractions got stronger and closer, and by about 2 or 3 A.M., we called the midwife and headed to the hospital. I could tell by the time we got there that the contractions were not as consistent again. They hooked me up to the monitors, and one of my wonderful midwives Sharon checked me. I was 3 cm dilated, about 80 to 90% effaced, but baby boy was just not in the right position to fully engage. This was what was keeping labor from coming on strong. My contractions were about 5 minutes apart, but we decided to go home and get some rest. So home we went, now 5 A.M. and got in bed not knowing if sleep would be able to take over me or not. Thankfully I didn’t open my eyes again until about 10:30 or 11 A.M. on that Sunday morning. My contractions had slowed down quite a bit, so real labor was not happening yet. Lindsay made her way back home, and we parted with the hope that she would soon be back.
So, that Sunday, March 4th, 2018, I began trying different things to get little man into a better position. I stretched my hips side to side with lunges, bounced/rolled on a ball, and took another walk. It was on the ball at 4:30 P.M. that my water broke. Let me tell you, your water breaking is the oddest feeling. I truly thought I just peed my pants at first but quickly came to realize that I wasn’t just continuing to pee my pants and that the liquid was in fact not pee. I knew this started me on somewhat of a clock to be able to deliver naturally at the hospital. I got in the tub again and took a shower, trying to help the contractions come on. I even used my pump to help speed up labor. Cole was right there with me, very attentive to what I needed and conscious of the timing and my mood. I knew my contractions needed to be stronger than the night before to progress labor, and I was determined to tough it out at home as long as I could. Lindsay headed back to Lafayette around 9 P.M., and I quickly came to realize that I needed to go to the hospital.
The contractions had intensified a lot and were consistently about 3 minutes apart. Lindsay met us at the hospital, and we made our way in to meet another one of my great midwives Amanda who let me know I was now 4 cm dilated, 100% effaced, and baby was in 0 station which means he was engaged and right where he needed to be! Baby and I were monitored for a bit and then I was free to roam the halls and room and labor as I wanted. Walking the halls didn’t last long because everything was intensifying, so I decided to get in the shower. I let the water fall over me, and Cole sat on a stool next to the shower. Every time a contraction came, I would press down into his hands and take deep breaths and then go back to letting the hot water relax my body. We were there for a long while. It felt good to labor there. Finally we got out, and I decided to get checked to see if I could get into the tub. Two things: 1, I HATED getting checked. I didn’t even get checked for the first time until my 40 week appointment and then every time they asked about checking me while in labor, I was super hesitant because it is just NOT comfortable. 2, I wanted to deliver in the tub, that had been my hope for awhile, but I knew that anything could happen once I was in labor. So I begrudgingly let Amanda check me again, and I had only gotten to 5 cm. I labored for awhile on the bed and standing up holding onto Cole until I thought I was a little more ready for the tub. Cole did anything and everything I needed him to. He was quiet because he could tell that’s what I wanted, and he was there to hold me or not hold me depending on what I needed. It was about 2 A.M. when I got in the tub. Cole got in and sat behind me, and Lindsay sat outside the tub in front of me. I know I was in the tub for about 4 hours, but time was so weird at that point. I was either leaning into Cole and squeezing his hands or up on my knees squeezing Lindsay’s hands. Apparently Cole was struggling not to fall asleep, and Lindsay’s hands were turning purple, but I was completely unaware of all of this, haha. It got to the point that my contractions were almost constant in the tub, but I still wasn’t ready to push. I knew I needed to get out and be somewhere else to labor, a new position and new environment for my body. At this point (6 A.M.), the midwives were switching shifts, and I was at my breaking point. I was at the place of going into transition, and boy, that was mentally hard. I felt like I was just completely done. I was asking for drugs or anything even though I knew it’s not what I wanted. Thankfully I had the best support system who pushed me through it, especially since I had gotten to 9 cm and was already almost 15 hours in.
The most awesome thing happened as the midwives were changing, it reminded me that God was present in each moment. I loved all my midwives, but I had a particularly special connection with one, Sherah. We both have walked or are walking the road of infertility and have similar views on many things, and my mind and body just felt especially comfortable in her care. She wasn’t on call, there would have been no reason for her to be there. However, God came in and knew just what both of us needed. Someone else went into labor that morning and was in the care of the midwives as well. Sherah got called in to help and walked right into my room. She sat on the bed next to me and rubbed my back and along with Cole and Lindsay kept telling me how much I could do this. Even though at the time I couldn’t express it, I was in awe of what was happening. Those next 3.5 hours were tough. I didn’t want to open my legs and let baby boy move down because it just darn hurt. We went back to the shower and then standing and then on my hands and knees and sides. The pushing phase lasted about 3 or so hours, and at some point a switch went off in me that told me I had to do this. I had to see this little guy, and it had to happen soon! My hope to have a quiet and serene birthing experience kind of went out the window as I let my George of the Jungle (or Yodeler – both examples were used) voice out. The fetal ejection reflex is real people! I practiced spontaneous pushing, not coached, and waited for each next contraction to push again. Baby boys head was having a very hard time coming out. He first had to get passed the cervical lip and then it was my pelvic bone that he just didn’t want to go past. Sherah finally convinced me to try getting on the birthing stool. I hadn’t even considered ever birthing on the stool. The idea was kind of foreign to me because it wasn’t in my “plan”. Right on that stool is where I spent the rest of my time trying to get little man out. Cole behind me, Sherah on the ground right in front of me, and Lindsay next to me. I’m pretty sure I almost pulled Sherah’s hair out during each push. She forgave me! The nurses also forgave me because I hated them each time they wanted to check baby’s heartbeat quickly from the outside. Really girl, do you see what’s happening right now? We laughed about it later. So first his head was a bit stuck. It took a lot of pushes to get him past my pelvic bone. In between pushes, Sherah would help stretch me, but I kept getting mad at her for having her hands inside of me because it hurt! Haha. I wanted a break from the contractions, and her hands weren’t helping. Although I knew what she was doing was doing loads of help for me actually. She was helping my body not to tear. I knew when I did finally get his head past my pelvic bone because I felt that ring of fire. He finally crowned, and his head came out after a couple calmer pushes. This is where things got even more intense. His shoulders got stuck and just wouldn’t come out. Sherah immediately told me to turn over, lean into Cole, and push. It was the oddest feeling as he was dangling out of me. Sherah reach inside of me with both her hands and shifted his shoulders as I pushed. It was a crazy and surreal two minutes, but then just like that, it was all over! Zeke had entered the world at 9:30 A.M. on March 5th, and we were in complete awe.
I held him as his cord continued to pulse and started memorizing every bit of him. He squeezed Cole’s finger and let out his first cries. He even started trying to latch which he did within the first hour. He was a champ. Cole cut the cord eventually after it had finished pulsing, and I delivered the placenta. Although, just like Zeke, that placenta did not want to come out! I lost quite a bit of blood at the end, almost too much, but thankfully it began to slow down, and thankfully I didn’t need any stitches! Woah, that was truly a miracle. Thanks to Sherah’s hands inside of me for that. After things calmed down a bit, we weighed Mr. Zeke and measured him. We realized by looking at all his squish and rolls that he was much larger than we thought he would be. He was a big 9lbs 2oz and 20.5 inches long. So much chunky goodness. We were overcome with love.
If you have made it this far, thank you for reading. Labor and giving birth were hard and painful but also so miraculous and beautiful. I am so thankful for the experience and will never ever forget it. It was the experience that officially made me a mother and seeing Zeke for the first time I wish I could do over and over again. Although now I just get to watch him grow everyday which is pretty great too.
To all of you that think you are never going to get the chance to write this story for your own sweet bundle, you will. In one form or another, you will write that story. Hold onto hope, my friends.
I can’t wait to keep sharing as we see what life has in store for us. As Zeke grows and as our family grows in one way or another, I want to keep writing it out. Yes, it isn’t as easy to write with a newborn, but I’m going to start trying to make it more of a priority. Jesus has brought such sweet things to our life, especially Mr. Zeke, and each day holds more unexpected and beautiful from him. I’m just jumping on this ride and holding on tight!