I can’t think of a better way to welcome Monday than this happy birth story. Today we get to share in the wonderful birth story of someone dear to my heart – my own sister! She is amazing. Although we live far apart, we are united by so many things across the many miles – mamahood, nursing (she’s a nurse too!), and a love for crafting, running, little people and Jesus – to name a few. Read on to hear about the birth of her second babe and her experience with a midwife! Also, be sure to check out her husband doing a placenta print!
While pregnant with my first, I opted against using a midwife due to the distance of about an hour to the nearest clinic with midwifery services. Despite this, I had an unmedicated delivery with an OBGYN, and overall a great birth experience delivering our daughter. Upon becoming pregnant a second time, I was happy to be able to utilize a team of midwives in Tucson, AZ this time around. I was fortunate to have a second uncomplicated pregnancy, and my labor began and progressed similarly as well, down to the exact day of gestation at 39w5d (fun fact- my third baby was also born at 39w5d!). Having done this once before, I assumed my second birth would go along the same lines, but I was proven wrong and soundly humbled.
I was suspected labor had started on a Sunday morning and alternated watching football with my husband and taking walks as my contractions made themselves more convincing. I remember attempting to walk on our treadmill just to pass the time after we put our 20 month old daughter to bed, and when I got to the point that I had to stop on the siderails with each contraction to cope, we started discussing going to the hospital. Realizing I would likely be delivering this baby in the middle of the night, and unsure how much faster this second baby might come, I resigned to go ahead and go in sooner rather than later. We arrived at the hospital around 11:00pm, and I was crushed to hear I was only 3cm. To top it off, as this was my first cervical check, I wasn’t “proven” to be in labor yet, and I was annoyingly advised to walk the parking lot for awhile since I couldn’t be admitted without showing progression. The next 90 minutes are still clear as day to me, walking underneath a dark starry sky around the hospital. I stopped with each painful contraction on whatever I could lean against- a light post, my husband, a parked car. The contractions were much closer and stronger, and I felt I had reached the same point as when I had been admitted my first delivery at 7cm, so I requested we go back to triage. Lo and behold, I was 6cm and promptly admitted around 1:00am.
Enter my sweet midwife who came in right away to introduce herself (in a rotating practice of CNM’s I hadn’t met her yet). At this point, I was defeated and exhausted from my trials in the parking lot, and she supported my decision immediately to get an epidural (my husband was the surprised one!). After my epidural around 2:00am, I was wide awake but blissfully relaxed and calm. I continued to progress, hardly noticing any discomfort, and when the midwife returned just before 5:00am and declared I was ready to push, I was in disbelief. It was time!
She prepped me to deliver, and I loved how she didn’t use stirrups but let me deliver in the bed in a natural position. Now comes the funny part… as our baby’s head was being delivered, she asked if I wanted to feel it. I reached down and “felt” the head, only for her to say “oh no not there, that’s your labia” and repositioned me so I could indeed feel the head (thanks epidural). The head was delivered then as the shoulders came out, the midwife positioned the baby and guided my hands to reach down and help birth the baby’s body. I pulled our baby up straight onto my chest and in that motion saw that it was a boy- our second delivery day gender surprise! He came into the world after just a couple short pushes. It was an unexpected surprise to get to help deliver him myself, as well as to be the one to reveal the gender, an honor which had fallen on my husband last time.
My two births had been incredibly different. Delivering my daughter was a primal, loud, unfamiliar experience. I was following through with my “plan” for an unmedicated delivery, but I also forced her out so quickly due to my pain and uncontrollable urge to push, that she sustained facial bruising and eye hemorrhages for nearly six weeks after delivery. I was shaking so badly I couldn’t hold her while being repaired. I recall intermittent flashes of her birth, but overall a feeling of overwhelm and lack of control. I think a provider more skilled in guiding natural birth could have allayed some of these things. In contrast, the second time around, though I never expected it, having an epidural gave me the incredible gift of a calm, controlled birth that I remember every second of. I didn’t let our son go for at least an hour, and felt so relaxed during the entire delivery and immediately afterward. As a bonus, likely from my midwife’s interventions, I was able to deliver him slowly and controlled, and needed no repairs the second time. So what did I do the third time around? Sadly I had to go back to an OBGYN (we had moved again) but gladly planned on an epidural from the get-go. My doc broke my water prior to my epidural and said I was 6cm and “handling things just swell” and suggested maybe I wanted to forgo the epidural. I considered him for a hot minute and decided to stick with my plan. Another epidural, another peaceful, calm, beautiful birth, and another boy.
Love her story so much. Especially the little midwife bits (reaching down to feel the baby’s head during crowning and little mama help deliver her own little own into the world!). Thank you for sharing!
Stories about birth are powerful. What’s amazing to me is that every single birth story is different. Women have been sharing stories for generations…have you ever asked your mother, grandmothers or aunts about their birth story? Want to share your story? Please share here! Happy Monday 🙂