Don’t hate me. Childbirth was easier than I expected.
I had heard a lot of things. A lot of dramatic stories. I was hoping for the best but preparing for the toughest.
This is a positive birth story.
Although there were a couple serious surprises, my labour and delivery of Isaac was one of the most beautiful, powerful and memorable experiences of my life!!
Every childbirth story is different and there are so many factors at play. Given how many “horror stories” are shared (loud and proud) that perpetuate fear of childbirth, this needs to be shared to perpetuate the joy! Because… childbirth doesn’t always have to be something to fear, especially when you’re in great hands (midwives / OB’s!).
So, this is my story…
I’ll start by saying – it all started with choosing to root myself in scripture.
“The Lord is my helper, I will have no fear.”
“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
This helped me mentally focus on my Creator; on being relaxed, thankful, and peaceful.
Because I knew God was with me. And nothing could separate me from Him… literally! ( If you’re not a “God person”, I think there will still be lots here to encourage you. 🙂
At 4 days overdue, during a routine midwife appointment, my blood pressure was high and protein showed up in my urine. They caught this flag immediately and sent me to the hospital for blood tests around 2:00pm. And I didn’t leave until I had a baby. Because, sure enough, all the classic indicators of preeclampsia were there.
Not sure what preeclampsia is? In non-scientific terms, it’s basically your body deciding to shut down because it’s freaked out. The cure: having a baby. It’s actually quite serious. Thankfully, we had incredible care and attention.
I was induced at 4 days overdue.
Labour and birth was a process of surrender every step of the way, from receiving the poor blood test results, to realizing the urgency of induction, to each contraction, to being wheeled into the OR after delivery.
For us, an induction meant transfer of care from Midwives (that we LOVED) to an OB that we didn’t know.
Once I wrapped my head around that, at 4:00pm I was given gel to soften my cervix (which was already 2cm – yay!). Then rested, then walked laps around the birthing unit with Justin for an hour. My belly would tighten regularly, just small contractions I hardly noticed, the anticipation was fun.
Shortly after this, the incredible Doula Deb joined our side. It was such a comfort having her attention and care. Having her as a constant in all the uncertainties brought even more calmness.
At 8:30pm our OB broke my water. (Which I found an amusing experience, like peeing everywhere without deciding to…!)
Almost right away, contractions became stronger and more consistent. Praise God, because I was really praying for a natural birth and it was progressing well!
Isaac (although we didn’t know it was Isaac) and I had to be monitored for a while, I had to stay on the bed and I hated that. I was so happy to finally get up and move around! My husband and doula by my side.
If I was a turtle, I went into my shell. My safe place.
I closed my eyes most of the time and focused on totally relaxing in my bubble. I was mentally tuned in to being relaxed, thankful and welcoming this baby!
I hung out in the labour tub for a couple hours – it was wonderful and the dim lighting so soothing.
As contractions got stronger, I told myself “yes, this is good! Yes, I want to meet this baby!” They were intense, but not unbearable. Sometimes they would even make me sick to my stomach, and again I’d say to myself “yes, this is good!!”
By the time it was 11:30pm or so, I felt exhausted and starving! I hadn’t eaten since noon, I estimated we were about half way, and if I was going to do this all night I needed to rest. So… I asked for an epidural. Because I wanted a nap!! How’s that for a modern-day luxury?
To my surprise, I was actually 10cm dilated and ready to push whenever I felt like it! WOW – did that ever put wind in my sails… I was doing this!! Forget the epidural.
Apparently that’s a thing. When you feel like you’re done and can’t go on… you actually are done!
Pushing was awesome. The intensity of the contraction seemed to disappear as I cooperated with it and pushed with every ounce of energy I had. Every. Ounce. I felt like a rockstar. I was having a baby!!!!
Pretty sure I didn’t look like a rockstar. But who cares.
After 30 min or so, although I never knew it, Isaac’s heart rate was dropping and there was some concern in the room. My doula leaned in the next time I was pushing and she said “this is it, baby needs to be born now!” And it felt like the whole room was cheering!
Because of how I was resting and the size of my belly, I could SEE Isaac being born and our OB allowed encouraged me to catch him and put him on my chest as he came into the world!!
There are no words for that memory. Unforgettable. Surreal. Blissful. Those come close.
At 12:18am, Justin was the first and only person to see we had just had a baby boy, he whispered it to me and then announced it to the room!
Talk about magic.
Following his birth, I lost more blood than usual (possibly due to the preeclampsia, possibly due to how Isaac was delivered) and after some monitory, was admitted for surgery around 5:30am. All went well, I later received a couple blood transfusions and then felt like 100 bucks!
We were all in great, trustworthy hands and I was never afraid. Just thankful. Unbelievably thankful. Praise be to God.
I share this story for every mom-to-be and every mom who is nervous about a future birth because of the last.
A positive birth is so possible, even in the face of uncertainty.