It is next to impossible for me to know where to begin this birth story. It really requires going to the very beginning because without those details, the birth itself is somehow lacking of information.
Erik and I have always wanted to have a bigger family. However, although we love our children dearly, their births were very traumatic. If you can imagine going into what should be one of the most exciting times of your life, with fear of what the hospital bureaucracy was going to do to you, then you can know where we are coming from. We were left fearing the very people that are supposed to take care of us. Nathan had spent one useless week in NICU because of “policies and procedures”, and we spent our entire time at the hospital with both children feeling like prisoners desperate to escape.
We began talking about having another child when Isabella turned one in April. I was thinking we should wait until the end of the summer, or the first part of fall to try, but Erik was so excited and eager. He told me two weeks before I could test in August that I was pregnant. (This was the first month that we tried to get pregnant.) Several days before I could test he gave me a very special gift. I have the same baby book for both Nathan and Isabella, but it was discontinued. He began looking for a copy of it in April, and he kept it to give to me when I was pregnant. I cried because I could not believe what an incredible gift it was. It was not something I had discussed with him, just something he noticed. Erik is like that though. He is very romantic and always paying attention to details like that.
Since I have a history of ectopic pregnancy that left me with only one tube and ovary, I need to have an ultrasound at the beginning of the pregnancy to be sure that the baby is in the right place. I made an appointment with an OB/Gyn who described herself as “natural childbirth friendly” on the Baylor doctors’ site. All was well, and I was given an actual appointment with the doctor in October 2005. When I went in to see the doctor, I waited in a very crowded room with tons of other women, and after a long wait, I was finally taken back. My children were tired from the wait, and Erik took them to the car. What happened next blew me away.
The doctor, Dr. B., wanted to do a pap smear. I would normally not object, but I had one just two months prior to that exam, in her office. It seemed pretty useless. I was told the pap was required. Then there were extra swabs out, and I asked what they were testing for, to which she replied “yeast infection”. I explained that I did not want that test, because I did not have a yeast infection, and I was quite sure that I could figure that out on my own. I was told it was policy, and I could not decline the test. (I later learned that I was lied to, since it was a test for STD’s. No wonder insurance premiums are high… I have no need for that type of test.). Although I was irritated, I complied. Dr. B comes in the room, and I mention that I want to have a natural child birth. She immediately begins talking down to me as if I was an idiot, and explains that it is way too dangerous, not to mention all my problems that I bring to the table. You see, I am overweight. I guess she thought I was not aware of that when I came in to see her, so she took every opportunity to point it out to me. I have never in my life been treated as disrespectfully or as much of a moron as I was in that visit. Dr. B was convinced that I was a liar about the ectopic drama, that I was unable to walk a block, and that despite my protests that I was neither, she was convinced that I was a gestational diabetic and had problems with pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH). She looked at me like I was nuts when I said that I thought my large babies were caused by having a large father, and that they continued to be big once out of the womb as well. She discussed setting up my c-section for 37 weeks; because there was no way that someone my size could go beyond that mark, and “we would be lucky” to make it that long in the pregnancy.
I spent the next several hours crying. I did not make a follow up appointment, but I figured that regardless of what decision I made, this was probably as good as it was going to get. The bad part of having a baby was that I had to deal with this garbage, right? This wasn’t really going to cut it though, and I knew that if that was my option, I was not going to be seeing a doctor. I had full confidence that I could walk into any ER in DFW, and get a c-section if I wanted one. The same could not be said for a vaginal birth – which seemed like a distant dream.
I am now thankful to the Lord for that horrible appointment. I had wanted to try a midwife or do some alternative to the traditional system, but it did not seem possible. Now that I knew I could not continue to go the other route, it was much more possible. My husband also became much more interested in the alternative, after seeing how badly I felt after that appointment.
I had a very sweet and dear friend named Delilah, who talked to me after that horrible visit, and told me about a midwife who was a friend of hers, who would take VBAC’s. I had contacted one midwife prior to the Dr. B visit, and she did not take VBA2C’s. I had assumed that was how it would go with all midwives, but she directed me to someone who could help. Her name was Michelle, and she had a birth center in Garland. Erik and I immediately thought she was great. She was not worried about me trying for a VBA2C, or that I was overweight. She thought we would do great. Her optimism really brought a part of the excitement of the birth process back to us, because she offered us some hope that we could do this. We just loved her, the center, and the idea that we actually had a chance to do things differently. Michelle wrote us the sweetest note about how she knew we would have a great delivery, and she was the first person to find Sarah’s heartbeat.
Tragedy struck, and Michelle was killed in a car accident. Although we did not know her well, she had already worked her way into our hearts. She had given us hope that we could have a normal delivery, and the Lord had used her mightily in our lives. We could not imagine what her family was going through, and our hearts just broke for them.
Michelle’s partner “J” took us as one of her patients, for which we were very thankful. It was so hard to think of someone so young and beautiful with a family passing away, and then we were sad that we might be back to where we started as well. (Although we were much more upset for her family’s loss, as we had faith that the Lord would provide a way for us.) J began seeing us when we were about 18 weeks pregnant.
At 20 weeks we had the standard sonogram appointment. The lady who did the sono was not very friendly, and was not adjusting her machine to compensate for the interference that I put out. She was not able to see what we were having, but she did see a fibroid that was keeping the placenta from attaching properly to the uterine wall, and was on top of my prior c-section scars no less. We were so scared. We did not know, until we began to research at home that this was a danger of having had a C-section. We also did not realize that with every C-section the chance of this condition, known as placenta accreta, increases. That was an eye opening experience. We were never told the dangers of having C-sections. We asked, but we were not told that this was yet another side effect. The doctor, who did my first two C-sections, first for CPD, and the second for failed induction, knew we wanted a larger family, but said that he personally had done 5 sections on one person, so we did not think that having them was dangerous. Not true. The danger of placenta accreta increases dramatically with each incision. Furthermore, we learned after the first section that ectopic pregnancy is a danger as well. We learned that after a miscarriage, and subsequent removal of my left tube and ovary.
At first we were both just so scared and so upset. It did not seem possible that we were having yet another side effect from having a C-section. After a day or two though I really began to have no fear. None. I did not even think about the level two sono coming up nearly as much for that reason, as much as I hoped it would be a clearer look at our precious child, and maybe we would find out what we were having. I became so sure that all would be okay, that I did not tell many people about the poor initial sono, because I did not think about it. I told Erik and our close family, that I really felt in my heart that everything would be fine, and I could not explain it, but I felt it was the Lord granting me the peace. I knew in my heart that all would be fine. Now, let me be clear, I assumed there was this issue, but I thought all will be fine. I did not think I would bleed or that our child would be premature. I would joke that the premature aspect to accreta might make our child come at 41 weeks, and that would be okay with me. ☺
The day of our level two, our dear friend Delilah went with us to the appointment. Erik and I were afraid we might be emotional and not think through all of our questions properly. Delilah is one of the most detailed and knowledgeable people I know. She is also one of the most compassionate and caring believers that I have met. I knew that she could help us keep on track, and not miss something that we should ask. Once we were taken back to the sono room, I started to get a little nervous. Delilah prayed for us, and we shared a few laughs before getting started. It was clear that Delilah and Erik were going to really hit it off!
The girl came in to do the sono, and asked if we had any questions. We told her we were hoping to see if we were having a boy or a girl. (which for the record Erik was convinced it was a boy, so much so, I had started to believe it too. Erik’s sister Stacey was convinced it was a girl, and was right for the THIRD time in a row!) She immediately began looking for the sex, which shocked me since most of the time we have been told we will only tell you if we see it while scanning or if there is enough time left to look. She saw almost immediately and said, “It’s a girl!!” Erik and I looked at each other and at the same time, said, it’s Sarah! Well, that was easy enough, especially since we had six girl names on the short list. ☺ As she was scanning, we were able to see so much detail. I cried at seeing her heart beating because it was so clear and so beautiful. Watching her move around was such a gift. We asked if she saw any problems and she said no, but the doctor will be here soon. The doctor came in, and was so much nicer than I expected. He was very tall, and reminded me of a friend whom I used to work with at the Criswell College Library. We also had a laugh with him early in his visit, because I asked him about his published works in the Journal of Perinatology. He was very surprised I knew about that, and I told him I look up all my providers. He thought that was pretty funny, and said I was the first patient who had ever said that. He reviewed the images that the sonographer had taken, and then went to scanning on his own. He asked if we wanted to know the baby’s gender, which was great, since we thought he could verify her assessment, since he did not know she told us. He said, I only give 95% chances, but I see a girl. Then as he was scanning more, he said, “oh yeah… definitely a girl bottom here!” That gave us all a laugh. After he was finished he said, your placenta is no where near your scar site, and you do not have a fibroid. We were stunned. We still had the last sono on tape, and you could see the growth under the placenta. The doctor said it could have been a weird contraction of the uterus, but it should not have lasted the entire sono. (It was there at the beginning and the end of the scan.) He had no explanation at all that was adequate. I choose to take it as a miracle. We left there praising God, and thanking Him for His graciousness, and provision. Delilah when she prayed for us, told us to pray boldly. It’s safe to say none of us expected that answer though!
Our next big pregnancy milestone was taking childbirth classes in January. We had a great time, and Erik was convinced that we should hire Delilah as our doula at that point. We asked, but she had so many clients due in April we thought for sure we would be denied, but she shocked us and took us on. From that point on she was never left alone again… we both drove her crazy with emails and calls! ☺
The neat thing about childbirth education class was that we learned so much about natural birth, and that was not what had happened the last time we took classes. We learned how making one choice often means making other decisions inadvertently. Such as getting an epidural, means consenting to Pitocin, a bladder catheter, and a fetal scalp. We had not really thought of that before. We also learned fun things about ice contractions, and what we liked and did not like in labor. It was great, and we really enjoyed the other couple taking the class with us.
In February, at the request of J, I began seeing a chiropractor to help get Sarah into a proper position. I cannot stress how skeptical I was at going this route. I was convinced it was a waste of money, but I thought, I will do it, since it was requested of me, and I didn’t believe it would hurt anything. I met the doctor, and she was really sweet, and I felt convinced that she believed in what she was doing. She ran a few tests, and it showed a few things that were not correct, and then told me I should come three times a week. It was going to be expensive!! But we had the medical care account so I thought okay, I will do this. Boy was I surprised when I told her about my tailbone, which had hurt since Nate was born, and she believed she could correct the problem. She explained that usually the bone doesn’t break in labor (what I had been told) rather, it gets bent out of shape and causes pain. She said that had it been broken it would have healed, and then I would not be in pain, but being bent out of shape, it could cause pain indefinitely. So, she pushed my tailbone back where it belonged. I have not had pain in my butt since!! Erik asked me afterwards if it was worth the over $500 we were going to pay out of pocket to go to the chiro, and I explained that I would have paid much more than that to have my butt fixed! He laughed and agreed. I am now a big fan of chiropractors. She helped me when I had a cold, once when I exercised myself into a crazy amount of pain, and she was great just to talk to about natural birth. Oh, and when Sarah was transverse, she flipped head down within a week of getting my adjustments. I felt like my lesson here was that maybe the Lord was teaching me to be more open minded. I hope it is a lesson learned.
In March, Erik and I ended up having an off handed conversation about birth, where I told him that I thought I would like to have a home birth. He is so amazing! Erik told me that he had felt that way for some time, and was going to discuss it, and was already working on making various movies for the kids to keep them occupied while I was in labor. He was already working on getting things ready for them, so that we would be all set in the next month for Sarah! I was so amazed that I married such a wonderful guy, and so excited that we were on the same page, and going to have Sarah at home!
The next big surprise for March came toward the end of the month… I was given a surprise shower. I was so emotional, because no one had ever done anything so nice for me before. I was surrounded by people that I just loved so much…. All these amazing friends that I had made, and I had the best time. I was so thankful to the Lord to be at this place in my life, and to have a party to celebrate our daughter. I loved looking out at all the faces and knowing that these people would be a part of our children’s lives, and we would be a part of there’s too. They made me a scrapbook that I will always treasure, and that I show off to anyone who wants to look at it. Erik was a big part in getting pictures to the girls so they could make the book. (A book that took weeks to make, and is so beautiful!) After the shower, Erik gave me a special letter that he had written with a prayer. He never counts it enough to write them; he always reads his letters to me too. What a gift. I will treasure these memories for all my life. And I praise God for giving me such a wonderful husband, and beautiful friends!
April was a weird and busy time in our lives, and with the pregnancy. First off, we did the MS Society walk, and the next weekend was Isabella’s birthday party. The third weekend was Easter, and our due date by LMP was right after that. We had family visiting, and almost every day on the calendar was full of something to do! I thought it was great and tiring at the same time to have so much going on at one time. I did think it would help pass the time as I went past my due date. Although admittedly Erik and I both thought there was a chance I could go earlier, and we hoped that would happen.
One of the other issues we were having was with our midwife. I started to feel like we were making her nervous. It was not something I could really pin down, but I thought maybe because we were a VBA2C. However that seemed unlikely because she was once in our shoes. I don’t really know what started to cause these doubts to creep up in my mind, but they were there. Erik was getting less content, and more nervous as our due date approached, because he felt like we were going to have to grapple somewhat with our care provider. She is a loving and wonderful woman, but she seemed to vacillate between everything is great, to this pregnancy is not going so well. I had no complications with the pregnancy. My glucose was wonderful, my blood pressures were great, I had gained a relatively small amount of weight, and I was doing what I was told. However, one of the herbs that I was asked to take, on one occasion, made my blood pressure go up and caused some swelling. I am not a big pill taker, herbal or not, so I was not too concerned, since I knew it must be the cause of the elevated BP. Immediately after quitting the herb, I returned to normal. This did not seem to go over well, and I started feeling like I was reassuring my care provider that all would be well on one visit, and then she would be happy the next visit. It was very odd. Luckily she had a student, Cori, who was about to graduate working with her, and I always felt like she was on my side as far as my decisions on what herbs I would take, as well as thinking that our labor and delivery would go fine. She was always very upbeat, and when we asked about doing a home birth, she was clearly so excited that you could not wipe the smile off her face. She always made me feel better, and I always felt like she was listening when I spoke. I loved hearing about her births, and keeping up with how close she was to graduating. I was even hoping to be one of her “numbers”, although that seemed very unlikely. Cori was also so sweet, because she so badly wanted to be at our birth. We were so excited to have her there too!
As my LMP due date approached and went, I was not worried. It was expected, but still you begin to look for the baby to come any time. The ultrasound due date (4-27) came and went, and she still wasn’t here. That was okay. However, this is when the questions start coming. “When are you going to have that baby?” “You’re STILL pregnant?” Those questions… booming from friends and people who check you out at the store. At this point, I was taking Evening Primrose Oil orally and vaginally, as well as taking the herb that originally raised my BP, in order to start labor. I was walking, sitting on my birth ball, going to the chiro, eating eggplant parmigiana and spicy foods, and doing just about every thing you could think of. (One lady that I met told me to wave my arms a certain way and it would put you in labor.) Really I was trying it all. Every night I was going to bed thinking this could be the night that I wake Erik up to tell him I am in labor. Each morning I woke up thinking, well okay, maybe I will go into labor today. I was very hopeful that she would come soon.
At 40 weeks and 3 days I allowed the only check I would have before labor. I wanted to hear that I was progressing, because I knew that I must be. J checked me and I had a well positioned cervix, that was so mushy it was hard to know if I was 100% effaced or 50%. I was dilated to a two. YES! I was making progress and I was working. Although I consented to this check, I was so grateful to not be getting checked all the time. I really liked not having to take my clothes off and go through the whole checking process. It was so freeing just to say no. I thought it would be hard not knowing, but it really was for the best. When I did get checked it was to confirm what I already knew, and to give my midwife a chance to see where I was. Although admittedly this check was just a check and really meant nothing in the whole scheme of time, it was good mentally for me to have this one done.
On the day that I turned 41 (by sono) weeks, I lost my mucus plug. That was exciting. I did not have any bloody show, and to be honest I had no clue what that was. Of course that meant Delilah got a call! ☺ I was hopeful that labor was coming very soon, since most people go into labor fairly soon when this happens. I was also having prodromal labor. I would contract every 15-20 minutes and it would go most all day and end at night. The contractions were never that bad, and they did not bother me, other than they never seemed to bring on labor! I felt like the only woman in the world wishing for pain. I started having bloody show two days later, so I knew that my cervix was changing then too! Now, if I would just go into labor…little did I know what the next days would hold. I went through the weekend with no labor.
Monday, May 8th
J was not worried when we went past the 4-27 date, which is the date I count the pregnancy by, and how I was dated. (I lied about my LMP to give myself an extra week.) In fact, she said that she would let me go past the 42 week mark. Of course, I never dreamed I would go past that mark, but I was very happy. However, when we hit the 41 week mark with no baby, she started to get concerned. The biophysical profile test that she had said I would need after 42 weeks she now wanted done at 41 weeks. I took the first BPP at 41 and 3 days. Everything was great. Sarah was doing really well, she had few breathing motions, but that was a good thing because baby’s tend to do that before they are born. She scored a 6 out of 8, which we were told was a great score. The entire scan turned out to be a blessing, and was fun for Erik and me.
We took the results to the office, and J was not impressed. In fact, it seemed to really build her concerns. In a move that seemed really unusual for J, she and her partner started getting onto me in the open front office. We were the only clients there, but I was really unnerved by this. I felt like I was being tagged teamed. When we arrived at the office, I was contracting and having bloody show. By the time we left, both had stopped completely.
J was very concerned that I had not gone into labor, and told me that I needed to do something to bring it on. This language somewhat surprised me because I thought that labor was not in my hands. (I still believe that.) She told me that the sono I had was not as good as having a radiologist read scan so I would have to go back and do one the next day, and then maybe even the day after that, as long as the results were good. But that I would have to have the baby before I turned 42 weeks. I was told that I needed to take castor oil, have sex, continue the EPO, and let her strip my membranes. I told them I would think about these things, and let them know. There was so much pressure at this visit. I never dreamed I would feel the pressure of the clock before I ever went into labor, and that is exactly what I was feeling. (This was one of my big labor fears, that I would have to have the baby by a certain time or I would be sent to the hospital for a C-section.)
I cannot write down how scared and uncertain I felt after this visit. I did not call Delilah to give her an update for several hours, because it seemed to take me that long to digest what all was said. Erik and I could not even speak to one another. It was like we were separately trying to figure things out. We just put the kids in front of a movie, and digested. This is very unusual for us. We always discuss things.
When I called Delilah, I was in tears. I did not know what to think or do still, but I knew that things would be okay. I felt very lifted up by prayer, and I was weak, and bruised, but far from beaten. I told Delilah to please keep having her prayer warriors lift me up, and that I was feeling the prayers.
We went to bed that night with a few decisions made. One, I would not have my membranes stripped. I had GBS, and I did not want antibiotics which might or might not spare Sarah the infection. We would think about the castor oil later, and we were not doing it before we went to bed or the next morning. The big reason was that Erik was going to take off work, so we could walk the baby out at the zoo! ☺ It seemed like if Sarah’s head was low and putting pressure on my cervix, then I could have some decent contractions. So, walking seemed like a good answer, and it would be fun to take the kids to the zoo. It would be a send off to our being a family of four.
Tuesday, May 9th
The funny thing about the 9th of May is that this was the day that Cori returned from her graduation from Midwifery school in San Antonio! So, she could be at our labor after all, which if I had to go later that seemed like a great thing to hold out for! We knew that the phone was going to be ringing asking us to make a decision, and Erik without my knowing called up J and told her we would not make any decisions that day. We were going to the zoo, we were not going to do the BPP, but would spend time together as a family. He felt we were justified in the decision since the first BPP was so good.
We had a great time at the zoo. When we arrived I was having contractions every 15 minutes, lots of bloody show, and things seemed to be back on track. The kids were having a ball, and although it was so hot, it was lots of fun just to walk around and see all the animals, and particularly the kid’s reactions to them. For example when seeing an elephant, Nate very casually asked if there were any bigger animals. I had to laugh that the elephant was such a let down! Isabella roared at the lion, and really liked the giraffes. The only bad thing was we did not take our cell phones into the zoo, so we had poor Delilah worried about us! She probably thought we were having the baby by the monkey cages! After being there several hours, the contractions just stopped. The bloody show stopped, and I was so upset. We left since it was so hot, and decided to come on home. By the time we made it home I was emotionally exhausted. J called and was really upset that we did not do the BPP. After that, Erik took the phones off of the hook. He went and got some movies, and we watched while sitting close to each other, and just vegging out. I think every ounce of strength I had was gone by the end of Tuesday. I cried, Erik cried, and we both prayed. This was the hardest day of the entire pregnancy. I was asked, prior to the phones getting turned off, a question that I had been asked many times, but by someone unexpected, and it hit me very hard. The question was when was I going to give up? When was the magic date? The answer was simple, I had no clue, but I could not take many more days like Tuesday. I was going to lose my mind if I did. I was beginning to think that maybe I was going too far, but I always came back to the BPP from the day before… how could she be so healthy, and then not be? She was moving around, and I knew in my heart that she was fine. At this point I was required to check fetal movements three times a day. I did them more like five times a day, and she was always hitting her number of movements within 30 seconds. These were not the signs of a baby in trouble. Erik and I just held on, and decided that we would pray and take things one day at a time. We were both so exhausted, that we just went to bed.
As an interesting side note, there was a girl on pregnancy.org who had been fighting being induced and although she lived in New Zealand where the midwife standard of care is used, she was well past her due date, and getting frustrated. However, she kept insisting on not being induced, and even no showed to her first induction appointment. To add insult to injury (to me) she went in for induction on Monday, and ended up with a C-section. As much as I hate to admit it, I was really sad for her. I did not know her, but I think I was identifying with her. She and I were the last on the board of April Mom’s that I knew of. I guess you could say then there was one.
Wednesday, May 10th
What a difference a day makes! When I got out of bed, I felt really good. I felt so strong, almost like I could fly. Erik was very beaten down, and it was clear on his face, but I kept telling him all would be okay, and that we would have this baby very, very soon. I could feel it. I told him that all the prayers people were praying, were lifting me up. I kept thinking of the scripture that Stephen Curtis Chapman sings so beautifully that says, “His strength is perfect when our strength is gone.” I know that of my own accord I had nothing left. I had seriously considered ending it all and having a section (for all of two seconds, but the thought was there none the less) the day before. But, on Wednesday I was so strong. (Again, not me!) I was laughing, joking, and thinking about my options. My optimism even spread to Erik. ☺ As the day went on we both started feeling better and better. We went and did a second BPP in the middle of the day. This turned out to be a blessing. One concern that I had was that a radiologist would disagree with my decision to VBA2C and then read the scan negatively to force me to have a section. (I was very paranoid.) So, at J’s suggestion, I refused to give my prior history. And I did not worry about the prior scar being seen, since it is so light it is hard for people looking for it to see it.
Mike was our scanner for the day. He was so nervous about doing this scan and doing it correctly that he took measurements multiple times! He was looking at things that were not part of the exam, like my kidneys. I even jokingly told him to stop doing that lest he find some other problem that would get me in trouble. But, the good news was that I was fine (kidneys looked just perfect, and had excellent blood flow) and so was Sarah. She had great fluid levels, he saw fetal breathing motions, and all her parts were accounted for and functioning great. She had an estimated weight of 9lbs 12 oz, and the prior BPP had a weight of 9 lbs 10 oz. I thought she was right at 10lbs so I thought hey these scans are more accurate on weight than I will usually give them credit for! The scan had taken about an hour and a half because Mike was working so hard at doing a good job… bless his heart he sweat through the entire thing! When I got up to leave I had a contraction, and he said we were all afraid you would go into labor and have your baby here. I laughed!! I said Mike, if that was all it took, I would have come here weeks ago! ☺
After the scan I was starving, so we ran and got lunch. I had two awesome (read painful) contractions in the parking lot of the radiology facility, and I thought today could be the day so I better eat while I feel like it. Erik and I had a great lunch with the kids. We just laughed and enjoyed each other. Erik was going to work from home so we had the rest of the day to enjoy each other which was awesome!
Delilah and her apprentice/daughter Vanessa came over later that afternoon, which was great. They were going to walk with me, because I was convinced if Sarah would get on my cervix I could have her. I had been having contractions for a while now, and I could feel the difference when she was in a good position and when she was not. So, off to do curb walking. Okay… it’s harder than it sounds. My poor thighs. I felt better when Vanessa quit after just a few minutes of doing it as well! Besides I did not feel her getting where she needed to be. But I loved the walk, and having the distraction of a sweet friend. After the walk, while the kids played, Erik, Delilah, Vanessa, and I talked. The conversation turned to what our options were going to be come Friday morning. We all knew that on Friday I was going to exceed my midwife’s protocols. So, if I did not have Sarah by then, I was going to have to do something else. We discussed the options but to be sure that the conversation never got too depressing Vanessa, in her wisdom, mimicked her Mom talking throughout the entire conversation. Now, Vanessa not only looks like her Mom, but she can do an incredible impersonation of her as well. ☺ The conversation about options went on for quite some time, and it was good to get all the cards laid out of the table. I don’t know why we procrastinated until the last minute but we did. It was just nice to know what our choices were going to be so we could discuss where to go.
As a side note, Isaac if you ever read this, I am so sorry Nate chased you with an unmentionable object… he really didn’t know! Thank you and Virginia for playing with the kids…they loved having you over!
That night Erik and I went to bed feeling good, but knowing that we had one day to go into labor. I had a feeling we were not going to do that, but I was optimistic that everything would be fine. I wish every single day I could feel that strong in the Lord, and be surrounded by people that love me! But I know that to appreciate it, you have to have both highs and lows, like Tuesday. I still praise God for Wednesday. I have never felt so strong.
Thursday, May 11th
When I woke up on Thursday, I did not feel as high as I did on Wednesday, but I knew I was still lifted up. Today was “the day” that I had to go into labor. No pressure, right? Actually I knew I would not go into labor. I imagine because I knew it could not happen because people needed me to go into labor. I knew that Sarah was going to come in the Lord’s timing. I had quit taking the herbs, and I was not doing anything artificial to bring on labor.
That morning I should have been calling and finding midwives to take my care, but I was still procrastinating. I spoke with my Midwife J and she had to lay her cards out on the table, and I felt bad, but I know that she was disappointed in me that I would not take the advice of castor oil, herbs, stripping, etc. I did not think that making myself as sick as a dog was the way to go into labor. What if I had a long labor, and nothing left to give because I was so sick? What if it had an effect on Sarah and or put us both in danger? What if it wasn’t time for her to be born yet? I thought Nate’s induction might have worked had he been in a better position and ready to be born. I had dilated quickly, but he was in an awful position. J’s point was that I was headed to a section the next day if I did not have her and it was worth it to put all my eggs in those baskets. I knew that I would not willing lay on the table at that point. Not with Sarah doing so well.
Really, wasn’t that the question… when would I give up? I can’t tell you how many times I was asked this question in various forms. When will you end this, why won’t you just have a C-section, it’s not that bad… and my favorite, why won’t you put your baby first? I was frequently made to feel like I was so selfish for holding out, which is ridiculous. Sarah was doing great. Regardless, I felt like I was being made out to be a bad mother for waiting. I think it is important to say until I felt that the Lord was leading me on this path, and as long as all the tests said that Sarah was fine, I was not going to willing lay myself down and have my body violated at my own request. If Sarah was ever in any danger, I would have been the happiest C-section patient ever operated on. I really believe that holding off was in Sarah’s best interest. C-sections are a wonderful option for women and babies in danger, but not for a perfectly healthy baby and mother.
After talking to J, I was very upset. I knew what she would say, and I knew she was in a difficult position. Her protocols required her to give my care over. I understood, and I knew it was coming. I went to the chiropractor for an adjustment, and Dr. Marcia was determined to do all she could to help. Besides the adjustment, she did some additional pressure points, and a word association thing, that was surprisingly accurate. (I am always the skeptic.) She spoke with her husband Dr. Paul about doing acupuncture (I had done this previously on two other occasions with another acupuncturist), and he was willing. On my prior acupuncture visits the whole procedure was pretty pain free. This time that was not the case. He was determined to bring on contractions, and he kept upping the tens unit until I was very uncomfortable… but I was having contractions. I was at the office for about two hours. Poor Erik and Delilah were worried, and Erik even called the office to see if I was okay. Everyone knew I was upset.
I left the office and went to have lunch with Erik. It was nice to see him and spend some time together. When I came home Delilah and I had a talk, and she told me about a midwife she called and asked about me hypothetically. The midwife, Molly, had already called her back and asked why the hypothetical client hadn’t called her. ☺ Before I could get off the phone with Delilah, J called, and I could sense her disappointment in me, as well as at the situation that we were in. I knew that there would be no more procrastination. I called Delilah back, had a good cry over the situation, yet again, and we agreed that I would get off the phone, refresh, pray and call Molly.
When I dialed Molly I was very hopeful that she would take us as client, and I tried not to beat myself down and worry that she would say no, or that she would not like us, or whatever. I told myself that Cori was working on finding us a provider too, and had some ideas of who we could call. I was so pleasantly surprised when Molly answered the phone. Don’t get me wrong, I had heard such wonderful things about her, but I guess with all that seemed to be going wrong (which in hindsite I no longer believe) I half expected that something would go wrong here too. Molly was such a pleasure to talk to. I said, “Hi, I am the hypothetical patient that Delilah told you about!” To which she replied that she had been waiting on my call. We both laughed. She was not at all concerned about my having had two prior sections, as long as I realized what the risks were, and she was not worried at all that I was starting my (ahem) 42 week. (Again, I was not telling that by LMP I was 43 weeks.) The first thing that she said that made me take a huge deep breath was after I made a comment of falling out of the norms by going late. She immediately corrected me and said, “You fall out of the averages, not out of normal.” I don’t know how I did not fall out of my chair when she said that. Tears of joy came to my eyes, and I told her “You are so right.” We spoke for quite some time, and agreed to meet in her office the next afternoon.
After we spoke, I called Erik and told him I really, really liked her, and that I was confident that we had a care provider. Then I called Delilah, who upon hearing my voice, said I can hear your relief. She was right. I was so relieved. I had a back up plan, and I knew that I could go ahead and gestate in peace now. It was like having a huge burden taken off of my back. And although the contractions and bloody show did not return, I felt like it was okay to go into labor. However, that was the first night that Erik and I went to bed and I told him tonight would not be the night. I knew I needed the rest, because Friday was going to be another hard day.
Friday, May 12th
Friday was the day that I was going to have to face the music if you will. I needed to meet with J in order to get my discharge from her practice. I knew it was coming, and I was outside her protocols. Erik got up for work that morning, and although he was willing to come with me, I told him that I had this appointment under control. I knew the Lord would give me the strength to do what I needed to do and the grace to handle J with love and mercy… like I expected her to treat me too.
When I arrived I was surprised to see Cori there. Friday was not a day she worked, and I knew she was there out of support for me. What an amazing gesture, and she will never know how the Lord blessed me through her. We went inside, and our children started playing together. It was really neat! Then she showed me the pictures from her San Antonio graduation which was awesome. How can you be upset, when the visit up to this point is going like a playdate? J was working on some office details which had come up as well as taking care of photocopying my chart. I brought up that I knew she was here to discharge my care, and I told her that I understood. She asked me if I was going to go to an OB or hospital to have a C-section. I said no. She explained that she thought that I was making a mistake. I said I know that you do, but I don’t believe that I am making a mistake. She then asked me the million dollar question… when will you give up? I gave my truthful and usual answer, “I don’t know”. She explained that every day I was past due increased the chances of bad things happening. I explained that I had read up on post maturity syndrome, and that I was aware of the dangers. J went on to share information that did not necessarily correspond with what I had read completely. I then said “Well, no one is pregnant forever, and I know my body will go into labor when it is time.” (Immediately a scripture Delilah shared with me came to mind, Isaiah 66:9, Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the LORD. “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?” says your God. Personally I wish He would have answered this rhetorical question… ☺) J’s answer to this was surprising. She said that not everyone goes into labor, and that I could be one of them. She had seen it many times.
At this point I realized that we had a core philosophy difference. I did believe that given time my body would work. I had no idea why I had not gone into labor like the averages said I should, but I did not think it was my time yet. She thought that my body had failed. The big problem that I had here was that she had experience, and I was going on theory. That is one of the things that made Cori being there so special. The Lord gave me strength and having her there was such a precious manifestation of that strength. I was leaning on her for sure. By God’s grace I was not alone. It was okay for me to stand up and make this stance because I was not alone, operating on theory. There was someone else there who was standing up with me; someone with experience and ability, and who shared my philosophy. I was able to stand firm, and lovingly disagree with J. Finally J had me sign a document, that I knew would absolve her (as much as any document can) of any poor decisions that I made from that point forward. I knew that the language would be strong, but I did not agree with the paper that I signed, and I felt like it was scare tactics. However, I signed my name and thought God forbid something bad happens because I just signed what seemed like a permission form for trouble. I did it quickly and quietly, and just wanted to leave then. I only signed that form for J’s peace of mind. If anyone else had requested that of me, I would have refused. I did give J a hug, promised to bring Sarah to see her, and thanked her for all the help and care up to that point. It was clear that we both disagreed with the other’s decisions that day, but I know to the core of my being that that visit was not easy for J, and that she was giving me the best care she could.
Cori, and I said quick goodbyes in the parking lot, and I verified that she would be willing to work with Molly on my birth. Her smile was amazing!
At this point I was off to pick up Erik, have lunch and go to meet Molly. I started to get nervous and uncharacteristically decided that we could not be even one minute late for this appointment. We arrived 30 minutes early. As we were pulling in the alley, another car was coming in, and we both pulled into the lot. Erik and I were sitting there, when this beautiful lady came up to the window and said she was Molly. We all laughed at meeting early, at the same time! I told her we were happy to wait, but she was ready. (Friday was her day off, and she came up to meet us, which already was amazing to me.) So, she led us in, and we spoke to each other for almost two hours. She shared birth stories with us that made me cry. (She keeps lots of Kleenex around, so I must not be the only crier!) She explained that going 42 weeks wasn’t abnormal, and that she herself went 43 weeks with her only child, and that her mother went 44 weeks with all four of her children. She told us how much she loves doing VBAC’s because women appreciate so much more the gift of natural birth when they have had the alternative. We just loved Molly, and Erik was so relaxed with her. They were joking together and I thought wow, this is great. We were completely at ease with her.
Toward the end of the visit, she wanted to check heart tones, and give us a heart monitor to take home in case my water broke at home. This way we could monitor for problems right after the rupture, such as prolapse. I asked her if she wanted to check me, since this was our first visit, and she said nope, not if you are Group B Strep positive… oh my!! I was so excited! Another thing we were on the same page about. I was willing to give in, but there was no need. When Molly checked Sarah’s heart rate, she had to place the monitor very, very low. She asked if this is where it was normally heard on me and I said no. She said she is into your pelvis if the heartbeat is gotten that low. She did not think that CPD would be a problem. This was not something I could fully register with more than a giggle right then. From this point forward there were a lot of things that I couldn’t fully understand or appreciate until later.
As we were leaving, Erik handed over the credit card for our down payment, and I ran to the bathroom. Molly was actually going to do our birth. I was so calm and so excited. I felt like I could dance. Amazingly enough, the bloody show returned. ☺ Maybe we would be calling Molly in the middle of the night…
Saturday, May 13th
The next morning I woke up, and almost immediately began having contractions. This was nothing new. In fact it had been going on during my waking hours for at least 10 days. Prodromal labor is what it is called if I am not mistaken. The one thing that I knew for sure is that this day was going to be just like the others… long on contractions short on baby! I had had enough of this!!
I called Delilah to vent my frustration that I was having contractions as soon as I woke up, and here we go again. Was she absolutely sure that it was normal to do this??? (Let me tell you how many times I had asked that question!) She assured me that it was, and told me the story of the Little Engine that Could. Each time I did this, I was getting somewhere, and to keep thinking I can. Eventually I would get over the hill and all the children would cheer because I had the candy and toys. ☺ The visualization made me laugh, and for whatever reason stuck with me.
After getting off the phone with Delilah, I told Erik I needed to stay busy so I did not concentrate on not being in labor again. Molly was coming over in the afternoon to get a feel of our home, and so that she would know where things were when I went into labor. Since we had the morning to kill, I called my dear friend Holly Jo, and asked her if it was okay if we came to her daughter Gracee’s birthday party. (We had RSVP’d no.) She made me feel so special and welcome, and told us to come over. She also informed me that she just knew I would have this baby for Mother’s day. I laughed.
We got ready and headed over to Holly Jo’s house, and we needed to stop and get Gracee a gift. The contractions had been coming every 15 minutes, as opposed to the every 20 minutes that I had experienced every other day. (I only timed them for two contractions that morning.) But when I ran into Old Navy, I had three contractions in the 20 minutes or so that I had been in there. I told Erik it must have been the moving around, and now look they were going to come more often, but just to remind me how I wasn’t in labor. Yes, I was officially acting like a three year old who doesn’t get their way…
Let me say, this attitude was unusual for me, and Erik really wanted me to feel better. He was so wonderful to me, and kept telling me not to be beaten down. This could be the day as much as any other day could. He reminded me that I need to enjoy this part of being pregnant, and that we would have our daughter soon. These contractions were getting her closer to arriving. He was right, but my attitude was not great, to say the least.
We arrived at the party, and had a lovely time. It was a great distraction. I spent most of the time talking to my dear friend Melanie, and her husband Craig. I thought I was doing a good job of not showing that I was having contractions, but Mel flat out asked me if I was. I said yes. ☺ Erik was timing them at this point and they were every 7-10 minutes. Erik thought this was a good thing, but I told him flat out not to get excited. He did not want to keep timing them, but he was ready for us to leave the party so we could get home. I told him this is not labor, and not to get excited. He told me that he was sad for me that I could not get excited. It could be labor, but even if it wasn’t, I was getting closer to having our daughter. Erik was so positive and kind to me all day. He had all the positive energy, and was freely sharing it.
On the way home from the party I called Delilah, and her husband Kurt picked up the phone. Kurt, who is very shy, talked to me for a few minutes and told me that with the contractions getting stronger and closer together that things might be happening. He thought it was a good sign. Delilah asked him if he was trying to take her job, and got on the phone. ☺ She also said that things sounded good, and that we would have a baby soon. She was even going to set out her doula clothes, just in case. I told her not to get too excited, but maybe just maybe this might be it.
I told Erik to go to the camera store to get a new camera since we might need it soon. He thought that we should really get home, and not go to the store. The kids needed a nap, and he thought that I should be home too. I told him again that this was not labor, but that the kids did need a nap, and we should go on home. I teased him that I might have this baby when we did not have a camera…
We got home and immediately put the kids to bed. They had fallen asleep in the van, and were really exhausted from playing at the party. I started to pick up the kitchen some, and Erik and I spent some time just talking. The contractions seemed to really be picking up some steam, but I told Erik they will stop before I go to bed. (side bar giggle ~ I was right!) However it was taking me a long time to load the dishwasher, even though we had just a few dishes. I thought I was really being a wimp. Delilah called, and asked how I was doing. I explained that I still thought this wasn’t labor, but the contractions were getting much closer together, like 5-7 minutes apart. She offered to come over, and I told her that it would be nice if she came for the prenatal visit IF she wanted to come. She explained that her older children would not mind so much if she left since they were in the process of writing some notes of apology at her request (gave me a laugh) and that Gigi was asleep. She got off the phone and headed over, since Molly was expected at around 4:30pm.
Delilah arrived, and I still hadn’t finished the dishes!!! (Really there weren’t that many, not even enough to fill up the dishwasher fully!) And the table was still dirty. The contractions seemed to be coming pretty close together, really slowing me down. I noticed that Erik was writing them down shortly before Delilah arrived, and he said they were every 3-4 minutes. I thought that they would slow down soon. Delilah asked if she could help and I asked her if she would wash the table off. (I don’t like to ask for help, but gosh it was close to time for Molly to arrive! At the rate I was going, that table wouldn’t get clean!) Erik teased Delilah about our getting the platinum doula services. We had talked to all the family members, she was cleaning our house… would she mind mowing the yard? Delilah laughed, and declined to provide the mowing services. She thought we might need her help today and she did not want to smell bad. ☺
I still disagreed about being in labor, but gosh those contractions were coming quickly. Erik and Delilah timed them at every three minutes, and D thought I should call Molly to give her a heads up. I knew that I probably should, but I could not bring myself to call. I was embarrassed and thought for sure I will be wrong… again. I had thought so many times this might be labor, and every time I was wrong. I did not want to embarrass myself in front of this new midwife, because I did not want her regretting her decision to take our care. Finally Delilah said, “Do you mind if I call her?” I agreed. I nearly cried even then because I just knew I was making too much of this. But I was having a hard time controlling my emotions, and I was on the verge of tears. I knew that when Isabella woke up I would not be able to handle her needs like I should. She loves to be held and cuddled when she gets up and I was hot, and not really in the mood to be touched. I cried that I felt that way when Delilah was calling. Delilah seemed to know that things were getting harder for me; because she said I needed to call Holly C and let her know that I might be in labor. I explained that it would be nice if she, Mel, and HJ watched Isabella and Nate while Molly was here. So, Delilah and Erik went to make the bed up for labor, and I called Holly C who was at Mel’s house scrapbooking. (Holly was the coordinator of the babysitters. If labor was going to be long, I did not want anyone feeling trapped here.) Holly answered right as a contraction was starting. I asked if she would mind watching the kids for a little bit while Molly came for a home visit. She said sure. I quickly got off the phone, because I did not want to talk. Delilah asked me if I told her I might be in labor, even if I did not believe it and I said no. (The funny thing is that Holly C, Delilah, and I all share the common trait of denial as a coping technique. D knew that Holly C would understand!) So, Delilah called Holly back and told her that I was thinking I wasn’t in labor… kinda like she didn’t just a few months before. And much like before she had called my midwife too.
When Delilah called Molly she asked her if she had her birth supplies. It never dawned on me that she might need extra supplies and more of a warning. Luckily Molly was close by with her student Holly H, and she had all her supplies. She was surprised that I was having contractions since she had talked to me earlier, and I said nothing about them. (Again, I did not want to embarrass myself.)
Molly and Holly H arrived. Molly had a huge smile on her face, and asked me if I thought we might have a baby today. I told her, I don’t know. I wondered if she would check me and tell me if I was in labor or if this was more of the prodromal labor-ish stuff. She said sure, and that while she was at it, she would do a pelvic assessment. When she checked me on the bed, she said, “no need to do a pelvic assessment, your pelvis is perfect fine, since your baby is already down, you are dilated to a four, fully effaced, and have a bulgy bag.” I immediately began to cry. MY BODY WAS WORKING! I WENT INTO LABOR ON MY OWN!!!! I had not done anything to bring on labor, but the time was at hand. PRAISE GOD!!! Of course, I still wasn’t sure that this was really, really labor, and I half wondered if my body could stop and stay like this for a while. But I did manage to celebrate in my warped little mind that this actually could be it. I might even have my baby tomorrow if I was lucky! I thought hey, it’s 4:40pm, I might have a baby by tomorrow afternoon. I mean I was essentially a first-time mother laboring.
Delilah called Cori, and she was on her way to assist with Molly! YEAH! Things were starting to move right along. I got into a comfortable night gown, and by then Holly C and Mel had arrived with Boston and Ethan in tow! It was like a little party. They decided to wait until I was dilated to a 6 or 7 to call Holly Jo. She had a sick child, was pregnant, and just had a party that morning, so no one wanted to get her there super early when we had a long night ahead. I was surprised that both Holly and Melanie came since it would be a long night, but I was so excited to see them, and my heart was so full of joy. Here I was supposedly in labor, and I was surrounded by my precious husband, and amazing friends who had supported me so beautifully throughout the pregnancy. My children were up and playing with Mel and Holly, Molly was smiling huge in the kitchen while doing paper work, Holly H was bringing in supplies. Cori arrived and was wearing the cutest shirt and a huge smile. It seemed like such a beautiful moment to me. Now, I hoped it was true that I was in labor. I would hate it if all this was going on, and then the contractions stopped like they had in the past. But I was going to enjoy it for the moment.
Molly took my blood pressure and it was 104/60. I was so relaxed! It’s great being at home! Don’t get me wrong the contractions were causing me to take notice and breathe. But I was so excited and riding so high.
I decided to take a shower. I asked Molly if it was okay, and Erik said, Brandy, this is your house, and your decision. If you want to take a shower, then take one. I had just started making cookies, so I asked Delilah to make sure they did not burn, please of course!
While in the shower, the contractions really kicked it up a notch. They were almost unbearable. I felt nauseous, weak, and like I could not keep doing this. What a huge change! The water felt great on my back, and the cold of the shower wall felt great on my forehead, but the contractions had really gotten so close together it felt like they were on top of each other. Standing had always made the contractions worse, but wow. This was really intense! I got out of the shower and asked if I could be checked again. I thought it’s time for this baby to come out now!! Molly checked me and I was a 5. Erik was really pumped, and I was like what??? Only a five?? I had a miniature panic in my head thinking I can’t do this. But when I laid down, the contractions were still coming, but were more bearable. I decided that I would lay down for a little while. Erik had the big fan going, and he cuddled me, Delilah was offering verbal comfort, and making sure I was comfortable. She kept answering me when I said I was not doing well, and I was being a big wimp. Cori was there answering too and rubbing my legs. I was really afraid I was going to blow this opportunity. But as I laid down, closed my eyes and things got quiet, the only person I was aware of being there was Erik. Things were quiet, and I felt like I was regaining strength. The contractions were coming, but lying down on my left side they were less intense. This break really helped me get my thoughts back together, and I prayed for strength and wisdom. I finally started thinking I need to get up and sit on my birth ball. I knew that lying down wasn’t going to help Sarah come out, but that I could not stand. It made the contractions too intense. I opened my eyes and I was so surprised to see Delilah still there. I had really phased out, and only knew Erik was there with me. She was sitting on the floor reading the Bible, and she read to us a Psalm that she was reading and praying for us. It was a beautiful moment.
After she finished, I asked if I could have my birth ball, since I wanted to sit rather than lie down/slow things down. I was under much more control, by God’s grace and it was time to get down to business. Delilah and Cori came in the room, and Erik helped me get on the ball. Delilah asked me if I wanted my CD’s on that I made for labor, and I said no. I liked it when people were talking. (It really surprised me that I enjoyed that. It really helped me cope with the contractions.) I did not want to be more than a passive part of the conversations, but I enjoyed listening. It made me feel like there were other things going on, and I liked that a lot. I don’t remember most of what we discussed, but I did laugh when during a contraction I told Erik that there “was racing at the Satan bowl.” The car racing at the nearby track was making me nutty!! No one else in the room knew what I was talking about, and so it looked like I flipped my lid. Erik gave the translation, and we all had a good laugh.
Periodically throughout all of this Holly H would come in and take the fetal heart tones, but I don’t know how often. Time was pretty meaningless. I remember thinking as the contractions were on top of each other on the birth ball that I could not do this for another 12 hours. The funny thing was that I was looking at the clock trying to figure out 12 hours, but I could not really interpret the clock in a meaningful way. I could remember it was 7 something, but the something was impossible for me to remember.
The contractions had gotten to where they were just on top of each other. They were not impossible to ride through, but some really were so painful. I was thinking in between how different this was than Pitocin contractions. Pitocin had the contractions right together, but the pain with the Pit was so different, and so much larger than these contractions. It was helping me deal with the contractions. I was having to think about that.
I suddenly felt a popping sensation, and I thought my water must have broken. Turns out I was wrong, but Delilah said you should get up and go to the bathroom. I had been having trouble getting urine out, and it had been a while since I went to the bathroom. I agreed, but when I stood up, I started pushing!!!
I thought I screamed that I was pushing, because in my brain I sure did. I could not believe it. I was completely overwhelmed, and I was so scared. The sensation for me was very overwhelming. I wasn’t sure I could move, and I was amazed at the power going through my body. Molly came in to check me, and told me I was complete except for a cervical lip. She said she could break my water to help the lip disappear and I all but begged her to break my water. She told me to get up on the bed. I said I could not do it. She said I will help you get on the bed, just wait until you have a break and we will get you on the bed. (Our bed is quite high off the ground.) I thought back to a birth story I had read of another VBAC mom who had to move a lot to help the baby come out. I thought if Sarah needs me to move, then I can do what needs to get done. So, when the contraction stopped I jumped up on the bed, got on my hands and knees and buried my head into the pillows. I think everyone was surprised I jumped up after I said I couldn’t. Molly broke the bag of water. Erik stood next to me, and Delilah got on the other side of the bed to help comfort me. Delilah also got cool rags, and made sure the pillows were in the right spot for me to be as comfortable as possible. I looked at the clock for the first time and took in the time. It was 8:10pm.
I had said that I did not want to be told when to push or how to push, unless it would keep me from tearing. Molly and Cori were great. They told me that I should avoid pushing unless I could not help it since I still had the cervical lip. They said that the lip was disappearing with little pushes. Once the lip was gone, they told me to push, but take my time about it. Delilah said not like a cannon ball or bowling ball, and Molly said, think more of a gutter ball… wobble, wobble! I could not appreciate the humor of that at the moment, because the urge to push was so overwhelming. Once I began pushing, Molly and Cori were putting warm compresses on the perineal area. THAT FELT SO GOOD. It made it so much easier for me to calmly push, and felt so good in between the pushes. As I continued to push the feeling became less overwhelming and much more empowering. I could hear Erik praying for me, and everyone assured me I was doing great. I was having a hard time believing she was coming out though. I kept asking Erik over and over if she was really coming. If it made him nutty to have me ask so much he did not tell me. I was sweating like I have never sweat in my life, and I felt like I was grunting so loud with each push. I was sure I was scaring my kids! I am told that I was not that loud, but in my brain I was really, really loud. I continued to pray in between contractions, and even once “yelled” for the Lord to help me. He certainly did.
I continued to ask Erik repeatedly if she was really coming. I was afraid that I was not doing things right. Finally, Delilah tells me that they can see her head, and Molly invites me to feel her head. I was sure I did not have the ability and strength to do that, but I asked Erik to look. He said he could see her head, and it gave me renewed energy to draw from. I was actually pushing out my baby. I started to enjoy the pushing as much as a person can when they are at that stage. Molly would tell me when to stop to avoid tearing, and I started to recognize the sensation and stop before she said to. She would point to different spots on my perineal area, and tell me to relax/melt that part. I have no idea how, but when she touched it, I was able to relax that area. (Later she told me that she had read that from a famous midwife’s book, and she did not know how it worked either, but it did.)
Finally they tell Erik come down here to catch your daughter. I was so excited, and I just could not believe that my husband was about to catch our baby. Her head was totally out, and I needed to push out her shoulders and body. She had not made a noise yet, and I was told there was quite a bit of meconium. I finally gave a last push, and I felt her body come out of my body. I JUST DELIEVERED OUR BABY. I could not believe it. Erik was laughing that Sarah had more of a controlled fall, and was kissing me and telling me how beautiful she was. I kept waiting for her to cry though. I was getting scared, and Molly told me that she was great, she just wasn’t ready to cry yet. Sarah was still getting the cord blood and was going to be fine, but we would not be able to harvest the stem cells as I originally planned because Sarah needed them. Since we had the meconium it was ideal that she start breathing on her own, rather than suck in the fluid. Molly and Cori got out the syringe, and asked Sarah to please not make them do that to her. She immediately began crying. ☺ What an amazing noise!! I started to cry and said, “CPD my ass!!!” (What an incredibly crass thing to come from my mouth at such a beautiful moment!) I could not believe that I had just given birth to our daughter. The tears were just flowing. I also made mention of the Little Engine that Could and told Delilah that the children were cheering.
I wanted to see Sarah and I needed to flip over. Since she was still attached, this was going to be a little tricky, combined with the fact that there was meconium everywhere. As I was flipping over, the placenta came out. I apologized! I had never felt another contraction and was not aware it was coming! I was appalled that I could be so unaware of the placenta coming out!
Sarah was so beautiful, and reminded me so much of Nathan. She looked so much like him when he was born. Erik cut Sarah’s cord, and she began to nurse. It was so awesome! I was so thankful to everyone for being there, and for making her birth so beautiful. I was so humbled, and amazed, and just felt so much disbelief that I had just had our daughter. I felt bad that we had not called our Moms since they both wanted to know when we went into labor, but really things had gone so fast that there wasn’t a good time to call them. I wasn’t sure I was in labor until the shower. So, we each got a cell phone and called our Moms then. Erik called Stacey right after he talked to Sandi, and I spoke to her for a few minutes too. (Erik did manage to sneak a call into her after he knew I was in labor.)
Although I had thought I would have the kids in before I introduced Sarah to my friends, I decided that since there was still blood and stuff about that it would be better if the kids did not come in just yet. But I wanted Holly C and Mel to know that Sarah was here. We were all shocked that it happened so fast. The last they heard I was at a 5! When they came in they told me that they thought I might be having her since everyone was in the room. They came up to the door to listen, heard Delilah yell out, and knew she had arrived! They had the most beautiful reactions to seeing her, and I was so honored that they came to watch my other babies!
After they visited I went and took an herbal bath. Erik took Sarah to meet Nate and Bella because they were tired, and I feared they would go to sleep before I was able to be there. He came back and said that they were a little surprised, but very excited by their little sister. I guess they had heard she was coming for so long, that they could not believe she was really here. ☺ I told Erik that if the blood was all cleared away then it would be fine with me if the kids came back while I was in the bath, because I wanted to see them before they went to bed. They came back, and we talked about Sarah, and they did seem very shocked. But Nate was more concerned about the brown herbal water than most anything else! His concern did not prevent him from asking to get in the water though! Isabella wasn’t at all worried about asking, and was looking for a way into the tub. Erik took the kids off to bed, and Sarah got in the water with me. I still was in a state of disbelief that I had just given birth to her, and I kept rattling on and on about it to Delilah, Cori, and Molly. I did notice that Cori had a cool henna tattoo on her foot, but otherwise it was pretty much a conversation about what had just occurred!
After the bath, I handed Sarah off to Erik, and jumped in the shower. (I thought I needed to clean the herbs off of me.) I got back onto the bed, and Molly did a quick check on me. My bleeding was great, so there was no need for any kind of Pitocin shot. My uterus was feeling like it should, and was shrinking like it needed to. But the best news of all was that I did not have any kind of tear or even a skid mark. I was so amazed. Molly did not think I did, but the exam conclusively showed she was right. I was sure I didn’t tear as well since I was not in pain, and when I went to the bathroom there was not any burning. Amazing!
After that, it was time for Sarah to get the newborn exam. We wanted everyone in there. Delilah went around asking how much everyone thought she weighed. I thought she was in the seven pound range. She seemed so small to me. Molly laughed out loud when I gave that guess. ☺ Erik guessed 9 lbs 12oz, and it was my understanding that almost everyone else was thinking over 10lbs. Holly H was careful to be sure Sarah was in the pink sling for weighing, although I told them I did not mind if it was blue. She was 9lbs, 8oz, and Holly H had gotten the closest with her guess. She was 20 inches long, and had a 14.25 inch head circumference. She was healthy as could be, and it was great fun to be able to watch, and ask questions while the exam was going on. I was right there, it was amazing. No one was taking Sarah out of my sight without asking me first, and then it was to show her off or move to another place in the room. I was just amazed. After the exam, I got Sarah in her first diaper, and got her dressed. I was in a state of disbelief. My baby was right there, and I was STANDING, laughing, and getting my daughter dressed.
After the exam, Molly said “We are going to pack up and tuck you into bed.” Holly C and Melanie left. Everyone had offered to get me something to eat, but I really wasn’t starving. I was told I had to eat before they left and I had pizza and juice. It was really good. Molly, Holly H, Cori, and Delilah finished up paperwork, and sure enough they were all gone. (Even saw themselves out!) There I was sitting in bed with my older children asleep, Erik fading fast next to me and little Sarah crashed out at my side. I was so wide awake and I felt like dancing. I knew I needed to sleep, but I had to sit and take in my life. What an amazing gift the day had been.
I am still so thankful to the Lord for the grace I was shown. I had the most amazing birth that ever occurred. I really believe that, and I praise God!