Of all the crazy things I’ve done in life, and let’s face it… there have many, this was by far the craziest.
The funny thing about birth is that, like much of parenting, you can plan all you want but you really don’t know how it’s going to happen until your in it. That is somewhat difficult, but also exhilarating. To be fully in the moment, fully alive, fully invested, is a truly enriching gift.
Three weeks before my due date, my water broke at noon on a Memorial Day Monday. This is so embarrassing, but I couldn’t honestly tell weather I had peed my pants or if my water had broken! ha! As an hour passed I continued to “pee my pants.” hmmmm….I mentioned this to Jake and he suggested that we go see our midwife to be sure I’m not in labor.
The nurse at the hospital confirmed that it had been my water breaking. While I was feeling some energy/tightening I was not experiencing any pain or discomfort so I was convinced I was not in labor. They monitored my belly and could see contractions happening but there was ZERO PAIN. The nurse said I had until 8pm that night to get things going or I had to be put on pitocin. I used all the techniques I could safely to try and get the contractions going. When I would feel a surge of energy I would practice my visualizations and breath, still feeling zero pain. We went for a long walk, pulled out a small tree, nipple stimulation, etc. Finally not seeing any progress I gave in to possibly starting pitocin. I was so nervous about this. I really wanted an intervention free labor. I had learned about the snowball effect and knew that pitocin would make laboring more painful.
Feeling very nervous on the drive to the hospital, my fears were met with such grace as Jake pointed out to me a family of 3 deers in the parking lot right outside the entrance. They were eating on a small patch of grass in-between the cars. Two adults and a baby. Instantly, I heard that still small voice whisper, “I’ve got you.” I knew the Lord had all of us in his hands and surrendered to his love and his will. Continuously, God has used deer as a gift and symbol to me to remind me of his presence. And he hadn’t abandoned me yet.
Finally checked in to our hospital room, they started me on a low dose of pitocin and projected I could sleep through the night and when I woke up they would increase it to really get labor started.
At 11pm that night I was dosing off in Jakes arms watching an episode of Friends. I awoke to the feeling of being punched really hard in my stomach from the inside. Then I felt like I had to take a really big poop. I remember learning that when you feel like you have to poop it’s really the baby entering into the vaginal canal. But I thought I haven’t even started labor so it must mean I actually had to go to the bathroom! After trying to go for several minutes, I gave up. And that is when I finally felt the contractions.
And oh man, did I feel the contractions!!! Less than 2 minutes apart and extremely painful and intense. They crippled me to the floor. I couldn’t catch my breath and was constantly fighting off hyperventilating. I had no time to breathe or even think. I tried to get into a rhythm, visualize, relax, breath, anything….and just could not. The pain was soul-tearing, that is the only way I can describe it. It felt like my soul was being ripped out of me. After an hour of this I thought there is no way I can handle this. I honestly felt so weak, thinking that some women are in labor like this for days and I can’t even handle an hour! My dreams of a natural childbirth were fading. I now completely understand why someone would plan on or eventually ask for an epidural. I respect that decision and honestly, got there myself. Emotionally, this was hard for me because it wasn’t what I really wanted. I had planned, practiced, prayed, studied, and desperately wanted to do it all naturally. I was broken hearted but new that I had to make the best decision for my body and my baby.
Jake and I set up a code word for if/when I wanted an epidural. This way I could scream and cry all I wanted and ask for one without having the pressure of being asked about meds. I squeaked out the code word in between my crazy breathing and asked for an epidural, feeling like I would surly die if this pain continued any longer. I laid down and finally had my cervix checked. The nurse looked at me and said, “You can’t have an epidural.” WHAT?!!!!! NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! WHHHYYYYYYY!!!!????? I screamed and clung on for dear life.
“You’re 10 centimeters and need to start pushing.”
OH MY GOODNESS….. I laughed and laughed at myself for being exactly as all the literature said I would be–thinking I can’t do this. Ready to give up. And that’s when you’re almost done. And here I was, ready to push. I wasn’t weak. I was incredibly strong. I had gone through beginning and middle labor stages without even knowing it. I could do this.
They finally stopped the pitocin and I could finally catch my breath. I could ride the contractions and move with them. I found the best position to be on my hands and knees.
I felt wild. I felt beautiful. Not the kind of beauty of a pretty or attractive person; a deeper beauty, like that of a sunset or the ocean. I felt like I was a part of God’s creation and it’s deeper beauty which calls to us all. Of course, it is funny to think about this now, two years later as I’m writing it, knowing I was a bloated, blochey, sweaty laboring woman on all fours. But oh, the wonderful mystery and rawness of birth. It truly is beautiful.
Jake tells me that I was indeed wild. He says I was cracking jokes and inviting everyone in! We had a doctor on standby sense my midwife was on her way as no one knew I was that far along. After 20 minutes of yelling and pushing and joke telling, my mom told me she could see our little one’s head. I reached down and felt him and that was all the motivation I needed. This was a scary moment, as every mama knows, that this is point where everything can tear. It is an incredible thing to get to a place where you are ready to literally rip yourself open. But this is only the beginning of motherhood. The opening yourself up to give love and care to others. The breaking and giving away to gain that which is even more precious. In your heart it happens again and again. And one thousand times more will you do what ever it takes for your beloved gift from God. And one thousand times more will it all be worth it. I myself got to that place at this moment of feeling him and knowing I was so close to holding him. Gritting and shouting I let out one final push.
At long last. There he was. Perfect. Innocent. Slimy. Sweet. Mine. My Wyatt. He settled into my arms and for an hour he just stared at me and I at him. Skin to skin and all that pain I would do again and again for this moment.
The staff were all so wonderful and supportive. My midwife was incredible. Coaching me and encouraging me, I felt so safe and comfortable with her. I did have a birth photographer but since she only had 20 minutes to get there he was already born! But she got some beautiful pictures of those first moments. It was a wild experience and I hope God grants me the honor of being able to do it again. Patiently, and sometimes not so patiently, waiting on His perfect timing. And now I know, all of the waiting will be worth it.
Below are some of the beautiful pictures Brianne took for us and at the bottom of the page are some resources for expecting mamas. ❤
Here are some resources for anyone about to be a mama!
My Favorite Books on Natural Birth and Attachment Parenting
What to Eat When You’re Pregnant
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