I love hearing other moms’ birth stories. If your labor was 6 hours or 16, or if you had a vaginal birth or cesarean, it’s all so fascinating!
I believe that God needs none of our help performing miracles. He’s got it handled. It’s what He does. But when it comes to pregnancy/birth, I believe that He is allowing us mothers to assist Him in creating a miracle. How could you not see birth as a beautiful thing when thinking of it this way?
And no matter how your baby arrived in this world, their arrival was a miracle!
I haven’t actually told many people my birth story. Sure, they know the basics, but I had a very rough birth and didn’t share that aspect. I didn’t have great results with my OB, so I started seeing a midwife. And, even though my prenatal visits with her rocked, my birth went horribly wrong and feel like I should share my experience. I’d like to provide some insight to expectant moms, as well as those people in the baby-business.
So here’s my story:
Week 4: I found out I was pregnant and scheduled an 8-week appointment with my OB, at her suggestion.
Week 8: I got to see my little one for the first time! I didn’t really receive much info from my OB, and wasn’t informed of my choices…or anything, really.
Week 12: Got to see my baby again! My OB still hadn’t offered much info, and was only with me for a few minutes. She did give me a pamphlet for a childbirth class, but that was it.
Week 16: I didn’t get to see my baby at this appointment, and I still received no info.
At this point, I was starting to get really nervous! I mean, here I am, about to become a MOM, and I know absolutely nothing about what my body will go through!
I was starting to feel pretty disappointed in my OB…I guess I should have started researching, but I had no clue what to look up!
Week 20: We found out we were going to be having a boy! I cried. Seriously, I was so sure I was having a girl, that I cried. Bad mommy confession! I did start to feel excited after a day or two, because this meant that we could start talking more seriously about baby names!
Week 24: At around this time, my sister gave me some information about midwives, natural births, and home births. Considering I had received zero information from my OB about anything, I was pretty excited to start researching! And, what do you know? There’s a free-standing birth center run by a certified midwife right here in my town! The only one in Oregon!
I made an appointment to check it out.
Week 28: After taking a tour of the birth center and meeting with the midwife and one of her apprentices, I had my first appointment!
A prenatal appointment with my midwife was far different than what I had experienced, thus far, with my OB. First of all, the appointments are an hour long! 45 minutes longer than with my OB! And second, she gave me information! For the first time in my pregnancy, I began to feel like it was all going to be okay!
The thing I remember most from that first appointment was how my midwife described birth. She said, “It’ll be the hardest thing you ever do, and it’ll be the best thing you ever do.”
One of the questions I asked at my first appointment was how to get the baby circumcised (I was pretty sure she couldn’t do it at her center). She said they couldn’t do it, and she gave me some literature about forgoing circumcision. I must have looked so confused…I didn’t realize I had a choice! I thought circumcision was just what you do when you have a boy! (My son is not circumcised, by the way. But I’ll still like you if you chose to circumcise!)
Week 32: I had my second prenatal appointment with my midwife, and I fell a little bit in love with her.
Week 36: I had my third prenatal appointment. My hubby and I also attended the childbirth classes put on at the birth center. It was at those classes that I began to seriously panic. We watched three different videos showing women giving birth…something my husband and I hadn’t seen before.
Once we got over the initial shock of seeing a bunch of naked boobies and hairy vaginas (we’re pretty conservative, so I’m not lying when I say ‘shock’), I watched the women in the videos very carefully, taking note to how they were positioned, pushing, breathing, etc. My newest heroes.
I decided then and there that I would be birthing my son in the tub, in a squatting position. It seemed to be the easiest and best option! The women in the videos seemed to be most in control and empowered when they were squatting.
Weeks 37-40 I began having weekly appointments with my midwife. We came up with a birth plan and finalized everything I could possibly think of.
My hubby and I also decided on a name and finished the nursery!
Weeks 41-42: I went 2 1/2 weeks past my due date…uggg!
My big event began on Monday, the 21st of April:
Because the baby was so late, I had to have an ultrasound to make sure everything looked okay. We found out he was in the breech position. I called my midwife and she had me come in first thing Monday morning.
We spent all freaking day trying to manually flip the baby. To do this, I had to get my pregnant butt into the downward-facing-dog position, while my step-mom, sister, mom, and husband took turns shaking my hips. The hope was that the upside-down position and the jarring movements would coerce the baby into the correct position.
Monday night, around 7 pm, another midwife showed up. This midwife has actually delivered a few breeched babies and had successfully turned a few babies. She was our best bet to get this kid turned around.
Now, contractions hurt like hell, but manually turning a breeched baby isn’t exactly a walk in the park, either. There are YouTube videos on how this is done, if you’re curious, but basically, you just push and poke and prod (and inflict pain) on momma’s belly until the baby turns.
After about 20 minutes, both midwives were convinced he had flipped. We spent the next three hours trying to induce labor using this nasty herbal drink. No luck. So we went home and returned the next day.
Tuesday, the 22nd of April:
We returned to the birth center at about 10 am the next morning. We continued with the herbal drink from the night before.
I had to drink that nasty stuff every 15 minutes.
Every. Fifteen. Minutes.
After each swig, my hubby would walk a few laps around the building with me. We were getting that baby out, dammit! We spent the entire day doing this. We left the birth center at 7 pm, which means I had to drink the tea roughly 36 times. I couldn’t even tell you how many laps we walked. Most annoying day of my life!
We got home around 7:30, fell asleep around 8, and awoke at 10 to my water breaking!!
I hopped into the shower so I didn’t leak everywhere and immediately called my midwife. We met her at the birth center a half-hour later.
Wednesday, the 23rd of April:
I spent the next day in labor. The entire freakin’ day.
My contractions started out painful, obviously, but by hour 12 the pain was excruciating. And it just kept coming.
I was in and out of the birthing tub, bouncing on a yoga ball, laying on the bed. Basically, anything that I thought might offer even a tiny bit of comfort, I did.
We hit 24 hours, and the pain was still coming.
At midnight, after spending 26 hours in labor, my midwife said she thought it was time to go to the hospital. So, off we went.
Thursday, the 24th of April:
We got to the hospital around 12:15 am, and I was rushed right in. The doctors and nurses were in a frenzy. As the nurse was sticking me with all sorts of needles, the doctor did a vaginal exam.
I was 10 cm dilated. I was ready to go. And Owen was breeched.
He said we needed to rush into the OR immediately. I needed a c-section, like, yesterday. And I was totally cool with it. At that point, I was just ready to be done. If that meant cutting me open, oh well!!
They ran me into the OR for a spinal tap. It was pretty intense. I’ve never had any surgery before, so the fact that everyone was frantic really didn’t help me relax. I was still having contractions, so I actually yelled at the anesthesiologist to be carful! I didn’t want to be paralyzed because he stuck me in the wrong spot!
Once I was fully numb and on the operating table, my husband was able to join me. He held my hand while the doctors tugged and pulled. Once they took the baby, he got to help clean him up and cut the umbilical cord.
Then it was my turn. The most beautiful thing in the whole world was placed on my chest, squirming and whining. He was red and gross and amazing and mine!
At 1:23 am, after 27 hours of labor and an emergency c-section, Owen Finley had finally arrived.
Now, as excited as we all were, my family (and the very scary doctor) was also extremely pissed at my midwife for having me labor while the baby was breeched, then waiting so long to bring me in.
But I’ll tell you what I told them.
My midwife offered to order an ultrasound after they flipped the baby, but we said no. They seemed so certain that he flipped, it just seemed unnecessary.
She also offered to do a vaginal exam around 10 hours in, but I said no. A vaginal exam can introduce bacteria, then you’re put on a deadline. If you don’t deliver within before that deadline, you need to go to the hospital. Because it’s not uncommon for first-time moms to be in labor for 24 hours or more, I didn’t want to be given a deadline.
Talk about pressure.
So, my midwife certainly could have done things differently, but I was determined to make my own choices regarding my labor. And I did. I don’t blame her for the messy labor.
And you know what? My baby boy was born in perfect health! He got a 9 on his apgar test, and he was (and is) the most beautiful baby in the whole world! I’m not biased, it’s a fact. He is the most beautiful.
I was told that I might have feelings of disappointment or sadness, not being able to have the birth I wanted. But I didn’t. I got to experience so much! I was in a birth center and a hospital. I had 27 hours of contractions and a c-section. It didn’t go according to plan, but my baby was born healthy. And in the end, that’s what matters most.