Thursday, August 9, 2012

Rowan Declan's Home Water Birth

This pregnancy was such an interesting pregnancy, and was such a reminder to me that every pregnancy is as unique as the child you are carrying with it. Among my three previous pregnancies, this one was most like my pregnancy with Aidan. I had a car accident when I was about 23 weeks pregnant, and from that moment on, I had an irritable uterus. It was a bit worrisome, having so many contractions from such an early time. It was HUGE relief when I finally hit 37 weeks, knowing that he would most likely be healthy if he was born from that point on. I went to a pool party with the ladies from church when I was about 39 weeks pregnant, and had some serious contractions that day and some bloody show that evening. I thought it might be the start of things. And it was, sort of. I continued to have contractions every day from that point on. Not like practice contractions, but like real labor contractions. I would have a day off here and there, but for the most part, I would contract pretty regularly throughout every day and every night. It made me pretty anxious as I waited for things to pick up. Every day I would wake up with such disappointment to realize things had not progressed and I still had not met my baby. Every day, I would wake up with a new stress and a new worry. I spent the next 3 weeks trying to keep busy. I took many walks, took the kids to the zoo, took them to Centennial Olympic Park, took them swimming, I walked the dog 3 times a day, and just kept as busy on my feet as possible. At 41 weeks, I went to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, and spent the day in prayer. I was loosing faith: faith in my body, faith in creation, faith in the process. My whits and my nerves were certainly strained. Before I knew it, I was 42 weeks pregnant. By God's grace, I was given a peace that day. I knew it couldn't be much longer. I knew that if I had made it that far, I could make it as long as it would take.

Around 2pm on August 7th, the day I hit 42 weeks, I started having regular contractions. I had contractions through the previous night, but it was like 1-2 per hour and nothing to write home about. I was so stoked to finally have a pattern brewing. I spent the day alone in my room hiding out. I tried to keep things going by giving my labor some "natural stimulation" and used some random methods to release my own natural oxytocin. This seemed to help a lot so I kept this up throughout the day. A couple of hours later, I noticed I was getting some contractions that required a bit of work. I was soooo hesitant to let my doula and midwife know. My labor had been so up and down, I didn't want to get my hopes up. I went ahead and let them know what was going on, and kept them updated over the next few hours. My midwives and my doulas all decided to come over sometime that evening (can't quite remember what time it was when they showed up). I have a history of fast labors and I think they all wanted to be certain not to miss anything. Not long after the midwives showed up, my mom came over as well.

When everyone got here, I felt like I was just having a good evening hanging out with friends. It certainly didn't feel like I was in labor. I don't know if it was the mix of new people, the change in scenery (because I left my room to walk the rest of the house) or what, but I felt my contractions start to drift apart. They kept up in strength, but were loosing the pattern and with that, I lost a little bit of hope. So I went back up to my room to have some time to myself, to rest and pray, and regain my focus. After falling asleep for a while (I think everyone in the house went to sleep for a while), I woke up and freaked out that maybe my contractions disappeared. It was the next morning and I was still pregnant. Not like my previous labors at all. I was mad and frustrated. Where the heck were my contractions?! What the heck is going on?! My photographer and doulas were all in the room with me when my photographer asked if she could pray with me. It was like she knew all of my worries and fears when she spoke with God and poured them out for me. Her prayer was such a blessing, and I just laid in bed and wept for a moment. I think we all cried a bit.

 When my midwife woke up and we'd all had breakfast, I had her check me to see what was going on. We were all surprised to see that I was at 8cm. I had a bulging bag of water and the baby was "floating" as she put it and just not coming down. Basically, we were waiting on my water to break at this point for my labor to progress. Evidently, I have some super strong bag of waters or something, because over the next couple of hours, I tried EVERYTHING to get my contractions more frequent or to encourage my water to break. I danced, I stomped, I walked, I got in and out of the birth pool, I squatted, I sat on the toilet, I pushed a little with each contraction that I did have, but it wouldn't budge. I had a constant pressure that wouldn't go away. Not like "I need to poop/push the baby out" pressure, but just like, my contractions never fully went away. It was so odd knowing that I should feel like I was almost done, but felt like I wasn't in labor hardly at all. I talked with my doula and husband about asking the midwife to break my water. I KNEW in my heart that's the next step I needed to take, but it was so hard to take that step. In my previous labors I had a labor that gradually built and by the time pushing came, I was in la-la labor land and ready to just push the baby out. This time, I was walking around just like I am today and I knew the second my water broke, it would only be minutes before I'd be pushing my baby out. I told everyone there I felt like I was about to bungee jump or something. I was so nervous, but also excited, and knew it needed to happen. I also have to interject here and give my midwives and doulas a virtual high five. No one pressured me into this intervention at all. They actually all reassured me that they were all fine with letting my labor go on as it was and had no problem waiting. But I felt so stuck, and I knew at the bottom of my heart that this would make the difference I needed.

Soooooo, I had another cervical check after lunch, and my midwife broke my water as I requested. I can't quite remember exactly what time this was, but I do know that everyone had just finished up lunch. My cervix was almost completely gone and my water was still just hanging out there. So, she broke it, gave me a depends, and I stood up to help the baby fall into place. It didn't take very long before my contractions picked up and moved on to the next level. I stood by my birth pool and practically jumped in at one point when I felt my "pushing" contractions coming on. I've always said that pushing contractions feel like throwing up, but out your butt, haha. I tried squatting, but that killed my hips. I felt like I needed to be able to move my legs back and forth during each contraction. I'm sure it looked to everyone else like I was flopping around like a fish in the water. I probably looked a hot mess. I was roaring an growling with each contraction and flip flopping all over the birth pool. I was glad to be in the water because it made it so much easier to move around as much as I needed without much effort. Finally, my favorite position was leaning back so that I could bend and adjust my legs when I felt the baby coming down through my hips and pelvis. It was when I got in this position that I finally submitted to pushing. Up to this point, I'd give little grunts here and there, but didn't give any REAL pushes. Well, once I pushed, my body hopped on board and pushed with me. Talk about a roller coaster ride. My body and I were pushing whether I wanted to or not at this point. And for some reason I was mad and wanted a break.I did NOT want to push anymore, but I was just getting started.. I remember wanting to just poop and take a nap. HA! We think the dumbest things sometimes in labor. Anyhow, I probably pushed for 3-5 contractions. They were super weird and sporadic contractions. But the second to last contraction, I felt Rowan crowning and I yelled out to everyone that the baby is coming. Then with the next contraction I gave it everything I had. I was done and didn't want to do this any more. It was at this point, when I remember feeling the ultimate intensity of everything I had been through in my entire pregnancy put into one moment. This same moment, I felt the power of God surge through my body while His hands were bringing forth His child. This was the moment I had to deal with any and all fears, and I had to set aside my self and my fears and allow God's hands to work. I pushed out his head, took a breath, and then pushed out his body in the next breath. I looked down and grabbed him out of the water and pulled him to my chest. He was super quiet and just looked up at me and gave a little whimper. I was just amazed. I was amazed that I just did that on my own, with only God's guiding hands. I sat in the pool and just loved on my new baby. This baby that I had waited and waited for. Who took me to the brink of my sanity over the past few weeks. This baby who brought me closer to my God as I pleaded for guidance and assistance from in ways I hadn't in years. I sat and breathed in his beauty. I looked him over and over again and thanked God for my awesome little man. It was such a great relief to have him in my arms. I had daydreamed of his fat little cheeks and here they were. I just relished in him and his perfection.

About 20 minutes after he was born, we cut his cord, I birthed the placenta, then I moved to the bed. After an exam I was glad to hear that I had nothing more than a little stretching and bruising, but I didn't have any tears that needed to be repaired. While I rested and got my exam, I pretty much just watched my husband while he snuggled our new little pooper. He brought him back to me so that I could nurse, and Rowan did great, and I barely had to try to get him latched on. I think he nursed for about 45 minutes. After he nursed, the midwives helped me get cleaned up and then I got back in bed and relaxed as they did Rowan's exam and took his measurements and weight. After that, they cleaned up and left us to enjoy our new baby and relax.

All in all, I am soooo happy about how everything happened. Home birth seemed just so easy and natural. I never felt the need for anything that the hospital had to offer. The midwives had everything I needed. And gave just the right amount of care. I felt like they gave me the space that I needed, but also gave the perfect amount of care that I needed. It was the perfect balance. I'm so thankful to have been given the opportunity for a home birth, I wish every mother could have this option if she wanted it.

Looking back over my four birth experiences, I can't say one was harder/better/easier/more challenging than the other. Each one came equipped with unique blessings and unique struggles. Each birth and each child shaped me in a new way in becoming a mother to each child. Each birth also revealed something new about myself, and I feel like I learned so much about God in each experience as well. It's in those most difficult moments when we meet our real self and our faith is truly tested. I'm so thankful for those moments and what they have shown. It's the most humbling and most character-building moment a person can go through.


  1. Que, thank you for sharing your story in such detail. You made me laugh, cry, and remember everything I felt/thought/did as Ruby was being born. What a wonderful process. You are such an inspiration to me. xoxo

  2. Que, this was so beautifully and simply written. I second Nicole: you are one inspirational lady. I'm so overwhelmed with joy for your family, and this wonderful new little guy who now gets to be a part of it! Most birth stories, while fascinating and wonderful, kinda give me a small little panicky feeling---maybe it's the tone, or the memories they trigger of my very long and drawn out contractions? For some reason, even though this seemed like a challenging birth for you, this account speaks of tranquility to me. I think God has blessed you with unique forbearance and a spirit that is calming to others. It what makes you such an awesome doula (and friend)!

  3. you are so amazing. congratulations on a job well done. i would love to be able to have my next birth like really are such an inspiration.

  4. Jess I could not be more proud of you than I am at this very moment. You write so beautiful. Your words and the way you express yourself. You are one amazing woman. I love you so much. Now I think I need to go buy more tissues.

  5. Wow....I teared up reading your was just so awesome. After an unnecessary(I felt) c-section with my son, I definitely want a natural birth next time around, and after reading your story and knowing you totally placed your faith(and body and baby) in God's hands...well it just reaffirms my decision all the more. I wish you could be my doula next time around!! I know I don't really know you, but I love you and your babies anyway!!! :)

  6. P.S. Nevaeh and I were silent, over in the corner during her delivery. Nevaeh was real concerned about her mamma, but she didn't want to leave her side, and me- nor did I... this will be an experience that Nevy will never forget. The love she showed for her mother was so touching and when her baby brother was born, she was so proud. I wish she could put her feelings in writing for all to read, but for her to try to discribe it, I'm sure she cannot find the words. During this LONG awaiting time, I got to see Jessique for maybe ten minutes, until the water was broken and she went in labor full force. I am so releived and I praise my Lord, that my daughter's health prevailed and so did my new grandson's. I am happy Nevaeh got to experience this wonderful miracle with her mother! I cannot praise my Lord, Jesus Christ for all he has blessed me with!

  7. Wow! What an amazing story and I love how you described when God was bringing His child into the world through you. So enjoyable to read. And KJD is so right - your story related tranquility. Congratulations to you and your husband!! :)

    Valerie (atlantamomofthree on JustMommies)